T Nation

Substitute for Reverse Hypers


#1

I need to toughen up my lower back. When in the gym, I hit back extensions and cable kickbacks. In the garage, it's deadlift variations. At the office, back bridges. I also typically do some sort of oly lift variation every training day.

What I REALLY want to do is reverse hypers, though unfortunately I don't have access to that machine or a GHR. Since I've never actually done one, I'm not quite sure how they feel and thus don't know how to recreate them.

Any experience with this would be appreciated.


#2

Nothing I can think of that can substitute the movement. It’s pretty unique.

You could always lie down face first on a table and swing your legs up and back, and then start carrying dumbbells/chains on your feet to load the movement, but it’s still going to be pretty lacking.


#3

Thanks for the reply, it’s worth a shot. I’ve got some heavy ankle weights and could probably bust out some high reps like that. Just need to find a high bench or a good table haha.


#4

I have never been on the actual machine, just seen photos and videos. What I have done in the past is exactly what T3hPwnisher said above but instead of a table I used an incline bench to get my legs up a little higher than my head and held a DB between my feet.


#5

are you sure you need to strengthen your lower back? It’s usually the case people think they do but they’d actually be better served strengthening their glutes


#6

@oldogre: great idea!

@Yogi: well I’m certainly not opposed to strengthening my glutes, and have long mulled over adding a hip thrust variant into my training. Along with training the big lifts, I do a fair amount of running, and a lot of skimboarding which is basically HIIT with very frequent and very short distances; all is well and good until my lower back starts aching. And sometimes it just aches, and I’m sure sitting at work most of the day doesn’t help. Plus there’s a history of lower back problems in my family, so I figure I may as well address any potential issues now.

EDIT: I suppose now would be as good of a time as any to work my glutes more and see how it helps.


#7

Kettlebell swings with a focus on contracting the glutes was pretty instrumental in building up strong glutes and drilling the hip hinge portion of the deadlift. Might give it a try.

Don’t get me wrong, reverse hypers are awesome, and my lower back actually got so strong from it that it changed my deadlifting style as I became more reliant on my lower back, but getting stronger all over is also good.


#8

@ThePwnisher: I’ll have to try that one too. Typically after the snap on kbs I tend to focus on shrugging the weight up higher…probably why my oly lifts suck haha; this could be some great training economy! And Until I can get near a machine, I’ll try to make that makeshift RH set-up work.

Thanks for the input guys, all these will be great additions to assistance work on lower body/deadlift days.


#9

It’s not as good as a Glute/Ham, but you can play around with a 45 degree back raise machine. Lower the hip pads, and put some plates on the foot plate to bring your knees and ankles closer to the same height. You can really generate some tension in your hamstrings this way.

There is the “hyper deadlift” where you do a back raise with the barbell in your hands like a deadlift. Again, not like a Glute/Ham Raise, but everyone who tries this lift raves about it.

Pull thu’s on a low cable are good for hamstrings/glutes/back and hip extension.

I do have to agree with Yogi that the lower back will try to “cover” for weak glutes. I’m not saying your glutes are weak, but some clams shells or lunges usually help me get my hips under me, and keep my back flat and strong instead of over-arched during lifts.

As for reverse hypers;
They are pretty awesome. In my opinion the stretch at the bottom is more important than the “contraction” at the top. The best part of the top is the stretch I get in my hip flexors.

If there is a more decked out gym near you, I’d totally make the switch to get on more equipment.


#10

Good mornings?


#11

seriously, ditch the low back work and strengthen your glutes.

Everyone always thinks their lower back needs work because it feels tight and fatigued, but that’s just because your mimsy glutes aren’t up to snuff. All you’ll be doing is making an already overactive muscle even tighter.

Less lower back, more glutes. Trust me.


#12

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Good mornings?[/quote]

Far more a hamstring exercise, unless they’re done heavy, in which case they’re a partial squat, haha.


#13

[quote]TX iron wrote:
@oldogre: great idea!

@Yogi: well I’m certainly not opposed to strengthening my glutes, and have long mulled over adding a hip thrust variant into my training. Along with training the big lifts, I do a fair amount of running, and a lot of skimboarding which is basically HIIT with very frequent and very short distances; all is well and good until my lower back starts aching. And sometimes it just aches, and I’m sure sitting at work most of the day doesn’t help. Plus there’s a history of lower back problems in my family, so I figure I may as well address any potential issues now.

EDIT: I suppose now would be as good of a time as any to work my glutes more and see how it helps.[/quote]

How’s your hip mobility?

I had a similar issue recently, where it seemed that every time I was deadlifting for any significant amount of reps I was getting a crazy pump in my erectors and achy lower back for a few days after. I came to realize my hip flexors were overly tight, which makes your lower back have to work that much harder to maintain a neutral position at the bottom position of any pull or squat pattern.

Needless to say, I’ve been working on that with banded hip distractions before warming up on lower body days and I am recruiting my glutes better and holding a more optimal position without all the fuss in my lower back anymore.


#14

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Kettlebell swings with a focus on contracting the glutes was pretty instrumental in building up strong glutes and drilling the hip hinge portion of the deadlift. Might give it a try.

Don’t get me wrong, reverse hypers are awesome, and my lower back actually got so strong from it that it changed my deadlifting style as I became more reliant on my lower back, but getting stronger all over is also good.[/quote]

^Good answer! I started doing heavier KB swings to warm up in the winter (if my gym hit 50 degrees in January it was a heat wave) but that glute activation, and the whole posterior chain waking up and working together has made a major difference for me.


#15

@FlatsFarmer: Thanks for the advice .Sounds like some great exercises. I really like the sound of that hyper deadlift, can feel it already, and I can?t believe I forgot pull-throughs. Interesting about the glutes, I guess I always just assumed they were strong and didn?t worry much about them. Perhaps this mentality needs to change.

@Yogi: I?ll think I?ll give that a try. Spend a training block really building ?em, and focus on them during the big lifts AND if after that the problem still persists, hey, at least I?ll have stronger glutes and can further isolate the issue.

@jskrabac: Well, it?s alright; could be better of course. My flexors are pretty tight. I can jump onto a chest-high box with relatively little effort with crappy knees, yet when I squat below parallel I really have to stay pretty upright to keep my back from rounding. I?ll google those banded hip distractions and plug in more mobility work.

@Kraken: Yeah those are something I?ll be incorporating, they sound great, and I like I said above bet they?ll carryover to oly lifts nicely.

Gracias y?all.


#16

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Good mornings?[/quote]

Far more a hamstring exercise, unless they’re done heavy, in which case they’re a partial squat, haha.[/quote]

Corrected I stand. Sumo deadlift? They hit my glutes a bunhc, but hammies too.


#17

It sounds like you may be trying to substitute something for GHRs rather than reverse hypers. The latter is more just a lower back exercise. A damn good one.


#18

Single leg glute bridges/extensions, preferably with your back elevated on something.


#19

[quote]Yogi wrote:
are you sure you need to strengthen your lower back? It’s usually the case people think they do but they’d actually be better served strengthening their glutes[/quote]

Hey yogi,

What do you suggest for strengthening glutes? I’ve seen you post that advice multiple times but I don’t think I’ve ever seen specific exercise suggestions. Got a few you can offer? Lunges are the main one I currently do.


#20

@Th3pwnisher: Well, that looks to be where all the advice is leading. Initially, I did just want something to isolate my lower back. I thought that it was the weak link, and it still could be, however other posters as well as yourself have brought about the idea that an aching back is a symptom of a deeper issue…one that needs to be examined and addressed before further attempting to bring up my lower back individually.

@Strongmanvinny: Thanks man, I could get those in at the office too w/ bodyweight.