January 13, 2022 10 min read
The back muscles are often exercised only when performing core workouts. This is quite the irony as the back muscles are one of the most important muscle groups in your body. Your ability to perform core and strength-training workouts properly depend on the strength and state of your back muscles.
For a smooth fitness journey, there are exercises that aim specifically to strengthen your back.
And because we have your back- pun unintended- we have provided you with one of the best back exercises you should include in your bro-split: Back extensions.
In the bid for an overall shredded look, many gym-goers tend to focus on building their mirror muscles. These muscles, mainly the arms, torso, and quads, are doted on, and the back muscles are often neglected.
To every fitness expert's dismay, most gym-goers do not understand that the back muscles are as important as other muscle groups.
Your spine bears the burden of your body weight and most of your body movement, so your back muscles should be given as much attention to as the rest of your 'mirror muscles' to ensure that you have the support and stability your body needs.
It is involved in your posture, whether you are standing or sitting and is also indicative of your body’s health, sending signals that translate to back pain.
Having a strong back improves the overall quality of life. It enables you to perform daily tasks efficiently, stabilizes your spine, and even goes a long way in the gym.So how does back extension help with stronger back?
When it comes to strengthening your back muscles, especially the lower back muscle groups, back extensions are a great exercise. Also known as hyperextension, the back extension is a maneuver designed to stretch your spine through flexion and extension.
The back extension machine is a simple piece of equipment that can help bulletproof your lower back
This fancy equipment helps angle your body while using your body weight and gravity as resistance to target the lower back muscles.Your back’s normal range of motion is about a 90-degree angle for flexion and a 30-degree angle for an extension. The back extension exercise helps you extend your back to approximately your entire range of 30-degree motion. This helps improve mobility, flexibility and works in the construction of your lower back muscles.
Although considered a lower back exercise, the effect of back extension exercises extends past the back muscle groups to engage other connected muscles.Contrary to popular opinion, your lower back is not one big slab of muscles but a network of individual muscles that work cohesively to help you move. Back extensions work the majority of these muscles that are one way or the other involved in flexibility, mobility, and body balance.
One of these muscles that are primarily targeted is the erector spinae.
The erector spinae is one of the biggest intermediate muscles of the back. It consists of 3 different driving muscles, which consist of the longissimus, iliocostalis and spinalis, all of which are involved in the movement and the carrying of heavy equipment.
The lower back is a thick band of muscle made up of a group of muscles and tendons directly connected to your spine.
The erector spinae runs almost the entire length. Its purpose is to bend backward and laterally to the side. It also helps maintain the normal healthy curvature of the spine and thus maintain better body posture.
The back extension exercise also works deep stabilizer muscles like the multifidus and semispinalis. These muscles are more proficient in the lumbar region and thus act as stabilizer muscles for most paths. It also engages the neck muscles that are activated due to the engagement of the lower back muscles.
The back extension exercise also works the hamstrings, shoulder, neck, biceps, triceps, delts, traps, pecs, and glutes muscles.
All of which are important to your functionality. Ultimately, to some extent, the back extension can be called a full-body exercise.
Compared to other exercises thought to target the back muscles, the back extension provides more benefits to the back muscles.Extension exercises are more isolated and primarily involve strengthening the back. The benefits of back extension exercises include:
Back extensions are tricky, so it's a good idea to employ the help of a spotter or personal trainer.
To do this exercise:
The back extension exercise can also be done in a Roman chair. Many bodybuilders prefer to hold weighted equipment like weight plates, kettlebells and dumbbells in their arms during this exercise. This acts as a better resistance and requires more effort in engaging your back. While this might sound difficult, it helps to strengthen the back.
There is a lot of focus and discipline to perform the back extension properly. Proper form is needed to engage and contract the lower back muscles properly, as this is the point of the exercise. A wrong form can lead to injuries on your lower back.
To avoid this, here are some tips to help you master back extensions:
There are various ways to work your back using back extension exercises. Some of these variations are simpler, and some will light your back muscles on fire.Here are some back extension variations that you can try.
This is a straightforward variation that can be used to prepare yourself for the back extension machine. The basic floor extension exercise does not require any equipment as it utilizes your body weight as a means of resistance.
To do this variation:
This essential exercise helps to strengthen the back like any extension exercise. It is scalable by raising the seconds per rep from 10 to 20,30, or more until you can beat your personal best. This variation is an excellent option for people with preexisting back pain.
This variation is an upgrade from the basic back extension as it involves both the lower back and glutes. It provides a deeper stretch than the basic floor back extension exercise. It is more challenging to the muscles and so should be done only when you are comfortable with the basic version.
To do this exercise:
As a cue to keep your neck relaxed yet in line with your spine, keep your gaze on the floor. Scale up your time when you begin to plateau.
As if the need to engage your core to target your lower back muscles is not enough, this variation requires body balance to avoid you spilling off the ball. Using a stability ball is as effective as any other back extension. It helps with the contraction of the lower back muscles, stability, mobility, and endurance.
To do this variation:
The twisting back extension is an elite back extension variation that targets your back and your core and obliques. This essential back extension machine exercise with an added twist to shake up an already effective extension workout.
To do this variation:
There are other back extension exercises tailored to strengthen your erector spinae and other connecting back muscles. You need to find the ones that suit your fitness journey and incorporate them into your back-day workout routine and training programs.
The state of your back can make or break your fitness journey. Back extension exercises are foundational for all other activities you might engage in at the gym. It is a splendid way to tone your waist, strengthen your core, hip flexors, and even get a great butt workout while at it.
A lot can go wrong when doing back extensions. It is essential to listen to your body while you are busy getting your back into it.
Here are some back extension variations to help you on your fitness journey for killer back muscles.