The Lower Back and Lying Hyperextensions

Hyperextensions can help strengthen low back muscles.
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Lying hyperextensions can strengthen the lower back and prevent low back injury, according to Muscle Mag Fitness. Health professionals also recommend core-strengthening exercises like lying hyperextensions for help in managing chronic low back pain. The two most common ways to do lying hyperextensions include using an exercise ball or a hyperextension bench.

How It's Done

    If using a hyperextension bench, adjust it so that the fronts of your hip bones rest on the top pad. Make sure that your feet are secure, place your hands behind your head and lower your upper body toward the floor. Only lower to the point of mild stretching in your hamstrings; going too far down at first can overstress your low back. Straighten your upper body until it is in line with your legs.

The Benefits

    Strengthening your low back is just as important for core strength as working the abdominal muscles. Lying hyperextensions work your erector spinae specifically, as well as surrounding stabilizing muscle groups. Lying hyperextensions can help the low back more easily withstand the impact of running or jogging. Performing lying hyperextensions as a part of a regular exercise routine can ease the ache associated with sedentary desk jobs. The Mayo Clinic recommends core-strengthening exercises, such as hyperextensions, to ease chronic low back pain.

Alternative Methods

    You can do this exercise using an inflated exercise ball. If you use the ball, brace your feet against the wall and position your body so that your thighs, the front of your hip bones and your lower waist rest on the ball. Position your hands behind your head and perform the exercise as if you were using the hyperextension bench. You can also hold a light hand weight to your chest while performing this exercise.

Risks and Tips

    Some professionals advise against doing lying hyperextensions on the floor and arching backward, because this position puts an added strain on the intervertebral discs in your lower spine. When using the exercise ball or hyperextension bench, be conscious of keeping your low back straight. Try not to let it round, since this makes your low back more vulnerable to injury. Use a slow and controlled movement to minimize risk of injury and get the most out of the exercise. Also try to hold the position for a few seconds before lowering back down for optimal strength.

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