5 at-Home Exercises to Help Sculpt Your Back

5 at-Home Exercises to Help Sculpt Your Back

A strong back is a mighty useful feature to have. Sure, it’s nice to look at back muscles from an aesthetic standpoint but more than that, building strength in this area of the body means you’ll have more ease when carrying items around, and your overall stability will get a boost, too. If you’re looking to sharpen up your back workouts, here are 5 of the best exercises to try, according to the Australian Institute of Fitness’ Head of Training Kate Kraschnefski.

On the importance of back training, Kraschnefski explained that a powerful back acts as “the base that adds stability to all of your arm, chest and abdominal exercises”.

“A strong back allows you to perform daily tasks with relative ease and helps protect you against injury,” she said.

So what are you waiting for? Here are the 5 best exercises to introduce if you want to build on back fitness.

5 of the best back exercises

Lat Pulldown

“The lat pulldown is a real staple of back training that can be done using a machine or by looping a band over something above your head, like a stable and strong railing or a beam,” Kraschnefski said.

How to do this back exercise:

“Start by sitting with great posture and your feet on the floor. Reach up and grab the bar or handles, with a wide grip and knuckles up. Lean back a tiny bit, and exhale as you lower the bar below your chin. Keep your elbows down, neck relaxed and think about activating between the shoulder blades. Inhale and return.

“You can try a close grip with your hands facing up too. This may help you move more weight and work the biceps a little more. I like to mix it up every few weeks or do a few sets of both during my back sessions.”

When starting out with this exercise, Kraschnefski suggests trying three sets of 10-15 reps with 45 to 60 seconds of rest in between.


Before you close this article and run away, hear us out. Even if you struggle to complete a full pull up (hello, me!) there’s value in practising this more however possible.

How to do this back exercise:

“Most of us can access a pull up (or chin up) bar at our local park. This move is the same as the lat pulldown, but instead of moving the bar to us, we move our bodies towards the bar,” Kraschnefski said.

“Most people like to start with the close grip option on this one and it is really important to activate the core during your set.

“Don’t be disheartened if pull ups are tough for you. You can achieve similar results by doing them on an incline, with your feet on the ground or you can start by ‘hanging’ off a bar with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, before performing the move. You may then be able to progress to straight legs, before trying the body weight option when you are ready.”

Bent over row

“The bent over row is an extremely versatile exercise that can be done with a barbell, dumbbells or even a band! It is awesome for the back and for functional strength in the whole body as you get core and leg activation,” Kraschnefski shared.

How to do this back exercise:

“Stand with your knees slightly bent, bend forward at the hips with your back straight and let the weight hang in front of you. With your hands at slightly wider than shoulder-width distance, move the weight towards your midsection, between the belly button and the chest.”

Kraschnefski explained that it’s important to keep your neck muscles relaxed and your elbows close to your body here. When trying bent over rows, she suggested three sets of 10 to 15 reps with 45 to 60 seconds rest.

Back extensions

“Back extensions are great for your core and to activate the posterior chain. You can do these lying face down on the floor or with your hips on a fit ball,” Kraschnefski explained.

The key rule to remember with this particular back exercise is that your core must be on throughout, and you should avoid hyperextending.

How to do this back exercise:

“Hold your hands up by the side of your head, and lift your chest up from the ground. As you do this, imagine lengthening out through the top of the head. Lower your chest back down,” Kraschnefski shared.

For this move, aim for 10 repetitions with a two or three-second hold at the top. It’s also worth noting here that Kraschnefski said folks with lower back concerns should be careful with this move.

“Always work within a range that feels welcome in the body,” she stressed. But, as with all exercises, it’s best to seek out the advice of a health professional if you’re unsure.

Cable face pull

“This is a great exercise for the often neglected upper back muscles and deltoids,” Kraschnefski said. And don’t worry if you don’t have a weights machine, we have an option for you, too.

How to do this back exercise:

“This exercise can be done on the cable machine at the gym or using a band looped around a stable and strong pole or post,” Kraschnefski explained.

“Hold the rope attachment or your band with an overhand grip, thumbs up. Stand with your feet together and activate your core and glutes.

“Start by squeezing the shoulder blades together, pull the rope band towards either side of your face, holding for 1-2 seconds, before returning to the starting position.”

Kraschnefski recommended three sets of 10 to 15 reps for this exercise, with 45 to 60 seconds of rest.

Introducing these five exercises into your workout routine should get you well on your way to a stronger back, but if you have any old favourites we’ve missed please feel free to share them in the comments below!

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