Westside Barbell Reverse Hyper – Essential Exercise!
In this article I will be discussing the Westside Barbell Reverse Hyper and how it truly is an essential exercise for any lifter and fitness enthusiast.
The reverse hyper was invented by Louie Simmons, the “godfather” of powerlifting. Louie is the owner of Westside Barbell, an elite training facility in Ohio that is home to some of the strongest lifters in the world.
Back in the 1970s Louie sustained a serious injury to his lower back. He didn’t want to go down the traditional medical route to resolve his problem and so he was forced to look for solutions. This led him to discover the reverse hyper and he used that machine to help him recover from his back injury. He has continued using it ever since and recommends the machine to the lifting community at large to keep the lower back healthy long term.
What Is The Reverse Hyper?
The reverse hyper machine is like the reverse of a traditional hyperextension. Instead of moving your torso through space, you move your legs. You would rest your hips on the edge of the machine pad, put your feet into the band, hold on to the handles in front and then just swing your legs back and forward maintaining tension in the band as you lower your legs.
This exercise is fantastic for the posterior chain- glutes, hamstrings and lower back. The lower back can get tight from other compound exercises like deadlifts and squats. The reverse hyper is an exercise that tractions the spine and helps to strengthen the posterior chain. It can also keep your lower back healthy long term when done regularly.
This is what makes this exercise so important, lower back injuries are one of the most common when lifting weights. By doing this exercise regularly you can drastically reduce the risk of a serious lower back injury and you can really bulletproof the posterior chain.
Training Protocol Using The Machine
If you have access to a reverse hyper I would strongly recommend using the machine at the end of every workout. I personally shoot for higher reps in the 12-15 range, I would keep the weight the same but aim to increase the reps over time to around 25 reps. Once I can hit 25 reps with a given weight I would increase the weight and ramp up the reps again slowly.
By doing higher reps I feel you can get the best bang for your buck with the extra pump and blood flow to the posterior chain muscles. You will feel this exercise strongly in the glutes and it is a fantastic exercise for developing bigger glutes. Just doing reverse hypers regularly will work wonders for building up your glutes, especially if you are unable to do exercises like low bar squats.
Single Leg Reverse Hyper
Doing single leg reverse hypers is a good way to strengthen each side of the sacrum and glute. Many times there is an imbalance where one side is stronger than the other. By working each side independently you can fix imbalances over time and improve lower back health and performance.
For single leg reverse hypers I would keep the reps high as well but be more careful with the weight you are using. I would recommend starting off very light with this variation to guage how it feels before increasing the weight.
Alternative To Reverse Hyper Machine
The truth is outside of hardcore gyms, the vast majority of commercial gyms don’t have a reverse hyper machine. Whilst this is sad there are still ways you can get the same benefits of a reverse hyper. One method I found is using the 45 degree back extension bench.
The majority of gyms will have a 45 degree back extension bench. To do reverse hypers using this machine simply place your hips on the edge of the pad, hold on to the foot pads with your arms and then do regular reverse hypers from this position. To increase the difficulty all you have to do is use resistance bands. This would be the most practical way, alternatively you could use ankle weights.
Other Uses For The Reverse Hyper
The other great thing about this machine is that it can be used for a multitude of exercises. You can do tricep work using the reverse hyper by lying down and holding on to the band and doing extensions. In addition you can do one arm rows or rows with two arms.
Another clever way of using the reverse hyper is for rear delt work. You can do face pulls by getting into the machine the opposite way around, holding on to the band and working the rear delts from there. This exercise is very challenging so you should start with no weight first and work from there slowly.
To conclude, in this article I have talked about the reverse hyper and how it is an essential exercise to perform in your workout routine. It will strengthen your posterior chain, improve lower back health and integrity and keep you healthy as you get older.
I believe it is one of the best pieces of exercise equipment ever invented and we all have Louie Simmons to thank for it. If you have access to a reverse hyper I would recommend you start using it right away at the end of your sessions as I have suggested. Stick with the exercise long term and you will reap the rewards.
I also recommend doing the single leg version as well to strengthen each side individually and further improve lower back health. If your gym doesn’t have a reverse hyper there is no need to worry. You can perform this exercise using the 45 degree back extension bench.
Also take advantage of this machine to perform clever and unique exercises to work other muscle groups like the back and triceps.
If you have any questions about the reverse hyper please let me know! Have you ever used this machine? I would love to interact with you and share opinions regarding this great machine.
As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!