How to do Floor back extensions and raises correctly to avoid injury

  • By: gymtrix
  • Date: January 7, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Also referred to as “hyperextension,” the technique is designed to stretch the spine with flexion and extension movements using a tool such as the back extension machine.

This piece of equipment helps guide your body’s position as you use gravity and your body weight for resistance training to target lower back muscles.

The recommended range of motion for your back normally includes 90 degrees of flexion and a 30-degree angle for an extension; however, extended movements during a back extension workout can provide an even wider range than the baseline 30-degree angle.

Not only do regular back extensions help improve mobility and flexibility, but they also play a crucial role in toning the lower back muscles.

How to do Floor back extensions and raises correctly to avoid injury

What Muscles does the Back Extension Work?

Back extension exercises are an important part of a strong workout routine due to the fact they target the erector spinae muscle.

This muscle is important in providing flexibility, mobility, and balance throughout our bodies.

The erector spinae consists of 3 key muscles, the longissimus, iliocostalis, and spinalis. When targeted appropriately with back extension exercises, these muscles can be strengthened.

A full body workout takes into account these valued muscles and how their strength contributes to overall wellbeing.

The lower back plays an incredibly important role in allowing us to move throughout the day with ease.

It is made up of a collection of muscles and tendons that are connected directly to our spine, most notably the erector spinae muscle group. This group is responsible for bending backward and laterally to the side.

Additionally, their purpose is to keep the spine’s normal curvature healthy by maintaining it. Taking care of our lower back by way of stretching, exercise and correct posture can help support our overall well-being now, and into the future.

The back extension exercise is an ideal full-body workout, engaging many muscle groups including the multifidus and semispinalis in the lumbar region, neck muscles activated during lower back engagement, hamstrings, shoulders, biceps and triceps, delts, traps, pecs and glutes.

This exercise is more than just a strength-building maneuver; it also improves our overall balance and stability making it both effective and long-lasting.

With regular practice of this exercise, users can expect to see drastically improved posture while feeling even sturdier on their feet.

Back Extension Exercise Benefits

Back extension exercises provide more focused and beneficial workout to the back muscles than most other exercises.

Since the motion involved in a back extension is isolated and primarily concentrates on strengthening these muscles, this form of exercise can help prevent injuries in other areas of the body.

With a routine of back extension exercises, individuals will be able to build muscle and improve their posture.

Back extension exercises can be an effective way to reduce lower back pain, as they target the erector spinae muscles that are responsible for posture and motion.

Additionally, engaging in these exercises can aid in building strength throughout the posterior chain of muscles from the glutes and hamstrings to the lower back.

Furthermore, this form of exercise helps improve hip extension and core strength, which benefits your body’s overall flexibility and movement.

Consequently, participating in back extension exercises can result in better overall health and performance.

Poor posture is a common outcome of many daily activities and can be detrimental to overall health if left uncorrected.

Fortunately, back extension exercises are an effective way to combat these issues by strengthening the back muscles.

Scheduling regular back extensions into your routine will improve muscle balance, making it easier for the body to maintain good posture no matter what you are doing.

For those looking for a bit more of a challenge with their back extensions, they can be increased in intensity or focus on particular areas of the body as desired. Ultimately, they can help anyone make great strides toward achieving better posture.

How To Do Back Extensions (Form)

Step-by-Step Guide to Perform the Back Extension Exercise: 

Step 1: Approach a back raise machine that is set to a 45-degree angle. Adjust the padding for the legs so that you can bend from your spine without difficulty.

Step 2: Position yourself on the machine by resting your upper thighs on the support pad and lock your ankles behind the ankle padding.

Step 3: Stand up tall, brace your core, and keep your spine and neck in neutral alignment with your hips and shoulders facing forward. This is the start position.

Step 4: You can choose to keep your arms across your chest or hold a light weight in front of you with both hands extended outwards from the chest level. 

Step 5: From this position, begin bending at the hips while keeping your legs relatively straight (a slight bend in the knees is acceptable). Focus on engaging the glutes throughout this motion and avoid arching of the lower back as much as possible throughout this exercise

Step 6: Descend until you feel a stretch along your hamstrings; you do not need to go all way down if it is too uncomfortable for you or if it causes strain on lower back muscles 

Step 7: Pause for 2 – 3 seconds before beginning an ascending motion, pushing through heels firmly as you extend out of flexion at hip joint 

Step 8: Pause for 2-3 seconds at full extension before repeating step 6 for the desired number of repetitions.

Frequently asked Questions

What is the best way to do back extensions?

The best way to do back extensions is by using proper form. This means keeping your head, neck, and spine in line, and using your abdominal muscles to stabilize your body. Additionally, use a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level and start with just a few repetitions.

How often should I do back extensions?

There is no set answer for how often you should do back extensions. However, most experts recommend doing them two to three times per week. This will give your muscles time to recover between workouts.

Are there any risks associated with doing back extensions?

While back extensions are generally safe, there is always a risk of injury when doing any type of exercise. To help avoid injury, use proper form and start with a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level. If you experience any pain during these exercises, stop immediately and consult a doctor or physical therapist.

I have lower back pain. Can back extensions help?

Yes, back extensions can help improve posture and relieve lower back pain. However, it’s important to use proper form to avoid injuring your spine. If you’re new to these exercises, start with just a few repetitions and use a weight that is appropriate for your fitness level. As you become more comfortable with the exercises, you can increase the number of reps and the amount of weight you use.

I’m pregnant. Can I do back extensions?

While back extensions are generally safe, it’s always best to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. Additionally, pregnant women should avoid using weights when doing back extensions. Instead, focus on using proper form and start with just a few repetitions. As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to modify these exercises or stop doing them altogether.


The back raise or hyperextension is a fantastic way to target your lower back muscles and glutes so that you can improve your overall body strength.

It also focuses on the often neglected hamstring muscles, giving them more attention and helping you achieve long-term results.

As with all exercises, it is important to take each movement slowly and pay close attention to form in order to ensure safety.

By gradually increasing the reps and weight over time, you can see significant improvements in your muscular development and strength.

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