Blog Fitness Workouts Calisthenics Workout Back Workout Calisthenics Guide To Go From Novice To Pro

Back Workout Calisthenics Guide To Go From Novice To Pro

A lean, well-defined back might seem like the gold standard for any fitness enthusiast. However, achieving this goal is not exclusive to gym rats or professional athletes. With this guide for back workouts, everyone can sculpt that elusive V-shaped silhouette. This comprehensive guide breaks down the complex world of calisthenics into simple, easy-to-follow steps. Whether you’re a beginner just dipping your toes into the world of bodyweight training, or an advanced athlete seeking to refine your skills, this guide caters to all. It provides you with detailed instructions, progressions, and modifications to ensure a safe yet effective workout. It also answers your most pressing questions, like – what types of back exercises can you do with calisthenics? How to vary your calisthenics full back workouts for better results? What are the most effective progressions? And much more. 

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Can You Build Back With Calisthenics?

Yes, you can indeed build a strong and defined back with calisthenics.

Calisthenics relies on using your own body weight as resistance. The premise is simple: when you lift your body weight, you are essentially lifting weight, similar to weightlifting (4). This resistance is what stimulates muscle growth.

When the muscles in your back are repeatedly subjected to this resistance, they adapt by growing stronger and increasing in size, a process known as hypertrophy (7).

Additionally, good back workout calisthenics often involve compound movements, which engage multiple muscle groups at once (8). This enhances overall strength and stability, leading to a more balanced muscular development.

Another logical point is the aspect of progression. As you get stronger, you can make your lower back workouts calisthenics more challenging by adjusting your body position, increasing repetitions or performing more advanced variations.

This progressive overload continues to challenge your muscles, prompting further growth and development.

Finally, calisthenics promotes functional fitness (10). It not only builds muscle, but also improves flexibility, balance, and coordination, all of which contribute to a strong, healthy back.

See also
30-Day Calisthenics Workout Plan: 4 Customizable Calisthenics Plans For All Fitness Levels

back workouts calisthenics

Do Pull-Ups Work Back?

Yes, pull-ups are one of the most effective exercises for working the muscles in your back. They primarily target the latissimus dorsi – the large, wing-shaped muscles on either side of your back – but also engage other back muscles including the trapezius, rhomboids, and the muscles around the shoulder blades (13).

Pull-ups utilize your body weight as resistance, requiring your back muscles to contract in order to lift your body off the ground. This process of lifting and lowering your body weight helps to build muscle strength and endurance over time.

And, because pull-ups are a compound exercise, they work multiple muscle groups at once, leading to improved overall strength and muscle definition. However, it’s important to perform pull-ups with proper form to maximize their effectiveness and prevent potential injuries.

Read More: How To Start Calisthenics In 7 Steps

What Are 5 Calisthenics Exercises For Back?

Here are five effective calisthenics exercises for the back:


This is a compound exercise that primarily targets the latissimus dorsi, but also works the biceps, trapezius, and muscles in the shoulders. It’s effective because it uses your body weight as resistance, which can help build strength and muscle mass.

To perform a pull-up, grab a bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar, then pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Lower yourself back down with control.

Inverted Rows

These target the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi, as well as the biceps and forearm muscles(5). Inverted rows are similar to traditional rows but use your body weight for resistance.

To perform this exercise, position yourself under a bar or rings set at waist height. Grab the bar/rings with an overhand grip, hang underneath it with your body straight, pull your chest up to the bar, then lower yourself back down.



While typically considered a chest exercise, push-ups also work the muscles in the back, particularly the rhomboids and trapezius when performed with correct form (1). They’re effective as they engage multiple muscle groups, promoting overall strength.

See also
Best Back Workouts With Dumbbells You Can Do Anywhere

Start in a high plank position with hands directly under your shoulders. Lower your body until your chest is just above the floor, then push back up.

Superman Exercise

This is an isolation exercise that specifically targets the lower back, including the erector spinae muscles. It can help improve posture and reduce the risk of back pain (12).

Lie face down on the floor with arms extended in front of you. Simultaneously lift your arms, legs, and chest off the ground, hold for a few seconds, then lower back down.


This is a full-body exercise that works the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders. It’s effective for strengthening the posterior chain – the muscles along the backside of your body (11).

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground, arms by your sides. Push through your heels to lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds, then lower back down.

How Do You Train Your Back With Calisthenics?

Here’s how you can structure your back exercises at home for full benefits.

Workout Split

Decide on a workout split that allows adequate focus on your back. A popular choice is the push/pull/legs split, where back exercises (pull) can be done on separate days from chest and shoulder exercises (push), ensuring your back gets the attention it needs.

Exercise Selection

Choose exercises that target different areas of your back. For example, pull-ups work the lats (the large muscles on either side of your back), while inverted rows target the rhomboids (middle back muscles).

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See also
Types Of Calisthenics To Master Bodyweight Training

back workouts calisthenics

Here’s A Sample Calisthenics Full Back Workout


Before any workout, a proper warm-up is essential to prepare your muscles and prevent injury. For a back workout, this could involve dynamic stretches like arm circles, shoulder rolls, and torso twists.


Start by hanging from a pull-up bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar, then lower yourself back down. This exercise primarily targets the latissimus dorsi.

Inverted Rows

Position yourself under a bar set at waist height. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and hang underneath it with your body straight. Pull your chest up to the bar, then lower yourself back down. Inverted rows work the middle back and the rhomboids.


While push-ups are typically associated with chest workouts, they can also engage the muscles in your back when performed correctly. Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Lower your body until your chest is just above the floor, then push back up.

Cool Down 

End your workout with a cool-down session to help your muscles recover. This could involve static stretches and deep breathing exercises.

Volume And Intensity

Aim for a total of 8-12 reps per set for each exercise, which is generally recommended for muscle growth (6). As for intensity, you should be working hard enough that the last few reps of each set are challenging, but not impossible.

Progressive Overload

Gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts over time. This could be increasing the number of sets or reps, reducing rest time between sets, or progressing to more difficult exercise variations.


Give your back muscles ample time to recover between workouts. This is when muscle growth occurs. Aim for at least 48 hours of rest before targeting the same muscle group again.

See also
Calisthenics Beginner Workout Plan: A Comprehensive Guide


Stick to your training program consistently. Building a strong, muscular back takes time and patience, so be prepared to be committed for the long haul.

back workouts calisthenics

Read More: Calisthenics Exercises For Any Fitness Level To Maximize Fitness And Full-Body Training

How To Avoid Injury While Doing Bodyweight Back Exercises

Avoiding injury while doing back workout calisthenics is crucial to maintaining a healthy and consistent workout routine. Here are some tips:


A proper warm-up prepares your body for exercise by increasing your heart rate, loosening your joints, and warming up your muscles. It can include light cardio, such as jogging or skipping rope, and dynamic stretches that mimic the movements of the exercises you’ll be performing.

Proper Form

Performing exercises with correct form is key to preventing injuries. Make sure you understand the correct positions and movements before starting an exercise. If you’re unsure, consider seeking advice from a fitness professional.

Progress Gradually

If you’re new to calisthenics, start with beginner exercises and gradually progress to more challenging ones. Trying to perform advanced exercises without adequate strength and flexibility can lead to injuries.

Balance Your Workout

Overworking certain muscle groups while neglecting others can lead to imbalances, which increase the risk of injury. Make sure your workout routine includes exercises that target all major muscle groups.

Rest And Recovery

Your muscles need time to recover and grow after a workout. Incorporate rest days into your workout schedule and ensure you’re getting adequate sleep.

Listen To Your Body

If an exercise causes pain, stop doing it. Pain is a signal from your body that something is wrong. Continuing to exercise through pain can lead to serious injuries.

Stay Hydrated And Nourished

Dehydration and lack of nutrients can lead to fatigue and poor performance, increasing the risk of injury. Make sure you’re drinking enough water and eating a balanced diet.

See also
Calisthenics List Of Exercises For Every Level

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back workouts calisthenics

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can You Still Build Muscle With Calisthenics?

A: Yes, calisthenics can be very effective for building muscle. Because calisthenics exercises use body weight as resistance, they stimulate muscle growth in a similar way to weightlifting (3). The key is consistent training and progressively increasing the intensity of your workouts over time.

Q: What Calisthenics Exercises Work Back?

A: Several calisthenics exercises effectively target the back muscles. These include pull-ups, inverted rows, push-ups, the superman exercise, and bridges. Each of these exercises targets different areas of the back, leading to comprehensive back strength and development.

Q: What Is The King Of Back Workout?

A: The pull-up is often referred to as the king of back workouts in calisthenics(2). It’s a compound exercise that primarily targets the latissimus dorsi (the large muscles on either side of your back), but it also works other muscles in your back, biceps, and forearms. 

Pull-ups are highly effective due to their requirement for upper body strength and control, making them a challenging but rewarding exercise.

Q: Why Are Back Workouts Important?

A: Back workouts are crucial for several reasons. They help improve posture, reduce the risk of back pain, and contribute to a balanced physique. Strong back muscles also enhance overall strength and stability, which can benefit performance in various physical activities(9).

In addition, because the back is composed of several large muscle groups, working it out can help boost your metabolic rate, aiding in weight management.

The Bottom Line

With this comprehensive guide to back workout calisthenics, you’ll have all the tools you need to progress from a beginner to a pro. From understanding the importance of back workouts to mastering key exercises like pull-ups, inverted rows, and superman exercise, your journey to a stronger, more defined back starts here.

Get Your Personalized Calisthenics Workout Plan


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Back Muscles (2023,
  2. Calisthenics: a fitness resurrection (2016,
  4. Effect of Progressive Calisthenic Push-up Training on Muscle Strength and Thickness (2018, 
  6. Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum (2021, 
  7. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods (2019,
  8. No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review (2021, 
  9. The 4 most important types of exercise (2022, 
  10. The effects of a calisthenics training intervention on posture, strength and body composition (2017, 
  11. The effects of the continuous bridge exercise on the thickness of abdominal muscles in normal adults (2018,
  12. Trunk stabilization training: An evidence basis for the current state of affairs (2009, 
  13. Variations in muscle activation levels during traditional latissimus dorsi weight training exercises: An experimental study. (2004,
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