Back Hyperextension Roman Chairs

The Purpose of Back Hyperextensions

The back extension exercise is a maneuver utilized to work the erector spinae and other smaller stabilizing muscles of the back. Strengthening these muscles is important for a variety of reasons. Performing the back extension exercise properly will reduce the likelihood of injury and ensure that the target muscles are being worked. The back extension exercise is not safe for all individuals; there are important things to consider before performing the exercise.

Hyperextensions are an often overlooked exercise when it comes to increasing your core strength and adding muscle mass, and they can also be used in rehabilitation programs. To get the most benefit from hyperextensions, you need to know how to perform them, their different variations and where to fit them in to your routine.

Muscles Worked

Hyperextensions, or back extensions as they are also called, train your lower back muscles, particularly the erector spinae muscle, which is responsible for extending your spine. The top part of the movement includes a small amount of hip extension, which works your gluteal muscles. Your core and abdominals work throughout the exercise to keep your torso straight.


Strengthening your lower back and core muscles can aid in the management of back pain -- as your muscles get stronger, they are able to offer more support to your spine, which improves your posture and relieves pain. Charles Poliquin, owner of the Poliquin Performance Center for elite athletes says that the lower back is one of the most important muscle groups in the body, and strengthening it can lead to strength gains throughout your body. He recommends lower back exercises like hyperextensions to help boost overall strength and size.

Back extensions, whether done dynamically for reps or isometrically for time, are effective for developing strength and endurance in your erector spinae muscles. The erector spinae group runs along your spine and is responsible for extending your spine. Whether back extension reps or holds are better depends on your training goals. However, a comprehensive back strengthening workout is comprised of both.

With back extension holds, you’re developing isometric endurance in your erector spinae. Instead of your muscles shortening and lengthening as you perform reps, they maintain their length to keep you in a set position against resistance over time. This is how they have to work to keep your spine in proper alignment when you’re sitting and standing throughout the day. If your back suffers from isometric weakness, fatigue will prevent you from maintaining proper posture. In addition, during compound, multi-joint exercises where your erector spinae muscles have to hold your back straight, such as they do during deadlifts or squats, a lack of isometric strength can hinder your performance and lead to back problems.