How to Strengthen Your Spinal Erectors

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

It's bad enough that most people neglect working out their lats on a regular basis. To make matter worse, the spinal erectors (also known as the muscles in the small of your back) go virtually untouched by many lifters. Even some professionals never give spinal erectors much thought. This, in my opinion, is no good.

Step 2

In order to build a back that's worth showing off, having a solid set of spinal erectors is imperative. Furthermore, if you never work your spinal erectors, you'll always find yourself needing a squat belt in order to go heavy with big leg exercises like squats and deadlifts. So, the question begs to be answered: how do you strengthen your spinal erectors?

Step 3

There are two great exercises that help your spinal erectors get stronger and more muscular. The first of which is the seated cable row. This exercise, although primarily used for your lats, can serve as an equally good time to work your spinal erectors. Instead of doing the exercise with a perfectly upright form, allow yourself to bend forward with the weight as you lower it. This will stretch your erectors out, and when you pull back to do another rep the first part of the movement comes from your lower back. This exercise is particularly nice because it allows you to strengthen your spinal erectors without worrying about putting too much of a load on them. The cable takes most of the force, allowing you to exercise your spinal erectors both safely and efficiently. And if you wanna, go ahead and slap some Fat Gripz on this exercise, making it a 3-for-1 since it will work your lats, spinal erectors, and forearms simultaneously.

Step 4

The second exercise, and probably the best one, is lower back extensions. Find yourself a pad that sits on an angle and allow your body to lower down and then come back up. At the top of the movement, extend your head and shoulders just a little bit higher than what is comfortable. This hyper-extension causes an amazing contraction to occur in the spinal erectors. Moreover, it will give you an insane pump.

Step 5

If you work your spinal erectors with Just these two exercises at least once a week, you will notice a massive difference in strength. After doing them for a while, try and do deadlifts without a belt. Deadlifts can also serve as a great way to increase the overall strength of your spinal erectors. Same goes for planks, which work your abs mainly, but your erectors as well.

Step 6

Considering that your spinal erectors serve as part of your core, working them is absolutely necessary to having a solid base of strength for every other exercise. If you get a pair of strong erectors, you're doing yourself a huge favor- preventing injury, upping the strength potential of your whole body, and developing a portion of your back that largely contributes to an overall pleasing physique.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

Strengthening your spinal erectors can be difficult at first, since they are typically much weaker than most of your other muscles. Take these exercises slowly at the beginning and allow yourself to work into them. After you've gotten a good feel for the exercises, up the weight and get ready to see some beautiful results.

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This Student Author's Background

Funny or interesting story about this topic...

Most of the people I train are college-aged dudes with a plan to get muscular for sports, babes, or just for fun. All of these dudes walk around with a ton of machismo, and they do their exercises the same way. The only exercise I have ever seen crack the macho-mentality of any weightlifter is the lower back extension. This exercises puts such an insane pump in the lower back that, by rep 15, it's extremely hard not to wince and go "ooh, ahh," and other noises that show how much it burns. One guy I was working with was a star football player in high school and was trying to become a great college football player as well. As you can imagine, he strutted around like he owned everything. He was a great ball player though, so he deserves some confidence. But when I put him to the lower back extensions it only took 4 sets of 15 for him to nearly start crying from the pain. Yes, you read that right: crying. He didn't actually drop any tears, but his eyes watered up and he had to take a breather before insisting we move onto the next exercise. If that doesn't attest to the strength building potential of lower back extensions, I don't know what will.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I first started working my spinal erectors on the first day I ever lifted weights. My dad took my into the gym on Monday morning for back day, and as a final exercise we did lower back extensions supersetted with seated cable rows. After that workout I felt like I was walking like I was the letter 'C'. However, I've never had any trouble squatting or deadlifting large amounts of weight without a belt, and I attribute that to my strong spinal erectors. So get in there and start working that overlooked muscle- I promise you'll thank me for it.
Happy lifting,

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