T Nation

Erector Spine Strength and Increasing It


Hey lads, I love the positive and intelligent output I get here so I decided​ to ask some opinions on erector exercises. I have a goal to build a monstrous midsection with thick erectors. I got abs and obliques covered with ab wheel, leg raises, Single arm overhead carries, reverse planks and front squats.

I was wondering what could I do for low back strength. I used to do Rubish raises and worked up to 135 for high reps on it but I feel it mainly in hammies and glutes. I am currently doing a seated DL. Shins perpendicular to the ground, bar against them, torso upright, from there lower it back slightly rounds and back up to knee level. Like the Dl variation of seated GM. Works nice, but I’d like to add one more exercise. I’m hesitating between these:

  • Arch back GM
  • SlDL (not good if you have disc issues)
  • Rdl
  • Seated GM
  • Zercher GM (The one I’d personally pick, I love the way it feels).

I’m all ears for some input on how to build a set of erectors.


Reverse hypers. No question.


No reverse hyper machine… i did them off a table after injuries but it was to pump up the lumbar, didn’t really strengthen it. Anyway to make a makeshift reverse hyper using gym equipment?


Nah. I ended up just buying one. Well worth it.


Not trying to sound like a douche, Deadlift more. Variations are good, but bang for buck, pull more often. More reps, sets, weight. If you do it once per week, add another day. Just do it smart and add volume.


Back raises, forty five and ninety degrees. Weighed, against bands, bodyweight, play with foot placement where possible.


Deadlift from mid-shins. This is my top pick of these three by far. Especially if you control the eccentric and do a controlled light touch to the blocks or pins.

Round back good mornings. The key with these is to round your upper back and your middle back too just a little bit and control the motion. Don’t sling yourself back into the starting position.

I like the feel of Zercher GMs myself, but I can’t tell you yet if it’s worked out for me.

While I’ve got Zercher on the mind, have you tried Zercher carries? Hits the abs and thoracic extensors pretty hard.


None of those are good if you have disc issues and you can’t keep your back from rounding. If you can’t do an SLDL without rounding your back then don’t do it, otherwise it’s 99% the same as an RDL.

Add barbell rows to the list.


@T3hPwnisher I wish I could get one…but no financial possibility of that right now. I live in Bulgaria and from all the gyms I’ve been to I never saw a reverse hyper. Shame because I keep hearing about the benefits.

@Alrightmiami19c I get your point mate but I pull Sumo, which doesn’t hit the erectors as hard unless I do a sumo stance SLDL.

@MarkKO Raises is amazing. I do with a Bb like Pete Rubish, sick ham and glute pump. Might experiment with the bar on my back.


First variation is nice, but it would be too much as I already do ton of Front squat, deadlift, and other core heavy movements. I could replace the deadlift with it eventually. Round back good mornings sound really nice, but one must really know the rounding you can do whitout snapping something up!

I’ve never done zercher carries, but plan on incorporating keg walks (with stacked plates, as per Brian Alsruhe’s suggestion) as I don’t have a keg. I think it’s pretty close to a zercher carry. It could work pretty well, but what when you reach failure? Dumping the bar on the floor would be pretty devastating haha

@chris_ottawa I can SlDl just below my knee whitout rounding. I tried zercher good mornings with a stick and they felt better then normal bb good mornings. Imo the choice is either SLDL or Zercher GM. Having the bar in front of you feels better on the spine then compressing it on the back.

I reckon I could do a SlDL from blocks?


Just do RDLs, it’s basically the same thing as SLDL. If you can’t pull it off the floor without rounding (which will add to back fatigue on top of injury risk) then walk it out of a rack or set the bar on low pins or blocks and lift it off with bent knees before you get in position.

You can do both RDLs and GMs, just don’t do them on the same day. Mike Tuchscherer actually recommended seated zercher GMs to build back strength, I didn’t suggest it because it looks awkward and I’ve never done them but you can give it a shot if you want.


Start real light if you are going to do seated GMs of any sort, Mike T was deadlifting over 800 back then and he was only doing 265x6


@chris_ottawa I saw that video actually yesterday, looks absolutely great! I think Rdl’s are a better way idea given the rounding SLDL causes.

I will try the standing version. I practiced the pattern with a broomstick and it feels great! I’m jealous of Mike T’s immaculate form on every lift haha


I have a long torso and short limbs.

DLs standing on plates and paused just before touching the floor work a little better than regular DLs

Yoke bar Squats. My DL was never stronger when this was the only squatting I could do because of shoulder issues.

Front Squats with the yoke bar absolutely torches mine.


I would love having a yoke bar! Front squats with a bb do have me sore in thoracic and lumbar erectors though.

I can’t do deficit deads due to terrible mobility. I’ve done paused deads in the past though and they are great!


Pause squats and deadlifts should do the job nicely on top of your regular squats and deadlifts. No need to reinvent the wheel, if you can’t get a strong lower back doing those then something is wrong.


Paused front squats torch my abs indeed.