Hyperextension Benefits and Tips For a Strong Lower Back


Are you trying to build excellent core strength? Hyperextensions are a must-do exercise for strengthening your core strength. Here is your complete guide to building your back with hyperextension benefits.

Hyperextensions Summary

  • Primary 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 the center of the body during the concentric contraction of the target muscle).
  • Utility: Auxiliary (An optional exercise that may supplement a basic exercise. Auxiliary lifts may place higher relative intensity on a specific muscle or a head of a muscle).

Hyperextensions Target Muscles Worked  

  • Erector Spinae

Hyperextensions Synergists Muscles Worked  

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Hamstrings
  • Adductor Magnus

Hyperextensions Stabilizers Worked 

  • None

Hyperextensions Antagonist Stabilizers Worked  

  • None

Hyperextension Benefits

Many people find when they perform Hyperextensions for their lower back, their squats and deadlifts improve substantially. Hyperextensions also contribute, in part, to developing and strengthening your body’s core. Additionally, you will also find that a strong lower back is a healthy and pain-free lower back. Many people over-exercise their abs and neglect their lower back, and these are likely the same people with lower back issues.  

Low Back Pain and Working Out (IMPORTANT!!)

Hyperextension Correct Exercise Procedure 

  • 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.
  • Repeat.
How to do a hyperextension with correct technique

Hyperextensions Tips  

Using the tips mentioned 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.

  • You are 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.
  • You Are Not Using Slow and Controlled Movement. You need to perform both the up and down phases of the Hyperextension exercise in a slow and controlled movement. Do not swing your torso upward during the exercise. The key to injury-free training is maintaining strict control of your body.
  • You Are 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   

Another method of performing Hyperextensions is known as the back extension. Back extensions involve you using a roman chair to hold your 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 usual, but you hold 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 usual but hold 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 the desired level.

Hyperextensions Complimentary Exercises

Hyperextensions are essential for developing your lower back (Erector Spinae) for total core strength. You should train your lower back nearly as much as your abs, and you should use this to complement many core strengthening exercises. To further develop your lower back strength and core strength, use these complimentary exercises:   

  • Barbell Deadlift. The Deadlift is one of the premier core exercises working the Target muscle Erector Spinae (lower back), incorporating many Synergist and Stabilizing muscles. Although Hyperextensions are an isolated 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 used while performing the Straight Leg Deadlift is Erector Spinae (lower back). Although Hyperextensions are an isolated 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 that works numerous muscles in your body. Hyperextensions will help to strengthen the lower back in order to lift more 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 performed, i.e., Swiss ball, decline bench, weighted, cable, on the floor or flat bench, etc. No matter which method is used, Abdominal Crunch is an excellent complimentary exercise and, along with Hyperextensions, is 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 an excellent complimentary exercise for Hyperextensions.
  • Stability Ball Row-Ins. Stability Ball Roll-Ins is a very popular stability ball abdominal exercise that 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 used while performing the Plank exercise are Erector Spinae, Rectus Abdominus, and Transverse Abdominus. The Plank is a great complimentary exercise for Hyperextensions as Hyperextensions are complementary 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 benefits when it 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 of injury will be significantly reduced.   

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