4 Benefits of a Back Extension Machine

Whether you are overweight or obese Body weight exercisesYou can’t deny the benefits of back extension machines.

The back extension machine may be one of the most divisive and controversial machines in the gym. Because it requires some skill to use, many gym-goers can be intimidated when approaching this strength training machine. But if you learn to use it correctly, it will target and tone your lower back, abdominals and surrounding muscle groups like nothing else.

Circle up, fitness enthusiasts—it’s time to meet your next best gym buddy. Below, we’ll teach you how to use the back extension machine to reap the four killer benefits of this gym floor staple.

Back extension machine basics

Even if you’ve only hit the gym once in your life, there’s a good chance you’ve seen a back extension machine.

Upright back extension machines are made with padded foot rests where you anchor your ankles before use. Further up, a large pad supports your lower torso, allowing you to bend your waist over the machine.1

Using the standard upright back extension machine exercise requires three basic steps:

  1. Lie on the machine with your front facing the floor, anchoring your feet at the ankles
  2. Bend your upper body over the machine until your torso forms a 90° angle with your trunk.
  3. Lift your upper body towards the ceiling, pause and slowly return to your starting position

The back extension machine allows you to work against gravity, thereby strengthening your lower back and abdominals. While this exercise requires no equipment other than a machine and your body weight, you can always add a weight plate for more resistance.

Now, let’s touch on four benefits of using this seemingly simple exercise to optimize your workout.

#1 Helps build lower back strength

One of the biggest benefits a back extension machine offers is what it is primarily designed for: strengthening your lower back. The machine engages the critical mass of muscles just above your waist, strengthening and building them.

Why is that important?

Because in many ways, lower back strength is the foundation of your entire body’s muscles. From walking to running to picking up toddlers, these muscle groups are critical to your mobility (literally).

Using a lower back extension machine to build your lower back muscles can help:2

  • stability – Your spinal column is braced by your back muscles. They keep your spine supported, promote mobility, and relieve some of the stress your spine takes to keep you upright.
  • pose – A strong lower back is essential to maintain proper posture. When your lower back muscles are in good shape, they are able to help the rest of you to ensure proper alignment.

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#2 Can help prevent lower back pain

Another benefit of back extension exercises is that it helps prevent lower back pain. As we mentioned above, the strength of your lower back is directly related to the quality of your posture. And that improved posture comes with some very desirable benefits of its own—like, helping prevent pain in your lower back.2

As we regularly sit, stand, or walk around with drooping shoulders and a hunched upper back, it’s not uncommon to experience scattered or ongoing pain around your lumbar spine. Whether you notice discomfort in your daily life or when you’re working out, the back extension machine can help offset the pinch and make your fitness goals more attainable.

#3 Helps build related muscles

While your lower back will reap the most rewards from using a back extension machine, your other important core muscles will also benefit. When you use a back extension machine, you bend your supported upper body over the machine and use your own body to resist the weight. This inverted sit-up engages your muscles:1

Working these muscles in this simple exercise helps you combine workouts and target multiple muscle groups at once.

#4 Fast-tracks your other fitness goals

If you hit the gym hard on ab day and need a session or two off, using an extension back machine can help keep your abs engaged between workouts.1

True, your lower back muscles do most of the work when you’re on the back extension machine — but if you’re doing the exercise correctly by bending over and rising slowly, you should be working your abs, too. By doing so, you’ll be working toward two of the biggest overarching goals of many fitness enthusiasts:

  • Strengthening their roots
  • Build overall muscle and definition

From preventing back pain and working multiple muscle groups to being a simple exercise, adding workouts to your routine is worth it.

Keep your back with Choose Fitness

Interested in trying a back extension machine but not sure where to start? Our fitness experts Choose Fitness It’s ready to teach you how to use it like a pro.

When you make Chuze Fitness a part of your workout routine, you’re not just joining a gym—you’re joining a fitness community with the support you need to achieve and exceed your physical fitness goals. From weighted training turf workouts to barre and pilates, there’s something for everyone.

Take advantage of our premium machines or work up a sweat Fitness class With trainers who push you to perform at your best or tune in to one of our curated workouts Playlist To inspire your next sweat session. However you move, we’re here to hold you. Use us gym near me Features today to find a Chuze location near you.

Got a busy schedule or can’t make it to a location? Use us Ichuz Anytime, anywhere fitness and wellness app.

Reviewed by:

Ani is Vice President of Fitness at Chuz Fitness and oversees the Group Fitness and Team Training departments. He had a 25+ year career in club management, personal training, group exercise and instructor training. Annie lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and loves hot yoga, snowboarding and all things wellness.


  1. Fits very well. How to Do a Machine Back Extension: Correct Form, Modifications, and Common Mistakes https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-do-the-machine-back-extension-3498285
  2. Livestrong. What are the benefits of back exercises? https://www.livestrong.com/article/152070-what-are-the-benefits-of-back-exercises/

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