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Seated Back Extension Machine (Works Lower Back)

This seated exercise requires you to push against resistance as you tip backward, using your lower back (lumbar) muscles. "The spine starts off in an 'off' position and pushing it back only puts more stress on the lumbar spine," says Schoenfeld.

Safer pick: Good mornings

These strengthen the same muscles and allow you to maintain a neutral spine, says Schoenfeld. Hold a barbell behind the head, near the upper back. Keeping your back straight (very important) and knees slightly bent, bend forward until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Slowly return to starting position. Start with a weighted body bar for eight to 10 reps for two sets.

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