So you are tired of doing all those hyperextensions to get the best lower back of your life? Noticing little to no change and even lower back pain in some cases, then you are at the right place. Doing the opposite i.e., reverse hyperextension, is what you need to do to get effective and fast results.
But does reverse hyperextension hit the same muscle group and is it the same as hyperextension? This question comes to mind in most people when advised to do reverse hyperextensions. Sometimes doing the opposite of mass audience and breaking the stereotype is beneficial, which is proved in the case of reverse hyperextensions. Moreover, this exercise has surpassed the increase in peak muscle activity of lower back muscles, erector spinae, etc.
What is Reverse Hyperextension? Is it different from normal hyperextensions?
Reverse hyperextension is an uncommon exercise that is very effective in building back muscles. Especially activates lower back, erector spinae, glutes, bicep femoris while working on the reverse hyperextension machine, Or a bench. This machine is not universal in the gyms, so you might have to perform an alternative move, which will almost equally work as the machine does. The most significant difference between the two is that in the hyperextensions your lower body is stable and your torso leaps forward and comes back at the same position, while in reverse hyperextensions your torso remains stable, and lower body legs and glutes extend all the way up to 180 degrees and beyond to contract the muscles.
The above bar graph clearly depicts that the reverse hyperextension shows greater lower back moment compared to normal hyperextension and apart from that the range of motion is more than 10 degrees in case of reverse hyperextensions, which becomes the point of distinction and also serves as evidence for enhanced lower back activity giving you a defined lower back (x-mas tree) and glutes, erector spinae development.
Benefits of Reverse Hyperextension.
These benefits would be loved by females out there because it activates and tones your glutes and is easy to perform. Men would fetch its benefits and will see a change in their muscle activation levels and an increase in hypertrophy.
1. Lower back development – The spinal erectors in your lower back (X-Mas tree) will grow better. It will be activated better while performing these exercises over deadlifts and hyperextensions.
2. Spine stability – Your spine is the backbone of your structure. It should be rigid and stable, reverse hyperextensions help you achieve all of these by working on your spine during the reverse back extension, which creates an angle of >180 which directly works on your spine and erector spinae.
3. Hamstrings – your hamstrings will also get affected. They will activate as a major muscle group during the partial part of the movement this movement is also similar to reverse extensions for your hamstrings with a lesser weight or no weight. Still, a high repetition set will burn out your hamstrings.
4. More range of motion – More flexibility and range of motion are achieved in your lower body with this exercise. So if you are not into stretching and yoga, you should add this exercise to your workouts.
5. Lesser lumbar flexion and Injury prevention – Lesser chances of injury during the exercise especially if you have a problem in your lower back and discs. When compared to hyperextensions it puts less strain on your lower back and discs and is a safe movement to perform moreover, this exercise alleviates your lower back or spinal pain caused by heavy squats or other exercises by extending your lower back muscles and relieving stress out of them do try it!!
6. Hip extensions and Works more effectively over glutes – Your glutes will get activated during the whole movement as a major muscle group. This is a better option for you if you are a beginner and want to develop glutes without doing those heavy squats, the extended movement is the reason why it also works on hip extensors.
How to perform Reverse Hyperextension
There are many ways to perform a reverse extension below are the mentioned most of those which would be readily available in your gymnasium.
1. On reverse hyperextension machine
This is the most convenient option out there. This machine is present only in big gyms, but some are lucky to have it in small or medium-sized gyms. Just lay down and put your chest on the surface of the machine, put your legs behind the extender, adjust the weight according to your strength don’t go heavy on it(it’s all about the contraction). Now extend backward with your glutes, lower back and descend slowly.
2. On a bench /incline bench
Do not panic if you don’t see this machine in your gym. Another solution is a flat bench, or an inclined bench (More extension) would also work correctly. Just lay down on the bench with your lower body hanged out and raise your legs by using your glutes and lower back upwards to make an angle of >180 and slowly descend. After some practice try to add small weights to your legs and take it to another level.
3. On a stability ball
You can even try this stability ball reverse hyperextensions. Just lay down over a stability ball and perform the same movement as on a bench and extend your lower body at an angle>180. A stability ball will add a level of difficulty as now you also have to stabilize your body, in this case, it is difficult so in the beginning, take help of your arms by putting them on the ground.
4. Hyperextension stand/hamstring machine
You can perform the move on a hyperextension stand or a hamstring curls machine like the reverse extension. Just like the name says reverse, you have to perform in a reverse position with your hands and chest onto the hyperextension stand and make your lower body upwards while performing.
Reverse Hyperextension Workout
1. Lower back Strengthening and endurance–
3-4 sets of any variation mentioned above 8-12 reps and increase the weight on each set via dumbbells or machine.
2. Definition and Muscle mass hypertrophy
4 sets 15 reps each with a moderate weight using any of the variations mentioned above.
Alternatives of Reverse Hyperextension
1. Hip thrust – This is the best alternative out there for reverse hyperextension. It works for similar muscle groups, and the movement is identical. Only the difference is the extension of legs is limited. It works wonders on your glutes and erector spinae and is the number one alternative for hyperextension.
2. Resistance bands hip extension – This exercise can also be used as an alternative and is a good option. If you have a resistance band then this exercise can be performed anywhere. To accomplish this exercise put your arms and knees on the floor and put one end of your resistance band onto your arms and one end to one of your legs and then slowly extend your leg backward to 180 degrees. Perform 10-12 reps then change your leg, this exercise also works on your hamstrings and back muscles.
Tips before performing
Remember to follow these tips while performing the reverse hyperextensions for more effectiveness and increased muscle activity.
1. Use a Resistance band
Resistance bands are a super-effective way to add a layer of difficulty to any push or pull movement. Making a move difficult and activating your muscle more than in no resistance bands or weights.
2. Perform Negative reverse Movement
Your eccentric movement or aka the negative of your movement should be performed slowly and firmly with concentrating on your muscles (back, glutes, hamstrings.)
3. Do Isometric hold
As the exercise is performed in the same position, it is an isometric hold. Holding the position at the extreme point for 3-4 seconds will help you in increasing your range of motion, flexibility and alleviate strain in muscles.