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At-Home Back Workout

Getting a wider, thicker back without leaving your house. Here's your workout.

At Home Back Workout

When you’re stuck at home, getting in an effective back workout – which relies on pulling moves like pulldowns, pull-ups and rows – can be a challenge. Not everyone has a pull-up bar in their garage or spare bedroom, let alone a lat pulldown or cable row station.

But as I’ve already proven with my At-Home leg, chest, and shoulder workouts, a little desperation and ingenuity can go a long way toward building muscle and gaining strength in the absence of a gym – even when training the back.

Workout Overview

While most people fret when they’re not able to go to the gym and train, you should actually welcome the change that being confined to your home can provide your fitness plan. With some unique exercises, a few household items, and intensity techniques like pre-exhaust, explosive reps, and Tabatas (courtesy of the below routine), your lats won’t know what hit them!

Warm-Up: Torso Twists + Arm Circles + Arm Swings

As always, consider starting with a general 10-15-minute warm-up such as riding a stationary cycle, walking or running, or calisthenics.

The workout itself starts with a similar dynamic warm-up as for chest and shoulders, since the muscles surround the same joint (shoulder). But here, we’ll start with 20 straight-arm torso twists.

To do this, stand with a shoulder-width stance and extend both arms straight out to your sides so that your body forms a “T.” Keeping your feet stationary and arms in place, twist your torso to the right until you can’t go any further. Hold this position for a second, then twist in the opposite direction as far as you can (you’ll be facing to the left here). Hold this position for a second, and continue the alternating torso twists until you’ve completed 20 reps total (10 per twists per side). 

Next, you’ll do the chest/shoulders dynamic warm-up routine: 10 small forward arm circles (about 1 foot in diameter), followed by another 10 in the opposite (reverse) direction. Then, 10 forward arm swings with bigger circles (about 2 feet in diameter), and 10 big reverse arm circles. You’ll finish off with 10 horizontal arm swings, crossing your arms in front of your body.

Power-Up: Doorway Power Row

Once you’re warmed up, it’s time to get explosive with some fast, powerful reps. Here, we’re going to do three sets of Doorway Power Rows. Here’s how to do the exercise:

  1. Stand sideways on the left side of a doorway so that your right shoulder is in the doorway and your feet are pushed up against the bottom of it with your right foot closest to the doorway.
  2. Use your right hand to grip the other side of the door frame at just below shoulder height. Play around with the grip height to find what works best for you.
  3. Holding onto the door frame with your right hand and keeping your feet in place against the door frame, straighten your right arm to full extension and allow your body to hang and pull on the lats as much as possible.
  4. Use your lats and biceps to pull your body up toward the door frame as quickly and explosively as possible. Keep your right shoulder turned slightly to the right as you pull your body up; this will prevent your shoulder from hitting the door frame, and instead, gliding right past it.
  5. Once you’ve made...

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