After years of playing water polo, marching a bass drum, and basically did all the things I was told not to do and wrecked my back. I still have pinched nerves in the lower region that will act up every now and then (and when they do I look like I’ve suddenly been stabbed) but I’m working on building my strength up again. One of the moves I use is a basic back extension. As I get stronger I’m increasing the weight I hold and making my back work a little more but the move itself is always the same.
Start in the pike position (bent over, butt up) on a back extension bench. You should have the bench adjusted so that the top most point of the bench nestles into the bend in your hips as snuggly as possible. Your feet should be FLAT on the steps with the ankle braces snug to your achilles tendons.
Slowly and with control, use your abs, glutes, and lower back to stand up straight (you’ll still be on an angle, don’t try to be perpendicular to the ground!). Hold and breathe, then lower yourself back down again while maintaining control.
You shouldn’t feel like you’re swinging when you do this. Swinging means running the workout on momentum instead of control. Momentum based exercises will often lead to injuries!
I started this 8 months ago without weight (just interlace your fingers behind your head arrest-style) and am now up to 20 pounds doing 3 sets of 10 reps. It’s not intended to be a heavy weight ass-kicking workout, just enough of a workout to strengthen the muscles of your back. If, however, you were the intelligent person who’s always taken care of your back, lifting with your knees and not attempting the random homage to Evil Knievel, then you may be able to level up your weights a bit quicker. JUST DON’T PUSH IT!