Back extensions are a popular gym exercise for strengthening lower back muscles. However, you might not have access to this expensive piece of machinery. You can exercise the same muscles at home with an exercise ball, dumbbells and resistance bands.
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1. Resistance Band Deadlifts
Deadlifts strengthen muscles in your low back and legs. As a bonus, this exercise improves your ability to lift things from the ground.
- Stand on the middle of a resistance band with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand. There should be tension on the band when you are in a standing position.
- Keeping your back straight, bend forward at your hips. Your arms should hang in front of your shins. This is the starting position.
- Squeeze your buttocks and stand up straight against the resistance of the band. Your arms should remain close to your body throughout this movement. Do not pull on the band with your arms.
- Slowly lower back down and repeat 10 times. Work up to three sets in a row.
2. Extension on a Ball
Strengthen the back muscles that perform extension by lifting your body up against gravity.
- Lie over an exercise ball on your stomach. Position yourself so that the ball is resting on your abdomen and hips.
- Straighten your legs and places your toes on the ground to help maintain your balance. Cross your arms behind your head.
- Extend your back and lift your chest up as far as possible. Keep your hips in contact with the ball throughout this movement. Hold for two to three seconds; then relax. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets.
3. Prone Extension
The prone extension exercise resembles a person flying through the air.
- Lie on your stomach on a firm surface. Bring your legs together and reach your arms straight out overhead.
- Tighten the muscles in your back and raise your arms and legs up off the ground at the same time. Hold this position for two to three seconds; then relax. Repeat 10 times and work up to several sets in a row.
4. Seated Extension
Perform the back extension exercise from a seated position with your legs stretched out in front of you. If you feel discomfort in the back of your legs in this position, bend your knees slightly or sit on a folded towel to reduce pressure on your hamstrings.
- Sit on a firm surface. Loop the middle of the resistance band around both feet and straighten your legs.
- Hold one end of the band in each hand and bend your elbows. Keep your hands close to your chest throughout this exercise.
- Slowly lean back against the resistance of the band, as far as possible. Hold for two to three seconds and then slowly sit back up. Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets.
Read more: Lower Back and Hip Strengthing Exercises
5. Good Mornings
Good mornings are back extension exercises that resemble a stretch you might perform first thing in the morning.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing toward you. Bend your elbows and rest the dumbbells on top of your shoulders.
- Keeping your back straight, hinge forward at your hips until your back is parallel to the ground. Keep your knees straight throughout this exercise. Hold this position for two to three seconds; then stand back up.
- Repeat 10 times and work up to three sets in a row. If your back is rounding during this exercise, perform it without dumbbells until you are able to keep your back straight throughout the movement.