Back It Up: 90-Degree Back Extensions

With a typical back extension exercise you stop at 45 degrees; this variation of the movement works the lower back (specifically your erector spinae — the muscles that run the length of your back), lats, glutes, and hamstrings. But when you adjust the angle to 90 degrees you’re targeting more of the muscles you use when you perform squats and deadlifts — two important exercises often relied on to build strength and size. Additionally, doing this 90-degree variety first in your workout can help reduce your risk of developing back pain and enable you to sculpt stronger abs — a twofer! Work up to a 60-second hold to put a serious taxing on the core.

Get It Done

Situate yourself in a glute-ham bench. Aim to have the pad make contact about midway down your thigh to allow proper hip movement. Squeeze your glutes as you extend your body upward until it’s parallel to the floor. Hold yourself in that position for as long as possible. Keep your eyes forward and your back straight. When you feel your form break, return to the start position.

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