12 Simple Exercises To Do Back At The Gym

Just don’t forget your mask.

Originally Published: 
A person wearing a mask performs a sumo kettlebell squat in the gym
vgajic/E+/Getty Images


Walk On The Treadmill

Loading up on weights or sprinting when you haven't gymmed in a while is a recipe for injury, says Bethany Stillwaggon, a personal trainer at Row House. Instead, take a walk on the treadmill or row slowly to readjust to working out with equipment.


Walk Outs

Hit the stretching area to warm up, says Shayra Brown, a personal trainer at Blink Fitness. Start upright, with straight legs. Bend at the waist with a neutral spine. Walk out on the floor in pushup position, then walk back with your hands to the starting point.


Reverse Flys

Pulling motions help maintain your posture and prevent back pain. For reverse flys, stand with a hinge in your hips and soft bend in your knees and elbows. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you draw the weights up and out to your sides, and lower slowly.


Bicep Curls

Stillwagon recommends sticking with simple dumbbell moves while you're still adjusting to the gym, and bicep curls fit that bill. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides and lift with control, not momentum.


Dumbbell Rows

Place one knee and one hand on a flat bench, so your back is roughly parallel to the bench and ground. Keeping your back neutral, grasp a dumbbell with your free hand and pull your elbow up and back to "row" the weight up toward your rib cage.

LightField Studios/Shutterstock

Walking Lunges

If you're looking for balance, stability, and strength, Brown suggests walking lunges. You don't need to add any weight for these to be challenging — just keep your core tight and your knees at 90-degree angles as you lunge.


Bench Press

"Any sort of bench work where your back is supported is great," Stillwaggon says. Lie down with light weights for a bench press. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the bottom of the press and pull the weights back down toward you from the top for maximum benefit.


Overhead Tricep Extensions

Hold a single dumbbell between both hands. Press it overhead. Tuck your upper arms toward your ears. Bend at your elbows, slowly lowering the weight down behind your head. Go as low as you can without jutting your neck forward.


Bodyweight Overhead Squats

Brown says to perform one or two sets of 10 reps. Stand with your arms overhead. Slowly squat down by bending your knees and pushing hips back. Squat as low as you can. Keep your chest up and your arms close to your ears. Stand up into starting position.


Overhead Press

Start with light dumbbells at shoulder height and squeeze your glutes to protect your low back. Press the bells overhead. Start by performing these sitting, then progress to standing and kneeling when you can for an added full-body challenge.


20 Minute EMOM

Pick your five favorite bodyweight exercises (think jumping jacks, squats, pushups, lunges, burpees). Do 10 reps of one exercise per minute, Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM) for 20 minutes. You'll do four rounds of each exercise to ease yourself back to the gym.


Weighted Carries

If you want to build grip strength (grocery run, anybody?), upper back strength (great posture), and cardio endurance (going up the stairs), grab heavy-ish dumbbells and take a walk around the gym. Keep your torso upright and your stride as natural as possible.

Thanks for reading,
head home for more!