How To Do Back Extensions (hyperextensions) With Proper Form

The back extension, also known as the hyperextension is a movement that doesn’t get as much love as it probably should. But that’s because it’s not as well known as the squat, deadlift, or even hip thrust.

In this demonstration, I’m going to show you how to do the movement with proper form and how to target your glutes and hamstrings, not your lower back.

However, it’s a great movement for the glutes and hamstrings when done properly. And despite its name, you aren’t necessarily extending at the hips. It could be said it’s more trunk flexion and extension, similar to doing crunches on the floor, or Superman exercises on your belly (which are great for spinal erectors).

From flat and flabby to toned and curvy

The step by step blueprint to a hot body without obsessing over food or getting bulky.

From flat and flabby to toned and curvy

The step by step blueprint to a hot body without obsessing over food or getting bulky.

Yes, tell me more

Yes, tell me more

Quick Info:

  • Exercise type: strength and hypertrophy
  • Muscles involved: hamstrings, glutes, lower back
  • Experience level: beginners, intermediates, advanced

Back Extension (Hyperextension) Tutorial:

In this demo, I’m showing you two ways to do this movement, depending on your preference for which muscles you wish to target.

How To Setup The Hyperextension (Back Extension)

back extension hyperextension

Make sure when you start, your feet and ankles are securely in the pads and that your thighs are firmly in the pads. Your waist should be hanging over the pad to help you get a full stretch in the hamstrings on the descent. If you notice that you’re mostly bending at the lower back, and not spilling forward at the hips like you would in a hip hinge, then you’ll need to adjust the pad to a lower setting.

back extension hyperextension
hip hinge demo (Sohee Lee)

Back Extension (Hyperextension) Instructions::

In this tutorial, I’ve displayed how to do the movement properly with a focus on the hamstrings or glutes, depending on what you wish to target.

Back Extension (Hyperextension) Glute Focus:

back extension hyperextension

Begin the movement like I have in the image above. Cross your arms on your chest, or hold a weight like the demonstration.

With this variation, you want to round your upper back and tuck your chin to your chest. As you descend to the bottom of the movement, this will allow you to focus on the glutes when you return to the starting position.

At the bottom, pause for a second and try to focus on contracting your glutes on the way back up to the top position. Since the focus is on the glutes with this variation, you want to do your best to use the mind-muscle connection and aim to contract your glutes as best as you can on the way back to the starting position.

Back Extension (Hyperextension) Hamstring Focus:

back extension hyperextension

Begin the movement like I have in the image above. Cross your arms on your chest, or hold a weight like the demonstration.

For this variation, you want to stick your chest out, and keep your back straight. Shoulders will be pulled back and you’ll want to keep your head in a neutral position (no chin tucking). As you descend, go as far down as possible while giving yourself a good hamstring stretch. Your individual range of motion will likely vary depending on how flexible you are.

At the bottom, pause for a second and try to focus on contracting your hamstrings on the way back up to the top position.

From flat and flabby to toned and curvy

The step by step blueprint to a hot body without obsessing over food or getting bulky.

Yes, tell me more

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