I learned this the hard way, and my experience and short tale is for you to learn and avoid future mistakes. Never avoid doing this key lower-back exercise, or you will highly regret it.
So, let’s rewind back a year ago and beyond that. I was training at a local gym for 7 years straight, till I finally decided to plunk down the cash and buy a squat rack for the home. After saving up non-stop, my wish finally came true and I was the proud owner of a Powertec squat rack system. Long story short, I bought the rack, Olympic bar, weights and a tree-stand to organize the weights. Notice in this equation that a hyper-extension bench is not present. See, I didn’t have enough saved up for it, so I thought to myself, “whatever, I’ll pick it up in the future when I have the funds.”
I should have bought the hyper-extension bench and dealt with the weights thrown all over the floor instead.
Within a month or two my lower back weakened tremendously, and one day it just decided to crap out on me while squatting. Luckily for me, I managed to put the bar back safely onto the rack, but my lower back never felt the same after that incident. Doing squats, deadlifts or anything heavy just wasn’t pleasant for my back. I had to take some time off as much as I was against it. Fortunately for me, over the course of the summer, I had other ways of staying active and fit, so taking some time off weight training wasn’t that bad.
Fast forward two months ago from today. After letting my lower back heal and watching everything I do with it (picking up things from the floor, moving stuff, sleeping, etc) I felt ready to lift weights again. I started off slow and always made sure to keep my back “straight” (that is, arced). Today, I am back up to 90% of my strength, but I have a lot of trouble doing rows.
The moral of this story? Don’t skimp out on the hyper-extensions. They may not be fun to do, but they’re damn-sure necessary. Your lower back can’t always be indirectly trained on its own and needs some direct work, especially when you deal with higher weights.
I decided to go ahead and purchase the hyper-extension machine as the funds were available. It should be coming in this week. Lesson learned.