Reverse Hyperextension at Home/Without Machine

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.

I go into far more detail on each of the main alternatives after the section below, so keep reading for much more information!

How to Do Reverse Hyperextension Alternatives

Reverse hyperextensions are a popular movement to boost glute and hamstring strength while promoting injury resilience for strength athletes. However, the traditional reverse hyperextension requires specialized equipment that many athletes, commercial gyms, and home gyms lack access to. While reverse hyperextension alternatives usually won’t perfectly replicate the regular movement, they can go a long way toward accomplishing the same strength-building goals for many athletes.

Step 1: Reverse Hyperextensions with Table

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.

Step 2: Reverse Hyperextension with GHD

The reverse hyperextension can be done with a glute ham developer (GHD) in place of the standard reverse hyperextension machine.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: Supermans

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.

Step 5: 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.

Step 6: Lying Hamstring Curls with Towels

This can easily be done in any gym or home where you do not have a reverse hyperextension machine.

6 At-Home Reverse Hyperextension Alternatives (Plus One Bonus)

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

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!

Featured Image: @jasonphelps33 on Instagram

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Mike holds a Master's in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Mike has been with BarBend since 2016, where he covers Olympic weightlifting, sports performance training, and functional fitness. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University, in which he works primarily with baseball, softball, track and field, cross country. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs for sports performance, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.In his first two years writing with BarBend, Mike has published over 500+ articles related to strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, and fitness. Mike’s passion for fitness, strength training, and athletics was inspired by his athletic career in both football and baseball, in which he developed a deep respect for the barbell, speed training, and the acquisition on muscle.Mike has extensive education and real-world experience in the realms of strength development, advanced sports conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, and human movement. He has a deep passion for Olympic weightlifting as well as functional fitness, old-school bodybuilding, and strength sports.Outside of the gym, Mike is an avid outdoorsman and traveller, who takes annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and other parts of the Midwest, and has made it a personal goal of his to travel to one new country, every year (he has made it to 10 in the past 3 years). Lastly, Mike runs Rugged Self, which is dedicated to enjoying the finer things in life; like a nice glass of whiskey (and a medium to full-bodied cigar) after a hard day of squatting with great conversations with his close friends and family.