Back extensions

Biceps femoris, short head Semitendinosus. Gluteus maximus

Quadratus lumborum lliocostalis lumborum

THE MOVEMENt

Lie facedown on a Roman chair and place the ankles under the roller pads. Because the axis of flexion passes through the coxofemoral joints, the pubic bone should not rest on the support pad:

• With the torso bent forward, extend the back to horizontal. Raise the head and continue into hyperextension by arching the lumbar spine. This must be performed carefully to protect your low back. This exercise mainly develops the group of parasplnal erectors of the spine (Iliocostales, longissimus thoracis, spinalis thoracis, splenius, and semispinals capitis) and quadratus lumborum and, to a lesser degree, the gluteus maximus and the hamstrings except for the short head of the biceps femoris. Complete flexion of the torso develops the flexibility of the lumbosacral mass. Supporting the pelvis on the bench, so that the axis is displaced to the back of the body, focuses the movement completely at the lumbosacral level but less intensely given the range of motion and the greater power of the lever arm. To Increase the Intensity, sustain the horizontal position of the torso at the end of the extension for a few seconds. Using an incline bench makes this exercise easier for beginners to execute.

VARIATION WITH A BAR ACROSS THE SHOULDERS

VARIATION EXTENDING AT AN INCLINE BENCH

Variations

» Performing the torso extension with a bar on the shoulders stabilizes the upper back, which focuses the effort on the lower part of the erector splnae muscles.

• The back extension machine allows you to focus on the lumbosacral mass of the spinal muscles (see page 88, Torso Extensions at a Machine).

• To increase the Intensity, perform the exercise while holding a weight to the chest or behind the neck.

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