12 Resistance Band Back Exercises for Building Muscle Mass
Doing resistance band back exercises is a great alternative to using free weights.
OK, for pure muscle-building, mass-inducing heavy lifting, it’s hard to beat a good old barbell and set of heavy plates. If you want to get big and super strong, I’m not going to tell you to forget your free weights and only use resistance bands. That would be dumb.
But insert a sneaky resistance band workout between your normal weights sessions every now and then and you will definitely see more gains. Variety in your workout is what keeps your muscles adapting and growing. Always doing the same exercises in the same way will make you stagnate, hit a plateau.
You can do these resistance band back exercises on their own as a complete workout. Or you can pick and choose the movements you want, do them as a warm-up or cool-down, or alternate them with free weights. Mix up your back workout however you like. The main thing is to keep your muscles guessing. Don’t let them know what’s going to hit them next. Train smart.
The best resistance bands for strength training are 208cm resistance loop bands, also known as pull up bands. You can grab hold of them in different ways, loop them around your body or attach them to other objects. They come in different resistance levels from very light to extremely heavy. Probably the most versatile piece of exercise equipment on the planet – and they fit right in your bag.
As an alternative, you can also do most of these back exercises using a resistance tube with handles.
It includes a door anchor which you can use to securely fix the band at one point while you do the exercises.
Here are 12 of the best resistance band back exercises for building muscle mass:
#1 Bent Over Row
Stand on the middle of the band with feet roughly hip-width apart. Hold onto each end of the loop. Bend at the waist, stick your bum out, arch your lower back and keep your head, neck and upper spine in a straight line. Pull the band up, keeping your elbows in. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold briefly. Return slowly to starting position and repeat.
#2 Assisted Pull Up
Use a resistance band for pull ups if you’re not used to doing this exercise or if you want to do higher reps. You can also use it to prepare yourself for more difficult calisthenics movements like muscle ups or front levers. Simple attach the band onto the bar, put both feet into the other end and do pull ups as normal.
#3 Face Pull
Secure the band at waist height and stand square on holding the band in front of you. Pull the band towards your face, lifting your elbows and keeping your back straight. Hold the final position, squeezing your shoulder blades together, then return to start. Standing further away increases the resistance.
#4 Lat Pull Down
Attach the band high up and either stand or kneel facing it. Keeping a straight posture, pull the band down to your waist. Don’t bend your arms during the movement. Feel the contraction in your lats, hold it, then return to start.
Loop each end of the band around your feet and stand in a wide stance. Squat down and grasp the band in the middle. Keeping your back slightly arched and your bum sticking out, pull the band up until you’re standing fully upright. It’s very important that your back doesn’t bend forward during this exercise – be sure to keep it slightly arched throughout. Start with a light band to avoid injury.
#6 Single Arm Row
Hook each end of the band around your feet, and get into a wide forward stance, standing firmly on the band. Lean forward, rest one hand on your knee and grasp the centre of the band with your other hand. Keeping a straight back, pull the band up to the level of your solar plexus, then return and repeat.
#7 Reverse Fly
Stand on the middle of the band and grab hold of both ends. Keep your lower back slightly arched and your arms straight. Pull the band up as high as possible, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold in the final position for a moment then return to start.
#8 Stiff Legged Deadlift
Keep your legs either straight or slightly bent during this movement. Stand on the middle of the band and bend down to hold either end of the loop. Keep your lower back slightly arched and your upper back in a natural posture. Stretch the band up as you straighten yourself into a standing position. Done properly, you should feel it in your hamstrings and lower back.
#9 Standing Row
Secure one end of the band and hold the other end with your hands together and strong tension in the band. Pull the band in to your chest and hold for a second, shoulders back and shoulder blades together. Don’t let your elbows flare out while you do the exercise.
#10 Pull Apart
Grab the band at each end and hold it out in front of you with your arms straight. Pull the band apart as far as possible, keeping a straight posture. Hold it in the final position squeezing your shoulder blades together. Return to the starting position and repeat.
#11 Good Morning
Stand inside one end of the band and loop the other end around your neck, bending at the waist. Be sure to keep your lower back slightly arched. Slowly bring yourself up into a standing position, feeling the contraction in your lower back. Then return slowly and repeat the movement.
#12 Kneeling Superman
Start on all fours with the band looped around your left foot and right hand. Keeping your back slightly arched, lift your hand and foot as high as possible, stretching the band taut underneath your body. Feel the contraction all along your back and hold for a moment before returning to the starting position. Repeat on both sides.