Develop back muscle without weights using this four-move bodyweight workout

Here's how you can strengthen your back muscles without going to the gym

A woman's back muscle
(Image credit: Getty)

For many people, a typical workout for the back might look like deadlifting the barbell in the free weights section of the gym or using some big equipment like the lateral pull-down machine. But it is possible to strengthen and define your back without even leaving the house using these four bodyweight exercises.

Some of the best back workouts will help to build essential strength and contribute to things like securing the stability of the spine, bettering posture, and making daily tasks and activities feel easier to complete. 

This short routine shared by personal trainer Lisa Lanceford, also known as
lisafiittworkouts on Instagram, is a great place to start if you're looking to target your back muscle and it requires minimal equipment. All you will need to complete the four moves will be one of the best yoga mats, a towel, and a table.

Lanceford demonstrates the four-strength-based exercises showing how you will use your body weight to engage with and challenge your back muscle. Bodyweight moves utilize your own weight to provide a source of resistance. When used in a repetition-based workout and performed with proper form you can improve things like power, strength, endurance, definition, and balance.

Watch Lisa Lanceford's Four Move No Equipment Back Workout

Each exercise will be performed for twelve reps and repeated for four sets. It's a good idea to take breaks of around 30-90 seconds between sets as this will help you to perform each rep with force in the next set and enhance the rate at which your strength can develop.

Lanceford recommends that you, "slow down the reps and really concentrate on the squeeze!". The more you nail down good form for each exercise the better chance you have at really targeting your back muscles with this workout. Below is a full walk-through of the steps involved.

Four-Move Home Back Workout

  1. Snow Angels: Start with your arms by your side and laying face down on the floor. Pull your arms wide whilst keeping them away from the floor. Keep your core braced throughout so that you don't extend into the lower back too much.⁣ 4 sets x 12 reps⁣
  2. Laying towel rows: Lay down on the floor, face down, pressing your arms overhead whilst keeping your core braced. Pull your elbows back while clasping the towel overhead, challenging the upper back muscles and shoulder rotation. ⁣4 sets x 12 reps⁣
  3. Table Bodyweight Rows⁣: Hold yourself underneath the table with your core braced, keep your position as you pull your chest up towards the underside of the table and then control back down to the bottom and repeat. 4 sets x 12 reps⁣
  4. Laying Hyper extensions: Lay on the floor face down with your arms out over head. Pull your arms and legs away from the floor at the same time contracting the upper and lower back, then control down and repeat.⁣ 4 sets x 12 reps⁣

This is a great workout for any beginners to strength training. However, if you find you've mastered this and need a bigger challenge, try increasing the number of reps involved. 

Or you should consider adding some of the best adjustable dumbbells into your next back-focused workout. Effective back building dumbbell exercises will include moves such as basic dumbbell rows, dumbbell pullovers or bent over back flies.

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.