How to Do a Hyperextension

Hyperextensions are quite similar to back extensions, except that they work to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings primarily, with the erector spinae of the lower back being secondarily activated. The exercise uses either a hyperextension machine or what’s referred to as a Roman chair, which is a cushioned stool with stabilizer legs.

The muscles targeted by this exercise are known as the posterior chain. Strengthening these muscles can help to combat the long hours spent sitting at work and at home.

How To

  • In order to perform a hyperextension, first set the machine by checking to make sure the foot plate is at the proper height for your body. When standing on the plate with your thighs on the cushion, you need to be far enough forward to hinge over while still keeping your feet firmly locked against the back of the foot plate.
  • Start in a hinged position with your torso at about 45 degrees to your legs. Imagine your torso and legs forming a v pointed toward the ceiling. Arms can be crossed over the chest or placed at the sides of the hips.
  • Exhale and squeeze your glutes as you extend your back upward until your torso and legs form a straight line.
  • To finish the movement, slowly lower the torso back down to the starting position.


Depending on your fitness level you can aim for three sets of five repetitions. If you experience any pain in your lower back, try to squeeze your glutes even harder to see if it resolves the problem.  Pay close attention to your body and do only as many repetitions as you can while maintaining proper form.


90-degree bench: Most hyperextension benches are angled at 45 degrees to the floor. However, for those who have mastered hyperextensions on these benches, consider increasing the level of difficulty by using a hyperextension bench that is angled 90 degrees to the floor. The increased angle will mean that you have to work much harder to lift your upper body.

One-legged hyperextensions: We all have a side that is stronger than the other, but doing one-legged extensions ensure that you can even out that difference. When setting up for this move, you will secure only one leg at a time. This also makes the move more difficult, so take it slow and return to the two-legged version if you are having too much difficulty.

Weighted: Another way to increase the difficulty is to add a bit of weight by holding a weighted plate or dumbbell close to the chest while performing the exercise. Be cautious as only a little bit of weight is needed to make a big impact.

Cautionary Notes

Never use momentum to perform hyperextensions. Using quick, jerky movements to complete this exercise can put you at risk for severe back injuries.

Although the exercise is called “hyperextensions,” your shoulders should never extend upward beyond your hips. Your torso and legs should form a straight line at the top of the movement.

If you feel any pain in your lower back, squeeze the glutes even harder to see if that amends the problem. If the problem persists, cease the exercise immediately and speak to your doctor before trying the maneuver again.

More Hyperextension Related Resources

Hyperextension exercise instructions and video | Weight Training Guide
Hyperextensions (Back Extensions) | Exercise Videos & Guides |
What Is The Hyperextension Bench Exercise? And How Do You Use It? – Weak Back Builder
One-leg hyperextension exercise guide and video | Weight Training Guide
Know your exercise: Hyperextension (Back exercise) |
Hyperextension: Video Exercise Guide & Tips
Back Hyperextensions |
How to Do Back Extension Exercises

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