The Cobra is a very strong exercise for the lower back muscles and beginners can safely go ahead with it as it helps extend and strengthen the back muscles, making the back stronger and less prone to injury.
- Climb on the hyperextension bench (cobra bench), facing down. It is very important to tuck your feet securely in the footpads to keep the body stable and secure. Your body needs to be straight and you can change the height of the thigh support to fit your own height and to feel comfortable. The correct position supports most of the thighs, with the exception of the very top part to allow for free movement when you bend forward.
- Straighten your body, place your hands on top of each other and on the chest or behind the head. Slowly bend your body forward and downward from the waist, keeping your back straight and breathe in as you do this.
- Keep bending down until you feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings and you can’t keep going forward without bending your back. Don’t go any more forward than this.
- Gently climb back up to your starting position as you breathe out. Do not go further than the position where your back is no longer straight. Don’t swing or oscillate as this puts you at risk of injury, use your back muscles in each movement instead.
If you want to increase difficulty, this can be done by carrying a weight plate to increase resistance, but beginners should avoid this in order not to overload under-developed lower-back muscles.