T Nation

Reverse Hypers are Bad for your Back?


#1

Is anyone here aware of somebody being injured doing reverse hypers (and not doing something completely retarded)? According to Stuart McGill and Eric Cressey the reverse hyper can be dangerous and cause back injuries and disc degeneration due to repeated flexion. But Louie Simmons used this to rehabilitate himself from a broken back and everyone he trains uses it, so I kind of wonder.


#2

The old leg curl machines were classic back crushers. The flat bench and the fact folks were loading that bad-boy up and were not taught to do the exercise properly (brace the abs) saw many people hurt on the things. The quick fix was to put a kink in the bench you see typical of the leg curl machine design for decades.

It’s not a far leap to say the reverse hyper has potential for the same issues. So keep the weight light and ensure the pelvis is tight throughout the movement.


#3

[quote]tsantos wrote:
The old leg curl machines were classic back crushers. The flat bench and the fact folks were loading that bad-boy up and were not taught to do the exercise properly (brace the abs) saw many people hurt on the things. The quick fix was to put a kink in the bench you see typical of the leg curl machine design for decades.

It’s not a far leap to say the reverse hyper has potential for the same issues. So keep the weight light and ensure the pelvis is tight throughout the movement.[/quote]
What you say is basically how McGill advises to use it, support yourself on your elbows, keep a neutral spine, and stay in full control rather than swinging. The problem with that is you only get around 45 ROM and it completely defeats the purpose of the reverse hyper, you would be better off with RDLs/SLDLs/GMs. The way Louie says to use it involves a lot of spinal flexion but supposedly it also rehydrates the discs which would help recovery/healing.

What McGill says sounds more theoretical than anything, but Cressey has an article where he mentions chiropractors being sued by clients that were injured by the reverse hyper. I don’t really know what to think at this point, I suppose that Louie’s method should be relatively safe with lighter weights and people who are already injured are more likely to get more injured. Even if the spinal flexion does wear down your discs, is it not possible that the rehydration and hypertrophy would result in a net gain in back health? Lifting weights breaks down your muscle tissue but it recovers and gets stronger so why is this different?


#4

I started doing reverse hypers about three months ago. I started really, really light (88 lbs or so) for high reps, and I’m now up at 396 lbs for high reps. I do them after deadlifts and I have to say it seems to have been very good for my back. I do it with plenty of swing, and it feels really good.


#5

Yes it can be dangerous even if you have a little doubt on your muscle flexibility.


#6

A little late on this, but Louie Simmons who invented the modern reverse hyper says its one of the main reasons westside lifters don’t get hurt. He says that the movement strength your back support as well as decompressing your spine. I am not doctor to back this up, but anyone who has read even a little bit of westside knows they do their research over there. Just throwing in a thought.


#7

The reverse hyper should be done as a controlled motion. Using it with excessive swinging is absolutely retarded.


#8

I hate to bring back old threads, but check Chris Duffin’s video on this topic:

Debunking Back Rehab with Reverse Hyper - Real Tips Managing Back / Spine Pain & Health
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMosd-182Ws


#9

I have a cracked thoracic vertebrae and two fused lumbar vertebrae and have been using the reverse hyper for two years without problem as of yet. Keep it light and tight form.