T Nation

Reverse Hyper and Kyphosis

From an earlier Charles Poliquin Question of Strength Article:

“The reverse hyper machine is also excellent for improving posture and correcting abnormal pelvic tilt, which can immediately give the illusion of a flattened abdomen wall. One of the consequences of having weak erector spinae muscles is the development of a posture in which the upper back is rounded, causing the shoulders to droop forward and the chest to appear sunken. In order to maintain the center of gravity for this type of incorrect posture, the pelvis begins to thrust forward, ultimately causing a distended lower abdomen. This condition is often referred to as a kyphosis-lordosis posture.”

The latest posture articles by Ian King and Mike Roberts didn’t include this exercise. Any reasons why?

They arent as smart as poliquin? haha
actually its probably because the machine is so hard to find.

I disagree. In cases of anterior pelvic tilt and related exaggerated lordosis, the glutes are the weaker muscle. Usually, the erector spinae is overactive/tight due to synergistic dominance in hip extension to compensate for the weaker glutes.

The reverse hyper is an excellent tool because it teaches proper initiation of the posterior chain, allowing an individual to really focus on firing the glutes rather than jumping right from hams to erector spinae.

There is unquestionably a lordosis-kyphosis connection, but it really does go beyond the scope of one article. Postural correction is best approached comprehensively, as the body is always making adjustments from top to bottom to compensate for anything that’s out of whack. Mike and I plan to tackle this very topic together in the near future, so keep an eye out!

There’s more than one way to correct posture. King’s and Robertson’s articles are alot more indepth than Poliquin’s quick statement. Does poliquin give a reason for including the reverse hyper in a postural rehab program. Is he even speaking rehabiliation wise?

I agree with Eric that the glutes are the weaker of the muscles leading to the bad posture.
Problem is however how does one fire the glutes first, I find that my spinal erectors are carrying most of the weight and hardly anything in my glutes, any thoughts??

Peterson Step ups are a good exercise to learn how to fire with the glutes. Just use a platform that is a couple of inches short of knee height. Use only your bodyweight for 10 reps of 2 sets.

I have read a few studies that found that postural problems will not be fixed by working the weaker or stretched muscles alone. You also have to consciously hold your body in correct posture for as long as you can remember to do so everyday. This will help restructure the muscles into the correct length etc as they grow and develop from the exercising. I’ll dig up the studies when I get the time if anybody’s interested.

Like E-C has mentioned here and time and again, dysfunction in the kinetic chain is rarely an isolated event. Thus, as another forumite has mentioned, you normally can’t go to the symptoms of the problem and expect the problem to be corrected.

Shorty, you’re probably tight in the hip flexors, too. In addition, you probably present with excess lordosis in the lumbar spine. I strongly believe, as do others in the field, that much of this dysfunction comes back to neutral spine.

What we see when we work with athletes–who often present these very same dysfunctions–is that when we “reset” the spine back to neutral, they’re able to fire those glutes rock-solid and their hip flexors are no longer tight as a drum.

The key to “resetting” the spine, for us at least, comes down to core activation. That is, activating the:

  1. inner unit: multifidus, transverse abdominus, pelvic floor muscles, and thoracic diaphragm (we have the athletes activate the TVA on all the activation exercises)

  2. outer unit: oblique systems, deep longitudinal system, and lateral system.

While I strongly believe that this is the key, if you’re just all jacked up, then there are many other problems that likely need be attended.