The musculature of the lower back is made up of the erector spinea muscles, also called spinal erectors. These are the muscles that meet the origin of the lats to create the “Christmas tree” shape at the lower back when doing a rear lat spread. The spinal erectors are also part of your core muscle groups and are actively involved in many exercises as either primary movers and/or stabilizers. The most effective and safest movement to train the low back is the hyperextension. When doing so, it is important to stabilize and immobilize the hips to reduce the involvement of the hamstrings. I consider hyperextensions to be safer than other low-back movements such as deadlifts because the compression forces on the lumbar spine are greatly reduced while doing hyperextensions. Warming up the low back with hyperextensions is a good idea, but actual training of the low back should be done last in a workout when other exercises involving the low back have been completed.
- Half Deadlift
- Modified Low-Cable Row
FORM AND FUNCTION
The origin of the erector spinae is at the sacrum and iliac crest. The insertion spans up the thoracic and cervical vertebrae. The function of the spinal erectors is to extend the vertebral column.
- Half Deadlift* | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8–12
- Modified Low Cable Row** | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10–12
- Hyperextension | SETS: 3 | REPS: 15–20
*Lift starts with bar supported at knee level.
**Arms remain straight, emphasizing lower-back movement.