Reverse Hyperextension Exercise Guide
Reverse hyperextension can be done with a specially designed piece of equipment (apparatus) that allows you to add resistance. You can also do it with a medicine ball between your feet to add resistance. If a specially designed machine for reverse hyperextension in not available in your gym, you can use the same bench as the back raises (regular incline bench hyperextension). The difference is that the upper body is supported by the bench and the legs hang in space.
Exercise Instructions – Proper Exercise Technique
This exercise requires a specially designed apparatus that stabilizes the upper body while the movement occurs in the lower body.
STARTING POSITION (SETUP): Lie facedown (prone position) on a high bench or reverse hyperextension machine and hold on with your hands to secure your upper body. Your legs hang straight down toward the floor. Your hips are just off the pads. If you are using a high bench, wear ankle weights. If you are using a reverse hyperextension machine, the pad should be slightly above your heels.
MOVEMENT (ACTION): Raise your legs, keeping them straight, until your body is straight and fully extended. Lower your legs back down under control to the starting position.
Reverse Hyperextension Tips & Key Points to Remember
- Keeping legs together and straight, lift them up until level or slightly higher than your hips.
- Start by squeezing your glutes as you lift your legs in the air. You should think about pushing those ASIS bones (which are the bones on the front of your pelvis) into the bench, which will automatically help you use your glutes.
- Pause and lower legs back down, lightly touching toes to the floor.
- Do not swing legs up or drop them down.
- Keep abdominals engaged and maintain neutral spine.
- Your hips should not bounce off the pad.
- Allow the hips to flex so that a 90-degree angle exist at the hip joint.
- The bones on the front of your pelvis are just at the edge of the bench.
Muscles Engaged in Reverse Hyperextensions
Reverse hyperextension develops the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. This is also outstanding device for developing body core strength.
- Swiss-ball (stability ball) reverse hyperextension. This variation takes a little bit more balance. Begin in a face-down position on the ball with your hands on the floor and legs together behind your body. Keeping your upper body as still as possible, raise your legs in the air and hold for a second. Slowly lower your legs and repeat. This bodyweight move for glutes is perfect for the end of a workout, and also makes a good superset. Add ankle weights to make it more challenging.
Back Extension (Hyperextension) vs. Reverse Hyperextension
The reverse hyperextension is actually a variation of another exercise called a back extension. A back extension machine is set up so that your feet are placed firmly on a platform and your hips are pressed against a padded support. This allows your upper body to bend instead of your lower body.
When it comes to moves, hyper means moving into a more extreme range of motion. Straightening a joint beyond anatomical position is termed hyperextension. For some joint (such as the knee, elbow, or fingers), extension from anatomical position (hyperextension) is not possible except in very flexible individuals. If you are not strong enough to control your movement or flexible enough to bend that far, you probably should avoid bringing a joint into these ranges – especially when doing an exercise with weight, at speed, or in loaded position (supporting your body weight). There will be some instances when you do want to move at the ends of your range of motion. Many sports movements require that you do so, especially in gymnastics, swimming, and running hurdles. And sometimes, if your joint has been held for prolonged periods in one position, it’s good to reverse position. For example, if you slump forward over a desk all day, the modified Cobra stretch – where you lie on your stomach and lean on your bent elbows – can help release the forward-bending stress on your spine. Hyperextension in not a new movement but rather just a continuation of extension beyond anatomical position, and in movement analysis the term extension encompasses hyperextension.