Back Extension Variations

The Back Extension is one of the most underrated movements in the gym to strengthen the muscles of the posterior chain.

It is also quite versatile, and you can transform the nature of the movement using a few simple tweaks. Here’s a few different variations you can incorporate:  

UNILATERAL: Here each leg works individually which allows for superior isolation. It also requires significantly greater strength as the one leg takes all the load. Naturally, this is a challenging progression not suited for beginners. 

ROUNDED BACK: Here the upper mid back is rounded to decrease it’s contribution to the movement. As a result the hips are the primary drivers of the motion and you only raise up to the point where the Glutes maximally contract. 

PRISONER: Here the hands are placed behind the head which alters where your body mass is distributed. As more load is placed further away from the mid point, you have to apply more force to generate motion. 

BANDED: Peak resistance in a standard Back Extension is at the mid point of the movement. Here your back is parallel to the floor with gravity acting downwards. As you move past the mid point, it becomes progressively easier as you approach the top. We can alter this via the addition of a band which increases in tension the higher we move.