Back Raise

The Back Raise Exercise

The back raise is the only exercise in which the lower back (lumbar) spinal muscles can be worked through a full ROM in a safe manner. Dr. Yessis developed this exercise about thirty years ago after working with many people with “bad backs.” He looked closely at the spinal musculature and asked myself why hyperextensions (Hip extension with the trunk in motion) did not exercise the area safely and effectively. The answer became obvious: the lower back muscles were not worked dynamically through a full ROM. Since then, the back raise, in which the muscles are strengthened in dynamic movement, has been used very successfully by athletes and non-athletes in the treatment and prevention of back problems. In addition, it has enabled better sports skill execution. 

Exercising the back muscles (the erector spinae) is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States. For many years it was believed that it was only necessary to strengthen the abdominals and stretch the back in order to strengthen the spine. But today strengthening the erector spinae muscles is known to be even more effective for the development of a strong, healthy spine. The back raise is perhaps the best exercise for most people and especially for athletes. 

However, there is still a strong contingent that believes it is only necessary to stabilize the lower back and not strengthen the muscles full range. In essence, they believe you should only do exercises to strengthen the stabilization function of the muscles rather than dynamically strengthening them. This may have great value for the average person but it should not apply to athletes. Athletes must have strength through the full range not only to perform their sports movements, but to prevent back problems.