10 Resistance Band Back Exercises For Strength and Definition

Working out your biceps or chest muscles is great because it has results that you can see. You can always look down at your bulky arms or your perfect pecs. But when you build strength in your back, it’s not something you get to enjoy.

Since it doesn’t have the same immediate benefit, many people don’t spend as much time on their back as they should. A strong back is protective against pain, helps maintain optimal posture, and even helps maintain glucose levels in your blood. Plus, the people around you can marvel at your chiseled features.

With all of this in mind, you don’t need expensive machines or gym memberships to boost your back. In fact, all you need are some resistance bands and a little bit of empty space. Keep in mind that many of these exercises are tailored to and perfected with the Gorilla Bow

Here are our top ten resistance band exercises to perfect your posterior:

1. Bent-Over Row

Your back is composed of a variety of different muscles that can be divided into the upper and lower back. Rowing is one of the best exercises for the back because it incorporates almost every single one of these muscles. With a bent-over row, the focus is on the trapezius in your upper back and the latissimus dorsi in your lower back.

To do a bent-over row with the Gorilla Bow:

  1. With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand securely on the band. Hinge your hips back, trying to make your back parallel with the floor. Hold the bar by your knees with palms facing down.
  2. Pull the band straight up to the center of your abdomen, squeezing your shoulder blades as you bring it up.
  3. Slowly return the band to the starting position. Repeat three sets of ten reps.

You can do a reverse bent-over row to activate your biceps a bit more by just flipping your grip so that your palms are facing up.

2. Seated Row

One of the great things about rowing is that there are a bunch of different variations. One of them is a seated row where you take the same basic movement and take it to the floor. This particular one focuses a lot more on the latissimus dorsi down the lower portion of your back and less on the trapezius at the top.

To do a seated row:

  1. Sit on the floor with a slight bend in your knees. Secure the resistance band under your feet.
  2. Keeping your spine straight at a 45-degree angle with the ground, pull the bar towards your chest, keeping your elbows bent at your sides.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of ten reps.

3. Upright Row

This one-row variation focuses on the lateral deltoid on top of your shoulders, but it also gives some love to the trapezius in your upper back. Think of it like the opposite of the seated row.

To do an upright row:

  1. Stand securely on the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Spine straight, hold the bar down at your waist.
  2. Pull the bar straight up to your chin, bending your elbows at your sides so that they are slightly higher than your hands. Hold for a breath.
  3. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of ten reps.

4. Lat Pulldown

As the name implies, this is one of the best workouts for your latissimus dorsi. All you need is some resistance bands and an anchor point a few feet above your head while kneeling.

To do a band pulldown:

  1. Secure the band to the anchor point and kneel. Hold your hands above your head, gripping the ends of the band. If you have the Gorilla Bow, hold onto the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Pull the band down to the upper portion of your chest, bending your elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of ten reps.

5. Deadlift

Deadlifts are a favorite workout for many people because not only is it fantastic for your hamstrings and glutes, but it’s perfect for your erector spinae, which surrounds your spine. This is an exceptionally difficult muscle to work.

This might be hard to do with bands on their own, so whip out the Gorilla Bow so you can hold onto the bar:

  1. Stand securely on the band with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar at your waist level.
  2. Hinge your hips back with a slight bend in your knees and bring the weights down to your shins.
  3. Using your glutes and hips, bring the bar back up to starting position. Try to keep your shoulders square and your chest up.
  4. Repeat for three sets of ten reps.

You can also do a Romanian deadlift, which focuses on the hamstrings even more than a traditional deadlift.

6. Single Arm Row

Crew teams rejoice because we have one more row exercise for you to do with your resistance bands. This is a unilateral exercise, meaning it isolates just one side of your body. Get ready to hone in on your biceps and upper back.

To do a single arm row:

  1. Bend both knees and get into a lunge position. Wrap the band securely under your forward foot, holding the bar in your opposite hand.
  2. Hinge your hips and engage your core to keep your spine straight. Pull the bow up to your lower rib cage, bending your elbow.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side, three sets of ten on each.

7. Side Bends

Side bends primarily engage your obliques on the sides of your core, but that can have direct benefits on your spinal health. Don’t worry, though—this exercise still gives the erector spinae in the center of your back the attention it deserves.

To do side bends:

  1. Stand on the resistance bands with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar at your chest or atop your shoulders—whichever you prefer.
  2. Keeping your back straight, bend your body to the side about 45 degrees.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position.

8. Band Flys

Doing lateral flys with resistance bands is a two-for-one deal because you can work your back muscles as well as your chest as you let the resistance bands kick in. 

To do band flys:

  1. Wrap the resistance bands around your hands for grip. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your hands directly out in front of you.
  2. Slowly pull your hands apart without bending your elbows. Squeeze your shoulder blades until the center of the band touches your chest.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position, squeezing your chest muscles. Repeat for three sets of ten reps.

9. Trap Raises

Your shoulders and upper back muscles often go hand in hand. This is a great resistance band workout that can be done on shoulder day, back day, or really any day.

To do resistance band trap raises:

  1. Secure the resistance band under your feet, gripping both ends in both hands and allowing your arms to relax at your sides.
  2. Retract your shoulder blades and lift your shoulders without moving your arms or elbows. Hold for a breath at the top.
  3. Slowly lower back to the starting position. Repeat for three sets of ten reps each.

You’ll definitely want to increase the resistance on this one to get the most out of this exercise.

10. Superman Lat Pull

The final exercise in this list is the perfect way to round out your back day. The superman pose on its own engages the lower back muscles, while the use of the resistance band activates the shoulders and latissimus dorsi.

Superman lat pulls go like this:

  1. Lay on your stomach, holding the resistance band in front of you with your hands wider than your shoulders. Lift your chest and arms off the floor.
  2. Keep both arms straight; trace a half-circle with your right arm, extending it directly out at your sides and down towards your right thigh.
  3. Return your arm to the starting position and then repeat with your left arm.
  4. Do three sets of twenty reps total.

Defining Strength

Who can resist resistance bands? They’re portable and easy to use, but they definitely help you get in a good workout. And these ten back exercises will leave much of your upper body begging for mercy (in the best way possible).

But of course, you need to do a lot more if you want to gain a bodybuilder physique. That’s where the Gorilla Bow All-Access Membership comes in. With live and on-demand classes, it’s like having a personal trainer at your fingertips.

 

Sources:

How To Build A Strong Back (And Why It's Important) | Integrative Osteopathy

Back Muscles | Cedars-Sinai

Should you be doing more unilateral training? | Colorado State University

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