Back Extension


The back extension is a sought-after movement performed by people who are experiencing back problems and who prefer to maintain proper back health. This exercise is a great help in averting potential back strains and lower back pain and in increasing muscle tone and muscle mass in the back.

It works out by stretching the muscles and building up core strength for a more developed lower back and for a more balanced midsection. Just a precaution when doing this exercise, since it may lead to back injury when not properly performed.

To begin with this movement, you must lie down flat on your abdomen, facing the ground with legs slightly apart and arms straight at both sides. You lift up your upper body, including your chest and shoulders, and you flex down your hips, while you exhale deeply. Upon inhaling, gradually lower your upper body down, finishing off one complete repetition.

The steps are deemed easy as long as you put your breathing rhythms together with the movement. If you are having difficulty lifting your upper body, you may increase the distance between your legs, and slowly decrease as you lift higher.


The back extension primarily targets the lower back muscles because the latter are the only ones being stretched as you lift up your chest and shoulder.

The back extension exercise strengthens your lower back and stretches it, resulting to more flexibility. A strong back leads to great stability and mobility, especially when you carry on with your daily routine. It also heals your back from prolonged sitting and slouching, which all contribute to constant lower back pain.

Sets and Repetitions

A variation of this exercise is utilizing a plastic exercise ball or a gym ball as alternate to the lying down phase. You would be kneeling on the gym ball and put your hands at the back of your head. Lean forward and straighten your body as your torso touches the ball. You also use your toes to balance yourself on the ball.

For beginners, you should be able to finish 10 repetitions with each repetition lasting for around 15 seconds to hold on to the lifting position. For advanced, a total of 15 to 20 repetitions is enough with the same 15-second time, holding on to the lifting position.

Related Movements

Performing some of the movements that integrate with the back extension can speed up your chance to have strong back muscles. The inverted rows, cable face pull and dumbbell raises are among the exercises that you can do with the back extension, however all of these suggested movements require the use of equipment such as dumbbells for the dumbbell raises, bar with a rack or smith machine for the inverted rows, and rotating pulley with a rope or cable for the cable face pull

Related Foods

Consuming food that gives off sufficient energy is essential because your body needs energy to carry on with the back extension exercise. Brown rice with black rice, sweet potatoes and bananas are the common food to be eaten before a workout. Protein shake, chickpeas and chicken breasts are among the foods that are rich in protein and are eaten after a workout.

Celebrity Use

Celebrity trainer, Joe Dowdell, is one of the most-sought after trainers in the world, wherein he advises workout enthusiasts to balance the workouts for your body. Back exercises are important and must be given value because they strongly contribute to the improvement of the posture. The back extension is one of the back exercises that he recommends in order to achieve muscle strength in the back.

Functional Use

You would be able to continue with your daily routines or usual exercises without experiencing back pain. The improvement is manifested by having a stable well-shaped back that has been stretched for increased flexibility. The pain and muscle strain are reduced and/or prevented in your lower back after a regular performance of the back extension. Furthermore, your posture is getting better as you age.