Recently you may have noticed a new, very large piece of gym equipment by the jump ropes, on the south end of the rig. This is called a Reverse Hyperextension Machine (aka Reverse Hyper). For those of you that are not familiar with this piece of equipment, we want to give you a little information about what it is and how it’s used.
The first version of the reverse hyper was designed by Louie Simmons (a well known American power lifter, strength coach, and owner of Westside Barbell gym in Ohio) in the mid 1970’s after a brutal back injury. He could not do any workouts and tried back extensions (unsuccessfully) when the idea for the reverse hyper came to him. In 1994 he received his first patent for the reverse hyper, although it has gone through mulitple changes over the years.
The reverse hyper is used for stength training and rehabilitation training. It is widely utilized for back rehab exercises, physical therapy, with light weights during everyday training to reduce lower back tightness, and strengthen the hips, hamstrings, glutes, and the posterior chain in general.
In terms of strength training, it helps to gently stretch the spine while decompressing the spine. Since there is not any vertical compression on the spine while in this position, it allows for the person to develop dynamic strength in the concentric phase.This machine allows for the spine column to fill with spinal fluid and blood to fill the lower back muscles. By strengthening the lower lumbar region it allows for improved endurance and lower recovery time.
In terms of rehabilitation training, the reverse hyper offers one of the best methods for relieving pressure and restoring circulation for injuries. It is considered an ideal rehab mechanism in the eccentric phase. While commonly used for lumbar injuries, athletes use the reverse hyper to focus on hip extension when rehabing from other injuries with the knees, ankles, and feet.
To use the reverse hyper you will lay with your stomach on the thick 3 inch pad, hips hanging over the edge. The strap will go over the back of your heels and you will want to hold on to the bars sticking up at the front. As you extend your hips, you will squeeze your glutes, and raise your head. Let your feet swing back down and quickly extend your hips, squeezing your glutes, and repeating the motions. In this video Louie Simmons shows how to properly use the reverse hyperextension machine. He mentions that one would typically use 50% of their squat, but we recommend starting with minimal to no weight and evetually building up to heavier weight.
Of course, if you have questions, you can always ask a coach for help. Click HERE for more information on the reverse hyperextension machine. We hope you find this piece of equipment helpful and useful in your training!