One thing I have noticed as a trainer over the years, is that there seems to be an obsession with some people when it comes to training their abs. Abdominals are important to train but they do not need to be trained every day as some people do. It is also just as important to train the lower back; something that I feel is neglected by a lot people to a certain extent. One sure fire way to effectively train the lower back is by utilizing the Roman Chair. This glorious piece of equipment can be found in just about any gym or health club and is a gold standard for training the lower back.

To perform lower back extensions on the Roman Chair:

1. Lie face down, tucking your ankles securely under the footpads.
2. Adjust the upper pad if possible so your upper thighs lie flat across the wide pad, leaving enough room for you to bend at the waist without any restriction.
3. With your body straight, cross your arms in front of you or behind your head. This will be your starting position. You can also hold a weight plate for extra resistance in front of you under your crossed arms.
4. Start bending forward slowly at the waist as far as you can while keeping your back flat. Inhale as you perform this movement. Keep moving forward until you feel a nice stretch on the hamstrings and you can no longer keep going without a rounding of the back. Also, some people can go farther than others. The key thing is that you go as far as your body allows you to without rounding the back.
5. Slowly raise your torso back to the initial position as you exhale. Avoid the temptation to arch your back past a straight line. Care should be taken to perform this movement slowly as too much momentum can actually take into hyperextension and risk straining the lower back.
6. Repeat until your lower back begins to fatigue.

This is a simple exercise but can feel intense to certain people. If lowering all the way down feels like too much, simply decrease your range of motion by lowering only half way down. Also, if you experience any light headedness with this movement, place your arms over your head and take deep breaths upon completion. It should dissipate quickly.

Don’t ignore your lower back; it is too important not to train. Hop on that Roman Chair!