The Horizontal DB Back Extension primarily strengthens the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and the erector spinae muscles of the lower back. The muscles of the middle and upper back, the abdominal muscles, and the hamstrings are also recruited as stabilizers.
The hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and erector spinae are the primary muscles that compose what is commonly referred to as the posterior chain. These muscles function in concert with each other, and it is neither possible nor normal to isolate one muscle group from another in natural movement patterns.
The most complicated issue for beginners in this exercise is getting into the bench itself. Begin by standing on the horizontal footplate of the back extension bench. Place your hands on the pad in front of you, or on the support bars. Next, slide one foot at a time between the roller pad of the bench and the vertical footplate. Extend your legs, and flex your hips so that you hang upside down. Finally, fold your arms across your chest, or grasp the DB that you placed at the foot of the bench prior to getting into it, and hold it to your chest as shown. Inhale.
As you exhale, extend your hips and lower back, and slightly flex your knees. Doing so will lift your torso from the upside down to the facedown position. This is the top of the range of motion.
Inhale as you slowly return to the starting, upside down position.
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