Weighted hyperextensions are a very effective lower back exercise. They target the lower back directly. The primary muscles used are the lower back (spinal erectors). Secondary muscles are the upper back and hamstrings.
A back extension exercise on a Roman chair is one that only lifts your upper body as high as your legs, but a hyperextension means you should lift through a greater range of motion above your hips, while arching your lower back.
On this page on this website, I showed how to make a 45 degree hyperextension bench using the Ironmaster Super Bench and some PVC pipe fittings. To further increase the difficulty of this exercise, I came up with this horizontal homemade hyperextension roman chair:
Now you can start with easier workouts at the 45 degree exercise angle, then progress to heavier workouts at the 90 degree exercise angle which increases the load on your abs or back extensors, buttocks, and hamstrings.
If a hyperextension bench is not comfortable and easy to use, then most lifters stop using it and let it collect dust. I used an old heavy bag to support my body, which is really comfortable and it also raises my body up so I have a full range of motion:
My feet are supported by a barbell pad wrapped around the saber spotters of my powertec power rack. Because of the many hole positions in the power rack, this set up is fully adjustable…no matter what kind of flat bench or heavy bag you use.
Don’t have a heavy punching bag? I have seen quite a few listed on craigslist for under $40. This set up is comfortable to use, relatively cheap to make, and you can even sit upright on this and do crunches beyond the horizontal plane, increasing the difficulty…although you may need a spotter for this exercise!
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