How To Do Weighted Hyperextension Properly

Back extension exercises alone are a great way to target your lower back, but the weighted hyperextension does an even better job working it with the help of a Roman chair and weight plate.

It is an effective way to progress the basic hyperextension to ensure continued muscle development.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Stand on a Roman chair and adjust its lower pads to press against your calves.
  • Position your hips slightly above the upper pads so that you can easily bend at the waist.
  • Hold a weight plate against your chest and straighten your back. This is the starting position.
  • Then, bend at the waist and lower your upper body down slowly until you feel tension in your hamstrings.
  • Pause for a moment and squeeze your erector spinae muscles before getting back to the starting position.
  • Do 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE WEIGHTED HYPEREXTENSION WORK?

The weighted hyperextension predominantly targets the erector spinae on your lower back.

The erector spinae, also known as spinal erectors, is a group of muscles that runs the length of your spine and helps rotate and straighten your back.

To a lesser degree, it works your core, hamstrings and glutes.

The hamstrings and glutes stabilize the lower half of your body throughout the movement while your core (particularly the transverse abdominis) supports your midsection.

BENEFITS OF THE WEIGHTED HYPEREXTENSION

STRENGTHENS LOWER BACK

Your lower back plays an important role in stabilizing the spine during heavy lifts like the barbell deadlift and Romanian deadlift.

A strong lower back also helps you execute plyometric exercises better.

By strengthening your erector spinae muscles, the weighted hyperextension helps you develop a stronger back which improves your general fitness performance.

IMPROVES POSTURE

While your upper back is important for maintaining good posture, the lower back also helps keep the pelvis aligned.

A weak back lower back may cause your pelvis to get anteriorly tilted over time.

The weighted hyperextension helps you prevent such issues by strengthening the muscles that are responsible for proper posture in your lower back.

BALANCES MUSCLE BUILDING

For most lifters, working the back means focusing on the latissimus dorsi, trapezius and other muscles on the upper and middle back.

Most times this means the lower back gets neglected as the upper and mid-back get most of the focus.

While it is important to work the upper back, you cannot achieve a strong back if you do not work the lower back just as regularly.

Exercises like the weighted hyperextension help you achieve muscular balance on your back by making sure your lower back is also well-catered for.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE WEIGHTED HYPEREXTENSION

SUPERMAN

The superman also works your erector spinae, glutes and hamstrings but without the help of a machine – only your bodyweight.

Steps:

  • Lie face down on the floor (or a mat) with your legs and arms stretched out.
  • Press your hips to the floor and squeeze your glutes.
  • Lift you feet and arms towards the ceiling as you squeeze your back muscles.
  • Lower back down slowly and repeat for 10 reps.

GOOD MORNING

The good morning is a compound exercise that is designed for the posterior chain.

It is a great alternative way to work your hamstrings, erector spinae and glutes using a weight plate or a barbell.

Steps:

  • Stand upright, holding a barbell or weight plate at shoulder level.
  • With your legs and back straight, hinge your hips to lean your upper body forward to a 90⁰ angle.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you straighten your back to get up.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps.

For this exercise, start with a light weight that you can control without ruining your form, then progress to a heavier one over time.

GHD HYPEREXTENSION

The GHD hyperextension uses the glute and ham developer to work your hamstrings and glutes primarily, and the erector spinae to a lesser extent.

Steps:

  • Position your feet between the foot pads, hip-width apart.
  • Once you’re all set up, your body should be in a prone hanging position.
  • Cross your arms over your chest and lift your body up and backwards to extend your spine.
  • Hold for a few seconds at the top position then lower down slowly and with control.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps.

WEIGHTED HYPEREXTENSION MISTAKES TO AVOID

RUSHING THE MOVEMENT

The number one mistake you should avoid when you are doing this exercise is rushing through the movement.

If you drop quickly and move back up with a jerking motion, you place a lot of strain on the lower back, which is very likely to lead to injury.

Instead, complete your reps in a slow and steady fashion.

USING TOO MUCH WEIGHT

Your spinal erectors are not designed to carry heavy load, so you might want to go slow on the weight.

While using weight can help you progress, it is a terrible idea to add a lot of it at once. Start with something light and work your way up gradually to protect your lower back.

NOT SQUEEZING YOUR CORE

Keep your core braced to help stabilize your lower back and spine as you perform this exercise.

If you’re having trouble getting this done, tucking your pelvis in and drawing your navel in towards your spine should help.

OVEREXTENDING AT THE TOP POSITION

When you get to the top, try as much as you can not to overarch your back.

This places intense pressure on your spine and could lead to an injury, which would impede your progress.

To fix this, make sure you to stop each rep immediately your back is straight. Extending it any further puts you at risk of injury.

CONCLUSION

The weighted hyperextension is a great way to strengthen your core and lower back.

This movement also strengthens the muscles in your hips and butt, which get involved to a lesser degree in the exercise.

This can help improve your posture and reduce the risk of lower back injury so that you get to do your day-to-day activities safely and with more ease.

Take care not to use jerky motions as you do this exercise as such could lead to pain and injury.

If you suffer from shoulder pain, consult your doctor before you try it; they can help you navigate how to do it in the safest way possible.

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