I like this exercise I incorporate it in 2 X per week . On my back & leg days! Try it and post a comment below! Let me know your thoughts and or questions!
By Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Your back can be made more vulnerable to injuries if your job requires you to sit for long periods of time. This causes your hamstrings to shorten and pulls on the pelvis to impact the middle and lower back muscles, which increases the potential for shoulder, lower and middle back injury if the wrong stress comes along. One of the beautiful things about the hyperextension with dumbbell lateral raise is that almost every fiber in the back is activated in this exercise while also activating the hamstrings along the way.
This exercise will help your posture, strengthen your lower and middle back, and improve the quality of your entireupper body. Not only will your back look great from your hips to your neck, your back strength will protect you and reduce the chance of ever getting a back injury. You will find the isometric contractions in the lower back tough at first, but soon you will see a real difference.
Hyperextension of the vertebrae occurs when the extension goes beyond the point where the spine is in a straight line with the hip. Generally, excessive “hyper” in back extension exercises should be avoided because this can compress the vertebral disks and the nerves that exit between the vertebrae. However, the extension part of the exercise will activate all of the muscles along the spine.
Proper Exercise Form
1. Lie face down on a hyperextension bench. Place the posterior, lower part of your leg under the leg pads so that it rests just above the ankles and Achilles tendon.
2. Lie facedown so that your upper thighs lie on across the wide pad. You should be able to flex at your waist without any restrictions.
3. Flex your waist so that your torso starts perpendicular to the floor. Take a light dumbbell in each hand and lift them from the floor. In a controlled fashion, extend your back until your body is parallel to the floor. This will be your starting position for the next part of the exercise.
4. Lift the dumbbells upwards as high as possible. Keep them moving laterally to the side. At a minimum, your armsshould be parallel to the floor at the top position.
5. Hold the position at the top for a count of two, then slowly lower the dumbbells back toward the floor. Keep your upper body tight with your back parallel to the floor.
6. After completing your set of 10-12 repetitions and with the dumbbells landing toward the floor, lower your upper body back to the position where the waist is flexed.
7. Place the weights on the floor and take a short rest before starting into the next set. Repeat the series by slowly raising your torso parallel to the floor and completing the next series of dumbbell lateral raises.
Try to keep your upper and lower body in a straight line. You should also avoid jerking the weight to get things going. Keep each movement slow and controlled and avoid any swinging of your torso upwards so that you do not invite injury.
If you work carefully and with smooth, strict movements, your shoulders and entire back will respond by strengthening and firming. In addition, the muscles of your middle back (between the shoulder blades) will be strengthened and toned by hyperextensions with dumbbell lateral raises.
Illustrations by William P. Hamilton, CMI
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