Whether you are a beginner just starting to build lower back strength, an advanced lifter looking to fortify their back, or anywhere in between - the reverse hyperextension is for you.
What Is A Reverse Hyperextension?
The reverse hyperextension (aka reverse hyper) is a safe, yet very effective lower back exercise designed to bring activation, strength, and endurance to the lower back and hip extensor muscles. I love the reverse hyperextension exercise because it can scale to nearly every level of experience and it can be done nearly anywhere.
How To Do A Reverse Hyperextension
There are a few variations of the reverse hyperextension exercise, but for the sake of this article I am going to go over how to do them with and without a reverse hyper machine. I prefer using a reverse hyperextension machine - although it is a rare species of equipment that most gyms will not have.
This is the no equipment version of the reverse hyperextension that can be done nearly anywhere. If you have access to a table, countertop, bench, or any flat elevated surface you have access to performing the reverse hyperextension.
To perform the bodyweight reverse hyperextension, lay flat on the surface with your legs hanging off the platform. It is preferred to use a surface around waist height. From this prone position, slowly lower the legs so that the feet nearly touch the ground. Contract the lower back and glute muscles (emphasis on pinching the glute muscles) to swing the legs up to parallel with the ground, and repeat. Some folks find a short pause at the top to be advantageous. Repeat for 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps.
If you have access to this elusive piece of equipment, I envy you. The reverse hyperextension machine acts as a weighted pendulum locked around your heels, where you swing the pendulum up with the same motion as the reverse hyperextension at home.
The reverse hyperextension machine can be scaled fairly quickly. I recommend staying in the higher rep range of at least 10, but I also have yet to hear of any issues or injury with pushing on this machine.
Reverse Hyperextension Alternative:
There are a few alternative exercises that provide similar benefit to the reverse hyperextension. A few of my favorites are the spinal erector crunch, the founder, and reverse snow angels. Check out the video links for walkthroughs on all 3 movements - I guarantee you will love and use at least one of them.
When To Incorporate Reverse Hyperextensions
Reverse hyperextensions are really for all shapes, sizes, and experience levels. That being said, here are the two demographics that tend to benefit most from the reverse hyperextension and how they can each utilize the movement to their gain.
Reverse Hyperextensions For Beginners:
If you are in the beginner bucket, chances are you need to learn what it feels like to activate you lower back muscles and pump them up with blood in a safe, effective manner.
Beginners should utilize the reverse hyperextension as an activation and strength movement to 1) learn what it feels like to use these muscles, 2) build strength and endurance in the lower back, and 3) safely work their lower back stabilizers to become resilient to lower back tweaks and pain.
Reverse Hyperextensions For The Advanced:
As an experienced, advanced athlete, you likely have a high level of strength, endurance, and coordination with you lower back muscles. For this group I recommend using the reverse hyperextension for 1) a post leg workout burnout to pump and burn the lower back and glutes safely, and 2) a stabilization movement to help fortify against lower back pain.
Beyond The Reverse Hyperextension
The reverse hyperextension is great, but there is a bigger picture to a strong, healthy lower back and functional core. If you would like to eliminate the guess work and follow a total regimen designed to bulletproof your lower back - check out Back Of Steel below:
Back Of Steel (Strengthening): The total strengthening regimen for building up every weak point in an underdeveloped back system.