Looking for a back workout that you can do anywhere? These 7 resistance band back exercises are perfect for any fitness level – whether you’re working out at home or while traveling!
Back exercises are important for everyone: men or women, old or young. Back muscles help with our posture, which we all need to be conscious of!
With as much time as we spend every day in a forward position – holding our phones and other devices, holding the steering wheel, typing on a computer – our back muscles become weak and imbalanced, resulting in poor posture and potential injury. These back exercises using resistance bands are a great way to strengthen those muscles to stay healthy and injury-free!
What are the Key Back Muscles?
When preparing to dive into this set of back exercises, it’s helpful to understand what we are targeting and why. The major back muscles targeted in these exercises include the:
- latissimus dorsi
- erector spinae
Benefits of these Resistance Band Exercises for Your Back
I can’t think of a more cost effective tool than to invest in the incorporation of resistance bands into your workouts. There are numerous benefits to this approach to fitness and overall wellness:
- Versatility: This continues to be the number one benefit of resistance band training exercises. The use of resistance bands allows you to essentially work out anywhere at any time, and adjust how challenging you want each work out to be with a quick adjustment to the band or switch out to a different band in your set!
- These exercises are tailored to improve your posture, and who couldn’t benefit from that?! I think any physical therapist or personal trainer would agree.
- Resistance band exercises are easy on the joints and these back exercises are excellent for preventative care for a part of the body that endures a lot of daily wear and tear. I’ve been to physical therapy for back pain and I want to do everything I can to help you avoid that experience!
- While you’re hard at work on those back and good posture muscles, you’re also sneaking in some core work too!
- Targeting back health now has a long lasting impact on your body: Often overlooked, this muscle group is susceptible to weakness, strains, and long term injury when unaddressed proactively. Love your body now and your future self will thank you!
Resistance bands are also much cheaper and take up less space than weights and machines. They are also very safe, because you are in control of the amount of resistance you use!
7 Best Resistance Band Back Exercises for All Fitness Levels
When completing these shoulder exercises with bands, remember that it’s all about quality over quantity. Adjust to which band in the set you are using based on how you are feeling and always focus on form.
You’ve probably gathered by now I am a big fan of resistance band workouts and that is because they are so versatile! If you haven’t already invested in these as a staple for your home exercise program, go ahead and get a good set for yourself.
I like to keep a variety of resistance tubes with handles, long stretchy resistance bands like you’ll see below, and resistance loops for lots of different exercises.
Always check your bands for any tears or weak spots before you start!
Aim to do 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each exercise, with as little rest as possible.
For a quick look of these moves, check out my Resistance Band Back Exercises Web Story.
1. Resistance Band Deadlift
Deadlifts are typically thought of as a killer exercise for your legs and glutes (and it is), but it’s also a move that incorporates your inner back and core muscles too. Not only that, because it works so much of your body, it is an excellent move to get your body nice and warm for the rest of the workout!
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the middle of the band under your shoes and the ends of the band in each hand. Keep your back flat (not arched or rounded) and your core engaged.
Your starting position will be with your hands close to your knees, knees slightly bent, shins mostly vertical, and your hips shooting back. With your weight balanced in the middle of both feet, move to a standing position, bringing the hips in line with the rest of your body.
As you stand, you will feel the resistance of the band increasing. Return to the start position with control, bending at the hip and pushing your hips toward the back again.
Muscles worked: the entire posterior chain: hamstrings, glutes, abdominal muscles, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius (as well as quadriceps, arm muscles, and grip strength)
2. Resistance Band Upright Row
While the upright row is primarily considered a shoulder exercise, it does incorporate some of the muscles of the upper back as well. This is a great move to add to your exercise routine to strengthen your upper body.
Start by standing with the center of the band under your shoes, and your feet hip width apart. Hold the end of the resistance band in each hand, arms straight, and hands down by your hips.
Pull the band up in a straight line, bringing your hands to chest height and flaring your elbows out to the side as you see in the photo above. (You can actually have your hands a little closer to your chest than what I’m showing here.)
As your hands reach your chest area, squeeze your shoulder blades together and keep your back flat. Slowly lower your hands back down to your sides to complete the movement.
Make sure your forearms do not rise higher than your upper arms with this exercise.
Muscles worked: deltoids (shoulder), trapezius, core
3. Resistance Band Lat Pulldown
The lat pull down is one of the best back exercises for strengthening many of the different muscle groups in the middle of your back. It is a common exercise seen in strength training and is typically performed using a cable machine at the gym, but you can absolutely do this with a resistance band in your living room!
You will need to secure your band to an anchor point – this could be a door anchor strap, or you can knot the center of your band and secure it in your door frame by closing the door. Either way, test the band to ensure it is safe before starting to avoid risk of injury.
If your band is anchored high enough, you may be able to perform this exercise standing. Because my door anchor is lower, I just kneel so that my torso is able to maintain an upright posture. Another great alternative is to perform this move while seated, for better stability.
With the ends of the resistance band in each hand and palms facing forward, pull your elbows down until your hands are about shoulder height. As you are pulling, keep your entire body stable and your core braced, squeezing your shoulder blades down and back. Pause and squeeze your lat muscles before slowly returning your arms to the start position.
Muscles worked: lats, traps, rhomboids, shoulders, biceps
4. Resistance Band Bent Over Row
The bent over row is one of the best exercises for working your middle back, primarily recruiting your lats, traps, and rhomboids. It’s also great for your spinal erectors, the backs of your shoulders, and even adds in a little bicep work too!
Typically performed with free weights or a cable machine, this is easily replicated at home with resistance bands.
Start with the middle of the band under your shoes and your feet hip-width apart (or try a wide stance with your feet shoulder-width apart to increase the resistance a little more). Bend forward, knees slightly bent, keeping your core braced and your back flat, with the end of the band in each hand and your hands near your knees.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull the ends of the band toward your ribcage, keeping your elbows close to your body and stopping when your elbows reach shoulder level. (You can see my upper arms are mostly parallel to the floor in the photo above.)
Hold that contraction at the top of the movement for a second before releasing back down with control.
Muscles worked: lats, middle and lower traps, rhomboids, erector spinae, rear delts, and biceps
5. Banded Single Arm Row
The single arm row is a variation of the bent over row, working the same muscles in a different way. Because this is a unilateral exercise (working one side of the body at a time), it also incorporates more of the core for stability.
Start by getting into a staggered stance, with your left foot forward and your right foot stepped back, keeping your right leg straight. Secure one end of the band under your left foot and hold the other end in your right hand.
Tip your whole body forward, as if there was an imaginary straight line from the top of your head to the back of your right heel. Back should be flat and core braced.
Drive your elbow straight back until your right hand is close to your hip, squeezing your shoulder blade in and down. Hold for a second, then slowly release to the start position.
After you complete one set of reps on your right side, switch and do the left side.
Muscles worked: lats, middle and lower traps, rhomboids, erector spinae, multifidus, transverse abdominis, rear delts, and biceps
6. Reverse Fly with Band
This move is great for the upper back and the rear shoulder muscles. It can be performed in an upright standing position (which is the position I’ve used when doing this exercise in physical therapy for my unstable shoulders), but I am demonstrating the bent over version here.
You may want to test out both positions and try some different bands to see what works best for you. When you find the right resistance bands for this move, you’ll be able to complete it with good form!
Bend at the hip with a slight bend in your knees, keeping a flat back. Secure the middle of the band under your feet and grab the ends in your hands, with hands near your knees.
Keeping your arms mostly straight, raise your arms out to the side as far as you can go. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you reach the top of the movement. After a brief pause, return to start with control.
Muscles worked: traps, rhomboids, posterior delts
7. Supermans with Resistance Band
Supermans are one of my favorite bodyweight exercises for working the back and core muscles. This move can absolutely be done without a resistance band (and I actually recommend trying it without resistance to start), but I will demonstrate how to progress the movement with a lighter band for a little resistance.
Start by lying face down with arms bent beside your head and legs outstretched. Place the middle of the band under your lower chest, holding the ends in each hand.
Simultaneously lift your arms, head, chest, and legs off the floor, reaching your arms forward as if you are Superman. Hold for 2-3 seconds (don’t forget to breathe!), then slowly release back down and relax your body.
Without resistance, this move is an effective back workout for your erector spinae (along with your glutes, hamstrings, other back muscles and shoulders). Adding in the resistance band, you also incorporate the shoulders and the traps.
Muscles worked: erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings, traps, delts
General Resistance Band Exercise Tips
- Don’t forget to warm up! Take the time to do this and your body will thank you! We don’t want to dive in too hastily and have an injury as a result.
- For best results, it is best to focus on quality over quantity. Throughout all of the exercises, keep form in mind. Be mindful of engaging your core, standing upright for good posture, keeping a slight bend in your knees, and keeping your stance even through the soles of your feet along with a wide base. Always pause at the top of the movement in order to increase muscle fiber recruitment.
- As a general recommendation, I usually say to aim for 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. However, this is just a general recommendation and should be adjusted based on your current fitness level and goals. If you are just beginning, start low and increase over time. Listen to your body and let that guide you to reach the most effective workout for you. Even if you start out with 1 set of 10 to 15 reps, then add in more sets, first 5, then 10, and so on, you will still see results in muscle growth and strength building.
- Make adjustments based on your needs! Increase resistance to add difficulty or decrease if you can’t execute the movement with good form. If you’ve been using lighter bands and can complete all your reps without any struggle, level up! The heavier bands will mimic the effect of heavy weights so if you’re looking for a more intense workout, go for it! Remember, it’s not always about heavy loads, it’s about the progress that works for you.
I hope these resistance band back exercises will find their way into your regular workout program! Enjoy your workout!
One Last Thing…
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