Hyperextensions are a great core strengthening exercise. Hyperextensions strengthen and builds the lower back (erector spinae). A strong lower back is essential in stabilizing the torso and in preventing lower back injuries.
Complete hyperextension exercises after your deadlifts for complete exhaustion of the lower back muscles.
- Main Muscle(s) Worked: Erector Spinae (lower back)
- Other Muscles (Secondary) Worked: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, Adductor Magnus
- Equipment: Hyper Extension Bench
- Mechanics Type: Isolation (An exercise that involves one joint movement).
- Force: Pull (A movement toward center of body during the concentric contraction of the target muscle).
- Utility: Auxiliary (An optional exercise that may supplement a basic exercise. Auxiliary exercises may place greater relative intensity on a specific muscle or a head of a muscle).
Hyperextensions Target Muscles Worked
Hyperextensions Synergists Muscles Worked
- Gluteus Maximus
- Adductor Magnus
Hyperextensions Stabilizers Worked
Hyperextensions Antagonist Stabilizers Worked
Many people find when doing Hyperextensions for their lower back, their squats and deadlifts improve substantially. Hyperextensions also contribute, in part, in developing and strengthening your body's core. In addition, you will also find that a strong lower back is a healthy and pain-free lower back.
Hyperextension Correct Exercise Procedure
- Adjust the Hyper Extension Bench so that your waist is in line with the top of the pad.
- Lie face down and position your feet firmly on the platform tucking your ankles securely under footpads.
- Start with your body in a straight line. Cross your arms in front of you or hands behind your neck.
- Bend at the waist and slowly lower your body towards the ground until you reach about 65-75 degrees.
- Pause briefly at the bottom and then raise yourself back up to the starting position where your back is in a straight line with your lower body.
Using the tips mention below will help for the muscle's full development by incorporating more muscle fibers per rep, thus increasing the muscle's size and strength.
- Keep Tension on Your Back. When Performing Hyperextensions focus on keeping the tension on your back throughout the entire movement.
- Slow and Controlled Movement. For best results perform Hyperextensions with slow and controlled movements.
- Do not round Your Back. Do not round your back, keep your back flat or with a slight arch while performing the Hyperextension exercise.
- Do not Arch Your Back. When coming back up to Hyperextension's starting position do not arch your back beyond a straight line.
- Hold Upper Body at Top Position. You can induce a little more effort from the Erector Spinae if you hold your upper body at the top position of the Hyperextension exercise for two or three seconds in each repetition.
Hyperextensions Frequent Mistakes
Performing Hyperextensions improperly, may result in vertebral discs becoming compressed. That will cause the nerves that exit between the vertebrae to achieve the same undesired fate.
- Rounding Your Back. Rounding the lower back during the Hyperextension exercise is the most common error and will easily screw up your lower back work. Maintain a slight arch at all times during your Hyperextension workout.
- Not Using Slow and Controlled Movement. Both the up and down phase of the Hyperextension exercise should be done in a slow and controlled movement. Do not swing the torso upward during the exercise. The key to injury-free exercise is maintaining strict control of your body.
- Arching Your Back. Do not go too far back (i.e., do not hyperextend your back) on the upward part (top) of the movement. Hyperextension of the vertebrae occurs when the extension goes beyond the point where the spine is in a straight line.
Hyperextensions Variations of Exercise or Equipment
One method of performing Hyperextensions is called back extension. This involves using a roman chair to hold the feet down and hips up. Hyperextensions can also be performed without equipment such as in the bird dog exercise, in a prone position with arms forward. This version involves lifting one arm and the opposing leg at the same time, then releasing. Specific variations to this strength exercise include:
- Barbell Hyperextensions. Perform Hyperextensions as normal but with holding a barbell on the back of your shoulders for added resistance. Barbell Hyperextensions will also incorporate additional stabilizing muscles Latissmus Dorsi, Teres Major, Deltoid Posterior, Triceps Long Head, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Biceps Brachii, Trapezius Lower, Pectoralis Minor and Rhomboids.
- Weighted Hyperextensions. Perform Hyperextensions as normal but with holding a plate against your chest or behind your neck for added resistance.
- Stability Ball Hyperextensions. Stability Ball Hyperextensions can be performed as a non-weighted or weighted exercise. Stability Ball Hyperextensions exercise can also be made easier or harder by the position of the hips on the stability ball.
- Machine Hyperextensions. Many may feel more comfortable or secure when performing Hyperextensions on a machine. Machine Hyperextensions have the same benefits as non-machine Hyperextensions with the added ease of adjusting the weight to desired level.
Hyperextensions Complimentary Exercises
Hyperextension exercise for the lower back (Erector Spinae) is needed for total core strengthening. Hyperextensions are also use as a complementary exercise for many core strengthening exercises. The following Hyperextension complimentary exercises will help to further strengthen the core:
- Barbell Deadlift. The Deadlift is one of the premier core exercises working the Target muscle Erector Spinae (lower back), with incorporating many Synergist and Stabilizing muscles. Although Hyperextensions are an isolation lower back exercise, you can still alternate your exercise routine between Hyperextensions and Deadlifts. This will keep your workout fresh while still strengthening the lower back.
- Barbell Straight Leg Deadlift. Straight Leg Deadlift is one of the top weighted core exercises for strengthening the body's core. Like with the Deadlift and Hyperextensions, the target muscle use while performing the Straight Leg Deadlift is Erector Spinae (lower back). Although Hyperextensions are an isolation lower back exercise, you can still alternate your exercise routine between Hyperextensions and Straight Leg Deadlifts. This also keeps your workout fresh while still strengthening the lower back.
- Squats. Squats are a big power exercise with working numerous muscles in your body. Hyperextensions will help to strengthen the lower back in order to lift heavier weight when performing the Squat exercises.
- Abdominal Crunches. The Abdominal Crunch is the simplest exercise for the abdominal region. There are many ways the Abdominal Crunch may be perform i.e., Swiss ball, decline bench, weighted, cable, on floor or flat bench, etc. No matter which method is use, Abdominal Crunch is a great complimentary exercise and along with Hyperextensions are essential for developing the body's core.
- Twisting Crunch. Twisting Crunch is one of the most effective exercises as it hits all of your stomach muscle fibers at once. As with the Abdominal Crunch the Twisting Crunch is a great complimentary exercise for Hyperextensions.
- Stability Ball Row-Ins. Stability Ball Roll-Ins is a very popular stability ball abdominal exercise which targets the central and lower abdominals and is a great Hyperextension complimentary exercise.
- Side Plank. Side Plank is a great isometric exercise for building core strength, and more specifically oblique strength. Side Plank exercise does not work the Erector Spinae muscle, therefore Side Plank should be included along with Hyperextensions for strengthening the entire body's core.
- Plank. Plank is a great stationary exercise that helps strengthen the entire core of the body. Primary muscles use while performing the Plank exercise Erector Spinae, Rectus Abdominus and Transverse Abdominus. The Plank is great complimentary exercise for Hyperextensions as Hyperextensions are complimentary to the Plank exercise. Hyperextensions may also be performed after the Plank exercise for additional lower back strength building.
Bottom Line on Hyperextensions
After only a few weeks, you will find out the Hyperextension exercise has revitalized your lower back. Your back stiffness and fatigue you get from either riding or sitting at a desk all day will all but vanish. Furthermore, your risk for injury will be significantly reduced.
About Lynn Glenn
Lynn Glenn is a 63 year old natural athlete from Southern California who started training at the ripe young age of 48. After catching the "bodybuilding bug", Lynn became interested in living a healthy lifestyle and started writing about hot topics in the areas of health, fitness, weightlifting, and nutrition for MuscleMagFitness.com, and MyBestHealthPortal.com.