If you’re all about getting a v-shape shredded back, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, Pat Chadwick will show you a complete back workout that utilizes your body weight. There’s no need to go to the gym as this can be done in the comfort of your own home. Follow along to build a bigger, stronger back.

There will be 5 exercises demonstrated in this article and you can choose any 3 out of this list and implement them into your training routines. Perform each exercise for 4 sets, with 2 minutes rest in between sets - make sure to put a timer on! 

According to research, back pain is a big health issue in Western countries, and having strong back muscles through core stabilization and muscular strength exercises can encourage correct posture and reduce the risk of chronic lower back pain (CLBP).

What Muscles are Worked by this Complete Back Workout?

This workout will target your entire back muscles which include the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, posterior deltoids, teres major, and the infraspinatus, along with secondary muscles which are the abdominals, biceps, and forearm muscles. All you will need is a pull-up bar and gymnastic rings (you can substitute this for TRX cables).

What Level is this Complete Back Workout?

All fitness levels can benefit from this quick and effective back workout as there will be easier variations shown for those exercises that are ranked at an intermediate and advanced levels. For example, if you cannot do a pull-up, you can regress to doing Australian pull-ups (with your feet on the ground), or do jumping pull-ups to emphasize the negatives.

Bodyweight Exercises for Your Back 

1. Pull-Ups

  1. Begin in a dead hang using the overhand grip at shoulder-width apart. Your arms are locked out and your feet are lifted off the ground. If the space between the bar and your feet is small, your can bend your knees so that your feet are behind you. 
  2. Exhale as you pull up by retracting the shoulder blades together (imagine there’s an apple in the middle of your back, you’ll want to crush it with your shoulder blades!). Pull up until your chin is above the bar. Keep your core tight.
  3. Inhale as you gradually lower down by extending your arms. Lock your arms out before repeating the next rep as this will ensure a full range of motion.
  4. Repeat this movement between 5-10 reps. You can learn how to do a pull-up and its variations in this pull-ups tutorial. The two easier variations for this exercise are Australian pull-ups and negative pull-ups (see below).

Australian Pull-Ups

  1. Position yourself under a lower bar (or rings) shoulder-width apart, with the bar being on top of your lower chest region and arms fully locked out. Keep your core and glutes tight, legs together and. Your body should be at an inclined angle.
  2. Exhale as you retract your shoulder blades and pull your chest up as high as you can towards the bar or rings. Keep your elbows close to your torso. Maintain core engagement throughout this movement.
  3. Inhale as you lower down and reutrn to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this movement between 5-10 reps. Find out more about this exercise and its variations in this Australian pull-ups tutorial.

Negative Pull-Ups

  1. Grip the bar tightly using the overhand grip at shoulder-width apart. If the bar is high up, you can place your feet on an elevated surface to assist in the jump up.
  2. Keeping the grip tight, you will bend your knees slightly, followed by pushing through the feet to jump up. Contract your biceps, back, and core muscles as you do this. Exhale as you perform this movement. Jump up until your chin is above the bar.
  3. Inhale as you slowly lower down at a count of 3 seconds. Keep your feet together and core tight. Lower down until your arms are fully locked out.
  4. Repeat this movement between 2-5 reps.

2. Front Lever Raises

  1.  Start in a dead hang position using the overhand grip with your arms locked out at shoulder-width apart. Your legs are straight and your feet are together and lifted off the ground.
  2. Exhale as you engage your lats and core whilst keeping your arms straight, you will lean back to lift your entire body weight, keeping your body in a straight line. Raise up until your body is parallel to the ground.
  3. Inhale as you return to a dead hang position.
  4. Repeat this movement between 5-10 reps. You can make this exercise easier by doing the tuck front lever raises. This exercise is great for conditioning your back and core muscles for the front lever. You can learn how to do this awesome exercise in this front lever tutorial.

Tuck Front Lever Raises

  1. Begin in a dead hang position with your arms shoulder-width apart, using an overhand grip. Tuck your knees up towards your chest.
  2. Exhale as you lean back 90 degrees to raise your torso upwards. Keep raising until your back is parallel to the ground whilst keeping your knees tucked in towards your chest and arms extended. Squeeze your lats and core muscles as you do this.
  3. Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this movement between 5-10 reps.

3. Reverse Ring Flys

  1. Adjust the rings to be approximately at chest height. Grip the rings using a neutral grip. Keeping your feet together and core tight, you will extend your arms as you lean back until your arms are locked out. Your body will be at an inclined angle and arms shoulder-width apart.
  2. Exhale as you retract your shoulder blades together and pull the rings apart, keeping your arms as straight as possible. Keep pulling until your arms are in line with each other. Keep your core and glutes tight throughout this movement.
  3. Inhale as you gradually return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat this movement between 8-12 reps.

Superman Raises

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms extended overhead in front of you, and your legs straight. Keep your head in a neutral position (try not the lookup!)
  2. Exhale as you slowly raise your arms and legs until they are approximately 6 inches off the floor. Engage your back and core muscles as you down this. Try to lift your belly button slightly off the floor. Hold the top position for 2 seconds.
  3. Inhale as you lower your arms, feet, and belly button down to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat this movement between 8-12 reps.

Thanks for following today's workout, I truly hope you found it valuable. To build an incredible physique, don't forget to balance your training with other essential exercises. I recommend reading my guide to doing perfect push-ups and chest dips to equalize the strength in the front and back of your torso. And, as always with Gymless, you never need a gym membership to follow these workouts.

About the Author

My name is Pat Chadwick, I am a calisthenics coach with over 4 years of experience in helping people from all backgrounds to achieve their calisthenics goals. My goal is to become the number one calisthenics coach in the world as it is my passion to help people change their lives through inspiring bodyweight movements. I believe everyone deserves the right to feel good about their health, body, and be delighted inside and out.