Let me guess. If you had to choose between the fast, exhilarating cardio workout that gets you amped up or the slow and steady weight training routine that you dread, you will always pick the cardio.
While the back extension sure sounds like it would be working your back, its focus is actually on extending the lower back at the climax of each rep to help strengthen the spinal erectors.
While these moves are great for professional powerlifters, an average weight-lifter is not usually trying to go for these hyperextension moves. Average weight lifters would need extra work to learn about hyperextending their lower backs. The goal instead should be to minimize any movements at the lower back and create larger movements with the hip area. This exercise would be better suited to be referred to as hip extensions.
A new way of getting a great exercise for your butt can be referred to as a "back extension." The focus of this exercise is largely on purely the hip extension, making it arguably of one the best glutes exercises out there.
Here are some tips to get the most benefit out of this workout.
1. Turn your feet out 45-degrees
Holding your feet at a 45* position rotations the hips out, creating a need for the glutes to work harder. It is difficult, but important, for your hamstrings to help maintain this setup, which leaves your glute muscles alone.
2. Round your upper back
While we have always heard to never round our spines, here, we are only rounding the middle of the back, which allows you to create a backwards pelvic tilt to limit any lower back movements and maximizes the motions of the hips. This technique does come along with a shorter range of motion, however, your glutes will become activated a lot more than they would if you chose to use the typical approach.
3. Add weight
When your body is straight, cross your arms in front of you and add a weight plate for extra resistance.
4. Slowly bend forward at the waist while keeping your back flat.
Breathe in motion with this movement. Move forward until you feel a stretch on the hamstrings, and you can not keep going without rounding your back.
It is important to never round the back during this exercise. While some people may be able to go farther than others, it is best for you to allow your body to do the motions that it is comfortable with doing. Some people can easily go farther than others, but the key thing is to do as much as your body allows without rounding your back.
5. Slowly return your torso to the initial position as you inhale.
Try to avoid the temptation of arching your back past a straight line. It is also important to refrain from swinging the torso during the movement to protect the back from getting injured.
There are many factors that make this a beneficial exercise. First, you are able to choose if you want to do higher reps with your body weight or lower reps with extra weights. This is is so versatile that people often add in band tension to the stretch as well. Adding band tensions helps to create peak tension at the top of the exercise when the hips are fully extended. This exercise can be tailored is many ways to suit your needs, which should allow this exercise to become a staple in your exercise routine.