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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 06-23-2009, 04:19 PM   #11
Robert Callahan
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Re: back extention is not a functional movement.

Who cares if a back extension is functional or not?

If Rip said that it is probably because back extensions are an assistance exercise and not a primary or compound movement. That said if doing them, either in CF or as an assistance exercise, helps then who cares what the classification is?



God I hate "functional movement" debates so much....
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:07 PM   #12
William Jackson
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Re: back extention is not a functional movement.

i think that statement was made because the spinal erectors primary goal is to maintain spinal extension in our natural "S" curve, not to contract into spinal extension under load (think rounded back deadlifts)
its like crunches vs. midline stabilization for abs
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:25 PM   #13
Greg Pieris
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Re: back extention is not a functional movement.

When I hear "functional", I take it mean that an exercise produces an effect that carries over to how the body is designed to function, and not an exercise that simply mimics an action our body performs.

If he did say it, then I imagine it is because the primary function of the erectors is isometric - to keep the back in extension. Back extensions are designed to strengthen the erectors eccentrically/concentrically. If this doesn't carry over to isometric strength, they don't make the erectors better at the job they are designed to do, and wouldn't be "functional" in the sense I mentioned above.

Moreover, deadlifts and squats more than adequately work the erectors in their isometric capacity.

While there's no harm in back extensions, I don't see any specific reason to do them if you're doing deadlifts, squats and o-lifts. Will weight back extensions make you stronger at deadlifts moreso than simply deadlifting properly? I doubt it. I don't think "functional" is a useful concept here. Let's just say back extensions are an unnecessary exercise in the context of an athlete already doing powerlifts.

Most powerlifters do no specific assistance work for the lower back. Our coach doesn't have us do any back extensions, or any back assistance work for that matter. We do GHRs but take out the hip extension bit (ie stop the descent once the knees are extended and do not let the hips unlock), so it's a pure posterior chain assistance exercise. Some PLers do Good mornings and RDLs, which do involve back extension, but these are really predominantly hip extension movements. You can make a similar argument for the reverse hyper - this is really a hip assistance exercise. The guys I know have dl'd in excess of 600lbs raw (including a guy who did so at 140lbs bodyweight) don't do any lower back exercises other than deadlifting and squatting.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:30 PM   #14
Christopher Blair Sylvester
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Re: back extention is not a functional movement.

wouldnt the functionality of back extension exercises carry over into backbends and other gymnastice type movements?
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:13 PM   #15
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: back extention is not a functional movement.

"When I hear "functional", I take it mean that an exercise produces an effect that carries over to how the body is designed to function, and not an exercise that simply mimics an action our body performs"

That. Anything else is skill work.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:47 PM   #16
Christopher Blair Sylvester
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Re: back extention is not a functional movement.

thats a good point jamie. but if the exercise helps said performance its not necessarily skill work. cleans help vertical leap but its not considered skill work. maybe a bad example but i think you can get my point

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Old 07-14-2009, 10:06 AM   #17
George Noble
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Re: back extention is not a functional movement.

Rippetoe states his definition of a functional exercise in his book, Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training. I highly recommend it.
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