I’m going to give you some bodyweight back exercises without a pull up bar today. Why? Because most times when you are away from the gym and you want to work your back, a bodyweight exercise like chin ups or pull ups are recommended. But what if you don’t have a pull up bar? What do you do then for a back exercise?
I’ll give you three scenarios and fixes to make sure you can find a great back exercise to do that will give you an excellent back workout.
- A list of 10 alternate bodyweight exercises for the back without a pull up bar
- Find a substitute for a pull-up bar
- Create a pull-up bar
Case One: 10 Alternate bodyweight exercises for the back without pullup bar
- Reverse Pushups
- Towel Rows
- Under The Table Rows
- Towel Door Chins
- Door Chins
- Superman Back Extension (can be weighted)
- Bodyweight Pullover
- Reverse Planche Lean
- Dragon Press Variations
- Dolphin Pushups
Bodyweight Back Exercises Explanation And Demonstrations
Reverse Pushups – Skip to about 2:10 for exercise demonstration.
Towel Door Chins, Towel Rows – If you can get a long beach towel or rope then you’re set. Put a knot in the middle. Open a door and put that knot on the other side of the door. Close the door. What you have now is two handles sticking out of the top of your door and anchored in.
From this you can do the towel row exercise for your back. If your towel or rope is short, then open the door again and loop it around the door handles so that when you hold both ends you will be looking at the edge of the open door. From here you can squat down and row your bodyweight towards the door while rocking up onto your toes.
If you hold onto the top edge of the door, you can do chin-ups off that (door chins) if it has good hinges. You can also use a very short towel with a knot and use the set up above with the closed door and do the door towel chins.
This video will demonstrate the Towel Door Chins And Towel Rows (I use a rope)
Under The Table Rows – This is one I do on vacation a lot in the hotel room. They have pretty awesome tables. Check out the video for the how-to.
So no matter where you are you can always rock your back or any other bodypart using bodyweight exercises and variations. But maybe… just maybe… you really want to do chin-ups but are only lacking the place to do them… I GOT YOU!
Case two: Find a substitute for a pull-up bar
If you can’t make a pull-up bar then find something else that will substitute for the king of all back bodyweight exercises. Go find a playground. There will be more than enough things to hang from there. Another is tree branches. If you have no playgrounds and no trees, then find a stair case. You need one that has an open back. They are usually made of steal and found outside commercial buildings. You can hang off the back and do your pull-ups there. Last ditch effort are heavy framed doors. If they are sturdy, you can open it and chin off it. Your body will slide up and down it and it will feel different than a normal pull-up but will still work awesome. Normal weak doors won’t work. You’ll probably bust the hinges.
Case Three: Create a pull-up bar
Here are some ways to make a pull up bar. First and easiest is to buy a door way pullup bar. It will save you time and they work well.
If that is not an option then you can cut two chunks of 2×4 and screw them flat side in to the wall. Then measure the door frame, cut a piece that size and screw it onto the support pieces you just put in.
Another is use two big C-clamps and tighten them up to the basement floor joists. They will act as handles you can use to pull yourself up and your head will go between the floor beams.
All Together In A Bodyweight Back Routine
For a nice simple bodyweight back routine without a chin-up bar, I’d do this:
(Well honestly, I’d go find a playground set or hang off the back of a set of stairs, or hang off a tree branch, or 1st floor balcony… but that’s me.)
- Bodyweight pullover 3 x max reps
- Table rows 3 x max reps
- Supermans 3 x max reps (possibly tripod headstand leg raise)
Hope that helps,
By the way, if you really want to work your back and the rest of your body with bodyweight exercises, this muscle building, strength boosting bodyweight manual lays it all out for you! You can download the book for free by joining my training newsletter below: