Home Back Workout Guide – Get it Done with Minimal Equipment

Back, Strength Training

There are loads of exercises available if you’re working out your back in the gym, but getting in a solid home back workout can be very challenging since you need to replicate pulling motions with resistance.

At the gym, you’ll have access to free weights aplenty, including barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells, making movements like deadlifts and bent-over rows a cinch. Most gyms have a variety of selectorized machines too, enabling you to get in seated cable rows, lat pulldowns, and reverse delt flys.

Unless you’ve spent a small fortune amassing the same equipment for your home gym, chances are you don’t have access to these super-specific machines and accessories.

So, how can you get a great back workout from the comfort of your own home?

Read on and find out!

 

 

The Hardest Muscle to Workout at Home is Your Back

Let’s not mince words— the back is one of the hardest muscle groups to activate without specialized equipment. That’s because most back-activating exercises involve a movement pattern that requires you to use pulling muscles.

Think about it.

Deadlifts require you to pull the barbell from the floor to your waist. The bent-over row and single-arm dumbbell row require you to pull the weights into your body as well. Cable rows and cable lat pulldowns also involve pulling the attachment into your body.

So, without equipment, or equipment substitutes, that can simulate these essential pulling movements, it’ll be hard to pull off an effective back workout.

 

It’s Important to at Least Have the Ability to Workout at Home

Most of us have many things to keep track of. There are work obligations, family responsibilities, social engagements, chores, errands— it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!

Life is also known to throw curveballs at the least opportune moment. Even the best planning will only get you so far, and you may find yourself nixing your plans to hit the gym, time and time again in order to keep ahead of things.

That’s no way to prioritize your own health and fitness, and you’ll never reach your personal fitness goals without commitment and consistency in your workout plan.

Having the ability to sneak in a workout at home helps immensely. By purchasing a few fitness basics and setting aside a conservatively sized space, you’ll have all you need to get in a solid workout for your back muscles, or any muscle group at that.

The best part? You don’t need to break the bank and buy a massive multipurpose machine for your garage or basement, but you should have a few essential items.

A high-quality dumbbell set is a great start, as there are many dumbbell back exercises. You don’t even have to purchase multiple sets of a dedicated dumbbell rack, because adjustable dumbbell sets like Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells and PowerBlock Dumbbells make progressively overloading your muscles super simple.

Other great additions that are inexpensive, lightweight, portable, and versatile include resistance bands. While you may believe a resistance band workout is inferior to back workouts with dumbbells, studies show that exercise bands can produce activation, and results, that are just as good.

 

Top 5 Products to Give You the Capability of Completing a Great Home Back Workout

 

1. WHATAFIT Resistance Bands Set

      WHATAFIT Resistance Band Set
A good set of resistance bands is really all you need to be able to do some home back workouts. The toughest part about working out your back at home is figuring out what to pull and how, and resistance bands solve that problem. Not only can you wrap the band around some furniture or a door jamb to do some rows, but you can even use the door anchor to set it up high for lat pulldowns and lat pullovers.

 

This set of resistance bands from WHATAFIT is the best option available, we especially like how it comes with a set of 5 that all have different resistance levels – 10lbs, 20lbs, 30lbs, 40lbs, 50lbs. You can use them alone and you can also combine them for some super heavy action of up to 150lbs. This set also comes with handles, a carrying bag, ankle straps, and a door anchor. The door anchor is especially cool because that means you don’t have to seek out a heavy table or dresser to use, you can simply use any door frame to set the bands up from low, mid-level, to high up. The ankle bands won’t be used for any back exercises, but they can definitely come in handy for hamstring curls and other leg workouts. The bands are made of natural latex and are super durable with nice elasticity. The inclusion of the handles is good too, otherwise you would have to buy them separately.

 

2. Sunny Health & Fitness Adjustable Roman Chair 

With over 4,000 ratings on Amazon averaging out to 4.3 stars, it’s hard to beat this roman chair for under $100. A roman chair is the perfect addition to any home if you want to be able to get in a good back workout. Not only is it compact and doesn’t take up much space, but it allows you to do some workouts that you typically could only do in a gym. Beyond all of the different core exercises you can do with this piece of equipment, you will be able to do back extensions – where you raise your self up and down to work out the entire lower and mid back, isometric glute holds – where you hold yourself up while using your glutes, and glute ham developers – similar to back extensions but with some tweaks that allow you to focus all the effort on your glutes and hamstrings. For more info on good roman chair exercises, click here to Gym Gear Central.

 

This roman chair by Sunny Health Fitness can hold up to 250 lbs of human, and the lightweight steel frame makes it solid, yet easy to move. And if that isn’t enough, it can actually fold-up so it becomes almost completely flat for storage. It comes with stabilizers that allow it to stay flat on uneven floors, while adding some padding and non-slip effects for hardwood floors. Based on the reviews, it seems the pads are very soft and cushion you nicely, which also has to do with the placement of the foam rollers where your legs go. In case you are wondering, your height doesn’t matter much since this is completely adjustable to fit any non-freakish person. When you are done with your leg workout, you can even do some dips with the non-slip handles or preacher curls for biceps over the cushion area. Sunny Health and Fitness has been around for more than 20 years, and they have a full staff of customer service reps and fitness instructors that can help you make the most of their equipment.

 

3. GDLF Lat Pulldown Cable Machine 

If you have the space for it, then this is the one back workout machine we highly recommend you get. Sure, you can do lat pulldowns with resistance bands and actually get a good workout in, but if you are more of an intermediate to advanced lifter, then a real lat pulldown machine like this will make all the difference. Not only can you do lat pulldowns and pullovers, but you’ll also be able to do tricep pulldowns, bicep curls, shoulder raises, all sorts of rows, and more.

 

GDLF is a solid company that specializes in fitness equipment and certain outdoor items that require expert craftsmanship. When it comes to cable machines, you can really spend a lot of money, so we wanted to provide you with an affordable option that has everything you need. One of the most important features in a lat pulldown machine is the foam roller height since those are what keeps you in the seat for pulldowns, and this set comes with 4 different position options to accomodate people of all heights. This machine is powered by plates, which means you will need to buy some weight plates to load up on the holders for resistance, but plate loaded machines are a fraction of the price compared to the pre-loaded stacks. Plate-loaded machines are also easier to move too since you can simply remove the weight.

 

One of the coolest parts about this lat pulldown machine is that it comes with a lower pulley station that you can use for all low-to-high exercises, rows too. So it’s not just the high-pulley station for the lat pulldowns. To be perfectly honest, the assembly with this is not super easy, and what makes it a bit tricky is the cable pulley wheel. However, if you go into it with patience and a clear mind, you should be able to simply read the directions and look at the pictures to figure it out. Once it’s set up, you will 100% be glad you took the time to do so. Having this machine in your house will completely change your home back workout game.

 

4. Marcy Adjustable Weightlifting Bench with Leg Developer 

                                   Marcy Adjustable Weightlifting Bench with Leg Developer
This piece of equipment alone does not do much for back workouts, but when coupled with dumbbells or a barbell it can do just about everything you need. Some of the most important back exercises can now be done if you have this machine – dumbbell rows and bent-over supported rows. Those are two of the big back exercise staples that can take you a long way in development, and there are so many variations of both that you can do with an adjustable bench like this.

 

Joel, one of the co-founders of Zoppler actually owns this machine and recommended we add it to this list. Marcy is a very reputable exercise equipment brand with customer service in the US, and they make very high-quality products that are still affordable. The adjustable back pad has 6 different positions, from decline to flat to incline to straight-up. The sawtooth mechanism allows you to adjust the angle quickly and smoothly. The foam padding is very dense and does not get worn if you rest weights on it. You can tell this thing is high quality too because it can hold up to 600 lbs, and the foam rollers at the bottom are very soft and cushiony, even if you’re pushing high weight. A big added bonus to this weight bench is the leg developer, which allows you to do weighted quad extensions and prone hamstring curls. All you have to do is load up some plates on the front and you’re ready to go for a nice leg pump. It even has wheels on the back so you can easily move the machine, however, it’s not that heavy without weights loaded on it either. Our only comment is to be careful when weights are loaded on it, because it can be a bit front heavy for tipping (although that is perfectly normal).

 

5. Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells 

                  Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell Set
We don’t normally promote the more expensive items, but when it comes to something as important as dumbbells, we think it’s worth it to spend the extra bucks for these Bowflex adjustables. We can tell you from direct experience that this is truly an amazing product. If you go with a cheaper option you might be happy, but chances are you are going to get frustrated with the weight selection mechanism. The key to a good adjustable dumbbell set is the smoothness in which you can select the weight you want to use, pull them out, and put them back in. The weight selection dial that Bowflex has developed can be compared to nothing else. It is super smooth, and it really allows you to move quickly in between sets and hit drop sets without a pause.

 

The set comes with 2 adjustable dumbbells, stand not included, and you can select anywhere from 5 to 52.lbs per dumbbell, which should be plenty to get a good home back workout in, even for the most advanced lifters. We also like these Bowflex weights because they are not too bulky. Sometimes with adjustable dumbbells they can be really bulky and big, which can get in the way of the movement you are trying to do. Instead of having 15 sets of dumbbells, you can just have these 2 in your home gym ready to go. Added bonus: you get 2 months of a free JRNY membership, which is a cool motion tracking app that counts your reps and form in real-time through the camera in your smart device tablet.

 

Back Muscles You Need to Take into Account

What muscles do you need to target during your back workout? Don’t worry! We got your back!

 

Traps (Trapezius)

The trapezius muscle is a trapezoid-shaped muscle that originates from the base of your neck, stretches across your upper back and shoulders, and terminates in the mid-back region along the thoracic spine.

It’s not only crucial for helping control your shoulders and neck movement, but well-developed traps are often the envy of models, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts alike.

So, when putting together a back workout for home, we need exercises that specifically hit the trapezius muscle. Some of the best movements will include pull-ups, shrugs, bent-over rows, and upright rows.

Pull-ups will require a pull-up bar or another sturdy horizontal structure that can bear your bodyweight, but exercises like shrugs and rows are performed easily with dumbbells.

 

Rhomboids

The rhomboids are also important when it comes to stabilizing the shoulders and enabling various arm movements, but, unlike the trapezius, they are not superficial.

While well-built traps are visible from across the room, the rhomboids are a deeper muscle, helping stabilize and support your upper body without drastically altering your physical appearance.

Compound back exercises like the bent-over row and dumbbell fly work to target the rhomboids, among other back muscles, but there are also more specialized exercises like the inverted row, band pull-apart, and face pull that provide great activation to the rhomboids specifically.

Inverted rows are difficult to perform at home, but not impossible so long as you have something sturdy to bear your bodyweight as you pull yourself up from the floor.

The band pull-apart and face pull, however, can easily be performed using an exercise resistance band and sturdy anchor point like a doorway.

 

Lats (Latissimus Dorsi)

Perhaps one of the most prominent muscles in your back are the latissimus dorsi.

They’re sometimes referred to as “wings” due to their location alongside your ribs and their shape that resembles a fan. Bruce Lee was renowned for his well-developed lats, which were conspicuously visible even from the front.

Your lats do more than just look good though. Functionally, they assist in stabilizing the spine and torso, pulling movements performed by the arms and upper body, and in breathing too.

Common back exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, and rows will work to target the lats, but specialized equipment like the lat pulldown machine also work to isolate them.

Can we actually perform an exercise like the lat pulldown at home without buying a big beast of a machine to clutter up our conservatively sized home gym?

The answer is yes. You can perform lat pulldowns by first purchasing and mounting a pull-up bar, then draping a resistance band over the top. If you have a door anchor for your resistance bands, then you can even forgo the pull-up bar.

Not only does a pull-up bar make an excellent addition to any home gym setup, unlocking one of the best and most functional bodyweight exercises there is, but it enables you to use it as an anchor point for exercises like the lat pulldown, high-to-low cable crossover, and more.

 

Start Your Back Workout From Home Today!

With the right equipment, knowledge, and motivation, you can effectively target and strengthen your back muscles from the comfort of your own home. The convenience and flexibility, furthermore, allows you to fit exercise into your schedule without the constraints of commuting to a gym. You can customize your workouts to suit your preferences and goals, whether it’s focusing on strength, endurance, or flexibility. So, grab your equipment, set up your workout space, and start reaping the benefits of a home-based back training routine today.

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