Bodyweight Back Exercises – No Equipment Needed

December 9, 2017 Mona 4 comments
bodyweight back workout

With 2018 just around the corner some of you might be thinking about New Year’s resolutions already. Usually the most common resolutions are to become healthier, leaner, fitter or lose weight.

However, we end up not caring much about what we do or what we eat throughout December because “we’ll start on January 1st”.

Maybe I’m getting a little off topic here but I just want us to end this year on a high note. Push harder with our workouts than we did the past 11 months, lift heavier, run faster, eat healthier. That’s the main reason for today’s blog post which is all about bodyweight back exercises.


There are quite a few amazing back exercises but when it comes to working out at home with minimal equipment it’s harder to get creative. Recently I noticed I don’t enjoy training back anymore and I realised it’s because I kept doing the same exercises.


Something had to be changed so I did some research and discovered many new ways in which you can hit all major back muscles.


Below you will find 5 of my favourite bodyweight back exercises that I include in my weekly back workouts and rotate them in order to avoid hitting plateau.

This back workout is bodyweight and doesn’t need any equipment. However, you will need two chairs or something sturdy for the last exercise. Other than that you can make the exercises easier or harder based on your fitness level.

bodyweight back workout



Bodyweight Back Exercises With No Equipment


Angel of Death (Reverse Snow Angel)

How to perform: 

Begin by lying flat on your stomach. Arms at your side and feet hip-width apart. Palms are pointing to the ceiling. This is your starting position. Now lift your chest, arms and legs slightly so they’re hovering of the floor.

Move your arms up until your biceps are close to your ears. During this movement rotate your hands so the palms face the floor. As you do this, move your feet outwards simultaneously.

Hold here for a second then return to starting position by moving your arms back down at your side and your feet inward. That makes one rep.

Step up the challenge:

Once you feel like you mastered this exercise challenge yourself by adding weights. I usually hold 1.25 kg plate in each hand and it makes the exercise 3 times harder. Considering Angel of Death is a challenging bodyweight exercise adding just that little bit of weight will work your muscles in a whole different way.

Sets & reps: 12 – 15 reps x 3 – 4 sets

Muscles worked: trapezius, lower back, erector spinae, deltoids, gluteal muscles

Reverse Plank (Supine Plank)

How to perform:

Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended ahead of you and your palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart, slightly behind you.

From here simply press into your hands and through your heels, as if you’re trying to push the floor away from you. Engage your core and lift your hips up while squeezing your glutes.

Your body should be in one straight line from head to toe. Toes are pointed, legs and arms are straight, glutes and core engaged and your gaze slightly up and in front of you. This is the position, now you just need to hold it for as long as you can.

Step up the challenge:

When you can comfortably hold the reverse plank for 2 minutes, work on decreasing your base of support. This means performing reverse plank with one leg lifted the whole time or alternating between legs a.k.a. marching reverse plank.

Sets & reps: hold as long as possible x 4 sets

Muscles worked: erector spinae, lower back, gluteus maximus, deltoids, hamstrings, rectus abdominis, obliques

Divebomber Push – Ups

How to perform:

If you know yoga basics I can explain this in a simple way. In order to do a divebomber push – up begin in downward dog and from there move into upward – facing dog. Stay in this position for one – two seconds then return to downward dog. That makes one rep.

All of you, who aren’t yogi bears, fear not, here’s a simplified explanation. Begin by forming an upside down V shape with your body.

This means hands and feet are firmly planted on the floor and your booty is pushing towards the ceiling. Keeping your back flat and knees slightly bent to avoid locking.

Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. This is your starting position. Lead with your head and begin lowering the shoulders as you allow your chest to brush the ground. Let your head swoop between your arms and your chest open as you look up to the ceiling.

Now you’re in the so-called upward – facing dog. Stay in this position for one – two seconds then act as if you hit a rewind button. Following the same path push your hips up and come back to the starting position.

Step up the challenge:

Since divebomber push – ups are pretty darn tough I recommend you only work on building strength so you can increase the rep range. The “trick” is to focus on form and do not get discouraged if at the beginning you can do only one or can’t do any at all. Just keep putting in the hard work!

Sets & reps: 10 reps x 3 sets

Muscles worked: pecs, erector spinae, lower back, lats, deltoids, triceps, gluteus, quads, hamstrings

Bird – Dog Exercise

How to perform:

Every once in a while it’s good to go back to basics and this exercise is a perfect example. Start this exercise on all fours with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.

Make sure your feet aren’t going outwards but they’re rather forming a straight line with your knees. Slightly tuck the pelvis under, draw naval to spine and engage your core. Keep your spine and neck neutral as you gaze down between your palms.

From here extend one leg back and opposite arm forward at the same time. Reach your hand out as far as you can, as if you’re trying to grab something. Press through the heel that’s lifted as if there’s a wall behind you and hold this position for 3 – 5 seconds.

Gently release your hand and knee to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Step up the challenge:

Bird – Dog is a pretty basic exercise so there are a few ways you could make it more difficult once it becomes easy for you. You can add weight by simply holding a light weight plate in your hand.

Another way you can make this exercise harder is by getting into a high plank and extending your arm and leg from there.

Sets and reps: 10 reps (each side) x 4 sets

Muscles worked: lower back, middle back, gluteus, rectus abdominis, deltoids, hamstrings

Elbow presses

How to perform:

Earlier I mentioned you will need two chairs for this exercise so go ahead and grab them. Place the chairs next to each other but keep a shoulder-width distance between them. Get in between the chairs and lower yourself down to place each elbow on one chair.

Keep your feet in front of you and the knees bent. Lift your toes so you’re pressing through your heels, engage the core and look straight ahead of you.

Now using only your lats slowly descend then explode back up. Make sure you’re digging your elbows into the chairs to have a strong base of support.

Step up the challenge:

In order to make this exercise more difficult place weight plates on your lap. The amount of weight you’ll be using is completely up to you but I recommend you start light then work your way up.

Another way to step up the challenge is by extending your legs out straight, digging your heels into the floor. This way your base of support will be smaller which in turn will make the exercise more difficult.

Sets and reps: 12 – 15 reps x 4 sets

Muscles worked: lats, delts, core muscles

I hope these exercises inspire you to get creative when you plan your next back workout and if you have any questions feel free to ask me. Also, let me know in the comments what you think of these exercises and what other bodyweight back exercises do you do, I would love to try them!

P.S. apologies for the extremely bad video quality, it’s the best I could do atm 🙁

Enjoy your workout,

M, xo

4 Comments on “Bodyweight Back Exercises – No Equipment Needed

  1. Hey, I would like to know what is the exact point of contact of the body with the ground? , in case of angel of death workout.

    Thank you.

    1. Hey! Thank you for visiting me and taking the time to read this blog post 🙂
      Point of contact of the body with the ground is your middle/lower abdominals and the pelvic area. You’re lifting your arms and legs up as far as you can and squeezing your back muscles so this also depends on your flexibility. If you’re more flexible the point of contact will be smaller but if you’re not so flexible the POC will be bigger. As far as the exercise goes it’s most important you feel your back muscles working as well as your glutes (squeeze them as you lift your legs).
      I hope you found this helpful!
      Have a nice day and if you need anything else, ask away,
      M, xo

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