Muscle group:   The back muscles

Trained muscle:   Lower back muscles

Fitness level:   Beginner, advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Own body weight exercises, free weight exercises, machine exercises


Hyperextensions represent an effective exercise for the lower back (muscles of the lumbar spine). The lumbar region is very sensitive and many people have complaints in that area what attaches high importance to its training.

Hyperextensions

Hyperextensions exist in different variations and can be trained on the floor, bench, or machine. We can also use a specific hyperextension bench for the workout. Beginners should start with the machine exercise before they move on to other variations. When we work out hyperextensions please do not go for maximal strength. The lumbar region is extremely sensitive and should be treated with care. It is recommended to abort the exercise at a rate of perceived exertion of medium-to-hard.

Hyperextensions on the machine

Sit upright in the Hyperextension machine with both feet on the provided platform. Adjust the machine to have the rotation axis in one line with the upper part of the pelvis. The upper body leans forward keeping the back straight. Smoothly lower the resistance cushion onto your upper back. Your hands hold on to the provided handles or the seat to stabilize your body. Athletes with good body stability could cross their arms in front of the chest. Now erect the upper body into hyperextension in a controlled movement pressing the resistance cushion to the back. The reverse movement should be very smooth especially toward the lowest point. Avoid fast and sudden movements  and don’t let your upper body drop.

Hyperextensions on the machine

Hyperextensions on the machine

Hyperextensions on the bench

Hyperextensions on the hyperextension bench represent a classic exercise. We have different bench types that either work inclined or on the horizontal line. In both types we get in prone position and have the pelvis rest on the provided cushion. Our legs fixate under the cushion rolls. Smoothly erect your body onto the horizontal line into hyperextension. Actively tilt your pelvis to achieve a slight hollow back.

Hyperextensions on the hyperextension bench

Hyperextensions on the hyperextension bench

The exercise can be performed with different arm positions. The more we extend our arms to the front the more intense the workout becomes. Extra weights can also be used to intensify the training. It is also possible to choose a static hyperextension execution and combine the exercise with reverse flys.

It is recommended to already start hyperextensions with your upper body on the horizontal line and perform the exercise in very small movements into and out of the hollow back. Or even remain in hollow back position and perform small impulses (erector crunch). Here, we can keep a high muscle tension throughout the entire workout and don’t have the risk of letting the upper body drop, what would strain the lower back enormously.

Hyperextensions on a regular bench work quite similar. Here, we would have to fixate our legs under the bench or have a training partner support us. Hyperextensions on the bench (all types) also activate the muscles of the butt and the thigh backside. This is because of the stabilization work these muscles have to perform. The activation is higher with our legs on the horizontal line and lower with inclined leg position.

Hyperextensions on the bench

Hyperextensions on the bench

Hyperextensions on the floor

The execution of hyperextensions on the floor is similar to the exercise on the bench. Here, we work without leg fixation in small movements or even static.

Hyperextensions on the floor

Hyperextensions on the floor

This variation could be combined with lying back leg lifts. To make the training more diverse we could work with different tools, like a ball. Here, we achieve an additional activation of the muscles of the upper back.

Hyperextensions in combination

Hyperextensions in combination

Hyperextensions with ball

Hyperextensions with ball


Antagonist: Abdominal muscles

Stretching: Lower back stretches

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