Reverse hyperextensions (reverse hypers) are a fan favorite in the gym but if I had to guess, they’re always causing an angry lower back for days afterward. Am I right?
Don’t worry I’m going to show you how to adjust that reverse hyperextension so you can keep making gains while avoiding low back pain.
WHAT IS A REVERSE HYPEREXTENSION?
The reverse hyperextension, which was created by the great Louis Simmons of Westside Barbell, takes the conventional hyperextension (where your legs are locked into a machine at 45 degrees and you bend at the hips to train your hamstrings, glutes and lower back), and changes the emphasis of where the movement is initiated from by now moving the lower body instead of the upper body.
THE BENEFITS OF REVERSE HYPER EXTENSIONS
What makes this great, is by using the reverse hyperextension, we're providing the body with variability by putting more emphasis on the glutes and lower back instead of the hamstrings.
Another added bonus, is that this unusual position also creates a little traction in the lower back since the weight of your lower body will create space between your lower back vertebras. The concept is that with all of the spinal loading involved in squats, deadlifts, overhead press, or just gravity, you want to “decompress” the spine as much as possible. That's where the reverse hyperextension comes in.
WHY REVERSE HYPEREXTENSIONS CAUSE LOWER BACK PAIN
Lower back pain from reverse hyperextensions happens because the little vertebrates in the lower back can’t move independently of one another, so as you swing your legs up, you force your lower back to extend only at one vertebrae.
This puts way too much stress and pressure on this disc. If you imagine your vertebrae are in the shape of a “V” the vertebrae at the point is the one having to carry the load.
What we want is multiple vertebrae to help out, more like a “U” so we have the tension placed evenly instead of on one spot.
HOW TO DO REVERSE HYPEREXTENSIONS WITHOUT CAUSING LOWER BACK PAIN
Consider yourself lucky if you have access to the reverse hyperextension machine. But before you start loading weight, we need to get that lower back engaging correctly by getting our lower back to fire first.
We do this by training your body to extend the lower back properly. You can think of low back extension as sticking your butt out for more likes on Instagram. You know what I'm talking about ;)
The small little muscles that run up and down your lower back are the spinal extensors. You need to get these contracting properly, otherwise those reverse hyperextensions are going to do a number on your lower back.
Think of today’s exercise as the training wheels to the reverse hyperextension. Check it out in the video above.
A LITTLE PSA FROM COACH PIPPIN…
If you're reading this blog, you need to address that low back issue. Trust me, I’ve had problems I let lurk until I ended up in the hospital with an ER doctor doing lunges and telling me to do hip flexor stretches to fix the problem which is SO WRONG!
That’s why I’ve put together my 3 must-have mobility moves that you can get for free in the link below. There’s a killer hip exercise in there that believe it or not…will make a huge difference in improving the low back issues you’ve got going on.
ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Mobility Coach with over 15 years experience in his field and has coached over a thousand professional, collegiate and everyday athletes with the goal to help them move, feel and perform at their highest level. He's incredibly passionate about bringing simple and effective online mobility training programs to everyone who wants to take control of their self care and make lasting change. CLICK HERE to learn more.
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)
Level 1 Kinstretch Instructor
Weck Method Qualified