Best Exercise Machines for Lower Back Health

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ronald Mochizuki, MD

Ready to take action to improve your lower back strength? If back pain makes it difficult to stay on top of work, family, and fun, then it’s time to try something new. 

The best approach to strengthen your back is with dedicated exercise machines that target your back’s muscle groups. A stronger back can mean better posture, less pain, and—most importantly—more time spent participating in the activities you love to do.


Overview of Lower Back Exercise Machines

To effectively improve back muscle strength, opt for the lower back exercises gym equipment can provide. Using a mix of targeted workout machines is the most efficient way to: 

  • Strengthen the muscles that support and surround your spine
  • Boost your range of motion
  • Reduce back pain
  • Improve posture


Lateral Pulldown Machine

The first lower back machine to explore is the lateral pulldown. From a seated position, you reach up to a bar above and pull it down toward you. The bar is connected to weights set to your desired intensity. 

This type of pulling down (versus lifting) weights avoids putting stress on the vertebrae, making it ideal for those with back problems or pain. 

Lateral pulldown machines can help: 

  • Improve mid and upper back strength and stability
  • Stabilize the lower back, which may help decrease back pain
  • Increase latissimus dorsi (lumbar and lower thoracic regions of the back) activity
  • Support better posture
  • Increase biceps muscle activity
  • Enhance grip strength


Seated Row Machine

Seated row machines operate and provide resistance on a horizontal rather than vertical plane, meaning the action is not aided by gravity. They target more muscles and allow more weight to be moved compared to the lateral pulldown. 

Posture and movements are based on boat rowing, and some gym machines mimic both the wind and sound you’d experience on the water by utilizing liquid-based resistance. 

To operate them, you grip a handle, bend your knees, brace your feet and core, and then pull back on the cord from both shoulders and elbows. At the same time, you push against the foot plates, ending with legs extended and the handle pulled against your midriff while remaining in an upright seated position.

The seated row machine: 


  • Stimulates much of the mid and upper back muscle group
  • Also targets biceps brachii and rear deltoid heads
  • Helps build a wide and thick back
  • Involves more total body movement and joint use than the lateral pulldown

Back Extension Machine

The back extension machine (or hyperextension bench) users range from physical rehabilitation patients to bodybuilders. The user is either reclined or seated, and the movement is restricted to bending at the waist, either using your own body weight or additional weights for increased resistance.

This low-impact machine: 

  • Targets the erector spinae (set of muscles that support, straighten, and rotate the back)
  • Also activates middle and upper back muscles
  • Stretches the back and improves range of motion
  • Improves lower back endurance and strength
  • Can help rehabilitate back injuries and poor lumbar or thoracic back posture


Vibration Plate Machine

Power Plate machines vibrate at up to 50 times per second, sending tiny vibrations through your body that work to activate more muscles, burn more calories, improve circulation, and aid in natural pain relief. They can be used: 

  • To supplement movement – To enhance the effectiveness of standing and seated exercises you would otherwise complete on a still floor.
  • In stillness – To offer an alternative to exercise for those recovering from injury, experiencing pain or weakness, or desiring a less intensive workout. 

The Power Plate whole body vibration machine can be used to help strengthen your muscles, improve back and core stability, and address low back pain. In particular, you can integrate them into: 

  • Yoga and pilates – Utilize the Power Plate vibration plate as a support during stable yoga and pilates back-strengthening postures and movements.
  • Deadlifts – A standing exercise to strengthen the lower body and back muscles that can relieve middle and lower back pain.
  • Resting positions – Stand, sit, or rest against the Power Plate to stimulate muscles, aid recovery, and increase blood flow and circulation that can benefit the back. 

Incorporating Exercise Machines Into Your Routine

Establish a consistent workout routine with these machines and other activities throughout the week. To stay safe and set yourself up for long-term success, consider these elements.


Follow Safety Guidelines

Before you start with any new-to-you machines: seek professional help to use the controls, establish safe weights and settings, and ensure you follow body posture and movement guidelines to avoid further pain or injury

This can be through a gym employee, personal trainer, or video or other instructional resources provided by a manufacturer. 

Before starting, it is also important that you discuss the use of Whole Body Vibration with your healthcare provider to ensure it is suitable for you.


Create a Balanced Workout

Your back is made up of many different muscles. It’d be fairly difficult to exercise all of those muscles with one singular machine or exercise. Be sure to add variety and balance to your back workout to target different muscle groups in your back. 

Using all or a combination of a few of the back exercise machines we mentioned above can help build a comprehensive back workout. 


Celebrate Small Steps  

Start wherever you’re at. In order to progress safely and give yourself the best chance of staying the course, begin with limited repetitions, time, and weight or resistance settings. 

Don’t push yourself to a state of pain or discomfort. Instead, allow your body to proceed at a gradual pace that helps safely build muscle without harm and address your bad back. (And don’t forget to celebrate progress every step of the way.)


Complementary Exercises and Activities  

It doesn’t stop at back-centric exercise machines. Other activities that help strengthen the back and reduce low back pain include: 

  • Yoga (start with gentle yoga if you’re a newbie)
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Tai Chi
  • Stationary bicycling
  • Pilates


Core Strengthening and Flexibility

For overcoming low back pain, core strength and flexibility training are both winners. They ensure muscles and joints have the power, stability, and range of motion to rise, walk, bend, and complete every other motion that engages your core and back systems. 

Unless you follow a professional dancer’s workout routine, yoga and pilates are some of the best bets for both flexibility and core muscle work respectively. You can also add time on pivotal abs machines, crunches, and simple floor stretching to your list.


Lifestyle Adjustments for Lower Back Health

Just as there is no single lower back exercise machine that works miracles on its own, working out should be part of a larger set of habits to support your back health. 

  • Optimize your ergonomics – Request an ergonomic evaluation at your workplace and follow up on recommendations to reduce repetitive strain and improve posture. And don’t stop there—think about ergonomics and proper lumbar support in your home and vehicles, too. 
  • Minimize heavy lifting – If help is available, use it! Whether that’s other people or tools such as dollies, lifting belts, or furniture sliders, you may want to avoid heavy lifting if you’re prone to lower back pain. If you box or bag items, choose a greater number of small, light containers rather than fewer big-and-heavy ones, and make more trips instead of loading up everything in fewer trips. When you do lift items, bend at the knees, position the load, and lift with your legs. 
  • Stay limber – Stretch, walk, and move frequently, particularly if you’re often seated for long periods. Consider an adjustable height desk, arranging longer walks for snacks and beverages, and other small modifications to encourage movement. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight – While extra pounds cause greater strain on your musculoskeletal system—sometimes resulting in damage to the spinal discs and other structures—rapid weight loss can also lead to back pain., Try to maintain a consistent, healthy weight, and allow intentional weight changes to be gradual, long-term transitions.


Nutrition and Hydration

Your body needs the right fluids and nutrition at all times to stay healthy, but especially when you’re on the road to recovery from back pain or rigorous back workouts. 

Remember to: 

  • Keep hydrated – In addition to getting enough water throughout your day in general, the American Council on Exercise recommends 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours prior to exercising plus 7 to 10 ounces of fluid (either water or a workout beverage enhanced with carbohydrates and/or electrolytes) every 10 to 20 minutes while exercising.,
  • Eat nutritiously – Try to stay on track with a meal plan suitable to your individual needs and goals. On workout days, plan for a moderate meal containing protein and carbohydrates 1 to 4 hours before a workout, and again within an hour afterward to fuel, rebuild, and repair your muscles. 


Rest and Recovery

The space between back workouts is just as important as the exercises themselves. Especially for the lower back muscles, which are prone to overuse and strain, recovery time allows your muscles to heal, grow, and strengthen over time. 

Allow for time between workouts for your body to: 

  • Replenish the energy it’s expended
  • Grow muscle tissue
  • Repair tissue damage or strain 


Power Your Back Strength With Power Plate

One thing is certain: a regimen that integrates specialized lower back exercise equipment, a comprehensive workout, and plenty of rest time is the most ideal way to achieve a strong and healthy back. 

Power Plate vibration machines can be an integral part of your balanced back training regimen. They’re an innovative, flexible addition to your workout whether you’re a fitness buff or entirely new to exercise. These machines are used across the spectrum, from Hall of Fame athletes to physical therapy clients recovering from major injuries and living with chronic conditions. 

Ready to learn more? Check out the Power Plate features and benefits or contact our team directly to see what Power Plate can do for you.


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Inspire US. Lat Pulldown vs Seated Row: Major Differences Explained.

Inspire US. Back Extension: Benefits, Muscles Worked, and More.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Strength increase after whole-body vibration compared with resistance training

The American Chiropractor. Whole Body Vibration: An Alternative Treatment for Chronic Low-Back Pain

European Association for the Study of Obesity. Vibration Plate Machines May Aid Weight Loss And Trim Abdominal Fat

Medical Science Monitor. Regular Massage on a Power Plate® Machine Can Help Improve Circulation

Cleveland Clinic. Back Muscles.

Summit Orthopedics. The Link Between Weight And Back Pain.

Unstoppabl. Can Weight Loss Cause Back Pain? 10 Surprising Causes and Quick Fixes.

The American Council on Exercise. No, 8 glasses a day isn’t how much water everyone should drink (WUSA).

National Library of Medicine PubMed. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Timing Your Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition.

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