back extensions for glutes

Back extensions are typically used to build the lower back, but they can be modified to target the glutes and hamstrings.

Back extensions are usually performed on a 45 degree back raise, but they can also be done on a GHD (glute ham developer) which puts the angle closer to 90 degrees.

Many lifters have used back extensions for years.  But many of these same lifters still have weak, flat glutes.

It’s not about what you do.  It’s about how you do it.

Not Kosher

Many so-called trainers and coaches are not using the proper exercises and techniques needed to develop bigger and stronger glutes.

In today’s world, you primarily see a lot of Phit Vixens on social media doing farcical workouts online.  In the same breath, they then try to sell you their 28-day booty building program.

There is nothing wrong with making money, but there is definitely something wrong with being untruthful about how you obtained your results.

What a lot of these women are not telling you is that their pictures are heavily photoshopped.

What a lot of these women are also not letting you know is if they are on anabolic steroids.  And a lot of these women are not telling you if they have had a surgical procedure to shrink their waist and increase the size of their booty to the tenth power.

Though I’ve never taken anabolic steroids, I do know why many athletes have taken and continue to take them: because they work.

I’m not here to judge the steroid user or the person who got surgery.  People can do what they want with their physiques.

The major problem is when these charlatans are just flat-out lying to the people.

Within the last few years, a well-known social media “trainer” got badly exposed for getting a butt surgery done years ago.

I don’t care one iota that she got a surgery done because again it’s her life and her body.  The problem is that she misled thousands of women into thinking they could look like her if they purchased her bogus “training” programs.

The Main Factor

The main factor that decides the size and shape of your glutes is your genetics.

Some people have flat butt genetics and some people have big butt genetics.  Whatever you naturally get is a result of genetics.

But even if you were born Frank Flat or Pamela Pancake, you still have hope.  You just have to be willing to put in the hard, honest work.

I was a skinny scarecrow for the first 20 years of my life.  If I can develop a posterior chain, I know with certainty that you can build some respectable glutes if you commit to the work.

One of the moves that will help you get to the glute promised land is the back extension.

Back Extensions For Glutes

Back extensions, also known as hip extensions, are one of my go-to moves that we use at The Center for increasing the strength and size of the posterior chain.

Many lifters perform 45 degree hip extensions with form that makes my eyes bleed.  The worst form mistakes are:

1) Overarching the back at the top of the movement

2) Coming up too high at the top of the movement

Trying to excessively arch your back under load is a recipe for disaster.  And also, if you are coming up so high that your thighs leave the bench, the weight you are using is too light to create any results.

To perform a proper back extension, you will:

1) Turn Your Feet Out On The Foot Platform

When most people do back extensions, their feet are straight at the bottom of the footplate.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this foot position.  But what you must know is that your foot position will determine what muscles you will hit.

If your feet are straight, you will primarily be hitting your lower back.

When your feet are turned out, you will hit your glutes and hamstrings harder.

2) As You Rise, Keep Your Chin Tucked In And Your Upper Back Rounded

In standard back extensions, you will rise out of the bottom with a neutral back.

A neutral back position is not wrong, but it will ensure that your lower back is doing more of the work.  In order to maximize your glute and hamstring involvement, you will tuck your chin into your chest and round your upper back before you rise.

By doing this, you prevent your lower back from arching.  This puts the onus on the glutes and hamstrings to do the brunt of the work.

3) Drive Your Hips Into The Pad On Every Rep

A lot of lifters just raise up on the back extension any old way.  This is a major mistake when you are trying to actively target specific muscles.

There is no value in just trying to get hollow reps in.  You want your reps to count and have purpose.

Many lifters do not put any thought into how they are going to execute the rep.  This leads to lackluster results because they are not focusing on how they are doing the rep.

When you rise from the bottom of the back extension, you want to initiate the movement by driving your hips through the pad.  By doing this, you will ensure that again your glutes and hamstrings are doing the work instead of your lower back.

4) Add Load

Doing back extensions with no added load is fine if you are just learning the move or are warming up.

But if you want to build some glutes that stick out you’ve got to add some load to this exercise.  As your back extensions get stronger, your posterior chain gets bigger.

There are three primary options you can use to add load to back extensions. They are:

* You can use a dumbbell

* You can use a barbell

* You can use a band around your neck

All three versions are demonstrated in the video below.


If you put in the time and effort doing back extensions, you can have bigger and stronger glutes.

It won’t be easy, but nothing worth anything in life will come easy.

I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,

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[…] • RDLs • Glute Ham Raises • Deadlifts (conventional and sumo) • Hip/Back Extensions (barbell or dumbbell) […]

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