Core strength & anti-extension exercises: Why are they important?

Anti-extension exercises resist your lower back from getting into a hyperextended position or ‘lumbar lordosis’. A hyperextended lumbar spine is a position that can hurt you especially if you are in that position when lifting heavy or heavy-ish weights.

Anti-extension exercises hence can be helpful for those struggling to keep a neutral spine with compound movements such as a deadlift, overhead press or squat. Also, for those w ith back pain when exercising in a lumbar extension bias position such as freestyle (swimming) or running.


Here are two exercises to help build resiliency in the ‘anterior core’ to avoid a hyperextended spine.

1.       Dead bugs

Dead bugs are a great exercise as they can help teach anti-extension positioning. The aim is to lie flat on your back with your legs and arms up ‘like a dead bug on the floor’. Next, whilst keeping your spine in neutral you need to slowly lower one heel to the ground at a time whilst not allowing your spine to drift into extension.

Implement this with breathing out as you bring your limbs back upwards for 3 sets of 10.

2.       Plank

Who could forget the good ole plank!? When done correctly the plank is a great anti-extension exercise that promotes core strength. How to do it?

          Plant your forearms on the ground and align your elbows under your shoulders

          Position your trunk, upper body and hips parallel with the ground

          Brace your abdomen and keep your core tight

          For an extra challenge you can place an empty cup or a yoga block on the lower back

          You can progress the plank using a stability ball as well!

Try adding these two exercises to your gym routine. If you are having any trouble speak to your physiotherapist about the issue!