This At-Home Back Workout Only Requires Everyday Household Items

Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., created a complete back workout using items from around the house.

Emily Schiffer |

Thanks to the recent coronavirus pandemic, your gym is probably closed. Now, with social distancing and self-isolation in effect, fitness-minded folks are faced with the challenge of finding alternatives for their usual workouts.

Related: Should You Go To Gym During The Coronavirus Pandemic? What These Gyms Had To Say

Some bodyweight exercises can fill in nicely for lower body and chest training sessions, but creating a whole routine of moves to work the back can be particularly challenging. That doesn’t have to be the case, if you’re ready to use your imagination.

Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. got creative and thought up a complete at-home back workout using stuff you probably already have in your own house.

What you’ll need:

  • a backpack
  • 2 20-litre water containers
  • a garden spade
  • 2 chairs

Here’s the full workout. Make sure to turn up the volume for audio tips from Samuel throughout the videos.


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So we could do some super-light bodyweight back work driven by isometrics…or we can get creative with load. Today let’s do the latter, because loading back will become important long-term, since we can load chest with pushups. Moves for this sesh below, details in audio. Use what you have. I’m just giving you a few ideas: ************************************* 1) backpack/water dropset: 5-6 pairs of double-explode rows, then 10 bent-over two-arm rows, then 10-second bent-over row hold. 4 sets per side 2) hollow body backpack pullover: 12-15 reps. 3 sets 3) chair-and-stick inverted row hold: cumulative 25 seconds of hold. 3 sets 4) 3-position loaded carry: shouldered carry to mixed-hold carry to farmer’s carry to crossover steps carry. 2-4 sets (switch mixed-hold every set) ************************************* Still rocking the @leorever.official outside. Best training compression there is. #fitness #training #backworkout #homeworkout #fullworkout #ebandswole #hanginthere

A post shared by Ebenezer Samuel (@ebenezersamuel23) on

1. Backpack/water drop-set

You’ll do 5 to 6 pairs of double-explode rows, then 10 bent-over two-arm rows, then a 10-second bent-over row hold. Try 4 sets per side.

Before you start, load your backpack with water bottles, or another type of load (Samuel fills his with 15 bottles).

For the double-explode rows, grab a (filled) 20-litre container.

“Work for that good squeeze on top, as we can’t load as much as we normally would,” says Samuel.

For the bent-over two-arm rows, make sure you still focus on your form. “Try to drive your elbows back and try to keep your shoulders down,” he advises. “Don’t let yourself get into your traps on these.”

When you’re fatigued, finish off this series with a hold.

Related: 4 Backyard Items You Can Use As Weights For Workouts

2. Hollow Body Backpack Pullover

3 sets of 12 to 15 reps

“Get your arms straight and extend whatever resistance you have as far behind you as possible,” says Samuel. “Focus on pulling only with your lats until your arms are perpendicular to the ground. Don’t go beyond there because you’re not going to get any good engagement beyond it.”

3. Chair-and-Stick Inverted Row Hold

3 sets of 25 second holds

Set up 2 chairs with the spade placed on top of them to use as a bar. Just make sure the chairs are sturdy enough to handle your weight.

“You want to make this a full body move. Core tight, glutes tight,” says Samuel. “You should be a straight line, knees through shoulders. Focus on pulling your torso up and squeezing your elbows together.”

Related: The Stick Burpee Challenge, With Cover Guy Hendrik Hoogenboezem

4. 3-Position Loaded Carry

2 to 4 sets

Start with a shouldered carry, shift to a mixed-hold carry, then a farmer’s carry, and finish with a crossover steps carry.

“Grab the biggest stuff you can have (both 20-litre water containers),” Samuel advises. “Walk as far forward as you can, then walk back. Once you get back to your starting line, you’re gonna shift from that farmer’s position into a mixed hold.”

After walking down and back, shift your weights back to a farmer’s position for crossover steps down and back.

“Have fun with it and use what you got,” says Samuel.

Related: The Ferocious 10-Minute Farmer’s Walk Finisher

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