The Reverse Hyper – Why & How to Use this Powerful Low Back Accessory Exercise
Strengthen & rehab your back with the reverse hyper. Learn why and how to use this powerful lower back accessory exercise to build a stronger, more resilient back.
Why Use the Reverse Hyper?
The reverse hyper takes your lumbar spine (low back) through its entire range of motion from flexion through extension. The flexion portion tractions the spine, essentially stretching and decompressing the spine.
Compared to back extensions or good mornings, where the legs are stable but the torso moves, with the reverse hyper the torso is stable and the legs move.
The reverse hyper requires an additional piece of equipment for your gym, but more companies are selling cheaper reverse hypers that can even be folded to save space.
When it comes to performing these correctly, these can be a bit weird at first. Put your feet in the straps and keep the straps taut (don’t want the weights to bang onto your shins). Jump onto the pad and hold the handles. Your hips will hang off the pad.
To begin the movement, swing your legs up. It will probably take you a couple reps to get to full height (full back extension). At the top, think about holding the position. Allow gravity to lower weight and relax your back in the bottom.
It’s a little hard to breathe while performing these. Do the best you can, and if you need to perform fewer reps, that’s okay.
We tend to program these one of two ways: lower reps to strengthen the back and/or higher reps to rehab the back. Often, we do both, with a higher rep set one day and a lower rep set the other day.
The higher rep, rehab routine looks like 3-4 sets for 12-15 reps. The lower rep strengthening day looks more like 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
This exercise will typically end the workout, though some may find benefit to doing this earlier in the workout.
Who Are These For (And Not For)?
If you struggle to maintain lumbar extension during your deadlifts, this is not the best exercise because you allow your lower back to round, which is something we’d like to avoid during your deadlift.
If you commonly struggle with low back pain, this is a great exercise to try.