Primary Muscle Group: lower Back, Glutes
Secondary Muscle Group: Hamstrings
Equipment Needed: Hyperextension Machine
The Benefits of Back Extensions
The back extension is an exercise used to build lower back strength that also targets the hamstrings and glutes. It is often performed on a 45-degree bench with the feet anchored. Unweighted back extensions are often performed for high reps, such as 15-20 reps or more, but the movement can also be performed with added weight in lower rep ranges, such as 8-12 reps per set.
Some of the benefits you can gain from Back Extensions;
Builds size and strength in the hamstrings and glutes.
Increases lower back strength and muscular endurance.
Can be progressed by holding weights or adding band resistance.
Effective posterior chain training without loading the spine, unlike a deadlift or squat.
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The Risks of doing Back Extensions
When doing Back Extensions, it’s important to adjust the leg settings on the back extension machine. If your legs are straightened or bent too much, you are at risk for injury. Also, if you are using added weight, when you return an upright position, lower weight completely before leaning back again.
Focus on maintaining a straight spine throughout the movement because hyperextending and arching your spine as you lean back will put stress on your back, putting you at risk of an injury.
How To Do Back Extensions
1. Setup in a hyperextension machine with your feet anchored and torso roughly perpendicular to your legs at a 45-degree angle.
2. Begin in a hinged position with your arms crossed and initiate the movement by flexing your glutes.
3. Extend the hips and finish with your body in a straight line.
4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
For Perfect Technique
If you can’t seem to feel your glutes activating, palpate the musculature with your hands and focus on pausing the movement at the peak of contraction.
If you find one glute has less contractility than another, perform twice as much volume on that side relative to the other with unilateral variations until you have established an efficient mind/muscle connection.
Once you have mastered the Back Extensions exercise you can try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Close Grip Lat Pull Downs
1. Attach a wide grip handle to the lat pulldown machine and assume a seated position.
2. Grasp the handle with a pronated grip (double underhand) at shoulder width.
3. Initiate the movement by depressing the shoulder blades and then flexing the elbow while extending the shoulder.
4. Pull the handle towards your body until the elbows are in line with your torso and then slowly lower the handle back to the starting position under control.
5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
How To Do T-Bar Rows
1. Load the bar with plates. To help perfect your form, start with a lighter weight and work your way up.
2. Straddle the bar, facing the handle and bend forward from the hips, knees slightly bent.
3. Grab the handles with an overhand grip, about shoulder-width apart. You can change up the move by using an underhand grip. If you're using a barbell setup, you will grab the handle with a neutral grip where the palms of your hands face each other.
4. Pull toward your torso. Pause at the end of the movement; then lower to the starting position. Your arms will be fully extended.