Method | Back Extensions

Back Extensions


Incorporate 25-35 total GHD back extensions into your exercise routine often (3-5+ days/ week). Why? Back Extensions are unique in developing the low back, glutes and hamstrings simultaneously without loading the spine like heavy squats or deadlifts. As creatures of the 21st century, most of us suffer from tight hips and a weak, underactive posterior chain from all the time we spend sitting at work, at home, in the car, etc... This combination leads to all sorts of problems as we age…

    -     Low back pain

    -     Compromised posture which can lead to more catastrophic injuries (slipped discs, etc…

    -     Loss of function and performance


I try to work back extensions in almost every day and vary sets, reps and tempos to suit my goal for the session. For example:


I am constantly working to undo the damage caused by sitting at my desk. Stretching the hips (anterior chain) and firing up the glutes, low back and hamstrings (posterior chain) restores balance at the core. Keep it simple

     3 Rounds

     1:00 Samson or Couch Stretch ea.

     5-10 x Back Extensions (3/0/2/1)*

     *3 seconds down/ no pause at the bottom / 2 seconds up/ 1 second butt squeeze at the top). This tempo is slow and increases communication between brain and back side.

Warm Ups/ Performance:

Function and athletic performance are directly related to a person’s ability to extend at the hips (fire the glutes) rapidly. Back Extensions are great for firing up the entire posterior chain before intense activity. Try including Back Extensions in your weightlifting warm ups. For example…

     3 Rounds

     2 x 3 position Clean/ Snatch (empty bar)

     10 x Back Extension (1/0/x/1)*

     *1 second down, no pause at the bottom, explode up, 1 second butt squeeze at the top. This quicker tempo will help ensure the hips are opening all the way. Now the bar will really “pop” when you pull. 

   Or, Back Extensions can be used as a stand-alone accessory exercise to strengthen the posterior and develop athletic power

     3 x 8-10 Weighted (2/0/x/1)*

     *This is a controlled tempo we commonly use during strengthening exercises like squats or deadlift. Athlete can hold a plate to their chest or place a barbell across their back to increase resistance.

Note: Athletes should show proficiency at unweighted/ slower tempos before moving to more intense variations. Grab a coach to double check!

Challenge: Pass the Sorenson Test

      Achieve a 2:00 consecutive hold at the top of your back extension (without compromising position). Athletes who can pass this test report nearly 0 incidences of back pain! They also tend to be ridiculous athletes. Funny how the two go hand in hand…Function and performance…