Horizontal Back Extension

An anatomical drawing highlighting the muscles worked during a Horizontal Back Extension.

I’ve detailed the importance/applicability of the Horizontal Back Extension before, so I won’t get into that now.

By the way, if you haven’t read that post, definitely make time to do it. It will forever change the way you look at how to increase your hip strength for wrestling.

Anyway, if you’re looking to increase the force with which you sprawl, the Horizontal Back Extension is probably the best way to go about it.

But, knowledge of how to properly progress the exercise is a must. This will ensure that you continue to gain strength.

With that said, let’s get into the steps you should take to progress the Horizontal Back Extension.

Progression 1- Hand/Arm Placement

The first way to make this exercise more difficult is by changing where you place your hands.

Start by placing them across your chest.

GHR Back Extension Hands Across Chest

Then, once you’re comfortable, move them to behind your head.

GHR Back Extension Hands Behind Head

Once your technique is consistent and you’re comfortable with holding your hands behind your head, you’re ready for the next step.

Progression 2- Add Some Weight

Always add weight behind your head. I don’t want to go into the details in this post, but holding a dumbbell/plate behind your head not only makes the exercise easier to track. It also makes this exercise more challenging.

GHR Back Extension holding a DB Behind Head

Again, as you move up in weight, make sure your technique stays consistent.

If at any time you feel you’re not able to maintain proper form, or your partner(s) says your technique is suffering due to an increase in weight, simply move back down until you develop consistent technique at a lower weight.

Think about it- if you couldn’t shoot a double leg would you worry about how to shoot an elbow by to a double with a lift finish into a Turk?

No, you’d probably focus on just getting the double leg perfect.

The same attitude should be used when it comes to your strength training.

Progression 3- Band Resistance

Eventually holding a large dumbbell behind your head will become difficult. It won’t be your strength that’s holding you back. Rather, it will be your ability to hold the dumbbell in position while you perform the exercise.

That’s when it’s time to progress to bands!

Here’s a quick video of me performing a Horizontal Back Extension with band resistance and an added hold at the top:

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion

Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.


Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.


Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.


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