How To Do A GHD Back Extension For A Stronger Back
If have you access to a GHD or glute-ham developer, then you can consider yourself very lucky. If you have access to one and aren’t making use of it then you should certainly think about doing so.
The GHD is an extremely versatile piece of equipment and can be used to target all of those super important muscles that make up your “core”. Traditionally, as the name suggests, the GHD is used to target your glute and hamstring muscles primarily.
However, it can also be used to train your abs and your lower back muscles. The lower back muscles are what I will be focusing on in this article. I will also show you exactly how to use the glute-ham developer to perform a GHD back extension and really strengthen your lower back.
Why Is A Strong Lower Back Important?
The reason this article will be concentrating on the GHD back extensions is that building a strong lower back should be a priority in any strength routine.
The muscles of your lower back are there extend your spine when you are lifting objects from the floor. They are also there to support your spine and prevent injuries to it.
Many people neglect lower back training because the muscles of the lower back aren’t deemed to be particularly aesthetic or impressive. Neglecting to strengthen your lower back is a huge mistake and can seriously hamper the training of your other body parts.
Important exercises like deadlifts, squats, rows and overhead presses all require a strong set of lower back muscles if you want to get the very most out of them. On top of that, injuring your back because of weakness means that you will probably have to stop performing many of those exercises altogether.
Back pain is one of the most common causes of GP visits. Strengthening those muscles with exercises like the GHD back extension will reduce the risk of future injury and back pain.
How To Perform A GHD Back Extension
The GHD machine has a few different adjustments so getting the position perfect may take a bit of trial and error. What you are aiming for in your body to be in a straight line, parallel to the floor and with your whole trunk in front of the pads when you are in the start position.
Here Is The Step-By-Step Guide:
- Set the GHD machine to allow for the following when lying in a prone position over the pads:> Body is in a completely straight line and is parallel to the floor.> Your hip crease is over the edge of the pad.> You are able to bend forward to a 90-degree angle over the pad.
- Once in position with your feet locked, flex at your hip crease so that your trunk bends to a 90-degree angle over the pad
- . Reverse the movement by keeping your legs completely straight and extending only your lower back
- . Ensure you keep your glutes engaged throughout the movement and you do not over-extend your lower back at the top of each rep.
GHD Back Extension Tips
Although the movement itself is relatively simple, there are a few things you can do and need to be aware of to get the most out of it.
Firstly, you should be sure that your legs remain straight and you don’t bend your knees as you come up during each rep. Bending your knees will bring your hamstrings into the movement instead of focusing on your lower back.
As mentioned earlier, you also want to avoid overextending your lower back as you come up. Bring yourself to the point where you are able to squeeze your glutes firmly and no further. I recommend a slight pause at the top of each rep to contract your lower back and glutes.
If you want to give yourself more of a challenge and really build some serious back strength, you can use some external resistance. Holding a plate at your chest, using a resistance band or even setting a barbell on the floor and gripping it like a deadlift are all ways you can overload this movement.
Final Thoughts On The GHD Back Extension
I am a big advocate of strengthening your lower back since it can benefit you in one way or another, not matter what your goals are. I especially like back extension type exercise such as the GHD back extension as they really target your lower back.
Many other lower back strengthening exercises will also rely heavily on your hamstrings and glutes. The GHD back extension is much more of a lower back isolation exercise.
I suggest giving them a try on your back or lower body days after you complete your main movements. You can experiment with the rep ranges and make use of some form of resistance if you wish to do some lower rep work.
What do you think of the GHD machine and in particular using it for back extensions? I would be most interested in your opinions so leave a quick comment below and share your thoughts!