Is there anything else women want more than strong glutes? Okay, maybe we want strong relationships, and strong willpower as well. I think a lot of people underestimate the power of strong glutes. It isn’t just for the Kim K booty; it’s for posture, it’s for strength, and it’s for cushion on hard seats. There are some exercises that are going to benefit you more than others in the booty strength department, and today we are going to talk about the reverse hyper.
A reverse hyperexension (reverse hyer) is an extension of the hips, working the glutes, hamstrings and lower back. Hip extension (think kicking backwards) is the main work of the glutes, so the reverse hyper lets us work in the end ranges of the strongest position.
The reverse hyper is typically a machine used at the gym. It works by laying on your stomach with your legs dangling down, attaching your ankles to straps with weight (or no weight) and you lift your legs straight up behind you. The exercise works the entire posterior chain (your back side) but again, the focus is on the glutes.
The main focus of the reverse hyper is contract the glute, hamstring and lower back muscles to build strength. Muscle development/growth happens when we illicit enough of a stimulus on the muscle group, and that is what the reverse hyper does.
By placing your body in a specific, fixed position, we are able to isolate certain muscles. With the reverse hyper, the glutes are in a stretched position to start, making it a hard exercise to complete, but also one that creates enough tension to create change.
To get the most benefit out of the reverse hyper, the machine is necessary.But – there are still benefits of the movement without the machine or loading the exercise.
The number one benefit of the movement is increased hamstring and glute strength. This exercise simultaneously targets these muscles, while also taking other limitations out of the equation. Things like low back pain, form, and grip strength can all play a part in why other exercises may not be as beneficial as the reverse hyper.
Hip extension is a movement we do everyday, but is a hard movement to work with enough resistance. The hip hinging pattern is what we do when we sit, squat, deadlift, bend over etc. So by being able to load the hips in a direction we don’t usually get to, we can better improve our movement patterns, posture and range of motion.
This exercise is a great way to work the posterior chain, while decreasing the risk of a back injury. Most hip exercises need a lot of load, and it is usually on the spine. This exercise decompresses the spine and allows those with back pain to perform a glute focused exercise without risk of injury.
I know not everyone has access to a gym, and even if you do, they may not have a reverse hyper machine. So here are a few different alternatives to the exercise.
This exercise targets the same muscles, the glutes, hamstrings and lower back, but it is also an exercise that is back loaded. You can either hold a weight to your chest, and perform a hip hinge by unlocking the knees, shifting the hips back and bending forward. You can also load the weight on your back and perform the exercise the same way. The hard part of this exercise is knowing how to properly hip hinge without causing a back injury, and making sure you are keeping perfect form to really engage the glutes and the hamstrings.
Hip thrust is the best exercise for growing the glutes, because it is so easy to load it. This exercise is performed resting your upper back on a bench with your butt and feet on the floor. The barbell, or weight of any kind, rests across your hips. Keeping the feet planted, shins vertical, and chin tucked, pick up your hips and squeeze your glutes at the top. You want to make sure you keep your pelvis tucked, and your ribs stacked over your hips.
This is a very basic movement, and one beginners should start with. It’s simple, it initiates glute strengthening, and it helps with core/pelvic floor strengthening as well. To perform this exercise, lay on your back with your knees bent and feet placed on the floor. Rotate your hips and press your low back into the floor. From there, elevate your hips, engage your glutes and then return back to the floor. It is important to remember to drive through your heels. This exercise can be weighted by placing it on your hips, or you can just start out on the floor.
This exercise mimics the reverse hyper, without the ability to add weights. This is a very isolated exercise, and is going to work the glutes, hamstrings and lower back erectors. To perform this exercise, lay on your stomach on a bench or table. Keeping your legs straight, or bend your knees, and raise your legs up behind you. Bending the knees and kicking the heels to the ceiling is going to work more of the glutes, and keeping the legs straight is going to work more of the hamstrings. This is a very deceiving exercise, and is a great way to isolate the glutes and hamstrings.
The reverse hyper is a great isolation and glute strengthening exercise, and the strength can carry over to daily life. If you don’t have access to the machine, there are alternatives to glute isolation.
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