Leg Training – Reverse Hyperextensions

Leg and Lower Back Training: Reverse hyperextensions (reverse hypers) are a great lower back exercise. A strong lower is an essential element to big lifts such as squats and deadlifts. Reverse hypers can be a highly effective supplemental exercise in your strength training program.

Exercise Purpose:

Reverse hypers primarily target your lower back; they also work your gluteus maximus (glutes) and hamstrings. In addition to strengthening your lower back, glutes and hamstrings, reverse hypers also can have a decompressing effect on your lower back.

Exercise Technique:

Exercise Equipment: Although benches have been developed specifically for the reverse hyper, they can be done on a bench, an exercise ball, or even a combination of a bench and an exercise ball.

Exercise Performance:

  • Lie face down on the platform you’re going to use for the exercise. If you’re using a bench for the exercise, grip the bench tightly for stability.

  • Begin with your legs relatively straight and your toes resting lightly on the floor. Keep your feet close together.
  • Raise your legs with one steady, controlled motion. Continue until your feet are parallel with your hips or slightly higher.

  • Pause briefly in this position before lowering your feet with an equally steady and controlled motion to the floor. Your feet may touch the floor lightly, but don’t relax your muscle and rest between repetitions.
  • Use a repetition range for this exercise similar to what you use for your other supplementary exercises. I like to use a range slightly higher than the reps used for my primary exercise: 8 – 12 reps, or 6 – 8 when in my strength training cycle.

Reverse hyper using a bench

Reverse hyper using an exercise ball



Reverse hyper using an exercise ball and a bench

Common Exercise Mistakes

  • Don’t swing your feet, or use excessive momentum to complete the repetitions. All repetitions should be relatively slow and controlled.


  • Make sure you are in adequate health to perform this exercise properly. Particularly if you currently have lower back injuries you should consult your physician before beginning any new fitness program or adding this exercise to your current training program.
  • If you’re using an exercise ball be aware that it will be somewhat unstable. You must be able to maintain your stability on the ball if you are going to incorporate it into your exercise.


  • Weighted reverse hypers: Adding weight the this exercise is relatively easy if your gym has a reverse hyper bench, simply add weight plates to the bench’s lifting arm. If you don’t have a reverse hyper bench, place a dumbbell between your ankles as you perform the lift. Make sure the weight used does not prevent you from performing the lift with proper technique.

Additional Lower Back Exercises

  • Deadlift Rack Pulls
  • Good Mornings

Glute and Hamstring Exercises

  • Squats
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
  • Leg Press



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