A strong V-shaped back helps protect your spine.
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Who says you need a gym membership to build a strong, well-defined back? From pushups and pull-ups to back extensions, there are plenty of exercises that can be done at home. A back injury or lower back pain, for instance, can make it harder to do deadlifts, rows and other exercises that require a barbell or dumbbells. In this case, use your own bodyweight to work your back muscles and keep fit.
Do the Superman
This simple exercise is typically used for stretching. It's also a good choice for strengthening your back muscles and developing the skills necessary for more complex movements. The key is to squeeze your lower back and hold the contraction at the top of the movement for a few seconds.
The Superman targets your glutes and lower back muscles. With regular practice, it can improve your stability and strengthen the posterior chain. This will enhance your exercise performance and overall movement patterns.
Hit Those Pushups
If you had to choose just one exercise for your back, it should be the pushup. This compound movement works your entire body, leading to greater strength, power and endurance. Plus, it has multiple variations that will hit your muscles from different angles.
According to the latest studies, pushups and other strength exercises may reduce the risk of premature death by a staggering 23 percent and cancer-related death by 31 percent. The humble pushup engages every muscle in your body, including the back, abs, trapezius, shoulders, arms and glutes. Depending on how you do this exercise, you can target different muscles.
Suspended pushups, for instance, activate your core to a greater extent than standard pushups on the floor. Single-leg pushups, feet-elevated pushups and scapula pushups engage the shoulder muscles. Pushup jacks increase physical endurance and burn massive calories, while supine pushups strengthen the upper back.
Work the Back Extension
Another great exercise is the back extension. It targets the lower back muscles and may relieve sciatica pain in the long run. Strengthening these muscles can help improve your posture, increase spine stability and reduce injury risk.
Back extensions can be done with your bodyweight only, on a hyperextension bench or on a stability ball. You can also ask a friend or workout partner to hold your ankles. This exercise benefits people of all ages and fitness levels, except for those with herniated discs.
Don't Forget Pull-Ups
Pull-ups develop upper body strength and hit your back muscles from all angles. It's one of the best exercises you can do to improve your posture and get a V-shaped back. This compound movement will also strengthen your grip, boost your metabolism and make you a better athlete.
Install a pull-up bar at home or use the one at the gym. If you're a beginner, place your knees on a chair when doing this exercise. Another option is to loop a resistance band around your knees and secure it over the top of a pull-up bar. As you progress, start wearing a weighted vest or attach a weight plate on a gym belt.
These are just a few of the many back exercises you can do without weights. Depending on your fitness level, you can also try chin-ups, hip hinges, reverse snow angels or inverted rows.
Work your back muscles once a week. Do three to five exercises with perfect form. If this is your weakest area, train it twice a week. As your strength increases, start using weights and try different variations of your favorite movements. Invest in a set of dumbbells, a resistance band or kettlebells to make your workouts more challenging.