How To Do Stability Ball Back Extension

By: Chris Freytag, CPT

Chris Freytag demonstrating back extension on a stability ball wearing black yoga pants

Stability Ball Back Extension is an exercise that strengthens the muscles of the low back using your body weight on the stability ball. Most people take time to strengthen their abdominal muscles, but few remember that the low back is also part of the core and requires an equal amount of attention. If you learn how to do the Stability Ball Back Extension you will strengthen your low back and improve your posture and the health of your back overall.

Begin by choosing the right size ball. If you are close to 5’4” or shorter, you will want to choose the ball with a smaller circumference. If you are taller than that you will want to choose a ball that is bigger. No matter what size ball you choose, make sure the ball is properly inflated. For the Stability Ball Back Extension you will lay front-side down onto the ball, keep your feet wide and on the floor behind you, and you’re your abdominals in very tightly. Once you are in place, bring your arms along the side of your body. Now lift your upper body by contracting your lower back muscles and abdominals. Slowly lower back down to start position and repeat.

During this exercise the ball is the reason for the extra core strength that you are building. By balancing your body on the ball instead of doing it on a stable surface like an inclined weight bench, you are teaching the muscles of the core to engage in order to keep you from rolling around or even falling off the ball. A tip for the first time you try this is to keep your feet wide in order to assist your stability. As you feel stronger and more confident, draw your feet and legs closer together to work your core even harder. The stability ball is an excellent fitness tool! If you like this exercise, grab a set of dumbbells and try our workout Stability Ball Total Body Toner.

Here are the steps to performing Stability Ball Back Extension:

1) Place the front of your body from hips to ribs, on top of the ball. Keep abs tight and reach arms down alongside body.

2) Extend legs long behind you with feet hip width apart. Your body should form one, long line.

3) As you exhale, draw shoulders back and lift chest upward, keeping neck in line with spine. Return to start position.

Targets: back, core

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