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How to Do a Machine Back Extension: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

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The back stretcher or Roman chair is used for an isolation exercise that targets the lower back muscles, mainly spine erection. You lock your heel under a pad or roller with another pad to support your bottom as you lay face down. This facilitates flexibility at the waist.

The exercise requires you to bend at the waist and slightly at the hips, lowering your torso until your upper and lower body form a right angle. Extensions are usually performed as a bodyweight exercise, using only the upper body for load. The use of back stretchers is controversial because poor technique can lead to injury. It may be part of a booster program.

Target: Lower back muscles

Necessary equipment: Roman chair or back stretcher

Level: The one who started

How to make an extension back to the machine

Adjust the back extender so that your foot is securely hooked under the foot pedal. You need to make sure you have a good fit to stay firmly in place as you begin the hip bend. Place your lower body on the large pad provided for this purpose. You need to move far enough forward so that you can bend your upper body almost at a right angle. Cross your arms in front of your chest.

  1. Squeeze your abs while crossing your arms and keep your body in a horizontal position. Make sure that the ankle is well anchored.
  2. Slowly bend at the waist until the upper body is at a 90-degree angle to the lower body. Avoid arching your back and squeezing your glutes at the top.
  3. Extend to the starting position and raise only slightly so that the back is in a hypotensive state. Avoid arching your back and squeezing your glutes at the top.
  4. Return to starting position and repeat.
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Benefits of the machine back extension

The back extension strengthens the lower back. They complement abdominal exercises by providing the opposite movement of the core muscles that you do during crunches.

Targeted back extension machine spine erectionit’s three muscles: illiocostalis lumborum, longissimus chestand Spine. This bundle of muscles is located in a groove along the spine. These muscles lengthen your lumbar spine.

The synergy of the muscles used in the back extension is gluteus maximushamstrings, and adductor magnus. Stabilizer muscles used include back, shoulder, and neck muscles: biceps, triceps, biceps, deltoids, traps, pecs, and rhomboids.

You use these muscles whenever you lift an object from the ground. They are also important in maintaining good posture.

Other variations of the extension back to the machine

You can do this exercise in a variety of ways to meet your skill level and goals.

Extensions are back on the floor

Ben Goldstein / Model: Melissa Castro Schmidt


The Basic Weight Basics version of the back extension is a great place to start or a great alternative when you don’t have access to the gym.

  1. Lie face down on a solid surface.
  2. Keep your arms along your body, parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulder blades back and down. Alternatively, you can extend your arms straight over your head (pictured).
  3. Exhale and lift your arms, head, and chest off the ground.
  4. Keep your neck in a neutral position, looking down at the floor. Do not look up or to the side.
  5. Hold this pose for a count of one, squeezing your glutes together and contracting your abs.
  6. Return to starting position with control.

Stable ball return extension

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


You can do the back extension over a large stability ball the same way you would with the machine.

  1. Kneel on the floor in front of the stability ball.
  2. Lean your torso against the side of the ball.
  3. Extend your legs back one at a time and curl up by pressing your toes into the floor.
  4. Rest your hands on the ball by your ears, elbows facing out.
  5. Exhale and while pressing your feet into the floor to curl up, lift your chest and upper body off the ball.
  6. Squeeze your glutes and keep counting one.
  7. Inhale, lower back to a controlled starting position.

Standard Seat Back Extension

Use a standard bench to do the back stretch.

  1. Place dumbbells, kettlebells, or heavy weights on one end of the bench for stability.
  2. Lie face down on a bench, hips resting on opposite end of bench, arms crossed over chest.
  3. Exhale and extend your lower back, lifting your torso slightly parallel.
  4. Inhale, lowering your torso to a controlled starting position.

Weighted machine back extension

Adding a dumbbell plate to the machine’s back extension can enhance the challenge, helping you to progress the exercise.

  1. Pull in your abs while holding the dumbbells in front of your chest, arms crossed to keep them in place.
  2. Keep the body in a horizontal position. Make sure that the ankle is well anchored.
  3. Slowly bend at the waist until the upper body is at a 90-degree angle to the lower body. Avoid arching your back and squeezing your glutes at the top.
  4. Extend to the starting position and raise only slightly so that the back is in a hypotensive state. Avoid arching your back and squeezing your glutes at the top.

Common mistake

Poor technique can lead to injury when you use the back trainer. Avoid these errors.

Fast or jerky movements

You must keep your movements slow and controlled. No bounces or jerks. If you go too fast or use any forceful movements, you can strain your back muscles or compress your discs.

Lower blood pressure

Extend only until your back is level with your thighs. Do not overwork your back.

Excessive weight

It is safest to do this move with only your body weight. If you add weight, choose light weight.

Too many reps

Keep the volume of your practice low, such as no more than 10 reps for two sets.

Safety and Precautions

Do not use a back stretcher if you have a herniated disc. If you have any back problems, talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if this exercise is right for you. The action of the muscles is similar to lifting a heavy object off the ground. If you have been asked to restrict such activities, you should not use this machine.

One criticism of the back stretcher is that it isolates the lower back muscles too much, so your other muscles don’t support enough to protect your back. If you feel back pain or discomfort while doing this exercise, stop.

Aim for 8 to 15 repetitions, depending on your fitness level, but do no more than you can with proper form and no pain. Try 3 sets of 5 repetitions — more or less depending on the condition and strength of your back and abs.

Trial

Incorporate this and similar moves into one of these popular exercises:

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