Back Exercise Substitutions
I often get asked what exercises can be swapped in for others. If you’re wondering about what to do for your leg workout, check out this post.
Back is one of the hardest muscle groups to train with just body weight. If you have absolutely no equipment (i.e. no dumbbells, no barbell, no cables, no straps, and no bar) then best you can do is to add a lot of prisoner squats, prisoner lunges, stick-ups, and IWYT’s to your bodyweight program.
What the heck are IWYT’s? Here you go:
If you only have a pull up bar, you can get a fabulous workout with pull ups and variations:
- Pull-ups (these are done with an overhand grip)
- Eccentric pull-ups
- Narrow grip pull up
- chin ups
- kipping pull up
- jump pull up
- band pull up
- assisted pull up
As much as I love pull ups, if you have no pull up bar, here are some exercises you can use instead of pull ups:
Here are some of my favorite back exercises and you can add or swap these out to substitute for pull ups or just in general for training your back:
- scapular retraction
- reverse deltoid flies (non weighted)
- DB rear delt raise (weighted)
- superman hold
- inverted row
- DB deadlift
- BB deadlift
- DB single arm row
- DB bent over row
- single DB row on a bench
- BB bent over row
- renegade row
- Seated cable rows
- wall stick ups
- prisoner style exercises (like squats. Lunges)
- lat pull with a band
- row with a band
The Suspension Trainer provides lots of back training options:
You can use the suspension trainer to do rows and intensify or modify the work simply by changing the foot position, this changes the angle of pull. The more horizontal you become, the more difficult.
You can do a ‘T’ row which will work the rear delts. You may have to stagger the feet for this position.
An ‘I’ row works the spinal erectors.
Lead with the chest and not the hips, as well, keep the shoulders down as you may find that they creep up towards the ears.
Of course I’d be remiss not to mention my Challenge Pull Up program. If you’re looking to increase your pull up power (and get a sexy strong back), this is the ticket.