Hyperextensions: performance technique

Image by Andrej Podobedov from Pixabay

Special exercises designed to develop and strengthen certain muscle groups demonstrate high efficiency. They affect the lumbar region, back, and other areas of the body that are not very involved in everyday life and require more active and intensive study. The benefits of such activities are great and noticeable since some departments are difficult to load with a sufficient degree of efficiency. The use of conventional exercises or complexes does not give the desired effect, so the need for targeted loads is indisputable. Consider one of these types of exercises, which is called hyperextension: a technique for doing exercises to work out the lumbar and all the muscles of the back and back of the thighs.

What is hyperextension?

The term “hyperextension” is formed from the English “hyperextension”, which means “overstretching” or “overdosiguration”. One should not literally understand this term, in this case, there is no question of overstretching or over-bending. On the contrary, overloading or exceeding the recommended effort can lead to negative results. This must be taken into account when performing exercises that are best done under the supervision of an experienced trainer.

What muscles work?

Hyperextension is a set of exercises designed to work out the lumbar spine (another, more correct name – back straighteners), as well as to train hip flexors and gluteus muscles. These groups are not very involved in other exercises, and hyperextension allows targeted load without additional load. This complex is often used by girls to improve the tone of the muscles of the back and waist. In addition to those already mentioned, the following muscle groups are involved:

  • Short spinal muscles. They practically do not participate in other exercises, therefore hyperextension is an extremely useful complex.
  • Half-webbed and semi-tendinous femoral muscles.
  • Muscles calves.

The complex can be used as a warm-up, warming up before more intense loads, or as an independent type of exercise aimed at strengthening the muscular system of the waist. The result of the regular exercise of the complex of exercises will be a tightened back and buttocks, strengthening of the waist, and reducing the risk of diseases of the spine, in particular – the appearance of an intervertebral hernia. Hyperextensions are shown for the following user groups:

  • Beginning athletes bodybuilders.
  • Patients with pathologies of the back (consultation with doctors is required, you should not start classes yourself).
  • People who have a sedentary job and need to overcome the effects of physical inactivity.

Often, these exercises are used as a complex of physical therapy for various diseases:

  • Scoliosis.
  • Osteochondrosis.

It should be borne in mind that in any case, a direct prescription is necessary for the physician, who determines the degree of stress and other special indications. Experts have opposite points of view on this – some consider hyperextension to be an effective and successful option for strengthening the back areas that have undergone pathological changes, others are convinced that such loads only reinforce negative processes and should not be used by patients. Practice shows a large percentage of positive dynamics from the use of exercises, but there are also examples of negative results when classes had to be urgently interrupted.


Hyperextension, in addition to the obvious and undeniable benefits, has some contraindications. First of all, there are serious restrictions (sometimes a direct prohibition) for people suffering from diseases of the spine. In each case, the patient should consult with the doctor in charge of how such exercises can be useful and whether they will not cause the exacerbation of the disease. The most critical cases include the consequences of injuries in the lumbar regions, where the epicenter of the problem is located at the points of maximum effort or herniated intervertebral discs. In these cases (if permission of the doctor is obtained) it is necessary to choose the minimum load and constantly monitor the condition of the problem area of ​​the back. If anxious symptoms appear, you should immediately stop training and seek advice from your doctor.

Exercise can not be performed with serious diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as hernia of the lumbar spine

Performance technique

You can perform exercises both in the gym and at home, using ordinary furniture. The main condition for the effectiveness of training is the correct understanding of the points of application of effort and the address load on the right muscle groups. This is the most difficult moment because not everyone is able to distribute the efforts among the necessary departments, controlling the magnitude and degree of intensity from them. Hyperextension is widely used by both men and women (and, the female version is used more often). The most common embodiment of the exercise consists in flexing and unbending the back in the belt, with emphasis on the lower abdomen and heel sections of the legs in the region of the Achilles tendons.

It is important to keep the back absolutely straight, bending it at the lowest point of the spine. Do not bend the trunk too much back – the line of the legs and back at the time of extension is a straight line. Bending the body forward also must be carefully and metered – bending more than 90 ° can cause harm. The optimum angle of inclination is 60 °. Violations of the technique are also:

  • Flexing the cervical spine when the back returns to the upright position.
  • Flexing the legs at the knees.
  • The use of burdens at the initial stage of training.

How to do on the simulator

The use of the simulator allows you to maximize the load on the right muscle groups – gluteus, rectus muscles, etc. To perform hyperextension usually use the roman chair. It gives you the opportunity to adjust the points of support for growth and other features of the body, allows you to diversify and improve the effectiveness of training. A feature of the Roman chair is the purpose for warming up and gentle training, and not for pumping up muscles.


These are the exercises performed in the above technique:

  • The simulator is adjusted so that the emphasis on the legs and the front of the pelvis is precisely in the right points.
  • The legs and pelvic area rest against the support in the half-prone position. Hands crossed on the chest or behind the head.
  • The case is bent at 60 °. The back is straight, you can not bow your head or bend your knees.
  • The back extends to a straight line with the legs. The position is fixed for 1-2 seconds.

Trainers in most gyms recommend direct hyperextension as a warm-up exercise.

The most important point in the exercise is the absence of jerks. All movements are smooth and free. This is of particular importance for people performing therapeutic exercises. For them, as well as for all newcomers who have just started their studies, it is recommended at first to limit the inclination to 30 ° versus the usual 60 °.


This technique is performed in a reverse way – the upper torso is fixed on the simulator, and the legs are raised and lowered. For this, the shape of the Roman chair is slightly changed, forming a platform on which a person lies face down. With his hands, he holds the body in a prone position on his stomach and raises his legs along with the appearance of a straight line with his back. To perform this exercise, it is not necessary to have a simulator, a table, or any other similar surface, firmly fixed on a secure stand, will do. When performing this exercise, the muscles of the back of the thigh and the buttocks are mainly used, so women often prefer them.

Most newbies are so overwhelmed with enthusiasm that they immediately seek to get the maximum effect and see positive results. They are from the first minutes trying to complicate classes, using weights. It must be warned that this is a very dangerous behavior that no experienced coach will ever endorse. Significant loads on the lumbar region are dangerous for the vertebrae, unprepared for previous workouts. If you do not act competently and do not increase the load smoothly, according to an individual program, you can earn injuries, intervertebral hernia, or vertebra displacement. It is necessary to increase the load gradually, varying the number of approaches, using more complex options with stretching the arms or legs. Only after passing through the preparatory stage can we begin to carefully use the weights.

The not less controversial issue is the time for doing the exercises. Some experts advise the use of hyperextension as a preliminary, warming-up exercise before the start of a harder phase of training. Others recommend applying them at the end of the workout as warming and “finishing motions”. There is a third option when hyperextension is the main exercise. In the first case (for warming up), no burdens should be used, all actions are performed only with their own weight. This option is suitable for athletes. The second method allows you to quickly strengthen the muscles of the back and lower back, which is suitable for beginners. The third type of exercise is usually used as part of physical therapy for people who have suffered injuries or suffer from back or spinal disorders.

At home without a simulator

Not everyone has the opportunity to regularly visit the gym, but this is not an obstacle to performing hyperextension at home. It is not difficult to create certain loads using available items of furniture or gymnastic equipment. The main task is not so much the availability of necessary projectiles, as in the correct implementation of the exercises, the absence of errors, or excessive overload of muscles and ligaments. The most common ways to study should be considered more carefully.

On the floor

This is the easiest option, does not require any extras. It is necessary to lie on the mat spread on the floor, face down. The legs are joined together, arms crossed on the chest, elongated at the seams, or crossed at the back of the head. For beginners, the easiest way to do classes is with arms folded across the chest. If they are connected at the back of the head, some kind of additional burden arises, so it is not recommended to start from this position. While inhaling, the body rises as high as possible upwards, but at the same time, the thighs remain pressed to the floor. The position is fixed for 2-3 seconds, after which, on the exhale, the body is returned to its original position. Usually, do about 10-15 repetitions and three sets. For more advanced ones, it is possible to somewhat complicate exercises if you stretch your arms along the body or in front. This will increase the load, will create the effect of additional burdening. It is recommended to use this option as an intermediate phase in the transition to the use of these burdens.

On the couch

To perform an exercise on the couch, you can lie face down and perform the same movements as on the floor. Alternatively, you can use the armrest as part of the simulator, lean on the femoral part of it and tilt and straighten the body like a Roman chair. This option will give greater efficiency in comparison with occupations on the horizontal plane. It becomes possible to bend the body in the lumbar region, whereas on the floor you can only bend backward a little. It is recommended to perform exercises with a partner who will fix the legs in a stationary position to ensure safety.

On fit ball

This method gives a more complex effect associated with the use of a large group of muscles. In addition to normal movements, it is necessary to maintain balance, which is ensured by groups of coordinating muscles that are not involved in normal training. The press, the inner and outer surface of the thighs, the entire back, and other groups are involved in the exercise. The practice technique is to use the fit ball as a support for the body’s bending point. On the inhale, the back is straightened to obtain a straight line with the legs, the position is fixed for a couple of seconds, then on the exhalation, the return to the starting position follows. It is more difficult to master the technique of practicing with the fit ball, but the useful effect is much more noticeable.

What can replace

In some cases, the ability to perform hyperextension is absent. More precisely, there are no conditions in which a person is accustomed to engaging. Changing exercise techniques always causes a change in the direction and magnitude of the loads, which not everyone likes and gives the desired effect. Initially, hyperextension appeared as a gentle alternative to deadlift, which also helps to strengthen the muscles of the back and lower back. If necessary, you can use one of the options for traction, giving a considerable effect, but requiring accuracy and adherence to exercise techniques. It is recommended to work under the supervision of an experienced coach or, at least, to consult with him before the start of classes.

Classic deadlift

Photo by Sergio Pedemonte on Unsplash

The classic deadlift is part of the 5 basic strength exercises. In one degree or another, it works through all the muscles of the body, from top to bottom. The exercise is performed with a barbell, the technique is as follows:

  • Stand close to the bar, legs apart shoulder-width apart and slightly turning the socks to the side.
  • The back is straight, slightly bent back, shoulders turned.
  • Lean down, bending your knees slightly, grasp the bar of the barbell. The grip is powerful, reliable.
  • Pulling the neck on itself with the effort of the back muscles to tear the barbell off the floor and lift it gently to the arms extended downwards. Having fully straightened, move the pelvis slightly forward.
  • During all the actions the neck of the bar should be in contact with the body. Deviations will cause the transfer of stress on the joints and tendons, which can cause injuries or sprains.

It is necessary to begin exercises with the minimum weight, gradually increasing it in the absence of adverse signs. Immediately grasping the exercises with a large weight is strictly prohibited, it will not bring any benefit, but will lead to negative consequences.

Dead thrust

Dead traction differs from the deadlift in that when the barbell is tilted and raised, the legs remain straight. This exercise allows you to stretch the muscles of the back of the thighs and lower back, so they are included in the training complex for beginner athletes. Also actively use his girls, which is important to achieve flexibility and elasticity of the lumbar. The main mistake in doing the exercise is rounding the waist, which is a consequence of the lack of stretching. The back should be kept flat and straight, bending only the legs at the hip joint. Great weight in this exercise is not used, the main goal – stretching.

Barbell slopes

Another useful exercise that develops the back muscles and allows you to increase the performance in the deadlift. The slopes with a barbell on the shoulders are performed in a standing or sitting position. In everyday life, this exercise is called “good morning”, because the movement resembles the bow of a person. Placing the barbell on the shoulders, make a forward bend and return to the starting position. The back should be kept straight, there should be no backbone bends. Exercise is considered traumatic, for people with back or spinal problems it is contraindicated.

When bending with a barbell on the shoulders, the gluteal muscles are included in the work

Performing hyperextension allows you to work out, strengthen and cure the lower back and back muscles. This is the versatility and variety of activities that allow you to use different options to focus on certain muscle groups. In most cases, it takes 3 sets of 10–15 cycles of flexion-extension of the body, which does not take much time and is suitable for people who have problems with the spinal spine and perform hyperextension as a therapeutic exercise. The technique is not complicated, allowing to engage in any conditions. The main condition is strict adherence to technology, eliminating errors and the risk of acquiring various injuries.


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