You don’t need a cable machine, barbells, weight plates, or a power rack to strengthen and sculpt your back muscles. As it turns out, a set of heavy-duty resistance bands may be all you need to work those stubborn back muscles from the comfort of your living room.
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So take a look at the 9 best resistance band exercises for a strong back.
1. Resistance Band Deadlifts
The resistance band deadlift is the “king” of all resistance band exercises. With each rep, you’ll target everything from your lower back and your hamstrings to your glutes and your quads.
And…all you need is a small, thick loop resistance band.
- Lie your loop resistance band on the ground and slip each foot through the nearest end of the loop, feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
- “Sit back” with your butt so that your knees are above a 90-degree angle (similar to a starting position for traditional deadlifts).
- Grab a firm grip on the centermost point of the band below with both hands.
- Simultaneously, use your lower back muscles to straighten out your entire back while pushing off the floor with your feet until you’re in an upright position.
- Straighten your upper back at the top for a second before returning to your starting position.
2. Assisted Resistance Band Pull-Ups
For the guys still trekking toward their first pull-up, assisted pull-ups can help get you there. You’ll hit your lats and biceps hard to work on developing a sculpted V-shaped back.
A heavy-duty loop resistance band and a pull-up bar are all you need.
- With the resistance band attached to the pull-up bar, slip one of your knees or feet into the hanging part of the band.
- Grab onto the pull-up bar above with your palms facing away from you and your hands a little further than the typical shoulder-width apart.
- Act as if you’re trying to pull the bar down as you bring your body up, keeping your back straight the entire time (no hunching).
- Pause when your chin is above the bar.
- Slowly lower yourself back down into your starting position where your arms are relaxed.
3. Resistance Band Bent-Over Row
No back workout is complete without some sort of row. This exercise will hit your back muscles from top to bottom, including your lats, traps, rhomboids, and even the rear delts.
You can use either a loop or handle resistance band on this one.
- Step both feet onto the center of the resistance band with your feet shoulder-width apart or closer.
- Slightly bend over at the knees and fold your back over, keeping it straight and nearly parallel with the ground below.
- Grip each handle with your palms facing toward one another in front of your body.
- Keeping your upper arm as close to your body as you can, bring both handles upward until your triceps are in line with your back.
- Squeeze your muscles at the top and then slowly return to the beginning.
4. Resistance Band Lat Pull-Down
When assisted pull-ups are still out of reach, lat pull-downs can help get you there. This exercise will help build serious strength in your lats, making an impressive wide back a reality (also helping you reach your goal of getting ripped with resistance bands).
A resistance band with handles and a door attachment are in order.
- Attach the center of your resistance band to a pole, bar, or door overhead, grab the handles, and take a step or two back.
- Get down on one or two knees, with arms in full extension over your head while holding onto the resistance band with both hands.
- Keeping your upper back flat and straight, bring each handle down until you reach collarbone height.
- Slowly return to the beginning position.
5. Resistance Band Bent-Over Flyes
Rows and shoulder presses are important but neglect the rear delts. Bent-over flyes can add mass to the back of your shoulders, rounding out those caps and making your arms look bigger.
For this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band with handles.
- Step both feet onto a resistance band on the floor and keep a slight bend in your knees.
- Grab onto the opposite handle with each hand (the right hand should grab the handle stemming from the left foot, and vice versa).
- With a bend in your back at about 45-degrees and your arms straight, begin raising the band handles up and toward the ceiling.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top and return.
6. Seated Resistance Band Row
There’s no such thing as “too many rows.” The seated version is easier on the lower back than bent-over rows, while still hitting nearly every major back muscle for a strong posterior chain.
Get your resistance band of choice and a stable vertical object to attach it to.
- Attach the center of your band to a stable object ahead of you about a foot or two above ground level.
- Sit with your butt on the ground, feet flat on the floor with legs bent, your back entirely straight, and a handle in each hand.
- Keep your arms as close to your sides as possible as you use your back muscles to bring those handles toward you.
- Stop when your upper arms are slightly past your back.
- Return to your starting position slowly.
7. Lying Resistance Band Pullover
Resistance band pullovers are unique in the sense that they’ll target both back and chest muscles. So add it to your upper-body home workouts to beef up your lats and add mass to your pecs.
Get your resistance band with handles and attach it to a nearby pole or door.
- Attach the center of your resistance band around a stable object about a foot or more above the ground.
- Lie down on your back on the ground with your head facing the band’s source, positioning yourself so that you can grab the band handles with arms at full extension.
- With your palms facing the ceiling and keeping your arms straight, bring your arms up and over toward your body.
- When the handles are above your chest, return to your starting position.
8. Resistance Band Supermans
Strengthening those critical lower-back muscles can benefit your posture to carry yourself with confidence. Supermans will hit those hard-to-reach erector spinae muscles (and your glutes).
And, all you need is a resistance band with handles.
- Wrap your resistance band around both shoes to secure the band but not cut off your circulation.
- Lie flat on your stomach on the ground with the resistance band handles in your hands at shoulder height (like a shoulder press position, but lying down).
- Simultaneously push your hands in front of you (and above your head) while lifting your feet to create an arch in your back.
- Hold the position for a second and then return.
9. Resistance Band Single-Arm Row
For the dumbbell row lovers out there—this single-arm row is solid for putting all of your energy into each set, on each arm. What better way to directly target every back muscle at once?
This exercise is so simple that all you need is a loop resistance band. The video shows you how to do them with a band with handles however.
- Start in a lunge position, with a leg in front of you with that knee at a 90-degree angle (foot flat on the floor) and your other knee on the floor behind it.
- Step on the band with the foot that’s flat on the floor and grab the end of the band with the hand opposite that foot.
- Use your back strength to keep your upper arm alongside your back and bring the resistance band toward you.
- Once your upper arm is parallel to your back (or a bit further), begin lowering the band back to the starting position.
- Switch sides after each set.
All exercises in this list will target at least one muscle in your back.
But be sure to add some variety to your resistance band back workouts to make sure all back muscles are hit in some way or another, such as:
- Resistance band deadlifts (for your lower back)
- Assisted resistance band pull-ups (for your lats)
- Resistance band bent-over rows (for nearly all of your back muscles)
And don’t be afraid to swap in new exercises each week to keep things interesting!