Reverse hyperextensions are an effective accessory exercise to develop the glutes and hamstrings. Sometimes, however, access to a reverse hyperextension machine is not feasible (training from home, traveling, or lack of funds to purchase a machine). Therefore, in this article we will discuss six reverse hyperextension alternatives that can be performed without a machine and/or in your home.
6 At-Home Reverse Hyperextension Alternatives
The below exercises can be used in place of reverse hyperextensions in the event you are at home, travelling, or in a gym without a reverse hyperextension machine. Note, that some of these exercises require some equipment, however many of these can be done with household items (towels or table) and often without a partner.
Reverse Hyperextensions with Table
This reverse hyperextension variation is done with a table (can also be done with a bench or box). As you can see in the video, the table allows for a greater range of motion when compared to a bench since tables are typically higher off the ground. It is important to note that this variation may lack some stability as the table itself has the potential to flip over…so do this one at your own risk.
Reverse Hyperextension with GHD
The reverse hyperextension can be done with a glute ham developer (GHD) in place of the standard reverse hyperextension machine. In the video below you can see how the athlete loads themself into the GHD and adds additional band resistance to increase glute and hamstring involvement. Note, this is a good alternative when looking to build basic muscle endurance and activation, however does lack the overall loading capacity for more advanced lifters.
Nordic Hamstring Curls
Nordic hamstring curls are an advanced movement that can be done on a cable pulldown (back) station or on the ground with the feet under a barbell/partner. The Nordic hamstring curl challenges the hamstrings and forces maximal isometric and eccentric strength making it a great exercise for optimal hamstring performance.
Supermans are a regressed version of a back extension that can strengthen the glutes and spinal erectors, increase isometric control, and easily be set up and executed without any equipment. To better target the glutes, an athlete can do this with their knees bent at 90 degrees so their feet are up off the ground while actively pointing the toes downwards (placing the ankle into plantarflexion).
Reverse Hollow Rocks
Reverse hollow rocks are a similar movement to the superman exercise above. These isometric holds place an athlete in a hyperextended position to increase glute activation and spinal extension. This movement does lack the overall range of motion when compared to the reverse hyperextensions (and many others on this list), however can easily be done with nearly every athlete.
Lying Hamstring Curls with Towels
This can easily be done in any gym or home where you do not have a reverse hyperextension machine. The lying hamstring curl with a towel (or a valslide if you have) will target the hamstrings (and some glutes if done with additional hip raise). This exercise may be a good entry level movement for coaches and athletes looking for greater eccentric control (similar to benefits from the Nordic hamstring curl).
Reverse Hyperextension in a Squat Rack
This one is a bit out there, but it can and has been done. In the video below, you will see first a disclaimer foreshadowing that this may not be the most comfortable reverse hyperextension without a machine remedy. Nonetheless, I wanted to include this option as it is quite resourceful and creative, and in the end can be pretty effective since it does allow you to load the hamstrings and glutes greater than every other reverse hyperextension alternative on this list. Like the table alternative, the stability of the barbell in a squat rack is suspected, so do this one at your own risk:
Glute Training for Strength, Power, and Fitness Athletes
Take a look at the below articles and exercise guide and learn what things you need to do to improve glute strength, activation, and performance!
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