10 Bodyweight Back Exercises – Without Equipment

Working on your back is crucial for Calisthenics, as the majority of skills require huge back strength.

However, the back is a really hard muscle group to work if you don’t have equipment. And often, people only turn into pull ups or inverted rows when they want to do bodyweight exercises.

The 10 Bodyweight exercises displayed in this article, are really effective for developing the back strength required for skills like the handstandplanchefront leverback leverdragon flag and human flag.

They are, also, simple and can be performed without using any equipment, at the comfort of your own home.

Lets start!

1. HOLLOW BODY HOLD

The first exercise that all Calisthenics athletes need to train and master is the Hollow Body Hold.

It is a really important movement, as it strengthens your back and will be used in almost all the exercises in this article.

The Hollow Body Hold makes a lot of Calisthenics movements (like the handstandplanchefront leverback leverdragon flag) easier to hold and better looking! 

In order to practise it you need to lie on your back with arms overhead, biceps by ears, and legs outstretched.

Lift your legs and arms so shoulders and feet are off the ground. 

Keep your head in a neutral position.

Do 4 sets of 20 to 40 seconds holds.

2. BODY ROW (AUSTRALIAN PULL UP)

The Body Row, also called Australian Pull-up, is one of the best, simple and most effective exercises you can do to work your back muscles.

This exercise is, also, a prerequisite for other Calisthenics skills, such as the Front Lever.

To perform it you need to lie on the floor underneath a table or other furniture and pull yourself up until your chest touches it. Then come back down slowly in a controlled manner.

Don’t forget to keep your core tightengaging your quads, glutes and abs, so that your body remains in a straight line.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

3. SUPERMAN HOLD

The Superman Hold is another exercise that targets your lower back.

It as an essential exercise for building the strength required in skills like the front lever and back lever.

Start by lying face down with arms and legs outstretched.

Lift your armslegsupper back, and head off the floor. Keep arms and legs straight but not locked, forming a “U” shape with either side of your body several centimetres off the floor.

Hold this position for a few seconds then lower back to the starting position.

While performing the Superman Hold make sure that your head is in a neutral position in line with your spine. If you feel like you’re straining your neck, stop and fix your form.

Do 4 sets of 20 to 40 seconds holds.

4. LAT SLIDE

The Lat Slide is an exercise that targets your back and more specifically your lats

It is the first progression in the planche journey, but also useful for other skills such us the front lever.

To perform it you will need to put a towel under your knees and start in a table top position.

Push yourself back keeping your arms straight and your spine and pelvis neutrally aligned. Then pull yourself up to the starting position using your lats’ strength and top it up with a hollow hold(rounded back).

You should, at all times, keep your arms straight and your core tight and engaged.

If you want to increase the difficulty of the exercise, move the towel to your toes and start in a pike position pushing back and then pulling up again, making sure to keep the hollow position(rounded back).

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

5. Lying Back Press

The Lying back press is a great exercise for developing a strong back.

Ley with your back on the floor and your knees in a tucked position.

Push your elbows back into the floor until your back lifts from the floor.

Draw your shoulder blades down and backwards. Pinch and hold you shoulder blades together.

You must keep your chest out during the hole movement.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

6. Scapular Pushup

The Scapular pushup is an exercise that targets your lower back.

Start in the pushup position and pinch your shoulder blades together and press your chest out, without bending your elbows.

Focus on keeping your body in a straight line during the hole movement and your abdominal, heaps and legs engaged.

Your hand position is, also, really important. You need to place your wrists in a vertical line under your solders and keep your elbows as close to your body as possible.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

7. Lying ANGEL Flye

The Lying angel flye is a fun exercise which, apart from your back, works your posture too.

Start by lying face down with arms and legs outstretched.

Lift your arms, upper back, and head off the floor. Keeping your arms straight, move them back and forth as if you were making an angel in the snow!

Make sure that your head is in a neutral position, in line with your spine. If you feel like you’re straining your neck, stop and fix your form.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

8. Posterior Plank

The Posterior plank is a more complex, yet really effective back exercise.

Sit on the floor with your legs straight in-front of you. Put your arms to your site, slightly behind your shoulder line.

Squeeze your lower back and glutes, raising your hips up, in order to brink your torso in a straight line.

Make sure you are pulling your shoulder blades back before raising your hips up.

Hold this position for few seconds and then return to the starting position.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

9. Extension Plank

The Extension plank is advanced version of the normal plank, which focus on working your back and core at the same time.

Start in a pushup position, with the feet together and the arms spaced approximately at shoulder level. The spine and pelvis should be neutrally aligned.

Then start walking backwards until just before your chest touches the floor. Pause there for a second and walk back to your starting position.

The spine and pelvis should be neutrally aligned, so that you keep a straight line throughout the whole movement.

Keep your gluts and abs as tight as possible without losing your straight line, or allowing your hips to drop.

Do 4 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

10. Cobra

The Cobra is an exercise that targets your lower back. It is mainly used in yoga, but it is really effective for Calisthenics athletes too.

Lay on your stomach and put your hands to the side, near your chest.

Then extend your arms lifting your body up, stretching your abdominals at the same time.

Do 4 sets of 20 to 50 seconds holds.

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