Ditch the Dumbbells: Try this Bodyweight Back Workout

Let’s face it: Life gets busy. We don’t always have the time to make it to the gym or, if we do, finding the weights you need for your workout during peak hours can be an exercise in futility. So, having a plan in place to work out when those dumbbells are in use by others or while you’re away from the four walls of the gym can keep you honest and on track with your fitness goals. Chuze trainer, Patrick Kissel, shared his weights-free routine that focuses on building back strength with a bodyweight back workout.

You’ll want to complete three rounds of each exercise, with 45-60 seconds per exercise. Rest 45-60 seconds between rounds.

Wide-Set Pushups

Pretty much as its name suggests, a wide-set pushup is a pushup where your hands and arms are placed further apart than a traditional pushup. Extend your legs behind you, tighten your core, and keep your back flat. Slowly lower yourself until your chest touches the floor and then “push up” from the ground and return to the starting position.

wide set pushup bodyweight back workout

Reverse Pushups

Sit on the ground with your arms on either side of you, making sure your palms are flat against the floor directly below your shoulders and facing forward. Stretch your legs out in front of you with your heels pressed into the ground. Push your body up from the ground by straightening your arms while your palms remain planted firmly on the floor.

reverse pushup bodyweight back workout

Superman Back Extension

Who among us hasn’t wanted to be like Superman and fly? OK, so you’re actually going to stay on the ground at all times, but if you’re going to look silly you might as well have a superhero as inspiration. Lie flat on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front of you and your legs stretched out behind you. Next, lift both your arms and legs from the floor—like you’re floating or flying—and hold for a few seconds at a time.

superman bodyweight back workout

Bird Dog

This exercise is a staple for those who want a solid core. A bird dog will have you begin by getting on your hands and knees with your arms shoulder-width apart and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Tighten your core and simultaneously raise your right arm and your left leg—yes, tricky!—until they are in line with the rest of your body. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then return to your starting position and repeat with your opposite arm and leg.

Bird dog bodyweight back workout

Reverse Snow Angels

We’re not fans of winter per se, but who can begrudge a good snow angel? Well, while reverse snow angels are for the gym and not the fluffy stuff outside, the concept is the same—in reverse! You lie face down on the floor with your arms stretched out to your sides and few inches off the ground. Now circle your arms toward your head and let the snow angels commence!

*As an advanced option, grab weights as seen in the photos below.

reverse snow angel back chest workout

Dolphin Kicks

Contrary to their name, dolphin kicks are not just for water sports! This yoga exercise works your abs, shoulders and quads. Lay your forearms on the floor with your elbows directly underneath your shoulders. Extend your legs back and drop your mid-section slightly. From this position bend the knees in and then return your legs to a full extension.

dolphin kicks bodyweight back workout

Smiling: Your face’s favorite workout.

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