A cross over back extension is an effective exercise if you want to increase the strength of your lower back. In addition, it is also a great workout if you want to exercise your lower back by way of stretching it. This is the exercise to do if you want to eventually develop a midsection which is both balanced and strong. A cross over back extension is also an efficient complement to simple crunches. You may want to get clearance from your doctor before trying this type of exercise first, especially if you have a history of lower back pain. In the event that you do feel pain while doing this exercise, stop immediately, and take things slowly.
To perform cross over back extensions, you will need workout clothes, a back extension machine and the right mental attitude.
1. Position Yourself on the Machine Properly
When you get on the machine, you have to make sure that its pad is positioned right at the midpoint of your abdominal muscles. This will cause you to bend over more easily and perform the exercise with more efficiency. The purpose of this exercise is the extending of your spinal erectors, or the extensor muscles in your back, and the best way to exercise them is on a back extension machine that is angled at about 45 degrees. Your hips should be behind the machine's pads if you have positioned yourself correctly, and the pads should end at your abdominal muscles.
2. Make Sure you Display Correct Form
Once you have placed yourself correctly on the machine, you start by rolling yourself up straight. Next comes the downward motion, and as you roll down, be sure to keep your head tucked in towards your chest. As you do these motions, you have to remember to keep your arms crossed over your chest, so that your momentum does not stall. As you finish one repetition by rolling your upper body back up again, be mindful that you want to roll up all the way from the bottom of your spine, straight up. A good way to mentally visualize this motion is to think of yourself as a whip, rolling yourself up and then down again as you go through your repetitions. If you are new to this exercise, start with fewer repetitions and then gradually work yourself up to more and more during a workout.
3. Get off the Machine Properly
As you finish your set of repetitions, you want to dismount without hurting yourself. For that purpose, be sure to simply grab the handles on the machine in a firm manner. With a firm hold on the handles, push yourself up so your legs simultaneously swing down from the air and land firmly on the floor. Stand up and steady yourself. Be careful not to trip as you move away from the machine, because the space between the abdominal pads and the back portion of the machine is tight.