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29 Back Exercises to Build Muscle That You Can Do at Work

Back Exercises to Build Muscles

Back pain is one of the most common complaints among office workers. Sitting all day can wreak havoc on your posture and spine, leading to discomfort and even injury. But did you know that incorporating back exercises into your workday can actually help build muscle and alleviate pain?

It can be challenging, however, to find the time and space to perform traditional exercises like a single-arm dumbbell row, chest-supported row, bent-over rows, overhand grip pull-ups, or other equipment-dependent exercises. 

Luckily, there are effective back exercises to build muscle that you can do while at work. That’s right, you don’t have to hit the gym to strengthen your back. With a few simple back exercises, you can target those muscles and prevent future issues. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to some effective back exercises and office workouts that you can do right in your workspace.

Whether you’re looking to build muscle, improve your posture, or just feel better in your body, these back workouts are for you. So, let’s get started and take charge of our back health!


Is It Possible to Build Back Muscles Using Only Body Weight?

plank

Building back muscles is essential for a strong, healthy body. A strong back can improve your posture, increase your stability, and prevent injuries. One of the most common misconceptions about building muscles in the back is that you need weights or equipment to do so. However, it is entirely possible to build muscles using just your body weight.

The key to building back muscles with a bodyweight workout is to focus on form and repetition. Keep your hips forward and your knees or elbows in a slight bend, when called for. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to engage your muscles fully. You can perform exercises with straight legs, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, upper arm, and right or left hand fully engaged. 

By performing back exercises with proper form, you can ensure that you are targeting the right muscle groups and preventing injury. Repeat the exercises regularly, challenge your muscles, and encourage growth and development for your back.


What Exercises Grow Back Muscles?

Back Exercises to Build Muscles

Before you begin, it’s essential to ensure that you’re doing each exercise in the right way. Proper form is crucial to getting the most out of your back exercises and avoiding any potential injuries. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width or hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and your back straight when necessary.

Bird Dog Back Workout

By extending your opposite arm and leg, this exercise targets your lower back muscles, while also engaging your glutes and core. It’s a great way to improve your stability and overall strength.

How to do it: 

  • Start on your hands and knees with your hands shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  • Lift your left arm and right leg off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and switch sides.

Superman

This exercise targets the entire posterior chain, including the back and core muscles. By lifting your arms and legs off the ground simultaneously, you can strengthen the spinal erectors and improve your posture. It’s named after the iconic superhero, but you don’t need to wear a cape to reap its benefits!

How to do it: 

  • Lie face down on the ground with your arms extended in front of you and your legs extended. 
  • Lift your arms, legs, and chest off the ground as high as you can, squeezing your back muscles. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and lower back down.

Cat-Cow Stretch

This yoga-inspired stretch targets your spine, helping to improve your overall flexibility and reduce stiffness. By alternating between the cat and cow positions, this exercise can help stretch and strengthen the muscles in your lower back while expanding the lungs and chest, making breathing a lot easier.

How to do it: 

  • Start on your hands and knees with your hands apart and your knees slightly wider than hip-width apart. 
  • Arch your back towards the ceiling as you exhale, then drop your belly towards the ground as you inhale.

Side Plank

This exercise targets the muscle groups on the side of your body, including your obliques and the muscles in your back. It’s a great way to strengthen your core and improve your overall balance.

How to do it: 

  • Lie on your side with your feet stacked on top of each other and your elbow directly under your shoulder. 
  • Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet.
  • Hold for a few seconds and switch sides.

Reverse Plank

While a standard plank primarily engages the core to lift the body up off the floor, the reverse plank focuses on the glutes, hips, shoulders, and triceps to maintain your level and keep your body steady. It’s a challenging move that can help improve your overall strength and flexibility. 

How to do it: 

  • Sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you and your hands behind your hips. 
  • Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and lower back down.

Kneeling Superman

This variation of the Superman exercise targets your lower back, helping to improve your posture and prevent lower back pain. It’s a great option for those who find the traditional Superman exercise too challenging.

How to do it: 

  • Start on your hands and knees with your hands apart and your knees slightly wider than hip-width apart. 
  • Lift your left arm and right leg off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet. 
  • Squeeze your back muscles and hold for a few seconds before lowering back down.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Cobra Stretch

Yoga poses like the cobra stretch target your spine and can help improve your overall flexibility and reduce stiffness. Plus, it’s a great way to relieve stress and relax your mind.

How to do it: 

  • Lie face down on the ground with your hands under your shoulders. 
  • Push up with your hands, lifting your chest off the ground. 
  • Slightly bend your elbows and squeeze your back muscles. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and lower back down.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is a yoga pose that can help stretch and strengthen your back. 

How to do it: 

  • Start on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. 
  • Lower your hips back towards your heels while stretching your arms out in front of you. 
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, feeling the stretch in your back muscles.

Burpees

Burpees are upper and lower body exercises that can help strengthen your back.

How to do it: 

  • Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. 
  • Drop down into a squat position, then kick your legs back into a plank position. 
  • Perform a push-up, then jump your legs back towards your hands, standing up and jumping in the air.

Hollow Hold

The Hollow Hold is an exercise that targets your back and core muscles. 

How to do it: 

  • Lie on your back with your arms and legs fully extended.
  • Lift your arms, shoulders, and legs off the ground, creating a hollow shape with your body. 
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, engaging your back muscles.

Wall Angels Back Workout

This exercise strengthens the muscles in your upper back and helps you have better posture and shoulder mobility. It’s a fantastic way to relax your neck and upper back. So get up from your desk and get into a starting position on the nearest wall near you. 

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your back against a wall and your feet apart. 
  • Keep your arms at your sides and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. 
  • Slowly slide your arms up the wall as high as you can, then back down. 
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you move.

Reverse Snow Angels

This exercise targets the upper back and shoulder muscles.

How to do it: 

  • Lie face down on the floor, with your arms extended out to the sides. 
  • Slowly raise your arms, keeping them straight, until they are above your head. 
  • Then, lower them back down to the starting position. 

Aquaman

Aquaman is an exercise that targets your upper and lower back muscles. 

How to do it: 

  • Lie face down on the ground with your arms and legs fully extended. 
  • Lift your right arm and left leg off the ground simultaneously, holding the position for a few seconds before lowering back down to the starting position. 
  • Repeat with the other arm and leg.

Prone Y, T, I Exercise

By lifting your arms into the shape of a Y, T, or I, this exercise strengthens the muscles in your upper back and can also aid with posture and shoulder mobility. It’s a favorite among fitness experts for its simplicity and effectiveness.

How to do it: 

  • Lie face down on the ground with your arms extended in a Y shape, then in a T shape, and then in an I shape.
  • Lift your arms as high as you can, squeezing your back muscles.
  • Hold for a few seconds and lower back down.

Resistance Band Rows

A resistance band is a flexible band made of latex or synthetic rubber and varies in different resistance levels. It is used to exercise muscles by providing resistance to their motion. It’s a fantastic alternative for people who want to build their upper back, biceps, and forearms but don’t have access to a gym or heavy weights.

How to do it: 

  • Loop the resistance band around a sturdy object and grasp the handles with both hands.
  • Step back until there is a constant tension in the band. 
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees bent slightly. 
  • Pull the handles towards your chest, squeezing your blades together. 
  • Slowly release and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Plank with Arm Raise

This workout stimulates the muscles in your back, shoulders, and core. It’s an excellent approach to raise your level of stability generally and avoid lower back problems.

How to do it: 

  • Start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground and your body in a straight form. 
  • Lift one arm off the ground and reach it forward, keeping your body stable. 
  • Lower the arm back down and repeat on the other side. 
  • Alternate sides for the desired number of repetitions.

Prone Press

This exercise targets your upper back muscles, helping to improve your posture and shoulder mobility. It’s a great way to build overall back strength and improve your bench press performance. Dumbbells are optional.

How to do it: 

  • Lie face down on the ground with your arms at your sides and your palms facing down. 
  • Lift your chest and arms off the ground at the same time, keeping your arms straight and your palms facing down. 
  • Bring your arms forward, palms facing each other in a neutral grip, and press up towards the ceiling. 
  • Lower back down and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Lateral Plank Walk

A full-body workout, this lateral plank walk focuses mostly on your core, shoulders, and obliques. This exercise combines calisthenics and pilates.

How to do it: 

  • Start in a plank position with your forearms on the ground and your body in a straight line.
  • Walk your hands and feet to one side, keeping your body stable. 
  • Walk back to the other side and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze

This exercise is a simple but effective way to strengthen your upper back muscles.

How to do it: 

  • Stand straight with your arms by your sides. 
  • Roll your shoulders back and down, squeezing your shoulder blades together. 
  • Hold this position for a few seconds, then release it. 
  • Repeat the exercise several times, focusing on squeezing your shoulder blades together as tightly as possible.

Shoulder Blade Push-Ups

Your scapular or shoulder blade muscles can be strengthened by performing shoulder blade push-ups, often known as scapular push-ups. By exercising these muscles, you can improve shoulder mobility and shoulder strength, as well as exercise the chest muscles.

How to do it: 

  • Assume a push-up position, with your arms fully extended. 
  • Lower your body towards the ground, keeping your elbows close to your body, and squeezing your shoulder blades together. 
  • Push back up to the starting position, engaging your muscles throughout the exercise.

Rotator Cuff Exercise

The rotator cuff muscles are important for maintaining shoulder stability and preventing injury.

How to do it: 

  • Stand straight with your arms stretched out in front of you, palms facing down.
  • Slowly raise your arms until they are parallel to the ground, keeping them straight.
  • Then, slowly rotate your arms, so your palms face up, and then slowly rotate them back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat the exercise several times, focusing on maintaining proper form and avoiding any jerky movements.

Back Extension

Although the major goal of a back extension is to strengthen the lower back, stretching your spine also increases the flexibility and power of your hamstrings and glutes. When performing back extension exercises, aim to keep your neck and head in a neutral position and extend your spine only to a comfortable position.

How to do it:

  • Lie face down on the ground (or over a stability ball with your hands on the ground). 
  • Place your hands behind your head and lift your upper body off the ground. 
  • Lower back down and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Seated Back Extension

The seated back extension, which uses simply your body weight as resistance, is a great workout for the spinal erectors. This workout focuses on the muscles in your lower back, which can help with posture and lower back pain prevention.

How to do it:  

  • Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground and your hands behind your head.
  • Lean back as far as you can, keeping your torso extended. 
  • Squeeze your lower back and hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position.

Glute Bridge

Glute bridges are fantastic back exercises to include in your lower body workout regimen since they work your glutes and improve core stability. It’s a simple exercise that helps with back discomfort, tightness in the back, inactivity in the glutes, and other issues.

How to do it: 

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. 
  • Lift your hips towards the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and lower back muscles. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and lower back down.

Backward Lunges

Your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves will all benefit from backward lunges. Backward lunges are adaptable and can be performed with only your body weight. Unlike a standard lunge, this exercise is a great option for those who have knee problems or injuries.

How to do it: 

  • Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Step back with your left foot and lower your body towards the ground, keeping your back straight. 
  • Push off your left foot and return to the starting position. 
  • Repeat on the other side.

Wall Sit Back Workout

Wall sits are back exercises that target your quads, glutes, and lower back, helping to improve your overall lower body strength and endurance. It’s a challenging move that can help you push past your limits.

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your back against a wall and your feet apart. 
  • Slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Hold for a few seconds and push back up to the starting position.

Prone Back Extension

The prone back extension not only strengthens your back but also helps you stand taller and enhances posture. This can be done on the floor or using a flat bench.

How to do it: 

  • Lie face down on the floor with your feet flat on the ground. 
  • Place your hands behind your head and slowly bend or lift your upper body towards the ceiling, squeezing your lower back. 
  • Hold for a few seconds and lower back down.

Quadruped Hip Extensions

This exercise targets the muscles in the lower back and glutes.

How to do it: 

  • Assume a tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your back straight. 
  • Raise one leg off the ground, extending it back behind you, while simultaneously raising the opposite arm, reaching it out in front of you. 
  • Hold this position for a few seconds before lowering back down and repeating on the other side.

Hip Hinge Hold

The Hip Hinge Hold is an exercise that targets your muscles in the lower back. 

How to do it: 

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed outwards. 
  • With your hands on your hips, lean forward at your hips, keeping your torso straight and your knees slightly bent. 
  • Hold the position for a few seconds, feeling the stretch in your back muscles.

Final Note

These back exercises can be a great starting point for anyone looking to add simple back workouts into their routine at work. Aside from relieving the back pain from sitting all day at the desk, these will get their major back muscles, primary muscles, or specific muscle group in top shape. 

And if you’re up for more challenging back muscle strengthening exercises and serious about getting into shape, then having a home or gym equipment such as a dumbbell, barbell, pull-up bar, assisted pull-up machine, low seated row, t-bar row, and weight plate make a great investment.

Some of the gym exercises that are great for building back muscles include single arm row or single arm dumbbell row exercise, bent over row exercise, pull up, seated row or seated cable row exercise, chest supported row, barbell row, t bar row, and straight arm pulldown or straight arm lat pulldown exercises.

The neutral grip pull-up, shoulder width grip pull-ups, overhand grip bent-over row, and barbell row make effective back exercises for developing muscle groups for a V-taper physique.

Remember to focus on good form and gradually increase or add more weight or intensity as you progress. Always consult with an occupational healthcare professional before starting back workouts or any exercise program, especially if you have chronic back pain.