A back extension is an exercise that targets the muscles of the lower back that are responsible for aiding in the movement of the spine. Back extensions help to strengthen and tone these muscles, which can alleviate pain caused by sitting at a desk for long periods of time. In this article, we will discuss what a back extension is, how to perform the exercise with a bench and weights, the benefits of back extension exercises, and mistakes to avoid.
What Is a Back Extension
It’s the best exercise for you if you’re looking to improve the strength and stability of your lower back and decrease hypertension (1). It is commonly performed using a back extension machine. First, however, we will discuss how to do this at home.
While there are many variations of the back extension, the best way to do this move is by maintaining a neutral spine throughout the entire range of motion.
How To Perform
1. Get down on the floor and lie on your stomach in a comfortable and spacious area, then place your hands behind your head.
2. Breathe out and raise your chest off the floor by squeezing your glutes and contract your lower back. Pause and hold at the top.
3. Breathe in and slowly lower your chest back to the floor and let your back and glutes relax.
4. Do three sets of 8 to 12 reps.
Back Extension Machine
The back extension machine is an incredibly useful piece of fitness equipment that strengthens your core and lower back muscles. It is a great way to improve posture, reduce back pain, and build overall strength.
The machine works by having you lie flat on your stomach while you support your body with your hands or arms. You then use your lower back muscles to lift your upper body off the bench until it is parallel with the ground.
The machine can be adjusted for different levels of difficulty, so it’s suitable for anyone from beginners to advanced athletes. With regular use of a back extension machine, you may achieve greater overall health and wellbeing in the long run.
Low Back Extensions With Weights
Low back extensions with weights helps to target the erector spinae, which is a group of muscles that runs along the spine and helps keep your trunk upright.
To perform this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Slowly bend forward at the waist until your torso is parallel to the floor, then use your lower back to slowly pull yourself up straight again. Make sure to keep your chest lifted and avoid arching your lower back when lifting.
For an added challenge, increase the weight of the dumbbells or kettlebells. Doing this exercise regularly will improve posture and help reduce strain on your lower back muscles due to daily activities, such as sitting for long periods of time.
Stretches For Lower Back Pain
Stretching can help to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your lower back, as well as other surrounding muscles, which can help reduce tension and pressure on the spine (2).
Aim to do dynamic stretches as your warm-up routine at the beginning of your workout, such as leg swings, knee-to-chest stretches, and hip rotations. These stretches should be done slowly and with careful attention to body alignment.
Static stretches, such as bridge poses, forward folds, and cobra poses can also be beneficial for relieving lower back pain and can be done after your workout. Other examples of beneficial stretches that can help take the pressure off the lower back are:
- Bridge roll-ups
- Single-leg split
Learn how to perform each of these exercises here.
Make sure to listen to your body during each stretch and never force yourself into a position that causes pain or discomfort. With regular practice of these stretches, you may notice a decrease in lower back pain over time.
Back Extensions Benefits
There are numerous benefits, such as strengthening key muscles, increasing endurance, and improving posture. Why it’s lauded as a great strengthening build-up is because there’s minimal risk of injury. It uses your own body weight to work out stabilizing muscles that benefit the rest of your workout.
Strengthens Lower Back
One of the primary benefits is helping to strengthen and tone the 3 primary muscles in the back that comprise the erector spinae. These are the spinalis, longissimus, and iliocostalis muscles. These are the long muscles that run along either side of the spine.
In addition to strengthening these muscles, back extensions also help to improve stability and protect the spine from injury.
A study conducted by the Physical Education and Sports Department at the Mustafa Kemal University discussed the benefits of back extension exercise in women (4). A 10-week back extension training was performed on 73 healthy females. Results showed a significant difference between pre-and post-training values for back muscle strength and spinal range of motion in the exercise group. Therefore, providing a solution to potentially prevent the decrease of spinal range of motion and increase the framework of healthy individuals.
The spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, muscles, and other tissues. It functions as both weight-bearing support and a mobile hinge, allowing us to bend and twist our bodies. However, this flexibility also makes the spine prone to injury.
The Department of Physical Therapy at Daegu University performed a study on 30 patients that had chronic low back pain and separated them into 2 different groups (5). At the end of the study, both groups showed improvements in the disability index and lumbosacral alignment. In conclusion, the improvement of chronic low back pain can be reached by performing lumbar stabilization exercise with thoracic extension exercise.
See examples of lumbar stabilization exercises here.
After an intensive surgery, you don’t want to do any sort of intensive workout. Therefore back extensions are a great option when done slowly and carefully as they provide a low-impact alternative for those who are recovering from back injuries or who have limited mobility (1).
However, it’s important to consult with a doctor or physical therapist prior to starting any new exercise routine.
Mistakes To Avoid When Doing Back Extension Exercises
It’s important to avoid certain mistakes in order to get the most out of each and every workout especially when performing back extension exercises.
First, don’t overarch your lower back as this places unnecessary strain on the spine and may even lead to injury.
Secondly, make sure you are lifting your torso straight up and down instead of side-to-side or twisting without a tight core. Remember to always keep your core tight by bracing yourself with your abdominals before performing each exercise.
By avoiding these common mistakes you will be able to maximize the effectiveness of your back extension exercises while also avoiding any potential injuries or discomfort.
As you can see, back extension exercises provide numerous benefits for those who may suffer from lower back pain. They help to strengthen the lower back, improve muscular endurance, and stabilize the spine. If you continue to experience discomfort, you may want to consider physiotherapy for back pain. And remember, you should always consult your doctor before making any changes to your exercise routine.
For more workout ideas and information, check out our articles below and learn how you can improve your workout routine and reach your fitness goals!
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The 4 Best Exercises To Help Weight Loss
The 4 Types of Fitness To Improve Overall Health
This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. HealthVIPClub.com assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.