A strong lower back is equally important as having a strong core, having a strong back can work wonders for your body by acting as a spine stabilizer, improved postures, and also every day-to-day movement that we make requires somewhat effort from our back such as if you bend, turn or lift things off the ground so strengthening your back muscle will give your safety of avoiding injuries and ensure that your body works smoothly.
Back hyperextension is a good way to achieve strength in your lower back and also getting rid of lower back pain if you have any. Adding back hyperextension to your workout is one of the best things you can do for your back because as your muscles get stronger and better they also get better at their work and offer improved support to your spine, which in long run will improve your posture and relieve back pain.
Back hyperextension muscles worked
Hyperextension or back hyperextension as people like to call it, no doubt you will be targeting your lower back muscle overall but do complete one rep many other muscles will be also a target.
Primary muscle worked – Erector Spinae, in simple words lower back. Erector Spinae is a group of long muscles that lie on each side of the vertebral column and keeps extending alongside your lumbar, thoracic, and cervical sections of the spine (1).
Secondary muscles worked – Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, and Adductor Magnus
Gluteus Maximus, It’s the main extensor muscle that is located in the hip, it is the muscle that gives quadrilateral shape to our buttocks.
Hamstrings muscles are responsible for your movement of hips, knee such as walking, squatting, or bending over. Hamstring muscles are a group of 3 muscles that run behind the back of your thigh from the hip to just below to the knees.
Adductor Magnus is a triangular-shaped muscle that forms a division between the anterior muscle from the posterior aspect of the thigh. Adductor Magnus acts as an important stabilizing muscle for your pelvis when it comes to the action like walking, running, etc.
All these secondary muscles are Synergists Muscles meaning the group of muscles that acts together to achieve the same movement.
Many exercises require somewhat support from the stabilizing muscles (Important muscles that help to keep your body in an upright position) in order to get the work done but when performing back hyperextension there is no involvement from any stabilizing muscles.
Benefits of back hyperextension
Performing back hyperextension exercise will not only strengthen your lower back and improve your posture but you will also notice an improvement in your workout session for example when performing squats, deadlifts, etc.
Doing hyperextension also plays an important role in strengthening your core too. The lower back is one of the important muscles in your body improving its health and strength will give you an overall boost in your whole body strength.
Adding back hyperextension in your workout will also work muscles situated in your glutes, and hamstrings. If you are someone that is experiencing pain in the lower back doing the exercise might provide you relief in your lower back.
How to do back hyperextension
Back hyperextension is performed with the help of using gravity as resistance and for us to properly get that resistance we use the machine, it’s not a complex machine quite simple. Hyperextension machine comes in two versions one is at 45 degrees and the other one is at 90 degrees.
Don’t worry, the following steps are applicable to both versions but before you start with the exercise it’s necessary to do some back stretches and warm-up.
- To get the full range of motion… before you get into the starting position, adjust the thigh pad in a way that its falls directly below your hip.
- Now place your thighs on the pad and plant your foot tightly on the platform of the machine with the help of a footpad, bent your knees a little bit, or keep them straight whichever is comfortable for you.
- Get into starting position by keeping your body in a straight line and you can either cross your arms in front of you or place them behind your neck.
- Start lowering your body by bending your waist, keep going till you’re somewhat close to the ground.
- Take a pause, and return to the starting position, and repeat.
Do at least 8 to 12 reps in a set.
If you want to increase the intensity of the exercise you can do that by simply adding weights for example by holding barbells at the back of your shoulder or by holding plates close to your chest or over the neck. Doing this
Every exercise has variations so does back hyperextension before we get into that you should know by simply adjusting the thigh pad on your machine you can change the target muscles for example if you lower your thigh pad main focus will shift from the lower back to the hamstrings and the glutes and if you raise the thigh pad you will be targeting your mid-back. Now back to variations.
Back hyperextension at home – Just lay down with your belly facing the ground. Your legs extended and arms resting at the side. Now try to lift yourself up by pushing down your hips on the ground, keeping your back straight, and hold that position for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
Superman hyperextension – Lay down with your belly facing the ground with your arms and legs fully extended. Now try lifting both of your arms and legs off the ground at the same time by engaging your core and glutes. Hold that position for at least 5 seconds and lower your body and repeat.
Alternative superman hyperextension – Just lay down with your belly facing the ground with your arms and legs fully extended. Now lift your left arm and right leg at the same time and hold that position for at least 2 to 3 seconds and do the same for the other side, and repeat.
Points to keep in mind
I have often seen many individuals performing back hyperextension with the goal of strengthening their back but in this pursuit, some individuals compromise the form of the exercise and focus on the reps, and doing that will not strengthen your back it will just lead you to an injury. Keep these points in mind while doing back hyperextension to reduce your chance of an injury.
- Tension – When performing back hyperextensions it’s important to keep your mind focused on your back and create tension on your back throughout the entire exercise.
- Round back – You should have a slight arch in your back all the time while doing back hyperextension if you rounding your back it will lift off the tension from your lower back. When I say, slight arch it means a slight arch overarching your back may seem tempting but it will put unnecessary tension on your lower back.
- Movement – You should avoid jerky and rapid movements because that’s a straight path to injury. Instead of jerky and rapid movements, your movements when performing back hyperextension should be slow and controlled. Lowering your body and returning to the starting position both of these movements should be slow and controlled, keeping this habit will lead you to injury-free exercise.
- Starting position – Whenever you’re in the starting position of this exercise keep in mind to not start with an over-arched back, instead try keeping your spine in a straight line or slight arch when in the starting position. Over-arching will fatigue you faster as you’re already putting extra pressure on your back at the beginning of the exercise.
Although back hyperextension is a great way to build your lower back and core you shouldn’t just rely on that add other exercises to your workout like deadlifts, kettlebell swings, etc. After just a few workout sessions with back hyperextension, you’ll start noticing positive health change like getting rid of your back pain and strong back also it will reduce the risk of injury’s that comes with a weak lower back.