The upper back is a large area on the body where a lot of muscles reside. There are many ways to train the muscles in the upper back, and bodyweight exercises are a great place to start.
Bodyweight exercises are a great way to train the muscles in your upper back because they allow you to train at your own pace. If you’re just starting out and have limited equipment, bodyweight training is a great option.
Upper Back Bodyweight Exercises
Pull-ups are one of the best full upper-body exercises for building muscle, strength, and definition. It works every muscle in your upper body, including your biceps, lats, pecs, and shoulders. Pull-ups are also very effective in toning and sculpting your abs too.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Stand under a pull-up bar with your feet shoulder width apart and your palms facing away from you.
- Reach up and grab the bar with your hands shoulder width apart.
- Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended.
- Keeping your core engaged, use your back and biceps to pull your body up until your chin is above the bar.
- Lower yourself back down to the starting position and repeat.
The fact of the matter is that pull ups are one of the best compound exercises you can do. And they are an extremely important exercise for strength training.
So, if you want bigger, stronger back muscles that will help prevent injuries and improve sports performance, then you need to be doing pull ups. Done right, pull ups will build your back muscles, giving you a unique v-taper look and helping to produce broad shoulders and a wide back.
If you don’t do any other exercise in your weightlifting routine, then you might want to give pull ups a try.
Wide grip pull up is one of the best exercises that you can do as a beginner. Wide grip pull ups are pretty simple to do, but they will help you develop your lat muscles, which are the biggest muscle group in your body.
While wide grip pull ups may look similar to regular ones, which require an overhand grip, you’ll find that this variation burns much more calories and will make your arms look bigger due to the wider range of motion.
Here is how you do this exercise:
- Hang from a pull-up bar using an overhand grip that is wider than shoulder-width apart.
- As you exhale, pull your body up until your chin is over the bar.
- Concentrate on using your back muscles to lift your body up and not your arms.
- Hold for a second and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
The wide-grip pull up is a variation of the traditional pull-up exercise. It differs from the standard pull up in that the hands are positioned further out from the body.
This extra hand spacing increases the range of motion required to finish a repetition, making it necessary to recruit more muscle fibers than would otherwise be required during a regular pull-up.
In doing so, it becomes one of the most effective exercises for building a strong back and sculpting a lean torso.
The chin-up exercise is a back and arm strengthening exercise performed by millions of people worldwide. Chin-ups are an excellent exercise for strengthening the back and arms, plus they build muscle in the abdominal area, including the abdominals and obliques (side abs).
These muscles work together to shorten your torso during a curl. Throwing some chin ups into the mix will be a great addition to any workout plan
Let us take a look at the steps needed to perform Chin Ups exercise properly:
- Start by hanging from a chin-up bar with your palms facing away from you and your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees and cross your ankles behind you.
- Keeping your core engaged, begin to pull your body up towards the bar, leading with your chin.
- Once your chin clears the bar, continue pulling until your upper chest touches the bar.
- Reverse the motion and lower yourself back to the starting position.
Chin ups have been found to help improve your entire upper body; by doing this move you will be training your biceps to gain power and develop a fuller chest and over time you should notice a wider back as well.
Chin ups are one of the best exercises out there because they focus on a single, isolated muscle group that allows you to feel the burn with every rep.
The inverted row is arguably one of the most effective movements for developing your neck and shoulder muscles. However, it can be challenging to execute correctly if you do not know the proper technique.
Below I’ll provide an in-depth guide to using the inverted row in order to improve your range of motion and strengthen both your lats, traps, and delts.
Here is how you do proper inverted row exercises:
- Start by lying on your back with your feet on the ground and your palms facing up.
- Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
- Lift your hips off the floor and press your heels into the ground.
- Brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
- In one smooth motion, row yourself up to the bar, leading with your chin.
- Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat.
Inverted rows are an excellent exercise for the muscles of the upper back, particularly for strengthening the lats, rhomboids, and lower traps. In addition, inverted rows will also work the erector spinae as well as some of the smaller traps.
This exercise will heavily target smaller muscle fibers in the upper back and place them under good tension.
Single Arm Dumbbell Rows
The Single Arm Dumbbell Rows exercise is an awesome compound movement that targets your lats as well as your entire upper body and works on your shoulder strength.
This movement can help you create a more symmetrical physique with a nice curve over your ribcage and reduced muscle imbalances.
To do this exercise:
- Start by holding a dumbbell in your right hand and placing your left hand on a bench or other sturdy surface for support.
- Keeping your back straight, bend at the waist and row the dumbbell up to your side, leading with your elbow.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position and repeat for 8-12 reps.
- Switch sides and repeat with the left arm.
The single-arm dumbbell row targets the muscles of your upper back. It hits numerous muscles, including those in your middle and lower traps, rhomboids, the teres major muscle, and your lats.
It is most notably a compound movement that involves multiple muscles working together to lift and lower the dumbbell weight. However, at the same time, it is a single-joint exercise because it only involves one joint – your shoulder joint.
If you’re looking to improve your physique, upper-back bodyweight exercises are likely an essential component of that endeavor. These exercises come in many forms but ultimately they share the same purpose: to increase the size and strength of your upper back muscles.
When executed properly, these exercises can help you unlock a new level of strength and performance during functional daily activities, such as carrying heavy loads or moving furniture.
Upper back bodyweight exercises are also particularly useful for athletes, who frequently rely on their backs for strength and power during gameplay. Regardless of your specific goal, focusing on a few upper back bodyweight exercises is a great first step towards a more powerful physique.