80% of people will suffer from back pain in their lifetimes according to medical studies.  Often the cause is weak low-back muscles.*




Current traditional low-back exercises allow pelvic rotation.  Larger muscles work when the pelvis rotates, but the smaller muscles that extend the back DO NOT CONTRIBUTE OR BENEFIT FROM THE EFFORT.  Thus, the pelvis should not move. This is precisely how the CWSS MEDX Lumbar Extension Machine works.  It locks down the hips and thighs to prevent any hip rotation.  Thereby, the smaller lower back muscles are isolated to “do the work” without assistance from the larger gluteus and quadriceps.



“The muscles that extend the lumbar spine are unique in their response to exercise — they do not require much to attain peak strength and very little to maintain.”


Early research that was conducted at the University of Florida in the early 1990’s that established the official protocol for low-back strength conditioning is too good to be true!  The protocol included working the small low-back muscles to complete fatigue in under or just at two minutes for twice a week in the first month, once a week for the next two months, and once a month thereafter.  Participants indicated an 877% increase in back extension strength in just 27 weeks.


We use slight variations of that original protocol at CWSS.  For example, new clients with low-back pain start with 10-15 reps once a week.  We then move to once every two weeks for 12 weeks, and then once every three weeks thereafter.  CWSS trainers slowly increase your range of motion and weight.





“Strengthen your abs” has become the gold standard in back care.  Arthur Jones disagreed.  Jones, founder of Nautilus and MedX, extensively researched how to properly and safely strengthen the back.  He developed the MedX Lumbar machine after 14 years, 3,000 prototypes and $488 million.


Testing 10,000 subjects, he concluded ab strength had NOTHING TO DO WITH BACK PAIN.  He stated: “99% of the people on the planet are walking around in a state of chronic disuse atrophy.  They have never used those (lower back) muscles.”


*All information and research studies here are from the book IF YOU LIKE EXERCISE CHANCES ARE YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.  Proper Strength Training for Maximum Results, by Gary Bannister

When all research was on the table, 80% of patients with chronic back pain (regardless of diagnosis) reported a reduction in pain perception after a twelve-week MedX protocol.

“I’ve had low back pain for years but I have found the Lumbar Extension at CWSS helps loosen up the muscles and reduces my discomfort.  My lower back feels a lot stronger since incorporating this exercise in my workouts. I always feel better after a session. I especially like how locked down I am in the exercise, how we can control the range of motion, and this is done all to prevent injury.”

-Joe Peri, client since 2008

Denise Morton on our MedX Lumbar Extension Machine.  

Denise is completing a FULL range of motion with a 2 second hold at the bumper.  She hits failure at 2:02.


Figure showing Pelvic Restraint