As part of a new series, I’m going to be sharing different exercises which you can do using only your bodyweight to target specific parts of your body. In this post I’m going to be sharing exercises which target the back muscles.
The following exercises are ordered by difficulty, with the harder ones at the end of the post.
Table of Contents
An easy one for beginners is Australian Pull-ups, which are a simpler version of a standard pull-up where your feet are planted to the ground throughout the exercise.
To do this exercise you’ll need to find yourself a bar which is no higher than your chest height. If you own a pair of rings then you’ve got the added advantage of being able to set them at a height which feels most suitable for yourself.
Check out the video below from TA Calisthenics on how to do these.
Pull-ups are a great exercise to get the back muscles working. Although they’re one of my favourite exercises, I think many people struggle with performing a single pull-up and quickly give up on them. If you fit into this category then the easiest thing to do is get hold of some resistance bands; these will help support some of your bodyweight until you are strong enough to complete reps without any help.
Different pull-up variations can do a better job at putting a higher strain specifically on your back muscles. Try using a wide grip to get the most out of this exercise.
Don’t forget form is key here. With each rep ensure you are starting with straight arms and finish with your chin above the bar.
Tuck Front Lever Pulls
I like to think of Tuck Front Lever Pull as the next challenge for those who find Australian Pull-ups easy.They also have a lot in common with the progression required to achieve full Front Levers, so people of all abilities should find them useful.
To do these you’ll want to get into a position on a pull-up bar where you’re hanging with straight arms, knees pulled up to your chest, and rotated backwards so that your back is horizontal with the ground. Perform each rep by performing pull-ups whilst keeping your knees tucked up and back horizontal to the floor. Ben Musholt shows a good example of the technique below.
Ice Cream Makers
Ice Cream Makers are one of my favourite named exercises. I’m sure like me you’ll be confused as to their name at first, but when you see them in action I’m sure you’ll also share the same lightbulb moment as I did!
Check out the video below by Bat Maverick for a full demonstration.
Founder of calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.