You might have noticed we got a new piece of kit in the gym the other day. It's called a Reverse Hyper Extension. It's not the most common piece of equipment so I thought I throw together a bit of a post to help you guys out with using it. Firstly, the invention of the reverse hyper machine is typically credited to a man named Louie Simmons. He is the brains, and more so the brawn behind the world famous Westside Barbell. Louie is a Powerlifting enigma. When he talks it's a whirlwind of anecdotes, totals and lifts in pounds (even more confusing for us) and whether said lifter was wearing powerlifting equipment or not. I shit you not, it almost another language. Anyway, Louie credits the reverse hyper for helping him overcome not one but two broken vertebrae, through a process of decompression and strengthening of the glutes, hamstrings and posterior chain. Pretty full on right? Let's hope you're using the Reverse Hyper in a strength and prevention aspect rather than to help a fractured spine, probably best to stay from those. Whilst there is a lot of conjecture that surrounds this movement, a 2019 study by Lawrence et al concluded that "the RHE is an effective exercise to activate the erector spinae muscles. The RHE also resulted in a more favourable movement profile, with less lumbar flexion and more hip flexion as compared to the HE exercise." From my experience the Reverse Hyper is a safe, effective and "different" movement that targets our posterior chain. By different I mean that it does feel nice to be loaded in reverse and use momentum, relaxation and contraction within a movement. Personally I feel the movement most in my spinal erectors and glutes, not so much hamstrings. Do I think it's the be all and end all for lower back pain? Probably not. But, it's definitely an avenue worth exploring. Like most things in strength and conditioning the Reverse Hyper exercise is a tool in our tool belt that can be implemented effectively for the right person at the right time. If you are someone with a history of back pain please come and see me before you start taking this thing for a ride. Check out the video below of how I go about setting up this movement.
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