The Back Extension (Much too often confused with Hip Extension)
We have programmed the back extension quite frequently as of late due to the arising need to increase the strength of the erectors for each athlete. This movement is often confused with hip extension. Here is a breakdown:
- Set up so that the pelvis is trapped on the pads.
- Without any movement in the hip, extend and flex at the trunk only.
- Range of motion will differ between athletes based on mobility of spine.
The hamstrings and glute muscles are working to isometrically stabilize the pelvis. When you are under a load while trying to lift heavy or to complete as fast as possible, not being able to maintain stability of the midline will result in inefficient movement at best and injury at worst.
If we are trying to isometrically hold the spine then why train a movement that emphasizes trunk flexion and extension? Building up the muscles while developing the “hardware” of the CNS to activate those muscles are going to enhance your ability to keep the spine neutral while under load.
If you are in the gym on a day that there are not back extensions programmed, then hit 2-3 sets in your warm up before class. Try to build up to 25 super strict and slow reps. Before long, your lower back muscles will look and feel like steel cables and be bombproof!