You just need 14 minutes to strengthen your back and improve your posture with this equipment-free workout

a woman doing the cobra pose on a mat
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Many of us are guilty of taking our back health for granted right up until something goes wrong, when we wish we’d spend more time strengthening the muscles in our back. Even gym regulars often fail to spend as much time doing back workouts as they do on their ‘mirror muscles’ like the chest and abs.

Back workouts can sometimes be intimidating, because they often involve heavy lifts with free weights or difficult bodyweight exercises like pull-ups. However, this 14-minute workout is suitable for people of all fitness levels, and you don’t need any equipment to do it.

The workout has been put together by fitness trainer Jibby Oladapo, and can be seen on Oladpo’s YouTube channel Studio Jibby. No weights are used for the workout, but you might want to use one of the best yoga mats since you'll be lying on the floor for all of the exercises.

Watch Studio Jibby’s 14-minute back workout

14 MINUTE BACK WORKOUT FOR STRONGER BACK + BETTER POSTURE | NO EQUIPMENT | BEGINNER + INTERMEDIATE - YouTube 14 MINUTE BACK WORKOUT FOR STRONGER BACK + BETTER POSTURE | NO EQUIPMENT | BEGINNER + INTERMEDIATE - YouTube
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The workout contains 14 moves in the 14 minutes, and there are two options for how you approach it depending on your fitness level. If you’re a beginner you can do 30 seconds of work with each move and rest for 30 seconds, and if you’re an intermediate you can do 45 seconds of workout and then rest for just 15 seconds.

Obviously you can also change up how much you work with each move, and take extra breaks if you need to. Just make sure you keep an eye on Oladapo and listen out for what exercise is coming up and her form tips.

The workout targets the upper and lower back, along with your shoulder muscles and also your neck. Throughout the workout you should feel the muscles in your back and neck engage during the exercises, but if you feel any pain then stop and check your form against what Oladapo is doing to make sure you’re not putting undue strain through certain muscles.

This kind of workout is also great for your core strength, especially as people often neglect their lower back muscles when doing core workouts. By strengthening the whole back of your upper body you will improve your posture, and it’s a great session for helping to combat the weaknesses and imbalances that can develop as a result of a sedentary lifestyle where you spend a lot of time working at a desk.

Along with no equipment being required for the workout, it’s also free of jumping so you can do it in an apartment without worrying about disturbing your neighbors. All you need is enough room to lie down and move your arms and legs from side to side.

If you do have dumbbells available and want to workout with weights, this 7-move back and biceps workout is a good option that you can do at home with just one set of weights.

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Nick Harris-fry
Senior Writer

Nick Harris-fry is an experienced health and fitness journalist, writing professionally since 2012. He spent nine years working on the Coach magazine and website before moving to the fitness team at Tom’s Guide in 2024. Nick is a keen runner and also the founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers, which specialises in reviewing running shoes, watches, headphones and other gear.

Nick ran his first marathon in 2016 after six weeks of training for a magazine feature and subsequently became obsessed with the sport. He now has PBs of 2hr 27min for the marathon and 15min 30sec for 5K, and has run 13 marathons in total, as well as a 50-mile ultramarathon.

He runs 50-80 miles a week and races regularly with his club, which gives him a lot of opportunity to test out running gear: he has tested and reviewed hundreds of pairs of running shoes, as well as fitness trackers, running watches, sports headphones, treadmills, and all manner of other kit. Nick is also a qualified Run Leader in the UK.