Get Your Back on Track: Back Exercises without Weights

Why is it so important to have a strong back? If you have ever known someone with a “bad” back or have experienced the battle firsthand that a weak or injured back presents, it is easy to see just how vital this area of the body is to basically every function of strength and movement. Our back affects us in everything we do from walking to lifting, bending, turning… heck, even sneezing. So clearly, it is a pretty important that we keep them in tip top shape.

The muscles of the lower back, along with the abdominal muscles, make up what is called the “core” of the body. This core establishes a bridge between the upper extremities and the lower extremities. If this bridge is weak, it will collapse. If it is strong, it will allow the body to work as one strong unit accomplishing not only tasks of daily life with ease, but will allow for heavier workloads as necessary.

Doing back workouts without weights is a great place to start and can provide a good basis for improving the strength of the back, moving toward better overall core strength and stability, and reducing the risk of injury.

5 Effective Back Exercises without Weights

1. Superman: This exercise targets the back, buttock/ hips and shoulders.

To perform this exercise:

• Lie on your stomach on mat or on the floor reaching arms out overhead, palms facing each other and legs outstretched behind you.
• Relax neck and align head with spine.
• While exhaling, slowly but strongly lift both arms and legs a few inches off the floor simultaneously, holding position briefly.
• While inhaling, slowly lower back down to the starting position.
• Repeat 10-15 times

2. Bird-Dog: This exercise targets the back, buttocks/hips, and abs.

To perform this exercise:

• Get on your hands and knees on the floor, placing knees under hips and hands under shoulder, fingers facing forward.
• Tighten core muscles avoiding any arching or sagging.
• Keep head in alignment with spine.
• Simultaneously lift your right arm off the floor striving to lift to parallel or near parallel with the floor, while extending left leg out straight behind, again striving to get leg parallel or near parallel with the floor.
• Lower to starting position with balance and control
• Repeat on alternate sides working hard to achieve minimal weight shift, maintaining balance and control in pelvis and torso.
• Repeat 10-15 times

3. Supine Bridge: This exercise targets the abs,back and buttocks/hips, pelvic floor, and hamstrings.

To perform this exercise:

• Lie flat on your back with knees bent, feet on the ground about hip width apart.
• Squeezing your buttocks, raise your hips off the floor creating an imaginary line that could run from your hips to your knees.
• For added challenge press up even more creating line running from your shoulders to your knees.
• Simultaneously squeeze abdominals pulling belly button back toward spine.
• Hold for 5-30 seconds and repeat exercise 10-15 times.

4. Front Plank: This exercise targets the abs and back.

To perform this exercise:

• Lie on your stomach on floor or exercise mat
• Bend arms at the elbows to support your upper body making sure to center elbows under the shoulders.
• Flex feet, tucking toes in toward your shins.
• Engaging abdominal muscles and back (core muscles), tighten ribs, waist, and lower torso.
• Straighten legs and squeeze buttocks, lifting your thighs and torso off the mat.
• Do not allow any sagging in lower back or rib cage.
• Continue breathing holding position for 5-10 seconds.
• Maintain tightness in torso and legs while slowly and gently lowering back to starting position.
• Repeat exercise 2-4 times

5. Shoulder Packing: This exercise targets the back and shoulders.

To perform this exercise:

• Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes forward, arms at sides.
• Squeeze abdominal muscles to provide stabilization for your spine.
• Keep chest lifted and tilt chin slightly upward.
• While exhaling, pull shoulder blades down and back, not allowing the back to arch.
• Hold contraction for 5-10 seconds.
• Repeat exercise 2-4 times

Summing It Up

Having a strong back is a must-have! While you may be able to get away with a little less bulge in the bicep department, neglecting the back is not a wise idea. In fact, if your back is weak, you may not be able to handle the weights that create the bicep bulge to begin with, and you run a much higher risk of injury as well. My point? Start basic with these easy and effective back exercises without weights that can be done anywhere, anytime and get making your bridge a sturdy one!

Back Exercises. Retrieved on May 13, 2012 from

Back Exercises without Weights or Other Equipment. Retrieved on May 13, 2012 from

Core Training Basics. Retrieved on May 13, 2012 from

Mitchell, Traci D. (February 3, 2011). Three Reasons Why Your Body Will Love Supine Bridge. Retrieved on May 13, 2012 from

The Importance of Back Exercises. (July 9, 2008) Retrieved on May 13, 2012 from


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