Muscle and Function: Erector Spinae
The erector spinae muscles are a group of muscles along the vertebral column. Collectively, they are responsible for back extension as well as extension of the neck and sideways movement of the head. It is made up of three muscles: the iliocostalis, the longissimus, and the spinalis.
The Different Parts
The iliocostalis assists in extension and lateral flexion of the vertebral column as well as maintaining good posture. It originates in the lumbosacral fascia and inserts in the transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae.
The logissimus dorsi is made up of three different muscles. The capitis muscle holds the head up and rotates it towards the same side of the muscle that is contracting. It originates in the top four thoracic vertebrae and inserts in the mastoid process of the skull. The cervicis muscle assists in bending the neck and keeping the cervical spine upright. It originates in the lateral side of the top four thoracic vertebrae and inserts in the lateral side of the cervical vertebra. Finally, the thoracis muscle allows the back to bend backwards and sideways. It also keeps the spine upright and pulls the ribs downward to assist with breathing. It originates in the lumbosacral fascia and inserts in the transverse processes of the middle vertebrae and the lower ten ribs.
The spinalis is made up of two muscles. They work together to help extend and laterally flex the vertebral column. The spinalis cervicis originates in the ligamentum nuchae and inserts in the spinous process of the axis. The spinalis throacis originates in the lumbosacral fascia and inserts in the spinous process of T3-T8.
Strengthening the Erector Spinae
It is extremely important to strengthen your erector spinae because they are muscles you use on a daily basis. Strong erector spinae will help to reduce lower back pain. Exercises to strengthen them include deadlifts, back extensions, superman exercise and lumbar Extensions on the MedX Lumbar Extension and the MedX Medical Lumbar Extension machines found at Vertex Fitness.