If you suffer from back problems, you can treat those using low-intensity exercises. That’s exactly what back extensions on stability ball is low-intensity exercises that benefit your back.
What’s great about this exercise is that the only equipment you’ll need is the stability ball. For this exercise, you’ll be working your abs and the middle and lower parts of your back. You want to make sure that you have the proper position for this exercise, because even though it’s low intensity, you could injure your back if you do it improperly.
I’ll go through the basic move with you step by step so you know exactly what to do, and I will share some variations with you that you may want to try.
How to Use a Stability Ball to Do Back Extensions
This is a great exercise to work your glute muscles, as it requires the strength of your glutes to pull your body back up from the lower position in the exercise. Let’s go through how to do back extensions on a large stability ball.
This is different from an exercise ball, so make sure you have the right size and the right kind of ball for this. It needs to be able to support your entire body.
Start by lying on the stability ball facedown, with your body resting on your abs. Your leg should be hanging off the back of the ball and your head and upper chest should be hanging off the front of the ball. As you’re lying face down, place your hands behind your head. Your feet should be resting against something sturdy, like a wall, staircase, bench, or chair.
From that starting position, squeeze with your glute muscles and raise your torso. You want to continue to raise your body until your entire body is in a straight line. Hold that position for just a second or two and then return slowly to your starting position.
That’s the entire exercise in a single rep. You can do about 10 reps to start with and see how you feel after that.
If you don’t have anything solid to push your feet up against, or you’d prefer to put them in a different position, you can rest your legs downward with your feet pressed against the ground.
You can use your feet to help lift your body for the exercise, but you want to try to use this strengthen your back, abs, and glutes to do most of the lifting. In that way, your feet are acting primarily as support.
Back Extension Variations
I want to share with you a few different ways you can change up this exercise. If you want to make it more difficult or try something a little different, check out these variations on the basic back extension exercise.
Adding some weight to the extension can make it a lot more effective, working some extra muscles, and requiring additional exertion from you. You can hold a weight in your hands or even do the exercise with a dumbbell in each hand. Of course, your hands wouldn’t be behind your head for the exercise if you’re using weights. Instead, you hold your arms out in front of you and lift the weights, with your elbows bent.
This version requires that you use no wall, bench, floor or other support for your feet. Your feet should be hanging off the ball, not supported against anything at all. This is going to require you really work your glutes and abs to lift your upper body off the ball. It’s a lot more strenuous and helps to work muscles that otherwise might not get worked much. I definitely wouldn’t start with this variation once you’re comfortable with the regular exercise.
This is almost an entirely different exercise, but you’re using some of the same positions and the same stability ball. Rest on the ball using only your lower legs and feet. Support yourself on the floor with the palms of your hands facing down.
This will be similar to a pushup position, but your feet will be up in the air and resting on the ball. Then, bend your elbows to the side to lower your head and upper body towards the floor. Keep lowering yourself to where your head is just off the floor and then raise back up to the starting position. You want to make sure that you keep your back and the rest of your body as straight as possible while you do this.
How Runners Benefit from Back Extensions
Back extensions are actually recommended for runners, and there are a few reasons for this. The foremost is for posture.
Having proper running posture is vital to reduce the impact on your back and legs as you run.
If you have poor posture when running, you’re going to put extra stress on your knees particularly and possibly your lower back and hips as well.
This exercise helps to align your back and improve your posture, so it’s great for runners. It helps them with stability and proper form so that their running is more effective and more powerful and so that they experience less pain in their joints and lower back.
It’s also a great exercise to work out some of the soreness in those problem areas that runners have to deal with. It stretches out some of the muscles you’ll use in running, like your abs and glutes. This could help to relieve muscle soreness after a run, and back extensions using a stability ball can be a great way to alleviate muscle soreness or serve as a cool down exercise after a run.
The reason there are back extensions on stability ball Runners World videos is so that runners will be encouraged to do more than just run for exercise. It’s important to perform proper stretching exercises and to be able to work out your muscles and develop the parts of the body used for running, particularly when you’re not able to run.
If the track is closed or the weather is poor or your knees are bugging you, then you can use back extensions to develop the muscles needed for running without going through all the motions required for running.
Back extensions are an excellent way to build up the strength you need for running. They support good posture and boost the development of muscles and your glutes. Depending on which variation you use, you can also work your arches, ankles, calves, and your arms. All these muscles are important for running with power and effectiveness and for helping you maintain a strong form as you run.
I hope you get some benefit from this article and feel more comfortable about trying these exercises. They can be a great addition to your warmup, your cool down, or your regular exercise routine.