Core Training

Athletic training for weightlifter Part 4 – Back extensor muscles

Every weightlifter has been sore in their lower back and has complained over a hard or stiff back extensor muscle from time to time. The Musculus erector spinae is one of the largest muscles of the back and is located along the spine. Its main role is to raise and extend the spine. Together with the abdominal muscles, the back extensor muscle forms the core and is part of almost every movement of the body.

Within weightlifting there is no exercise for which you won’t need a good core stability, to perform it effectively and correctly. The training of the back extensor and the abdominal muscles have to be balanced to achieve the best core stability possible. Because of the strain on the back extensor within weightlifting, the lower back has to be strengthened as a connection between the upper body and the lower body, to prevent a backache.

1. Superman

This is a classic exercise to train the back extensor with no further equipement needed. The athletes lays face down on the ground and extends the arms and legs. Then the legs and arms are lifted up while under tension and slowly released. Quick and sudden movements should be avoided. Advanced athletes can make this exercise harder by taking weight.


2. Back Extensions

For the classic back extension you can use a 45° bench or when you train in a crossfit box a GHD should be a basic equipment. This additional exercise is very functional to train the musculus erector spinae isolated. Performing this exercise, the back stays straight and under tension. The movement is static. The upper body gets slowly lowered till it forms a 90° angle with the lower body. Then raised again till the upper body forms a 180° angle withe the legs. The arms should be crossed over the chest to prevent every kind of over extension. Advanced athletes can use weight, a barbell on the neckor a plate an the chest,make this exercise very hard and give the body a new stimuli for the lower back.


3. Good Mornings

This exercise should be performed with only a low weight as a beginner. A correct movement is necessary because this exercise is not as easy as it seems. Not only the back extensor gets trained, the muscles of the buttock and the backside of the thighs as well. The connections between the back and legs get strengthened. The athlete is positioned with a hip-wide stance and the barbell is placed on the neck. The upper body gets only lowered through the movement of the hip joint. The upper body stays under tension, so as the abdominal muscles to maintain a stability within the core. There should be no rounding of the back at all with this exercise. If so, the weight has to be immediately reduced. The movement is similar to the regular back extension, the lower body is not fixed within this exercise, this makes the movement way more difficult and requests a high amount of body control and body tension.

It is important that the isolated training of the lower back is combined with a training of the abdominal muscles. The Abdominals are the opponent of the lower back and so as with a lot of other muscles, they have to be well balanced. The best way is to train those both antagonists after a barbell training combined.







Crossfit and weightlifting athlete