While it’s easy to build chest, shoulder, and leg muscles, your back muscles take a bit more work. The muscles aren’t as large or prominent as the other “glamor” muscles, so you’ll have to spend extra time on them to see progress and growth. If you’re serious about developing strength and size, here are some brilliant bodyweight exercises to build back muscles:
This is like a pull-up, but ideal for those who can’t quite lift their bodyweight. To perform this exercise, lie on the floor or on the bench, grip the barbell, and pull your chest up toward the bar. It’s a brilliant exercise to build serious back muscles, and it will help you develop strength in your forearms and biceps as well.
Underhand Grip Row
By switching up your grip, you change the focus of your exercise. This is the chin-ups of inverted rows, with extra emphasis being placed on your biceps. You still hit those back muscles hard, but you bring your biceps into the exercise more. The result: stronger arms for when you are doing pullups and bicep curls!
Close Grip Row
When you bring your hands closer together, you engage your forearms A LOT more, and you force a different group of back muscles to do the work. A closer grip means a workout of the muscles along your spine, helping to develop the strength that will keep you standing upright.
Wide Grip Row
Want to engage the outer back muscles, the ones near your ribs? This is the workout to do you! The wide grip will hit the outer back muscles, developing them like nothing else can. The exercise is harder to do than your average inverted row, but it gets the job done!
Side to Side Row
Think you’re ready to kick it up a notch? Try this exercise, which doubles down on the intensity of the inverted row. Pull yourself up to the bar and, holding your torso close to the bar, slide your body to the right then the left along the bar before dropping back down. This helps to place emphasis on your shoulders as well as back, and will give your biceps double duty!
Row and a Half
This is definitely going to be harder than your regular inverted row, but it will shred your shoulders, back, and biceps like nothing else can! Pull your body up to the bar in a regular row, but when you lower, only go half-way down before pulling back up to the bar. Now drop all the way down until your arms are extended, and that is one repetition. You’re doing 150% of the work you normally did, meaning some pretty serious gains in terms of back and bicep muscles.
Single Arm Row
If you fancy yourself a gym superhero, try this bad boy! Instead of performing the row with two hands, grip the bar with a single hand. This makes it twice as hard to do, as your one arm is doing twice the work. It’s great for developing serious shoulder, biceps, and forearm strength, and it will prepare you to do those one-handed pull-ups that look so awesome.
For a hardcore workout, try this plyometric exercise! When you pull yourself up to the bar, do so with enough force that you can release the bar for a second. This will help you to develop explosive force, yielding some pretty impressive gains in strength and power. It’s a great way to get you ready for regular pull-ups!