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A reverse hyperextension is an exercise used to target the gluteal muscles, the hamstrings, and the muscles of the lower back. Many people use the reverse hyperextension to complement a workout plan that includes squats and deadlifts, as it trains the same muscles in a different way. It is commonly used by athletes as well as regular fitness enthusiasts to build strength and power for better running, jumping, and general performance in sports and everyday life.
It is not necessary to have a machine specifically made for the reverse hyperextension exercise, which is fortunate for those wishing to incorporate the exercise into a regular workout program, because machines intended specifically for this exercise are relatively rare in most gyms. Any stable, raised platform with enough room to hold the torso and swing the legs beneath the platform should function adequately. Specialized machines do exist, however, and can make the exercise simpler to perform with added weight. Essentially, specialized reverse hyperextension machines have an attached weight system that swings with the movement of the legs, while the legs lift the weight using a strap or something similar, and a bar or set of handles to help the exerciser stabilize the torso.
If using a machine made for this exercise, the weight must be added and the strap put around the back of the lower legs before the exerciser gets into position. If not using the machine, it will be necessary to find another way of attaching weight to the legs, such as holding a dumbbell or medicine ball between the ankles or wearing ankle or leg weights. The exerciser must then lie face down on the raised platform, making sure the hips are at the very edge of the platform with enough room to bend and swing the legs freely. Holding the torso stable on the platform, the legs, which start in a hanging position below the rest of the body, are slowly raised up until the body is in a straight line, and then lowered again to complete one repetition of the exercise.
For beginners to this exercise or those who have back pain or are generally lacking strength in any of the targeted muscles, this exercise can be effectively performed without added weight. The weight of the legs is often enough for beginners, and strength must be built up over time before weight can be added. If the weight of the legs is too much for individuals with injuries or back pain, the legs can be bent at the knees to reduce the difficulty of the exercise.