Are you one of the 80 percent of people who suffer from lower back pain occasionally? It could be that you need to strengthen your back muscles. Hyperextension offers a great way to do so.
Hyperextension: Not As Scary As It Sounds
Hyperextension is an exercise designed for the lower back, though it also adds benefits for the middle and upper back muscles. It is especially good for the main stabilizing muscle in the back, called the erector spinae. Hyperextension is also called Back Extension or Spinal Flexion. It can be performed lying on the ground, on the Roman Chair or on the hands and knees.
A Brief History Of A Staple Back Exercise
Dr. Paul C. Williams, an orthopedic surgeon, is credited with devising a system of Hyperextension exercises in 1937. Dr. Williams used the concept of spinal flexion specifically to help his patients recover from back injuries.
Understanding More About Hyperextension
Hyperextension is an anaerobic exercise designed to strengthen muscles. It focuses on the lower back, but adds benefits for the middle and upper back muscles, too. Though multiple variations exist, body weight provides the needed resistance in all of them.
How To Prep For This Fitness Move
First, if you have a herniated disc or similar back injury, you should avoid Hyperextension as it could aggravate your condition.
If you’re in proper physical condition to do this exercise, begin by selecting your preferred variation. Beginners often find success with Bird-Dog position. If you’re at the gym and a Roman Chair is available, this can help ensure you use proper form.
How To Do A Hyperextension Workout
Proper form is essential to Hyperextension. Try to engage your muscles, but without arching your back. Here are the specifics on each variation:
- Lying on the Floor: Lay on your stomach with your arms and legs straight out, then lift up your arms, your upper body and your legs as far as possible toward the ceiling.
- On the Roman Chair: This piece of equipment is found at many gyms and it holds your feet and hips in position while you move your upper torso into Hyperextension position. Add an arm extension here for more core demand and a more intense workout.
- One Hands and Knees (Bird-Dog Position): Raise one arm up at the same time as the opposing leg, lifting both as far as possible toward the ceiling. This version is ideal for beginners.
Special Benefits Of Hyperextension
Hyperextension certainly builds back muscle, but this is more meaningful than simply bigger muscles or looking cut at the gym.
Strengthening the lower back offers these three important benefits:
- Improved posture
- Improved balance and coordination
- Prevention of back injury
There are three variations of Hyperextension, as discussed above, all of which work the same muscles and offer the same benefits. However, if you’d like a more intense Hyperextension workout, use a Roman Chair and add an arm extension into the mix for enhanced core demand.
Hyperextension may sound like an intimidating concept, but it’s actually a fairly simple movement that most people can master over time. Choose the variation you like best, and begin strengthening your back, enhancing your coordination and protecting yourself from injury.