Hyperextension exercise
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Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Erector Spinae, Hamstrings
  • Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Lie prone (face down) on a hyperextension bench with your legs tucked firmly under the foot pads.
  2. If necessary, adjust the upper pad so that it lies below your hips, giving your hips room to fully flex.
  3. Put your hands lightly behind your head or cross them on your chest.


  1. Inhale as you lower your torso by flexing your hips and waist.
  2. Exhale as you raise your torso by extending your hips and back.
  3. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Do not lower your torso beyond feeling a mild stretch in your hamstrings or back.
  • Do not extend your back beyond feeling a mild stretch in your spine.
  • To make the exercise more difficult, hold your arms out straight or cross them over a weight plate held against your chest. You can also perform the exercise with one leg.
  • There are three very similar exercises that are often confused, and it doesn’t help that they have multiple names and that their names are often used interchangeably! The exercises are the back extension, hip extension (aka back raise), and hyperextension (aka back and hip extension). With the back extension (e.g. back extension on stability ball), your hips stay straight, and all of the movement is in your back/waist. With the hip extension (e.g. twisting hip extension), your back/waist stays straight, and all of the movement is in your hips. And with the hyperextension, there’s full movement in both your back/waist and hips. See the video for a demonstration of each of the three exercises. What also doesn’t help is that the word “hyperextension” means to extend beyond the normal range of motion, and that hyperextending your back under heavy load is not recommended!
  • If you don’t have access to a hyperextension bench, try the flat bench hyperextension.

Back extension, hip extension, and hyperextension explained


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