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Homemade Reverse Hyperextension

The reverse hyperextension is performed on a specialized machine invented by Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell Club fame. The reverse hyper is a great exercise for targeting your posterior chain which comprises of the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It's a complimentary exercise for the imbalance created by squatting and deadlifting. Done correctly, they will help your squat and dead lifting poundages to go up.

Many strength coaches love this exercise because it trains the posterior chain in unison, just like you do when you are running and jumping. I wanted to try this exercise, but no way did I have the room for this huge specialized machine, as it takes up a good bit of dedicated space that cannot be used for anything else. Not to mention that it's EXPENSIVE!

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The costs of a Simmons reverse hyper vary from $1440 to $1995 delivered! I decided to make my own homemade reverse hyperextension by utilizing my powertec power rack , with a wooden bench and galvanized pipe fittings to hold the Olympic plates... my cost: about $53!

Homemade Reverse Hyperextension

The platform is made out of wood. I used three, 52 inch long 2 x 6 pieces for the top of the bench, and 2 x 4's underneath for support. Maybe I should have used four, 2 x 6 boards for a wider platform; I had to cut back and put a bevel on the 2 x 4's because my thighs were hitting. My barbell pad fits perfectly with a three board width configuration however.

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I drilled four, one inch clearance holes on each end of the 2 x 4 to allow the power rack saber spotters to slide through. I added a short piece of nylon strapping on the underside for easier handling of the platform.

Homemade Reverse Hyperextension machine

The 2 x 6's stick out past the pivot point of the pipe about 4 inches. If you make one of these, make sure the 2 x 6's stick out further…maybe 6-10 inches so the pipe fittings don't become a pinch point. I placed my wife's old yoga mat on top to cover the pinch point...just in case. Imagine what could get pinched (since you are lying on your stomach)- you could quickly become castrated!

Homemade Reverse Hyperextension machine

I used 1-1/2 inch galvanized pipe which has an OD of 1-7/8 inches for the weight holder. Olympic plates fit loosely on the pipe. To make the pipe assembly you need: two tees; two 4 inch pipe nipples; two 10 inch pipe nipples; and one length of 25 inch pipe. The pipe assembly alone weighs 15 lbs. My belt squat belt came in handy to attach my legs to the pipe and I used regular Olympic collars to hold the weight plates in place.

Homemade Reverse Hyperextension machine

The wooden platform must be installed high enough to allow the plate load to clear the power rack bottom supports. This places the whole assembly relatively high, so all I did was place one of the power rack dip handles in the #1 hole position and used this for a step. Place one foot inside the belt squat belt, step up on the dip handle to get into position, and then place the last foot inside the looped belt squat belt.

Homemade Reverse Hyperextension machine

The platform can do double duty as a sandbag loading platform. Sandbag loading is actually a fun way to train. Check out this you tube video:

I made one 100 lb sandbag already; I plan on making three more so I can use these sandbags for weight on the pulling sled. To use the platform as a half ass pulling sled I plan on adding an eyebolt to the underside so I can attach a chain to it. The platform might be too narrow and easily tip over-I haven't tried this yet.

Does the power rack move like a carnival ride when using this? Slightly...but I have a lat tower attached to the rack and a weight holder with weights on it which give the rack additional stability. I'm not sure I would use this mounted just on a power rack alone if the power rack wasn't secured to the floor.

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Conclusion

To perform this exercise, you lie on the bench with your face down; your legs are hanging down at a 90 degree angle; contract your glutes and lower back as tight as possible as you raise your legs up to a horizontal position.

Next, allow the weight to swing down, like a pendulum, not a slow and controlled movement. By letting the weight swing, it forces your legs to go past the 90 degree mark, which decompresses the disks. This allows fluid to enter between the disks. The exercise not only strengthens the posterior chain, but also is used to rehab an ailing back.

If you keep your knees straight, you work the lower back; by bending the legs slightly, the focus shifts to your glutes and hams.

Great exercise!

Keep liftin'.


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