How to train your back and biceps at home without gym equipment
- You can train your back and biceps at home without gym equipment using a few creative bodyweight exercises
- The one-arm towel row and elbow lift are bodyweight back exercises that utilize home items and furniture
- The side-lying biceps bodyweight curl and biceps leg curl are bodyweight biceps exercises that require nothing but your body weight
Creative bodyweight exercises for back and biceps
There are many bodyweight exercises that you can do at home to stay in great shape. However, it is very difficult to train your back and biceps at home without gym equipment because training these muscles involves pulling movements. Fortunately, there are various creative exercises that will allow you to train these muscles using only furniture and/or your body weight.
Bodyweight back exercises
One-arm towel row
The one-arm towel row (Figure 1) is a back exercise that can be used as an alternative to the bent-over dumbbell row or bent-over barbell row. To set this exercise up, simply wrap a towel around a door handle and hold both ends in a single hand. Standing with one foot on each side of the open door, carefully lean backward and then pull yourself toward the door, keeping your elbow close to your torso. Be very cautious when doing this exercise, as there is a risk that you may break the door.
The elbow lift (Figure 2) is another bodyweight back exercise, though one that does not activate the elbow flexors. All you need to perform this exercise is two low chairs or other sturdy objects placed close together. Sit between the two objects with legs straight, place your elbows and the backs of your upper arms on top of them, and straighten your body so that only your heels are touching the floor. Then, keeping your body rigid and elbows close to your torso, use the backs of your upper arms to push against the two objects and pull yourself up.
Bodyweight biceps exercises
Side-lying biceps bodyweight curl
The side-lying biceps bodyweight curl (Figure 3) is an exercise that targets your elbow flexors (biceps, brachialis, brachioradialis) and abdominal muscles. To perform this exercise, place a soft cushion on the ground and lay on it on your right side. With your hips and knees flexed, place your right arm underneath your right leg. Using your elbow flexors and your abdominal muscles, raise your torso up and toward your legs. Repeat by lying on your other side and using your other arm.
Biceps leg curl
The biceps leg curl (Figure 4) is a bodyweight elbow flexor exercise that is done while sitting on the edge of a chair. Begin this exercise by placing one hand under your opposite leg (right hand under your left leg). Then, curl your leg up toward the rest of your body while bracing the back of your arm against the inside of your thigh.
At-home back and biceps training considerations
Finding ways to train your back and biceps at home, without equipment, is very challenging. While the four exercises listed in this article are solid choices, they are still suboptimal exercises at best.
If you wish to make the most out of your at-home back and biceps training, you should strongly consider investing in gym equipment, such as a barbell, dumbbells, resistance bands, and a pull-up bar. This equipment will allow you to do many more pulling exercises that will be far more effective than the ones listed above.
For a huge list of back and biceps exercises, including bodyweight ones that you could do at home, refer to our Exercise Database.