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How To Do Back Extensions (hyperextensions) With Proper Form

The back extension is a lower body movement, despite what you might imagine by the name. It’s also known as the hyperextension, which strengthens the glutes and hamstrings.

In this demonstration, I show you how to a hyperextension with proper form and how to target your glutes and hamstrings, not your lower back.

Quick Info:

  • Exercise type: Compound movement
  • Good for: strength and hypertrophy of the lower body
  • 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. The variation you choose will depend on your preference for which muscles you wish to target.

How To Set Up 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 allows you to focus on the glutes when you return to the starting position.

Pause at the bottom for a second. Then 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 contract your glutes as best as you can on the way back to the top.

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.

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