Staff, Courtesy of Marcy
If you number among the countless people who’ve let their gym memberships lapse over the past two years, chances are you’ve adjusted to the new norm of working out at home. But even home workouts can have their challenges—especially when you’re trying to build or maintain muscle, but no longer have access to the wide variety of exercise machines your gym once provided. This can leave you with some weak spots that become painful when training hard—particularly in your back.
While you can always stick to bodyweight exercises, many of us require—or simply prefer—a more guided workout, whether that means taking an instructor-led class or using an exercise machine that specifically targets your back. However, with tons of choices out there, ranging from weight-based machines to on-demand workout classes, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are actually worth your money. While the type of workout you choose will mainly come down to preference, we’ve rounded up the best back exercise machines on the market that will help you tone up, improve your posture, and may even relieve some of that nagging back pain.
Best Back Exercise Machines
How We Chose These Products
To find the best back exercise machines on the market, we researched the most popular models available and took into account price, versatility, accessories, and additional features. We also consulted more than 10,000 reviews, written by people who’ve bought these models on sites like Amazon and Walmart, to settle on the seven you’ll find below.
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Best for Upper Body Strengthening
PR1000 home gym
Bowflex is a well-trusted name in the home gym game, and their PR1000 Home Gym is ideal for those looking to strengthen their back muscles. This model has everything you need for a complete upper-body workout, including multiple pulley positions that allow you to target different muscle groups.
The bench even converts into a rowing machine, which is great for engaging your entire upper body, including your chest and core, while providing you a solid cardio workout.
MWM-988 Multifunction Steel Home Gym
While this home gym isn’t cheap, the wealth of back workout options it provides makes it well worth the price. With this model, you can do upper-body exercises like flys, curls, chest presses, and lat pulldowns, as well as lower-body exercises like leg extensions. Its weight stack goes up to 150 pounds, and it even has a workout chart built in to show you which exercises you can use this machine for and how to do them properly.
Best for Dedicated Weight Lifters
Deluxe Diamond Elite Smith Cage Workout Machine
If you want the full gym experience without actually going to the gym, this Marcy Deluxe machine is about as close as you can possibly get.
It combines three strength machines and six exercise stations, from which you can perform over 100 different strength exercises. This is a great option for anyone who does a lot of weight training and wants to focus on strength work.
However, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t come with weight plates, so you will have to purchase them separately.
Best Compact Gym Replacement
While the tonal is certainly pricey, it can completely replace your gym and supplemental workout classes, and has everything you need to strengthen and tone your back in a compact package.
With it, you can perform back- and upper-body-specific moves like seated rows, hammer curls, lat pulldowns, overhead presses, and bench flys, and it offers thousands of engaging workout classes (including many that are back-specific), as well as personalized programs and weight suggestions tailored to you. It also tracks stats like reps, sets, power, volume, and more, so you can monitor your progress over time.
N3 Elite Personal Boxing Trainer
Looking for a more interactive way to strengthen and tone your back? This boxing trainer is not only super effective at training and strengthening your arms and back, but it’s also super engaging and feels more like a game than a workout. It has live training, including a leaderboard and on-demand classes, and it keeps track of stats like power, accuracy, speed, and strike count.
It’s also adjustable, so it can easily be used by multiple people of different heights and sizes.
Magnetic Rowing Machine
This rowing machine is great for knocking out your cardio and upper-body workouts in one fell swoop. At under $300, it’s on the more affordable end of the spectrum, and is a great option for both newbies and dedicated workout enthusiasts alike. It works to strengthen your core and back and is super-adjustable, making it a great option for home gyms used by multiple roommates or family members.
Best for tight spaces
If you don’t have a ton of space to dedicate to a large back exercise machine, the Mirror could be a great option for you.
This one comes with a yoga mat and accessories, dumbbells, and resistance bands, which can be used along with their 10,000-plus on-demand classes. In addition to training your back using Mirror’s dedicated upper-body exercises, you can also strengthen and tone it with workouts like boxing and yoga.
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