Help your Back Pain with the HYPEREXTENSION MACHINE!

Written by: Elsie Velazquez CPT at Prescription Fitness (CLE, OH)

Many of us forget to work out our back muscles, which can result in back or lower back pain – especially if you sit most of the day.  Even if you do train your back, chances are you are neglecting a great piece of equipment – the hyperextension machine.  Adding hyperextensions to your back workout routine is a great way to ensure all the muscles in your back are being utilized.  Below I will provide some useful information on the muscles being used, the benefits of doing them, when to do them in your workout, and more importantly…how to do them.


What muscles are you working?

Hyperextensions (also known as back extensions) train your lower back muscles (especially the erector spinae muscle, which is the muscle that helps you extend your spine). At the top part of the movement, your hip extends which works your glute muscles. Your core/abdominals work during the entire process to keep your torso straight.


What are the benefits?

When you strengthen your lower back and core muscle, it helps manage back pain – as you strengthen your muscles, they are able to offer more support to your spine.  This significantly helps improve your posture and relieve pain. Using the hyperextension machine will also provide better hip extension abilities.


When should you do them?

When training your back and core muscles, perform hyperextensions at the start of your workout. Twice a week is good.  Begin with two sets of 10 repetitions until you become comfortable with them.  You can then increase the number of sets and reps.  When you are comfortable doing four sets of 15, you can hold a light weight at your chest to make the exercise harder.


How to do hyperextensions:

  • Lie face down on the bench with your feet secured beneath the pads.
  • Make sure the bench is positioned on the upper legs/groin area so that your upper body mobility is not obstructed in any way.
  • Cross your arms in front of your chest or place them on the back of your head.
  • Make sure your back and spine are straight throughout the movement.
  • Exhale as you slowly bend at the waist to the ground.
  • Inhale as you return your torso back to the starting position – stop when your body is parallel to your legs
  • Do not push yourself past the level you are comfortable with.
  • Repeat for the desired amount of reps
  • Add weight when comfortable and able

Next time you see a hyperextension machine, use it.  I truly believe hyperextensions are often neglected because we think that all of the deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, and core exercises we are doing are providing what we need to strengthen our lower back.  Unfortunately, that may not be true and the hyperextension machine may be the answer to take your back workout to the next level.