3 Benefits of Reverse Hyperextensions

In an earlier article we discussed the reverse hyperextension and provided a thorough exercise guide for strength, power, and fitness athletes and coaches. In the reverse hyperextension exercise guide we briefly discussed the training benefits of integrating this powerful glute and hamstring accessory exercise into any training regimen.

In this article we will dive deeper into the main benefits of performing reverse hyperextensions with or without a machine, and offer exercise programming guidelines for  building strength, hypertrophy, and improving glute/hamstring function.

Reverse Hyperextension Exercise Demo

The below exercise video demonstrates how to properly perform the reverse hyperextension on a machine. In the event you do not have a reverse hyperextension machine, you can perform very similar movements on a bench, box, or GHD apparatus. Additionally, be sure to check out these reverse hyperextension alternatives to help maximize glute and hamstring performance and muscular growth at home or without machines.

3 Benefits of Reverse Hyperextensions

The below benefits are what coaches and athletes can expect to gain when integrating reverse hyperextensions (with or without machines) into their accessory training routine.

Glute and Hamstring Development

Glute and hamstring muscle hypertrophy is key for strength, power, and fitness athletes for movements like squats, deadlifts, pulls, running, and nearly every other human movement. When looking to increase muscle hypertrophy of the glutes and hamstrings, coaches and athletes have a wide array of movements to choose from. Reverse hyperextensions can be a great exercise option when looking to limit additional loading places upon a lifter’s central nervous system, lower back, or hips; as it minimizes spinal loading and may even help decompress the vertebrae in the spine.

Better Hip Extension Abilities

Hip extension is key for nearly every athletic endeavor and feat of strength, power, and fitness. The posterior chain is a series of muscles that are responsible for hip extension, with both the glutes and hamstrings being the primary muscle groups (as well as the spinal erectors). Increasing the strength, contractile speeds, and control throughout wider ranges of motion can enhance performance in squats, deadlifts, and explosive lifts.

General Injury Resilience (Lower Back and Hamstrings)

Strong, muscular, and flexible hamstrings are key to maximal force production and injury prevention during such explosive and higher force producing movements. When looking to build a resilient lower back, coaches and  athlete should address any weaknesses or imbalances in glute and hamstring development (in addition to proper hip function and lower back/core stability). Movements like the reverse hyperextension allow coaches and athletes to train the hamstrings and glutes in a similar movement pattern to deadlifts and other pulls from the floor without the added spinal loading/forces. This can be beneficial for those athletes  who have lower back issues/flare ups, are recovering from hard training, and/or are looking to maximize lower back health.

How to Program Reverse Hyperextensions

Reverse hyperextensions are often done to increase glute activation, hypertrophy, muscular endurance, and strength. Powerlifter and Westside Barbell guru Louie Simmons suggests that athletes perform higher repetitions (12-20) per set when focusing on “restoration”/muscle growth (size). If the goal is to increase strength and general hypertrophy, 10-12 repetitions can be done. Loading should be kept around 25-50% of one’s best back squat (lighter weights for higher rep ranges and vice versa).

Bulletproof Your Lower Back

Check out the below exercise guides and articles to learn how you can bulletproof your lower back (spinal erectors) and increase glute engagement mto increase deadlift and squat performance.

Featured Image: @brandonangusscott on Instagram

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

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.

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