Depending on the goal of the user, there are several different types of back exercise equipment available, ranging from lat machines or row machines for strength training to inversion tables for spinal decompression. Exercising and stretching the back can greatly improve the body’s core strength, agility, and flexibility. Sometimes back pain can also be reduced with exercise, though this may not be appropriate for some back injuries.
A lat machine is a type of back exercise equipment intended to strengthen the Latissimus dorsi, or lat, muscle in the upper back. Lat machines generally consist of a bench and a suspended bar that is connected to an adjustable amount of weights via a pulley system. The user sits on the bench and pulls the bar down in a motion similar to performing a chin-up.
A second type of lat exerciser is known as an angled back machine. An angled back machine usually has a bench that leans on an angle to allow the user to lie on his or her stomach. He or she can then pull weighted bars or free weights up and behind the body.
A row machine, sometimes also called an ergometer, is another type of back exercise equipment meant for strength training. Generally, the user sits on the seat and pulls backward on a handle attached to a wheel that spins with adjustable resistance. This type of back exercise equipment works the lower back by simulating the motion and force of rowing a boat through the water.
Inversion devices such as gravity boots and inversion tables can be used to suspend the user upside down in a practice known as inversion therapy. Inversion therapy is not widely supported by medical professionals, but proponents claim that it stretches and decompresses the spine, increasing flexibility, improving blood flow to the brain, and relieving back pain. Gravity boots are boots that can be hung from a bar mounted in a doorframe or from the ceiling, so the user can hang upside down from his or her feet. Inversion tables perform a similar function, allowing the user to lie on and secure himself or herself to a pivoting platform that can be flipped upside down.
Exercising the abdominal muscles can also be very beneficial in relieving back pain. Strengthening the abs adds extra stability to the core muscles, which helps support some of the weight of the upper body. In addition to relieving back pain, keeping the back and abdominal muscles flexible and strong will help prevent future back injuries.