Best Home Back Workout Moves
Not going to lie, working out my back was always on the “back burner” for me (see what I did there?). As a girl, I just wanted a flat stomach, toned arms, and toned legs. But now back day has become my favorite workout day! Building your back muscles provides symmetry to your body so you don’t only look toned from the front, but there are also a lot of health benefits to working your back. And there are some really great home back workout moves to help you reap those benefits.
Benefits of Home Back Workout
When you neglect your back, it can become weak and really cause a lot of structural problems for your body. But building the muscles in your back builds support for your spine and pelvis, which can also help if you experience low back pain. Spinal and pelvic support also helps you in pretty much any physical activities you do…whether it’s running, lifting weights, carrying groceries, or twisting and bending to pick up something off the floor.
Working your back also provides muscular balance. When you work your chest or your core, those muscles can become tight. And when they become tight they can pull on your back, which can cause pain and possibly even injury to the discs. However, building your back muscles at an equal pace can help you avoid those issues and create better balance for your body.
1. Reverse Fly
Even though this is a great shoulder workout, it also works the rhomboids and traps–small muscles in the upper and middle back. And because you’re working small muscles, you will want VERY LIGHT weights to start! There are a few different ways to do this move, but we prefer incline bench reverse flies, seated bent-over reverse flies, or standing bent-over reverse flies. The arm movement is the same for all three. You start with your arms down by your side and then raise them until they are parallel to the floor. Keep your arms slightly bent and focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together.
To perform the reverse fly without a bench, you can stand with your knees hip width apart. Bend forward to about a 45-90 degree angle…the more inclined your angle is the more it will work your shoulders and not your back. Keep your knees slightly bent while performing the move.
If you have a bench, you can sit and bend forward toward your knees. The angle will be similar to the standing bent-over reverse fly. Keep your feet flat on the floor and use your core to help you remain as still and stable as possible.
Another great way to perform this home back workout move is to use an incline bench variation. Set the bench at about a 45 degree angle. Unlike most bench moves, you’ll lay on your stomach and chest facing the back of the bench. Your head will be above the top of the seat. Straddle the front of the bench and plant your feet firmly on the floor for support. Your arms will hang in front of you towards the floor, and then you can raise them up to the side to perform the reverse fly. Using the incline bench variation is a great alternative if you have low back pain. It takes all the stress off of your core and back and the bench acts as the stabilizer instead.
2. Reverse-Grip Rows
Similar to the reverse fly, this move is done in a bent-over standing position (you can also use the incline bench variation if you need more support). Holding a dumbbell in each hand, rotate your arms so your palms are facing up. Keeping your elbows pinned to your sides, pull the weights in towards your midsection. And make sure to keep your head up. Again, you want to focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together. Imagine there is a pencil in between your shoulder blades and you’re trying to squeeze it.
This is a great move for strengthening and stabilizing your back muscles, but it can also be hard on people with back issues. So either skip this home back workout move or try using the incline bench variation which helps support your back during the move.
3. One-Arm Rows
One-arm rows are done by using a bench to stabilize your body. Start by holding a dumbbell in your right hand, and rest your left hand and your left knee on the bench to support your weight. The right leg will be planted firmly on the floor. Your back should be flat and your head should be aligned with your spine. With your right palm facing the side of your body, pull the weight up and back towards your side, just like in the reverse grip row. Remember to keep your elbow pinned by your side. Once you are done with that side, switch your stance and work the other side.
One-arm rows work the entire lat muscle, as well as the upper back and traps. It’s crazy how the reverse-grip rows and one-arm rows are so similar in the movements, but by changing the angles you’re working entirely different parts of your back!
Ahhhh, the dreaded pull-ups. At least, I always dreaded (oh fine, skipped) them. Pull-ups are one of the most challenging moves out there. But they are one of the most beneficial exercises for upper body strength–and they also work your arms, core, and get your heart rate up!
There are a few different pull-up variations, but for this round of home back workouts we’re sticking with the traditional pull-up. You’ll definitely need a pull-up bar to do this at home (read our post How to Create Your Own Home Gym on a Budget to see which one we recommend), and we also recommend getting some pull-up assist bands if you aren’t able to do at least one unassisted. These are the ones I use. You can get a heavier one to start with (which means it will take more of your body weight so you are pulling less weight) and then as you feel them getting easier you can get a lighter band.
5. Dumbbell Plank Rotations
Planks are awesome–they work just about every muscle in your body. Dumbbell plank rotations is a variation that puts a little more focus on your back muscles. With a dumbbell in each hand, get into plank position–you’ll want your feet a little wider than hip width for this particular plank move. Twist your torso to the left and lift your left hand toward the ceiling. Follow your hand with your head and bring your left hand back to plank position. Repeat on the right side. Make sure to keep your wrists stiff to protect your joints.
We like to do 30 seconds of dumbbell plank rotations and do two or three sets. This is a great home back workout move that not only works your back, but your chest, shoulders, core, and those pesky love handles.
Back exercises are so important to providing stability, balance, and support for your body. So if you hate back day and are prone to skipping it, STOP! Try these home back workout moves and see if maybe you can grow to love back day as much as we do (we’ll even take a love/hate relationship).
Do you have a favorite back exercise? Or do you have any questions for us? Let us know in the comments!
This post is part of the series “Best At-Home Workouts – Get Toned at Home.” Check out more posts from the series below.
- Best At-Home Arm Workouts – 6 Killer Moves to Tone
- Best At-Home Leg Exercises – 5 Moves for Killer Legs
- Chest Workout at Home – 6 Moves for a Bigger Chest
- Best Core Exercises for Killer Abs
We are not medical professionals. Always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program or nutritional supplement.