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Bodyweight Reverse Hyperextension: a Powerful Lower Body Exercise

Do you want to have a stronger lower back and perkier glutes? If you’re sick and tired of performing squats and lunges, jazzing up your workout routine with bodyweight reverse hyperextension exercises could be the twist you need. 

This type of training engages your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, which can help tone and strengthen these muscle groups. Before you start mulling over that gym membership or begin saving money to afford a reverse hyperextension machine, we want to assure you that you do not even need either. 

Substituting special equipment with a bench, a table, or a sturdy chair is also a good option. 

Your in-home workouts can help you reap all the benefits you could otherwise get after working out at the gym. 

That said, we all should remember this: that proper technique and form are obligatory, especially if you’re trying this workout on your own without a certified personal trainer’s supervision. Staying safe and sound should be a priority for you to reduce the risks of injuries and reach desirable results. 

With this in mind, let’s move straight into the bodyweight reverse hyperextension: a powerful lower body exercise and its practical alternatives to doing it at home.

How to Do Reverse Hyperextension Without a Machine?

As we already mentioned, you won’t need to use a special machine to perform a reverse hyperextension. 

A person can execute the movements by lying face down on a bench, chair, or table.  Bodyweight reverse hyperextension at home is an excellent exercise for building strength in the glutes and hamstrings, while improving lower back strength and stability.

To perform this exercise, you’ll need a stable surface to lie on, such as a bench or exercise mat. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Lie facedown on the surface with your arms by your sides and your feet hanging off the edge.
  2. With your core engaged, lift your legs and chest off the ground. Hold for a few seconds, then lower back down to the starting position.
  3. Add a weight plate or a dumbbell on your lower back to make the bodyweight reverse hyperextension exercise more challenging. You can lift your legs higher to increase your range of motion. 
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It’s crucial to engage your core and keep your movements controlled to perform it safely and reap the benefits. It is always important to exercise using proper form and with this exercise, it is especially important. Make sure you are doing it correctly before adding any weight to this. 

Stop the exercise at any time, if you sense any pain or discomfort. If you have any existing injuries or conditions, consult with a healthcare professional or certified personal trainer before entering a new workout routine.

You are aware of the execution of the movements but what about the mistakes? On top of that, there are two main mistakes to avoid: 

  • Lifting your legs too high: With glute isolation exercises, you may want to hyperextend the lower back to get more range of motion. Therefore, if you feel more pressure in the lower back than glutes, this is a sign you may be overstressing your lower back and getting too involved in the exercise. This could then lead to an increased likelihood of a lower back injury. 
  • Performing too fast: Instead of moving fast and lifting your legs too high, slow the exercise down and feel your glutes and hamstrings. Better here to focus on tension and not speed. 

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What Muscles Does Bodyweight Reverse Hyperextension Work?

Reverse hyperextension at home or the gym trains different types of muscles including activation of the erector spinae, gluteus maximus, and biceps and femoris muscles. (1).

See also
Beginner Workout At Home Without Equipment: Useful Tips & Exercise To Help You Get Fit At Home

This exercise also engages your 

  • glutes (these muscles extend and hyperextend your hips by bringing the legs up from the floor)
  • hamstrings (they help the glutes by resisting knee hyperextension to further enhance the isometric strength of the hamstrings).

bodyweight reverse hyperextension  

Are Reverse Hyperextensions Good?

To your attention are the top 5 bodyweight reverse hyperextension potential benefits (2):

  1. Reinforced and Strengthened Lower Posterior Chain
  2. Reduced  Risk of Injury Potential
  3. Enhanced Possibility to Perform Other Lower Body Exercises
  4. Improved Hip Extension Mechanics and Reduced Lower Back Pain
  5. Improved Overall Body Stability

Reinforced and Strengthened Lower Posterior Chain

The main advantage of integrating reverse hyperextensions into your workout is muscular development. 

Your glutes, spinal erectors and hamstrings can develop well after just a few sets of this exercise.

When performed correctly, reverse hyperextensions like bodyweight Calisthenics Back Workout can take your lower body workout to the next level. Mixing it up alongside other lower posterior chain exercises like lying leg curls or deadlifts would be an effective strategy. 

Reduced Risk of Injury Potential

Reverse hyperextension is good for improving mobility, tissue integrity, and stability. Moreover, this form of exercise helps you strengthen the muscles of the lower posterior chain. Ultimately, it can potentially help reduce the risk of any sort of injury occurring in the future.

This exercise is particularly good for lifters who worry about hurting their lower back or hamstrings during resistance training

Enhanced Possibility to Perform Other Lower Body Exercises

Reverse hyperextensions can make exercises safer and improve their execution. You learn how to do it by correctly contrasting your posterior chain and strengthening it. 

Improved Hip Extension Mechanics and Reduced Lower Back Pain

Reverse hyperextensions are excellent for extending the lower body, which is used in a wide variety of lower body activities, from lifting groceries to simply walking in everyday life.

See also
Bodyweight Tricep Extensions: Muscles Worked, Progression and Variations

As you enhance your glute strength and hip mobility you aid your body and can improve lower back and core stability. 

Your lower back, when properly trained during reverse hyperextensions, will not need to pick up any slack because of limited hip mobility. This elevates your chances of decreasing lower back pain. 

Increased Overall Bodily Stability

Your glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae are essential for maintaining bodily stability. 

Reverse hyperextensions allow targeting of these muscles in a controlled and slow manner, ensuring a full range of motion is achieved and that enough time under tension is present. Over time, this leads to better isometric strength and endurance.

What is Similar to Reverse Hyperextensions?

Even reverse hyperextensions can become daunting, adding other exercises with similar impact can dissolve the boredom from the same movements. 

The best bodyweight reverse hyperextension alternative is the one that engages the same muscle groups and does not necessarily need any equipment. To your attention here are 4 alternatives to reverse hyperextensions you can do at home or at the gym with or without equipment:

Alternative #1 Superman

How to perform: 

  1. Lie down flat on your stomach on a yoga mat. Keep your body straight with your arms and legs outstretched for the starting position.
  2. Tighten your glutes and lift your feet and hands upwards with your hips glued to the floor. Avoid lifting your hands and feet too high to avoid injury. Ideally, you need to feel a slight stretch in your core, lower back, and glutes. 
  3. Lower your hands and feet slowly, rest for a moment, and then repeat the movement at least 5 times. 

Alternative #2 Hip Thrust

How to perform: 

  1. Start seated on the floor, knees bent, and feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Your upper back should rest against the edge of the weight bench or the sturdy chair.
  2. Place the weight bar across the hips (if you haven’t got weights, place a bottle of water or go with just your bodyweight)
  3. Squeezing your glutes, push the bar/hips straight up until the hips are in line with shoulders and knees. Keep your core tight and maintain a slight chin tuck focusing down your body. 
  4. Slowly lower your hips so that they are just a few inches off the floor. If you are using a bar/water bottle, lower your hips at the same rate that this added weight is being lowered. Squeeze the glutes and lift again.
See also
10 Easy Forearm Bodyweight Exercises

Read more: 30-Minute Bodyweight Beach Workout for Beginners

Alternative #3 Glute Bridges

How to perform:

  1. Lie on your back and your knees about shoulder-width apart, placing your feet flat on the ground and bending your knees. With your pointed toes, keep your heels 6–8 inches from your glutes. Lie your arms flat on either side of you with your palms facing the ceiling.
  2. With engaged glutes, slowly, lift your hips and squeeze your abs.
  3. Avoid arching your back as you lift your hips as high as possible. You need to elevate your hips until your torso makes a straight line from your shoulder up to your knee.
  4. On the top of the glute bridge, squeeze your glutes tightly, holding like this for a few seconds. 
  5. Slowly lower your hips to the ground keeping the tension in your abs and glutes. Repeat. 

Alternative #4 Romanian Deadlifts

How to perform:

  1. Stand straight with your feet at a hip distance. Hold your weight in front of your thighs.
  2. Send your hips behind your heels with a flat back. With a slight bend in the knees be sure to keep the knees directly above your heels and have your shins vertical to the floor.
  3. When lowering your loads, draw your shoulder blades towards each other until you feel a little stretch in your hamstrings. 
  4. When the weight is below your knees, lift your hips forward to return to the original position.
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bodyweight reverse hyperextension  


  • How to do hyperextensions at home with no equipment?

Here’s how to perform in-home hyperextension with no equipment. With someone holding down your legs, slide yourself down to the edge of a flat bench until your hips hang off the end of the bench. 

Cross your arms behind your head and slowly bend forward at the waist while keeping your back straight. Inhale to perform this movement. Keep moving forward until you feel a gentle stretch on the hamstrings. Raise your back slowly to the initial position as you exhale with your back straight. Keep your core engaged to help avoid swinging the torso as this can help to protect the back from injury. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

  • How to simulate reverse hyperextension?

Simulating a reverse hyperextension at home may require a bench, sturdy chair, or table. If you’re at the gym, you can utilize a reverse hyperextension machine to execute the movements. 

Additionally, you can experiment with alternatives to reverse hyperextension exercise, for example, a glute bridge or hip thrust.

  • Why is hyperextension in the back bad?

You can injure yourself during lumbar hyperextension when the lower level of the spine is bent backward, or arched. Such repetitive stress may lead to adverse effects and damage to the bones, muscles and nerves in the back and vertebrae. 

  • How did Louie Simmons break his back?

Louie Simon in the 1920-s shifted from the Olympic platform to the power rack where he trained for the squat, bench, and deadlift. But in 1973, when he was training, he broke his spine and completely dislocated his SI joint.

  • Is reverse hyperextension better than Romanian deadlift?

Both exercises are great for improving overall strength and building muscle mass. They can complement one another due to their focus on glutes, hamstrings and lower back activation. For beginners it is generally recommended to start with reverse hyperextension, since it does not necessarily include weight. No matter your experience level with weight lifting, you will want to master the bodyweight reverse hyperextension before adding weight to this exercise. Those who vote for Romanian Deadlifts should focus on proper hinging before adding loads to the exercise. 

The Bottom Line

You have unraveled essentials on the bodyweight reverse hyperextension – a powerful lower body exercise. This type of training engages your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back which can  tone and strengthen these muscle groups. 

You can perform this activity either with the special hyperextension machine or at home using a bench or a table. Be sure you have learned how to safely execute the movement so that you can  reap the 5 benefits of reinforcing  and strengthening the lower posterior chain, reduce future risk of injury, enhance your possibility to perform other lower body exercises, improve hip extension mechanics, and reduce lower back pain. 

Your overall stability may also get better after completing the bodyweight reverse hyperextension exercise. 

Finally, we have discussed some alternatives to bodyweight reverse hyperextension. They include hip thrusts, glute bridges, superman, and Romanian Deadlifts. 

Stop the exercise if you sense any pain or discomfort. Do not add weight to this exercise until you have perfected the movement. If you have any existing injuries or conditions, consult with a healthcare professional first and then communicate these injuries or conditions to your certified personal trainer before entering a new workout routine. This movement has a much higher chance of injury when weight is added so please take caution when progressing this lift. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Biomechanical Comparison of the Reverse Hyperextension Machine and the Hyperextension Exercise (2019,
  2. Reverse Hyperextension: Benefits, Muscles Worked, and More (2023,
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