How to Build a Better Booty and Injury Resistant Back with the Reverse Hyperextension

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Welcome to the complete guide to the Reverse Hyperextension.

What is the Reverse Hyperextension?

The Reverse Hyperextension, or Reverse Hyper, is an effective posterior chain focused exercise that has shifted from the realm of Powerlifting into the mainstream fitness consciousness.

Performed on a hyper machine, the movement is performed lying down and can be a great way to build strength, muscle and general conditioning.

What Muscles does the Reverse Hyperextension Work?

The R Hyperextension targets, challenges and develops a variety of muscle groups.


These large muscles are found on the back of the legs and are primarily responsible for knee flexion and hip extension (in tandem with the glutes).  

reverse hyperextensionSource: Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Erector Spinae

These muscles, also known as spinal erectors, support and stabilise the spine.

They keep the lower back stable and pinned in position during the movement of the R Hyperextension. The exercise also works this muscle group much harder than other posterior focused exercises such as the Romanian or Stiff Leg Deadlift.

Gluteus Maximus

The glutes are the largest muscles in the human body and are responsible for hip extension. Better, stronger glutes will help you get better at everything from running and jumping through to squatting.

What are the Benefits of the Reverse Hyperextension?

This unique exercise has many benefits.

Improved Hip Extension

The exercise will significantly strengthen your ability to hip hinge.

This is useful for Deadlifts, Clean and Jerks, Good Mornings and many other hinge-based movements. The exercise greases the groove for powerful hip extension.

Here the exercise is also good for beginners that need to learn how to hip hinge

Injury Prevention for Lower Back

The exercise will help to strengthen the lower back, therefore lowering the risk of injury.

Isolation Exercise for the Glutes and Hamstring

The R Hyperextension is a great exercise to use if you want to isolate the glutes and hamstrings.

The Stiff Leg and Romanian Deadlifts are effective ways to strengthen the posterior chain, as are hip thrusts. But it is difficult to be able to focus in and isolate the hammies and glutes, which is where the R Hyperextension comes in handy.

Knowing this you can program highly effective posterior chain workouts where you destroy the body with the heavier compound work then finish off by isolating the individual muscle groups.

How to Do the Reverse Hyperextension

You will need access to a hyper machine.

  • Lie facing downwards on the machine. Your upper body and stomach on the bench. Your hips and legs in space.
  • Allow the legs to hang towards the floor
  • Grip the handles
  • Inhale and brace the core, glutes and grip
  • Contract the lower back, glutes and hamstrings in order to lift your legs. Keep them straight
  • Raise the legs until they are parallel to the floor. Keep the movement controlled and focused at all times
  • Pause at the top and squeeze your glutes and hamstrings as hard as you can
  • Slowly lower to the starting position
  • Exhale
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps

Reverse Hyperextensions Variations

If you want to keep your training fun, variety and exciting then try adding these variations of the exercise into your training.

Banded Reverse Hyperextension

This exercise is great if you don’t have access to a hyper machine. Use resistance bands to load up the range of motion.

Alter the type of band to provide an increasingly heavier level of resistance over time.

Reverse Hyperextension with Alternate Tempo

With this variation you can change the speed that you lift for the eccentric, concentric and pause phases of the lift.

Try raising for 2 seconds, pausing for 2 then lowering for a count of 4 seconds. That will maximise your control and time under tension which is perfect for hypertrophy.  

Reverse Hyperextension Isometric Holds

Isometric holds are when you stay in a single tensed position for an extended position of time (think a plank).

You can add longer isometric holds at the top of the movement. This will force your muscles to work even harder and optimise your strength and muscle gains.

Reverse Hyperextensions Alternatives

These alternatives are all excellent tools for identifying and destroying weaknesses, building muscle and developing the hamstrings and glutes.

Glute Ham Raise (GHR)

Also known as the Glute Hamstring Developer (GHD), this movement enhances endurance, strength and hypertrophy.

In form it is very similar to the R Hyperextension. However, this variation places an increased level of tension on the back.

Good Morning

This is a hip hinge barbell exercise with the load placed in the Back Squat position.

If you want to improve both your hip and back strength then this is a great choice. It also works the core hard as a great additional ancillary benefit.

Hip Thrust

A simple and effective glute exercise, this can be a killer when combined with the R Hyperextension. It is a great way to target the glutes.


Got more questions? Scroll down to find the answers.

What is the difference between Hyperextensions and Reverse Hyperextensions?

The difference between the two exercises is that the Hyperextension forces the torso to move, whilst the Reverse Hyperextension makes the legs move.

The former targets the back and the latter exercise works the glutes and hamstrings.

Can you do Reverse Extensions at Home?

Yes, you can do the exercise at home with a resistance band or by performing them on a raised surface such as a strong bench or couch.

How Heavy can you Train the Reverse Hyperextension?

You can lift as heavy as you like provided you can maintain proper form and technique.

Learn More

Learn more about Squat and Deadlift benefits, and how to improve your legs with

Nordic Curls.

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