Back Workouts Without Weights

best back workouts without weights

Many people neglect working there back in favor of more “noticeable” muscles such as the chest or arms. That’s just inefficient, in my opinion. Working out your back is not only good for strength and keeping a proper posture, it also helps to build a more balanced physique.

Even if you don’t have weights or access to a gym, you can still perform all of these workouts at home in order to achieve a stronger and well sculpted physique. What you will need is a pull-up bar or other sturdy bar that will support your weight.

Your best bet would probably be to order this pullup bar which fits right in to your door without any screws or drilling, and comes out just as easy. A full back sample back workout without weights is available near the end of this post.


pullups back workoutPull-ups are the classic back workout without weights, and the bread and butter of proper back development. To start, while keeping your palms away from you, grip the bar at roughly shoulder width distance. Remove your feet from the ground and slowly pull yourself up while contracting your back. Try to focus more on pulling up with your back than your arms, and come back down in a controlled motion.

Coming down very slowly is also called a negative rep. Negative reps can improve your strength and how many pullups you can do dramatically, but they are not recommended every back workout. They require a lot of strength and will take up the majority of your energy, but they are great at the end of a workout every 2-3 weeks. RelativeStrengthAdvantage provides a more in depth way on how to improve your pull-ups and chin-ups.

You can also try weighted pullups if you find regular pull-ups too easy. Either hold a dumbbell or other weight in-between your legs, or use a chain belt in order to strap on a barbell or other equally heavy weight.

Try not to swing or use momentum while preforming pull-ups as this will take away the contraction in your back muscles. If you are just starting though, a little bit of swing or momentum is fine, but as time goes on try to limit this.

On top of working out your back (latissimus dorsi, or lats for short), pullups also use your biceps, triceps, shoulders, trapezius, rhomboids, and core muscles for assistance work.

Wide-Grip Pull-ups

wide grip pullups backWide grip pull-ups are a variation on the regular pull-ups in which you place your hands further away from each other. This causes you to use that outer part of your back/lats, which results in that ever so familiar V-shaped physique. Even if you have a wide waist, getting a wider back from wide grip pull-ups can still help you attain the V-taper back.

Wide grip pullups can be much more difficult compared to regular pullups, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do a full set of 8-10 reps right off the bat. Work up slow, and use controlled reps – cheating with pull-ups only cheats you from getting results. explains more about how you can squeeze out more pullups while avoiding many common mistakes.


chin-ups back workoutAre also a little different than regular pull-ups. Instead of having your hands faced away from you,keep your hands faced towards your wall tripping the pull-up bar. They should be approximately shoulder width apart. The closer you place your hands, the more you will feel your biceps getting worked out instead of your back.

Although this is considered a back workout it also works out your biceps as well, due to the pulling motion. As you will notice, you are using more of your biceps to pull yourself up compared to regular pull-ups, which is to be expected.

Back Extensions

back extensions workoutThis back workout is primarily for the lower back. If you don’t have an incline bench, you can also preform back extensions on the floor or on a mat.

Start by laying face down with your torso and legs straight with your hands on your side or behind your head. Lift your chest off the ground until you feel a strong stretch in your lower back, and then slowly come back down. This is considered one repetition.

For a more advanced version of back extensions, you can also lift your legs up in the air simultaneously while lifting up your chest. This video shows exactly how to do back extensions.

If you have a incline bench, you can also preform weighted back extensions by holding a barbell or other weighted object while preforming this exercise. Also try adding some pushups in-between sets for added difficulty.

Sample Back Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Pull-Ups 3 sets 6-12 reps
Wide-Grip Pull-Ups 3 sets 6-10 reps
Back Extensions 3 sets 10-12 reps

Advanced Back Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Weighted Pull-Ups 4 sets 6-8 reps
Wide-Grip Pull-Ups + Chin-Ups 4 sets 6-8 reps
Weighted Back Extensions 3 sets 10-12 reps
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