Lying Back Extension

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Lying Back Extension Exercise Guide

The lying back extension strengthens your lower back muscles. Performing this bodybuilding exercise on a regular basis may help reduce lower back pain. You can perform this lower back exercise anywhere without any special equipment.

We often take for granted the role that our lower back muscles play in our everyday mobility. So, while your lower back muscles need to be strong, they also need to be flexible. This exercise is good for both. We encourage you to try this exercise in many different variations mentioned below.

Laying Back Extension (Dorsal Raises) Exercise Instructions

STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Lie facedown on an open floor or mat with your arms extended out in front of you on the floor.

Lying back extension exercise

Lying back extension exercise

MOVEMENT (ACTION): Contract your lower back muscles to lift your arms and chest up off the floor as high as you can. The range of motion will be short. Squeeze your back muscles for a count, then slowly return to the initial position without resting your head on the floor.

Lying Back Extension Additional Tips & Key Points

  • You can also place your hands by the sides of your head, elbows out to the sides. Alternatively, your arms may be placed behind you, resting on your back.
  • Always slowly raise your hands, head, shoulders and upper chest from the floor. Don’t jerk your torso. This will be just a short distance.
  • Pull your abs in, as if you’re trying to create a small space between your stomach and the floor.
  • Remember to pause for a count of two at the top of the movement, then lower slowly to the floor.
  • Try to keep your head facing downwards to the floor in line with your spine.
  • Keep your legs relaxed on the floor.
  • Only raise yourself as far as is comfortable.

Exercise Variations

You can also perform the lying back extension by raising your legs off the floor simultaneously with your chest and arms for additional lower back stimulation as well as lower body involvement. Hold this final position for 1 to 5 seconds, keeping your head and neck at the same height as your shoulders throughout the movement. Extensions done this way are known as prone Supermans.

Prone Supermans - Lower Back Exercise

Prone Supermans – Lower Back Exercise

Furthermore, you can first simultaneously raise your left arm and your right leg, keeping them both straight. Hold for a count of two, then lower slowly to the floor. Repeat, raising the opposite arm and leg (right arm and left leg).

Face down opposite arm/leg raise

Face down opposite arm/leg raise

Finally, for added resistance, hold a light weight or a medicine ball in your extended arms as you perform the movement.

Muscle Engaged

The prone lying back extension exercise is a maneuver utilized to work the erector spinae and other smaller stabilizing muscles of the back.

Prone Back Extension Replacement Exercises

To add variety to your back workout routine, replace the lying back extension with a different exercise that works the same muscles (erector spinae).

Let’s look at the best lower back exercises for building muscle, strength, and flexibility.

Closing Thoughts About the Lying Back Extension

The lower back muscles rarely work through their full ROM (range of motion) during daily activities, nor during exercises for other muscle groups. While the lower back is often involved as a stabiliser in other exercises, such as squats, it is important to include a specific back extension movement in your back workout, which targets the muscles effectively and makes everyday activities easier to perform with less injury risk.

When you perform the lying back extension exercise, you should feel a mild pull or pressure build within the muscle, not a sharp pain. If you do feel a piercing pain, back off. Review the exercise description to make sure that you haven’t pushed your body too far and then try the movement again. If you still feel pain, seek medical advice before proceeding.

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