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Weighted Back Extensions Dangerous?


I have lately been using the 45 degree back hyperextension machines to supplement my deadlift and squat. I started adding weight a while back. The exercise had a good solid feeling, so I continued to use it. The other day I loaded up a 100 lbs mini barbell onto my neck, stepped into the machine, and just before I storted knocking off reps, I heard someone say "that kid is going to snap his back."

I scowled at the guy and continued. Half the shit people say to me in the gym is positive, but a lot of it is people trying to fuck with me so I generally ignore that stuff.

Afterwards, the guy came over and said "I'm not trying to tell you how to do your workout, but you could seriously hurt yourself doing that." I told him that I didn't feel any back pain at all and that I had been doing these for a while. He said I might be OK for now because I'm young but after a year or so, the damage would take it's toll.

He said he was 42 and that he had 11 or so dislocated disks in his back over the years and had been there and knew what he was talking about.

I don't see how these things can possibly be dangerous provided that your spine is not flexed during the completion of the movement. My spine is either neutral or hyperextended the whole time.

Anyway, I won't be able to do these much longer as my gym's mini barbell set only goes up to 110 lbs and it's impractical to do these with an olympic barbell.


Don't listen to him. As long as you don't put your back into flexion you're fine.

And as for weight, there's nothing wrong with using a full size barbell to do these. I do. However, if you don't want to take that route, you could just do them one leg at a time. That'll get you an even better hamstring and glute workout with a lot less weight.


May be impractical at your gym but where I train we only use olympic barbells for the hypers.

The real issue is if the hyper machine is a good one (check elitefts to see a real hyper) because if you load the poundage on a wobby hyper it could be dangerous.

However I have never seen anyone get hurt from hyperextensions. Otherwise PT and Rehab facilities wouldn't use them with weight for their patients.


Having a 100lb barbel on your neck is never a good idea if it can be avoided, if you have access to them try using bands for back extensions you will like.


Why not do them with a snatch grip from the floor (the back extensions that is)? I've done them in the past, killer on the back, great workout!!!


I do back extensions like this, but I put the bar on my traps.


I personally just dont think it is a good exercise. Goodmornings do a more than fine job at strengthening the spinal erectors. Prob wont hurt your self though...


I use a DB no stress on neck & 5lb increments, easy to get in position by yourself.


I know Jim Wendler talked at the Boston Seminar about how that was one of his favorite exercises, 45-degree back raises with a barbell loaded on the back. As with any hip extension exercise just make sure your back is arched properly.


Thanks guys. As far as olympic barbells being impractical, I was mostly refering to space considerations where I workout. Besides, I do enough shit in the gym that no one else does and I don't need to attract any more attention. As for good mornings, I guess I just don't like them as much. Nothing wrong with them, they just don't feel very satisfying for me.


I have to agree. Just do heavy good mornings. As a bonus you can work on your flexibility at the same time!


Good mornings are great for the lower back, but I really like my weighted 45' Extensions since my gym doesn't have a Glute-Ham. Mainly due to spacial restrictions (a lot of shit is in the way) I've been holding dumbbells instead of putting a barbell on my back. I got the idea after I saw a video of Jay Cutler doing them this way with some 10 pound weights in each hand. I thought, fuck, why not use some heavy weights. Give it a try if you want to get your grip involved. Once I get stronger at the 45' I want to be able to do rows from it.


Why don't you just do them with a 100 lb. plate held in your hands? You might round less. I worked my up to a hundred pound plate this way after a year or so of moving up in plate size. What becomes a pain in the balls after this is trying 3 45's.


It seems like there would be a simple answer to this.

Would you really listen to someone who had dislocated 11 disks in their back?


I know I wish commercial gyms had glute ham raises, but almost none do. The thing is, I dont see how substituting a 45% incline does anything that a glute ham raise does. It seems similar butin reality the two exercises have very little in common.