While we spend time exercising our arms, chest and legs in the gym, our backs can often be neglected. Most likely because we can’t see them in the mirror after training!
And since we can’t look at our backs, they are forgotten. But a stronger and more gymnastic back adds depth and shape – they are a fundamental contribution to a balanced physique. And, in addition to being important to their appearance, they are essential for robust health and good posture, and provide an ideal base for large composite surveys.
We have compiled a selection of the most effective exercises to help you achieve a ‘V’ physique – all from the comfort of your home.
Upper Back Exercises at Home
Resistance Band Row (Row with Resistance Band)
Place a resistance band on the floor, horizontally, and stand on it with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grab each end of the band and straighten your back.
Bend your knees and bend from your hips, so that your body is tilted forward at an angle between 90 to 45 degrees. This will be the starting position.
Squeeze the shoulder blades against each other, put the chest out and pull, with a vigorous movement, the elbows backwards, towards the torso, contracting hard at the top of the movement. Slowly return with your elbows to the starting position to complete the repetition.
Perform 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, depending on the strength of the band.
This is an excellent exercise to work the dorsals and rhomboids at home with basic equipment, and you can experiment with a pronated, supinated or neutral grip. Put your feet farther apart and use stronger bands to increase the level of difficulty.
Lie on your stomach and stretch your arms forward. Hold a t-shirt or towel and pull it to the sides as if trying to rip it in half.
Activates the glutes and core and presses the shoulder blades against each other. The chin and the top of the chest should be a few inches from the floor.
Keeping the tension, slowly pull the t-shirt or towel towards the body and touch the top of the chest in a pulling motion. Returns to the extension position to complete the repetition.
Perform 3 to 4 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
The back extension is a good alternative to the puller and aims at the distal part of the dorsals in contraction and the proximal part of the back in the extension. It is important to maintain constant tension throughout the exercise for it to be effective.
Renegade Rows (Paddle Paddle)
Place yourself in a plank position, with your feet on a high platform, like a sofa or chair.
Activates the core to keep the body straight, and raises a hand to the torso in a stroke. It contracts hard at the top of the movement.
Return with your arm to the plank position and repeat on the other side.
Perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions for each arm.
This variant of the stroke is a fantastic exercise for the entire body – it targets not only the dorsals, but the shoulders, chest, triceps and core muscles are also vigorously mobilized with this hybrid between board, flexion and row. Increase the number of repetitions from session to session to progressively increase the load on the muscles.
Reachers (Superman Row)
Lie on your stomach and wrap both hands with a resistance band. Straighten your arms in front of you to form a ‘V’ to keep the band tense. Your hands should be at a greater distance from each other than your shoulders.
Your head and chest should be a few centimeters from the floor, your legs should be stretched and your buttocks activated, so that your hips remain glued to the floor.
Contract the shoulder blades against each other and pull the band to the back of the neck. He contracts hard and returns to the position of outstretched arms.
Perform 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
The resistance of the band can make this variant difficult to perform, but it contributes to the total variety of exercises you can do and areas you can exercise. Try combining this exercise with ‘W’ extensions and strokes for an effective workout.
Tie a band around a tree (or something similar) at head height. Hold the ends of the band in each hand and walk backwards, until the band is tense and your arms are straight.
With your knuckles at face level, put your chest out and press your shoulder blades together. Pull the bands towards the sides of your jaw, keeping your elbows high throughout the movement.
Slowly extend your arms back to the starting position to complete a repetition.
Perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
This is a great exercise for the entire upper back, including the rear deltoids and trapezoids. Maintains control throughout the movement to maximize its effectiveness.
Exercises for the Lower Back at Home
Lie on your stomach and stretch your arms forward, approximately shoulder width. Keep your legs straight and your feet in “points”, similarly stretched behind you, maintaining contact with the floor at shoulder width.
Activates the glutes and contracts the shoulders to lift the legs and hands off the floor. Relax to return to your starting position.
Perform 3 sets of 25 repetitions.
This is a great exercise for the upper and middle back, including the stabilizing muscles of the spine, which makes the “superman” an effective exercise for the core . You can experiment with repetitions or hold the position for a certain time, like a board – according to your taste.
Bag Deadlift (Land Survey With Bag)
Find a bag that serves the purpose. A travel bag or backpack will do just fine.
With your feet shoulder-width apart, flex your legs and hips to firmly grip the bag. Make sure you keep your back straight to avoid injury.
Contract your glutes and straighten up to lift the bag off the floor. Lift it in a controlled motion, using your legs, not your back.
Carefully lower the bag to the floor to complete the repetition.
Perform 6 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, depending on weight.
This homemade variation of the traditional deadlift mobilizes all major areas of the body, including the back, the core and the legs. Increase the weight in the bag by filling it with something heavy.
Lying W Rows (Row in W in Lying Position)
Lie on the floor on your stomach and straighten your arms in front of you to form a ‘V’.
Activates the core and, keeping your whole body tense, pull your elbows back towards your hips. Put your chest out and flex your middle back to lift yourself off the floor.
It contracts the muscles at the end of the movement and returns to the starting position.
Perform 3 sets of repetitions of 20 to 30 seconds.
This homemade exercise involves a wide movement that allows a strong contraction at the end of the movement and a greater mobilization of the core and the lower back. Perform in superseries with the back extensions to work the upper back together with the lower.
Hip Bridge (Pontes de Ancas)
Lie on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms to the side and place your palms on the floor for support.
Keeping your arms straight, push with your heels and lift your hips off the floor. Contract the glutes at the top of the movement.
Slowly returns to the starting position.
Complete 4 sets of 8 repetitions.
This variant with the body weight of the exercise to “develop the butt” of everyone’s favorite is surprisingly effective also for the lower back. Use one leg at a time to increase the level of difficulty and contract hard to maximize the impact of the exercise.
It is not essential to enroll in a gym to work for a well-developed physique. Using the home exercises explained here will mobilize all parts of your back and provide immense variety. The idea is to be creative and use equipment or exercises that we would not normally use.
In addition, back exercise is often neglected when we are training at home, so it is a good idea to vary your usual routine a little.