Have you considered adding reverse hyperextension into your workout routine? It might look a bit weird, but it’s one of the most important exercises to build strong, powerful, and flexible legs!
5 Powerful Benefits of the Reverse Hyperextension
1. Leaner, Tight Glutes
The key to sculpting tight, toned glutes is to perform multiple reps of isolation exercises like the reverse hyperextension. Unlike compound exercises, these isolation workouts allow athletes to work and target very specific muscle groups.
This is ideal for both fat loss and lean muscle development. A few sets of these regularly and one will have a fat-free, lifted, and lean pair of glutes.
Note: Of course, that doesn’t mean one can forego doing compound exercises. Remember that the perfect leg day routine consists of both compound and isolation exercises.
2. Better Sporting Performance
The reverse hyperextension machine targets the glutes and inner thighs, two of the most used muscles in almost any major sporting activity. They are responsible for agility, speed, and even power.
For example, when sprinting, a strong pair of glutes and thighs allow one to generate more power with each stride and propel his or her body further off the ground. On top of that, they’ll be able to maintain their top speed for a longer amount of time if their lower body can withstand moderate to heavy impact.
Similarly, basketball players can move quicker from one part of the court to the other if they have strong, agile legs. Imagine how great it’d be if no other player on the court could match up to one’s swift and agility.
3. Prevents Injuries
It might not seem obvious, but the glutes are responsible for preventing many lower body joint injuries. That’s why it’s important to strengthen these muscles through exercises like the reverse hyperextension.
Some parts of the body the glutes protect are:
- Knees: Weak glutes put the hips off balance and cause excessive rotation. All the extra stress makes the hips feel tight and the knees feel as if they’re carrying an extremely heavy load.
- Lower Back: While post-workout muscle soreness is perfectly normal, hip and joint pains are not. For example, if one is following the proper form and executing the correct technique, then the deadlift shouldn’t cause any joint issues. So if the pains still persist, there might already be a problem with one’s glutes. Weak glutes that cannot support the added deadlift weight tend to put all the load on the hips and knees.
- Hamstrings/Groin: Ever noticed how the thighs and crotch area hurt after sprinting? These might be the result of weak glutes. One needs to train them to withstand moderate to heavy impact if they want to sprint longer distances.
4. Increases Flexibility
Squats and deadlifts might be the king of muscle mass development, but the reverse hyperextension is one of the best exercises to stimulate lower body flexibility. That’s because as compared to the first two compound exercises, reverse hyperextensions incorporate a horizontal loading pattern rather than a vertical one.
For best results, make sure to include other leg day exercises and HIIT moves that promote flexibility. This can include high knees, burpees, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks.
5. Easy Learning Curve
As compared to other leg exercises like barbell squats, deadlifts, and sissy squats, the reverse hyperextension is a lot easier to learn. In fact, beginners can master the exercise in five easy steps:
- Load the machine with the desired weight.
- Place the feet in between the padding at the bottom, climb on top of the machine, and then grab the machine’s handles.
- Place the torso on top of the mat with the waist hanging at the end. This is the starting position.
- Next, slowly pull the legs forward while squeezing the glutes and thighs.
- Pause for one count and then slowly extend the legs backward until they align with the back. Do not extend the legs too far back or it may cause serious injury. This is one rep.
- Do three to four sets of 12 to 16 reps.
Reverse Hyperextension Alternative Exercises
Want to do a reverse hyperextension at home but don’t have the necessary equipment? Before deciding to spend hundreds on a new machine, make sure to try out these alternatives first:
1. Table Reverse Hyperextension
- Lie on top of a table with your hands grabbing the edge near the head and the waist hanging at the bottom.
- Pull the legs forward while squeezing the glutes and thighs.
- Next, extend the legs back until the legs are parallel to the floor. This is one rep.
- Do 3-4 sets of as many reps as one can do.
2. Lying Towel Hamstring Curls
- Lie down on the floor with the arms extended to the sides, back flat against the ground, knees bent, and foot propped on the heels. Make sure there’s a face towel underneath the feet.
- Next, extend the legs straight forward while dragging the towel under the balls of the feet. This is one’s starting position.
- From there, drag the feet back toward the body while lifting the glutes off the ground.
- Contract the glutes in the air and then slowly extend the legs back to the starting position while lowering the glutes down on the floor. This is one rep.
- Do 3-4 sets of as many reps as one can do.
3. Nordic Hamstring Curls
- Lie flat on the ground with the feet under the shoulders and feet straight at the back.
- Have a partner pin the calves to the floor throughout the exercise. Make sure they grab the calves tightly to ensure stability. This is one’s starting position.
- Next, lift the body up by bending at the knees.
- As much as possible, use only the legs hamstrings to pull the body up, but one can slightly press against the floor for a bit of support.
- Pause at the top and then return to the starting position by landing on the hands. This is one rep.
- Do 3-4 sets of as many reps as possible.
You need to have proper form when doing the reverse hyperextension. Learn how to do it properly in this video from Men’s Health:
Overall, the reverse hyperextension is a great exercise one should definitely include in their list of leg day exercises. Beginners can start with 3-4 sets of 12 to 16 reps, but seasoned athletes can explore different rep ranges to see which one aligns with their goals better.
Also, make sure to do perform this exercise at least two to three times every week. After all, consistency is the key to achieving any fitness goal.
Do you think the reverse hyperextension is worthy of being in your workout routine? Share your opinions in the comments section below!