The erector spinae is a muscle group that isn’t typically mentioned when it comes to working out, yet it is unquestionably one of the most vital in our bodies.
It is more than half of our core.
You’re establishing a big weak link or low back pain in your body if you don’t do exercises that target the erector spinae and erector spinae-specific activities.
We’ll go over the anatomy of the erector spinae, its function and importance, the best erector spinae exercises, and how you may add erector spinae exercises into your workout regimen without having to spend more time in the gym.
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What workout that works the erector spinae?
This exercise strengthens the upper, middle, and lower back muscles, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, and erector spinae.
It also exercises the core, glutes, and arms.
Where Does The Erector Spinae Come From?
The erector spinae is a set of muscles and tendons that run from your hips and sacrum (lower back/lumbar) to the base of your head, connecting your entire back (cervical region).
The erector spinae muscles run down both sides of your spine and are responsible for a variety of activities such as lateral flexion and extension, as well as side-to-side rotation.
Your erector spinae, which connects to your abdominal muscles and oblique muscles and stabilizes and helps you move your entire upper body, is an important aspect of your core.
What is the location of the erector spinae?
The erector spinae muscles and tendons are found on both sides of the vertebral column (the bony points of the spine), which goes from the sacral and lumbar (lower back) to the thoracic (middle back) to the cervical area (upper back and neck).
At different locations throughout your vertebral column, the erector spinae varies in size and structure.
It has a slender, pointed, and tendinous structure in the sacral region.
The erector spinae connects your iliac crest (top of your hips) with the sides of your sacrum via tiny fibers. Some of the fibers reach all the way to your gluteus maximus muscle.
It has a larger and thicker structure in your lumbar region (this is the area that most people think of when discussing erector spinae exercises).
The erector spinae separates into three columns from there.
As they go up your spine, connecting to your vertebrae and ribs, they gradually get smaller. It has the appearance of tree branches.
The erector spinae then travels up your spine until it reaches the base of your head.
Overall, this muscle group covers a substantial portion of your back.
So you can see how crucial the erector spinae is if you want to perform at your peak.
But, before we go into the significance of your erector spinae in terms of fitness, let’s take a look at the muscles that are most important during workouts, sports, and other activities.
Anatomy Of The Erector Spinae Muscles
The erector spinae has three primary erector spinae group of muscles:
- Spinalis Muscle
- Longissimus Muscle
- Iliocostalis Muscle
The spinalis is the erector spinae’s smallest and closest muscle to the spine.
It allows you to turn and rotate from side to side, and it also helps you manage your head when you look up.
This is the largest and middle section of your erector spinae muscle.
You can bend to the side and expand your spine with it.
It also aids in the side-to-side movement of your head.
Beginning in the sacrum, the Iliocostalis allows you to bend to the side and stretch your spine.
These three muscles can be further separated into several insertions, but let’s not get too technical here.
The above is all you need to know about the erector spinae and how the activities that follow will target it.
Furthermore, despite the fact that the three primary muscles of the erector spinae work together to perform certain duties, it is critical to perform erector spinae workouts.
As a result, you’ll have a well-rounded back strength and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
Best Exercises For The Erector Spinae And Extensor Muscles
Let’s start with exercises that will build not only your erector spinae or lower back muscle, but also many muscle groups or core muscle and avoid lower back pain.
These are the Free Weight Exercises for muscle activity that we all know and love for muscle activation.
The most effective spinal erector back workouts.
The deadlift is unquestionably the king of back workouts, if not all exercises.
One of the true tests of overall strength is the deadlift.
It is a must-do exercise for anyone who is serious about their fitness.
Furthermore, because it is a pure mass and strength booster, it is a favorite of athletes.
The beautiful thing about the deadlift in terms of the erector spinae is that it works all of your erector spinae muscles, so it works your lower back, mid back, and upper back.
With this one, every fiber of your erector spinae will be strengthened and gives good posture!
And, of course, the rest of your back muscle.
How to perform a traditional deadlift:
On the floor, place a weighted barbell.
Stand with your feet hip width apart, your spine in a neutral position, and your feet straight front.
The bar should cross your foot squarely in the middle.
To grab the bar, squat down (one hand in and one out, or both in).
Maintain as much uprightness as possible, and avoid rounding your lower/middle back forward.
Although you will be leaning forward, your lower back should be straight, allowing your lumbar spine to connect with your neck if you place a pole on your back.
Lift up with your lower body, and once the bar has passed your knees, pull with your back muscles while thrusting your hips forward.
So, the bottom half of the action is concentrated on the lower body, while the middle to top half is focused on the back.
Squeeze your glutes and bring your hips to a neutral position at the top.
Then, using the same form but in reverse, lower the bar.
Don’t just throw it away to avoid muscle strain!
If you do that, you’ll miss out on the eccentric component of the activity, which means you’ll be missing out on half of the benefits that deadlifts can provide.
Furthermore, strong erector spinae muscles will make the difference between being fine and getting hurt if you have a rounded back on the lower section of the lift, which can happen when going extra heavy.
Because this is a power movement, you’ll want to train heavy at some point.
With deadlifts, it’s not about doing a lot of reps.
Sets of 5 reps that are heavy (according to your strength) are ideal.
You can increase the repetitions if you’re going light.
2. Pulls From The Racks
Rack pulls, like the upper section of a deadlift, can strengthen your entire back.
You can go heavier with a rack pull than you can with a deadlift since you don’t have to lift it off the ground (you’re lifting from just above knee level). However, your grip strength must be adequate.
The rack pull is a high-intensity strength action that allows you to maximize muscle hypertrophy and strength in your back.
This exercise will work every erector spinae muscle, and because it is a heavy-centric exercise, you can really build amazing strength in your entire back.
How do you perform rack pulls?
Set the barbell on the side bars of the rack or the safety bars if you’re using a squat rack.
The barbell should be positioned at knee height (or just above).
By slightly bending your knees and tilting your hips back, you should be able to grab it.
Take a slightly broader than shoulder-width hold on the barbell.
Pull the barbell up utilizing all of your back muscles and pushing into your heels.
The barbell will travel almost straight up, not diagonally towards you.
Push your hips forward and tense your glutes and hamstrings as you near the peak.
Once you’re fully standing tall, keep everything tight (particularly your core).
After a brief pause, drop the barbell until it rests on the rack.
Don’t just throw it away. The movement’s negative aspects are equally essential.
Overall, rack pulls are a full-body exercise that focuses on the erector spinae.
This is the finest workout to undertake if you truly want to work on your erector spinae muscles.
Simply expect to have your grip strength tested, as going heavy (as you should with this workout) will put a strain on your grip.
3. Deadlifts With Stiff Legs
The erector spinae is a muscle in the back of the neck.
Deadlifts with stiff legs are excellent for developing the posterior chain.
It’s a version of the traditional deadlift and another leg-day staple.
You’ll want to do higher reps, in the 8-12 rep range, because it won’t be as hard on your body as a traditional deadlift, but you’ll still want to go heavy enough that those 8-12 reps are difficult.
The hamstrings, glutes, and erector spinae are the primary muscles worked during stiff-legged deadlifts, but you’ll also train your upper back and forearms.
You might be thinking, “Why do both?” because it’s similar to a deadlift. Here’s the difference.
The hamstrings get a lot more attention in stiff-legged deadlifts than the back.
How to Perform a Stiff-Leg Deadlift
On the floor, place a weighted barbell. Stand with your feet hip width apart, your spine in a neutral position, and your feet straight front.
The bar should cross your foot squarely in the middle.
To grab the bar, squat down (one hand in and one out, or both in).
Maintain as much uprightness as possible, with no back bending.
You’ll be leaning forward a little, but your lower back should be straight, so if you lay a pole on your back from the neck down, it should touch your entire back.
Lift with your lower body, and after the bar has passed your knees, begin pulling with your back muscle.
Your back will not round forward this way.
When you’re standing tall, press your hips forward and tighten your glutes.
Return to the starting position with a modest bend in your knee and a posterior pelvic tilt. When the bar reaches about mid-shin, come to a halt. Your back should be parallel to the ground (or almost).
Then, while you stand tall, engage your glutes and hamstrings and push into your hips.
Slowly drop the barbell to the floor using the same form as a deadlift after you’ve completed your chosen rep count.
4. Good Morning
Best for strength training.
Another posterior chain exercise that focuses on the erector spinae is Good Mornings.
The hamstrings, glutes, and erector spinae are targeted in this exercise.
Good Mornings, like deadlifts, must be performed with proper technique to avoid injuring the lower back.
As you bend your upper body forward, your low back will be in a vulnerable position.
Maintaining a posterior tilt and keeping your knees bent while you bend forward is critical.
You should also keep your shoulder blades retracted and your chest raised.
You won’t be able to round your back forward this way.
The necessity of spinal protection should not be underestimated.
How to Perform Good Morning
Unrack the barbell on your traps with a squat rack, just as you would for a low bar squat.
Lean your torso over and bend your knees until your upper body is (nearly) parallel to the floor.
To protect your back from rolling forward, lower your body to the floor with a posterior pelvic tilt.
Your knees should bend slightly, but you will not squat. It’s similar to a deadlift with stiff legs.
Lift your torso back up to an upright position by tightening your glutes and hamstrings at the bottom of the movement.
The principal stabilizer of this action will be your erector spinae, and it will be put to the test.
5. Bent Across Rows
What is the function of the erector spinae?
Your erector spinae will be worked in an isometric manner with bent over rows.
During the primary part of the movement, your erector spinae will not move, but they will be completely engaged since they will be maintaining you in the appropriate position.
This exercise will be performed with a barbell.
Dumbbells, on the other hand, are also effective.
Although you might use more explosive energy to bring the bar towards your body during the concentric phase, this action should be slow and controlled.
Always lower the bar slowly during the eccentric phase (negative phase) to preserve the posterior tilt, which prevents your spine from rounding forward.
The bent-over row: How To Do It
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart and a weighted barbell on the floor.
Bend down and grab the barbell with a shoulder-width grip, following deadlift form.
Raise the barbell to about knee height, keeping your knees bent and your back straight and about 45 degrees above parallel with the floor.
Pull the barbell up to the point where your navel and sternum meet.
Pause, then slowly lower the barbell while maintaining your original stance.
Row the barbell back up once your arms are completely extended, then repeat for the appropriate reps.
Extend your arms down and move into a deadlift stance to place the barbell on the ground once you’ve completed your reps.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
If you perform squats, you’ll get a large level of muscle activation in your erector spinae.
However, the erector spinae is only one element of your core muscles and squats only marginally stimulate the other sections.
They are also not the most challenging exercise in terms of form, so rows can be a wonderful method to get started on working out your back in the gym.
Bent over rows are one of the greatest variations for your erector spinae, and here’s how you do them with a barbell:
Prepare your barbell and sit it on the floor in front of you.
The erector spinae muscles lie on each side of the vertebral column and extend alongside the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical regions of the spine.
The erector spinae muscles function to straighten the back and permit for side-to-side rotation.