The abdominals and the lower back are probably the most popular muscle in the body among gym goers and fitness enthusiasts today as most people try their best to develop them with the exercises that include both body weight exercises and machine exercises. The abdominals together with the lower back maintain stability and strength of the whole body during heavy lifting by making sure that the spine remains in its normal anatomical position. The most popular are the Roman chair and Vertical Knee Raise Machine (VKR tower) exercises. These two machines are pieces of exercise equipment that helps train the lower back and the abs.
Popular Roman Chair Exercises:
The most common exercise for the lower back with the use of the Roman chair is the back extension. Back extensions develop the lower back, particularly the erector spine, which are a group of muscles in the lower back that are involved in most lifts such as squats, rows and over head presses.
- Start by positioning yourself in a back extension station or in a Roman chair. Next, hook your feet under the leg stabilizers or the Roman chair. Hold your arms straight above your head or fold them in front of your chest.
- Always remember to maintain a straight line from your hips to your hands. Then slowly lower your torso while allowing the back to round until your torso is nearly perpendicular to the floor.
- Raise your upper body until it is slightly above parallel from the floor. At this point of the exercise, there should be a slight arch in your back while maintaining the squeeze in your shoulder blades. Pause for two seconds then repeat the exercise for twelve to fifteen repetitions and perform this for a total of four sets.
Check out this video on using the roman chair to do back extensions and other exercises:
Roman Chair Situps or Crunches:
- Start by sitting on the Roman chair bench and hook your feet under the support. Fold your arms in front of you.
- By keeping your stomach tucked in, bend your torso backward until it is almost at a 70 degree angle, but remember NOT to keep it lowered until it is almost parallel to the floor. Then raise and curl your upper body forward while contracting your abdominal muscles.
- You can also introduce a different kind of resistance with this exercise by adjusting the incline of the bench.
VKR Tower Exercises for the Abdominals:
Vertical Knee Raises
- This VKR tower exercise is performed by standing on the elevated insides of the tower and by firmly grasping the handle while placing the forearms along the handles.
- Step off from the stands and allow your legs to hang freely while maintaining a flat back position. Then contract your abdominals as you lift your legs and hips up toward your chest. Slowly lower your legs to the starting position but make sure your legs and hips make little or no contact with the VKR tower.
Check out this video on Vertical Knee Raises and other exercises using a VKR Tower:
Oblique Knee Raises
- Start by setting yourself on the VKR tower with your forearms resting on the forearm pads. While maintaining your legs on a hanging position, draw your knees up to your chest, then twist your knees towards your left forearm and then return to the starting position, repeat for twelve to fifteen times. Perform the exercise again with your knees toward the right forearm before resting.
- Rest, then repeat for three to four sets.
Roman chair and VKR tower exercises work the abs and back in a strict and efficient fashion. The exercises discussed above are the best exercises that you can perform with the aid of the classic Roman chair and the VKR tower. These exercises are also safe and will provide stability with the help of the machine. As with other exercises, perform the exercises above in a strict manner, with the supervision of a trainer or an assistant to watch over you. This way, the targeted muscles are worked to the fullest and also prevent back and hip injury.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Jordann Campose is a fitness enthusiast and instructor. He currently works as a health care professional with part time work as a fitness instructor and weight loss teacher for people seeking results that will help boost their confidence and strengthen their whole being. [/stextbox]