It’s tough zeroing in and targeting your lower back. Most workouts don’t focus on the lower back but instead focus on the glutes or the hamstring, with the lower back being a coincidental addon.
Well, with back extensions, the lower back is the major muscle being worked. But should you even care about your lower back muscles?
(Spoiler: you should.)
Read more to find out how to back extensions work, why they’re important, why you should do Planet Fitness back extensions, and more.
Table of Contents
- What is a Back Extension?
- 4 Benefits of Back Extensions
- Why Planet Fitness?
- How to do Back Extensions at Planet Fitness
- Back Extensions at Planet Fitness
What is a Back Extension?
The back extension, sometimes called the hyperextension, is an exercise done by slowly raising and lowering your back without overarching. It works your:
- Erector spinae
- Lower back
You can also do it in a variety of different ways using different equipment. Some equipment includes the:
- 45 degrees back extension machine
- 90 degrees back extension machine (AKA roman chair)
- Seated back extension machine
- Stability ball
- The literal floor
- Weighted back machine extension
Note: A back extension machine is also called a hyperextension bench.
4 Benefits of Back Extensions
Why should you do a back extension in the first place? Just to improve your lower back muscles? What are they good for, anyway?
Well, there are many benefits to back extensions, but just to name a few:
1. It Improves Your Posture
I think we can all agree there is nothing more depressing than trying to show off your physique than bad posture. You do all the work to become fit and yet you’re still slouching over, spine crooked, shoulders to your ears, etc.
Well, one reason someone would have bad posture is weak lower back muscles. The erector spinae are three muscles that run along the length of your spine–without a strong erector spinae, the spine can have a hard time maintaining proper form.
Remember, the correct posture you want to aim for is shoulders back, chest out. Ears, hips, shoulders, and knees all should align when you stand, while the hips and shoulders are even.
If this isn’t your current posture, then it’s time to look at back extensions.
2. It May Help Relieve or Prevent Back Pain
According to a study published in the Lancet, the lifetime prevalence of low back pain is as high as 84% with chronic lower back pain landing somewhere around 23%.
I hope I don’t need to tell you that that’s a lot of back pain.
The reason most people feel back pain is because of weak lower back muscles. With back extensions, strengthening your back can relieve the pain and/or prevent further pain from developing.
Note: If you have a herniated disc or if you experience intense back pain, please consult a doctor before doing back extensions.
3. It Can Lead to Lifting More Weights
Everyone’s heard of a core workout, but what is your core? Well, your core is above your pelvis and under your ribs–the abdomen, the hip flexors, the diaphragm, and the back are all considered your core.
Powerlifting and Olympic lifting are good ways to work your core, both front, and back, but when you’re working those muscles simultaneously, it can be hard to tell which muscles are your weak point.
By adding back extensions to your Planet Fitness workout, you can work on strengthening your back individually, so that you can ensure your back muscles aren’t the group holding you back from the next level on primary movements like the squat and bench press.
4. It Maintains Your Lumbar Range of Motion
According to a study done in the journal Ergonomics, prolonged sitting can affect and limit your lumbar range of motion. Well, first off, what is a lumbar range of motion?
Your lumbar range of motion is basically how well you bend your spine without pain. It is measured by how far you can bend (range), how well you can bend (quality), and how painful it is for you to bend (pain).
There are also three types of lumbar range of motion:
- Extension (bending backwards)
- Flexion (bending forwards)
- Side flexion (bending side-to-side)
In short, if you’re someone stuck in an office job but still want to stay limber and flexible, back extensions can help you greatly.
Why Planet Fitness?
Now one might ask, why Planet Fitness? Why not do it at home or at another gym?
Well, at only $10 a month, it’s not one of the cheapest chain gyms but the cheapest chain gym around. And Planet Fitness usually has enough decent equipment like cable machines and back extensions to go around.
And even though Planet Fitness is often labeled as “bad”, other benefits include:
- A Judgement Free Zone.
- Free tootsie rolls and regular pizza nights
- Friendly employees
- Fewer risk of injury
Overall, Planet Fitness is a great place for those just beginning or those looking for cheap options to get fit.
How to do Back Extensions at Planet Fitness
Conveniently, Planet Fitness has a seated back extension machine. To use the machine at Planet Fitness you must:
- Adjust the footrest to your liking.
- Adjust the roller to your liking. Choose whatever’s most comfortable for you.
- Set the weight for what you want. (The weight for the back extension machine goes up to 250, so I advise you to not want anything past that.)
- Sit on the seat and slowly push back until your body is resting against the headrest of the machine.
- Slowly return to your starting position and repeat.
Note: Do not go too fast or over arch your back. Back extensions, like most workout exercises, should be done slowly and with proper form.
Again, ask your doctor first before doing a back extension if you have major back problems, like a herniated disc.
Back Extensions at Planet Fitness
The lower back is an often-overlooked muscle, but it’s actually a vital part of our health. If you want to work on your core, tone your back, work on your posture, and improve spine health, then you should do back extensions.
And if you want to have free tootsie rolls and pizza nights, as well as a nice gym environment, do back extensions at Planet Fitness. Your back will thank you for it.