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Hyperextension Exercises

If bending over to tie shoe laces is giving you nightmares due to back pain, all you need to do is perform a few hyperextension exercises. These exercises will help in relieving back pain, especially lower back pain....
Very often when we exercise, we shower all our attention on the abdominal muscles and neglect the back muscles. Both abdominal and back muscles are necessary for proper balance and posture. Like there are abdominal exercises, there are hyperextension exercises, which work the back in general and lower back in particular. The gluteal muscle is also worked up to a certain extent with these exercises. These exercises are beneficial not only for athletes, but also for exercise enthusiasts, as well as people who have a sedentary lifestyle. The benefits of this exercise is that it helps in relieving lower back pain, fights compression fatigue, increases flexibility, improves blood circulation and strengthens the back as well as abdominal muscles. These exercises can be performed in both ways i.e. with and without any equipment. The most often used equipment to do these exercises is the hyperextension bench.

Bench exercises form a major chunk of these exercises, but there are some back exercises which can be done without the use of bench as well.

Barbell Good Morning
The main muscle worked with this exercise is the lower back muscle, however, gluteal muscle and hamstring muscles are also worked. This exercise requires a barbell and is a compound exercise. If you feel the weight of the barbell is too much, do not force yourself, it is better to reduce the weight.
  • Place the barbell on the back of your shoulders.
  • Keep shoulder width distance between your feet.
  • It is important you keep looking straight, because if you look down you can lose balance.
  • Keep your feet firmly grounded and start bending down at the hips, while you continue to breathe.
  • Bend your torso till it is parallel to the floor.
  • Without bending your knees, begin to straighten your torso and repeat the exercise.
Weighted Ball Hyperextension
You will need an exercise ball to do this exercise and a weighted plate if required. This exercise works the lower back primarily and the gluteal muscles, hamstrings and middle back as well.
  • Lie down on the exercise ball and press your torso against the ball, so that your torso is parallel to the floor. When you are lying on the ball, make sure the ball is firmly pressed into the floor.
  • Slowly raise your torso to come up, as you bend at the waist and the lower back. When you are coming up, it is important to exhale, so that you can come up a little more.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds, before you go back to the starting position.
  • If you want to use weights, you will have to place the weighted plate under your chin or behind your neck. However, it is recommended you use the weights only after you have become used to the correct posture.
Exercise on the Bench without Incline
Apart from the bench, you will not require any other equipment for this compound exercise. It is important to follow the instructions properly so that you do not injure yourself while doing this exercise.
  • Lie on the bench and let someone hold your legs down, as you slide down to the edge of a flat bench till your hips are off the end of the bench. Your upper body should also hang down towards the floor.
  • Cross your arms in front of you and place them on your chest or place them at the back of your head.
  • Start bending forward at the waist, as far as you can, but keep your back flat.
  • When you are moving forward make sure you inhale.
  • You have to move down till you are about to touch the floor.
  • Slowly start coming back up to the starting position, but make sure you are not arching your back.
  • When you are going down or coming up, ensure you do not swing your back, else chances are high you will hurt your back.
There are other hyperextension exercises which can also be performed on the bench. Although, you are doing these exercises to strengthen your lower back, you should also ensure you do not swing in any of the positions, else you can get hurt.
By Bhakti Satalkar
Published: 4/6/2010
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