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This Standing Back Extension is the brainchild of Jance Footit of 5 Rings Barbell. He claims to have gotten the idea while reading a description of an exercise that Paul Anderson is said to have performed back in the day.
Paul is said to have used a series of straps strategically placed inside of a squat rack, allowing the straps to go across the front of his hips so he could perform standing good-morning type movements. The straps would provide hip with proximal support so he could further isolate the muscles of the posterior chain.
Jance took this description and ran with it, developing a device that could do what Mr. Anderson had thought of and more.
Working with Rick Davis, owner of Edge Fitness Systems based out of Canton, OH, they designed and tweaked a prototype over the course of 2016. What they settled on is something that is sure to become a staple regarding lower body accessory movements.
The standing back extension (SBE for short) is fully adjustable to the user, allowing a vast range regarding both lifter height and preference.
The ankle pads allow for horizontal adjustment so the lifter can perform either a strict good-morning type of exercise or the more traditional 45° Back Raise. From either side of the continuum of pad positions, a vast array of exercises can be utilized – rows, extensions, glute isolation, and more!
The hip pads are well-built and look like what you would find on a conventional glute-ham raise.
As a lifter, the SBE is my favorite piece of lower body equipment to come out in years. It’s fun to use and will easily add strength and meat to your hip, spine, and femur bones.
Since the machine locks you in so you can perform hinge movement patterns with no problem; it's awesome to experiment with cables and bands pulling either straight in front of you or at an angle. High reps, low reps, slow or fast, you can do whatever suits your fancy because it’s built to last.
Rick Davis and his crew at Edge Fitness Systems take great pride and enjoyment in their line of products. There are many other pieces of equipment we would like to try out in the future as the Standing Back Extension really is well-built and innovative.
The whole unit was shipped quickly and was received within 2 weeks of ordering.
At its price tag, it was good to open and find that they take great care in shipping and securing the different pieces that need to be put together.
Our unit did not arrive with instructions to put it together. Perhaps this was because there actually isn’t much to it. The design and engineering behind the SBE are logical and was very easy to put together.
After about 20 minutes from unboxing, the Standing Back Extension was ready to use.
The SBE will definitely become a stable among black iron training gyms. The design and concept of the machine are sure to become conventional. Many lifters will scratch their heads upon first gazing at the SBE, perhaps thinking “How come this wasn’t thought of before?!”
Before I get into the performance aspects of the unit, I really want to impress upon the reader that the SBE will become a fundamental piece in the development of training the posterior chain.
In the past 20 years, the most popular lower-body accessory movements have been Glute-Ham Raises (GHR), Reverse Hypers, and 45° Back Raise machines. Some pieces of equipment such as the Belt Squat Machine would be much more popular if it weren’t for the hefty price tag.
What the Standing Back Extension brings is a new way of looking at the posterior chain, training a movement classic to barbell training (the good-morning) – and making it seem new again.
The Standing Back Extension is made out of 11-gauge steel and heavier throughout most of its build. It comes in the standard black – black vinyl on the padding and black powder coating on the metal. Built to last, it weights 170 but is easily portable with built-in wheels to quickly move if needed.
|Color||Black, powder coated|
|Foot Print||66" x 28"|
|Steel||11 Gauge and heavier|
The adjustable pieces of the unit are the hip pad (moving up/down) and the ankle pad (moves horizontally – back/forth). A variety of lifters can utilize the broad range for which the adjustability will allow. The unit locks into place with the pull spring handle and is made stable once locked into place.
With the hip pads being made heavy-duty, the up/down adjustment requires the user to use some strength to adjust up, but this is just the nature of the beast.
The Standing Back Extension is sharp-looking, and seasoned lifters will immediately know what to do with it when they first see it. Jud Logan, 4-time USA Olympian, has this to say about the SBE:
"The Standing Back Extension has been a game changer in how I approach training the posterior chain. One piece of equipment with a small footprint that allows a multitude of variations."
The first exercise you will perform will most likely be the standing good morning. You will want to adjust the hip pads so that the pad will be touching near the top of your thighs when standing upright. The ankle pads will be moved to the position that will allow you to stand straight. Starting the movement, you will want to hinge at the hips.
This will prevent excess strain on the posterior side of the knee-joint, keeping the knees from being locked out. Keeping your torso “long and strong” as a plank, you will bend over by actively using the muscles of your posterior chain to allow your torso to move into a more horizontal position. Using your hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors – your will pull your torso back up to the starting position.
First off, this feels pretty awesome.
Due to the proximal support provided by the hip pads, you can really focus on the output of the muscles squeezing since you don’t have to balance as much compared to performing a traditional good-morning exercise without the use of a machine.
Added proximal support allows you to train the target joint with an increased emphasis on brute strength since you don’t have to “juggle” as many things at once (like balance).
The traction you feel throughout your low back is pretty great. I have some people who use the SBE as an easy way to hang their torso upside-down.
Adding load to the movement is made even easier with the band pegs and holes already built-in with the unit. You can either have the line of resistance for the bands made to be in the same line with gravity or pulling you at a 45° angle.
Throwing a mini band on there and hitting a couple sets is sure to become a popular short warm-up for lifters who need a very easy and convenient way to increase blood flow and ROM of their low back and hamstrings before squats and deads.
The hip pads are at a precise angle, allowing for comfort for where your hips or upper thigh meet with the pad. The pads have a slit in the middle (for obvious reasons to the male lifter). What’s also great about them is since they’re big and curved, your torso is able to feel them in the bottom position.
Another great benefit of the SBE is that it actually can take the place of your favorite 45° back raise. Made to be the last posterior chain piece of equipment that you’ll ever buy, it's nice knowing that you can easily hit another popular accessory movement among lifters without even having to switch between machines.
If I had the option of buying either an ELITESFTS™ Professional 45° Back Raise or the SBE - the choice is made simple just in the fact that the SBE is also a 45° Back extension itself! Even though it isn’t built like a traditional 45° back extension, it will seem to work just as well as most 45° hypers. The only reason one might still want to buy a standalone 45° hyper would be that the footplate on the SBE itself is not designed to be raised to the 45° angle seen on other well-built 45° back raise machines. Most lifters would probably not find this to even be an issue and would still be comforted in realizing that the SBE allows for more variety.
To reiterate, the Standing Back Extension deserves to be thought of alongside other posterior chain pieces and programmed similarly. Gyms and coaches who have this piece can easily add standing back extensions to their arsenal of useful posterior chain exercises.
If you wheeled the Standing Back Extension over into a squat rack, you could hit very heavy good-mornings using a Safety-Squat Bar for max-effort (ME) type work, or just throw a chain over your shoulders and hit more repetition effort (RE) rep ranges. It truly is well-built and can accommodate a wide range of use (as the price tag also reflects).
Besides the good-morning and 45° back raise movements, I’ve seen lifters (check out Jance Footit on Instagram) perform anywhere from standing preacher curls to rows on the SBE. The variety of exercises you could perform will be limited only by your imagination.
Although the Standing Back Extension is a great machine, there are a couple of improvements I would like to see.
One option I have read about (but it is not listed on their website) is to order the unit with an extra-wide ankle pad as well as an extra wide foot plate. This would allow the lifter to hit more “sumo” type movements. Since you have to call, text, or email Rick Davis to place an order anyway, I’m sure he would tell you about this option regardless.
Another improvement would maybe be an updated design that would allow for the footplate to be adjustable so that it could move to a 45° position. I’m not sure how feasible or how good that would look, however.
One other update would be to add a vertical adjustment to the ankle pads so that they could be raised up to a height behind the knee-joint. It would add extra stability to the movement as well as prevent hyperextension at the knee-joint.
It would also be nice to have some accessory pieces to purchase with the unit, such as a pad to switch out with the large half-moon pads so you could perform sissy squats. Edge Fitness Systems has another innovative device called the Transformer which allows you do that, but I have yet to try the piece (it does look pretty cool).
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