Weighted Backpack Training: Home Workout

Weighted Backpack Training: Home Workout

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Well done if you are self-isolating in your home. You don't have to give up your progress just because you are staying inside. 

Weighted back packs are the answer to your problems.

Don't fret if you want to work out but are unable to get to the gym. Ben has you covered. 

Ben shows how to get the same results without having gym equipment. All you need is weighted bags. 

The Benefits of Weighted Training Backpack

You can build muscle while on the go or in your home with a weighted back pack. You can fill the backpack with books, bottles of water or other heavy objects. 

Benefits of backpack workout include: 

  • It is convenient - it can be done anywhere
  • Multi-muscle training - Use the same equipment to train multiple muscles groups
  • Effective - Ability to perform complex movements without using a bar

Weighted Backpack training

Ben gives you 5 exercises to get started that you can perform at home. You can do these exercises: 

  1. Squat
  2. Backpack Bench Press
  3. The One-Handed Tricep Extender
  4. Bicep curls
  5. Shoulder Press/Military Press

Exercise #1: Squat

The squat is one of your most important lower-body exercises. 

The backpack squats will work out your: 

  • The Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • The Core

You can perform the weighted back pack squat by: 

  • Wear your backpack as normal.
  • Standing with feet at shoulder width apart
  • For balance, stretch your arms in front.
  • Straighten your legs and bend them outwards.
  • Back up
  • Repeat
  • Reps: 20 - 30
  • Sets: 3 - 4 

The glutes will feel the burn if you lower your feet below parallel.

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Exercise #2: Backpack Bench Press

This is another compound movement that supports upper body muscle growth and development; the bench press.backpack-bench-press 

The method may be slightly different without a bar, but it is still the same in its fundamentals. 

Weighted back pack bench press trains: 

  • Chest
  • Triceps
  • Shoulders
  • The Core

How to pull off a successful technique: 

  • Back on the ground, fill your backpack up with weights and lay backwards.
  • Grab the bag from both sides and place it on your chest.
  • Press the weights above your shoulders and straighten up your arms
  • Bring the weight down by bending your arms.
  • Repeat
  • Reps: 20 - 30
  • Sets: 3 - 4

 This will help you engage your core.

Press ups can be done between sets to further engage the chest. 

Exercise 3: Triceps Extensions with One Hand

Keeping with the pushing motion this exercise puts a lot more pressure on the arms that it does on the torso; the one-handed tricep extension.shoulder-press-back-pack 

This workout is more of a isolation exercise that develops: 

  • Triceps
  • Shoulders

What you should do in order to successfully perform the exercise: 

  • One-handed weighted bag grab
  • Place your hand facing up on the back of your backpack.
  • Straighten your arm
  • Bring your weight behind your back and bend your arm.
  • Repeat the process with your other arm
  • Reps: 20 - 30 (each arm)
  • Sets: 3 - 4

 For maximum lift, squeeze the handle of the bag and use your triceps to flex during the lift. 

Exercise #4: Bicep Curls

Another exercise for arms that you can do with a backpack are bicep curls.bicep-curls-backpack 

They are also great to support your back when doing exercises. 

Just do the following: 

  • Hold both straps (palms upwards) of your bag.
  • Bring the backpack to your chest while keeping your elbows to your side.
  • Lower the backpack to its starting position.
  • Repeat
  • Reps: 20 - 30
  • Sets: 2 - 3

 Keep your elbows at your side and keep your shoulders tucked in. This will isolate that muscle. 

Exercise #5 Shoulder/Military Press

The shoulder press is also called the military press. 

Weighted back pack training is a great way to build muscle in the upper body. It is also easy to do. 

Military Press exercises the muscles below: 

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Triceps
  • The Core

Here's how to fully engage your muscles: 

  • Hold the backpack on either side while standing up
  • Keep the backpack close to your chest
  • Keep your forearms parallel with your body and press your backpack up above your head.
  • Keep your guns open
  • Reduce the weight to your chest
  • Repeat
  • Reps: 20 - 30
  • Sets: 2 - 3

 Avoid leaning back and keeping your legs shoulder-width apart. 

Tips and tricks

When you do not have access to a gym, weighted back packs are a great way to maintain muscle mass and build it when you lack the necessary equipment. 

Before you start, you should ensure that you have the following: 

  • Avoid putting expensive items in your training bag - lifting them can cause damage
  • Spread the weight evenly in your bag to get a balanced workout.
  • Close your bag - the last thing you need is for objects to fly around during training.


This is an excellent workout for anyone who wants to exercise but can't make it to the gym. 

You can work out multiple muscle groups with backpack exercises without changing equipment. 

You can also change the weight to your liking. 

Compound movements allow you to hit the main muscle groups, and also create an environment that is conducive to building muscle. 

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