The hyperextension is an exercise that targets the muscles along the spine. The move is commonly done using an apparatus known as a Roman chair. If you do not have access to this piece of exercise equipment, you can do a version of hyperextensions with a stability ball. Include hyperextensions as part of any core-targeted workout routine, especially one that involves a lot of abdominal muscle training.
To perform the classic hyperextension off a Roman chair, mount the Roman chair by hooking your lower legs under the rear padded brace and placing the top of your thighs on the large padded brace. Allow your hips to hinge so your head hangs down toward the floor. Place your hands lightly behind your head and raise up from your hips until your trunk and head are parallel to the floor. Lower back down slowly with a hinge from the hips to complete one full repetition. If you find putting the hands behind the head is too hard, try crossing the arms in front of your chest.
Your target muscle during the hyperextension is the erector spinae, sometimes referred to as the extensors, which lie along the vertebrae of the spine. The muscles support good posture and help you move the spine as you hinge at the hips, twist or bend side to side. Poor strength in the erector spinae can lead to back pain or strain, especially if you have overdeveloped abdominal muscles.
The large muscle of the buttocks, the gluteus maximus, assists as you as you lift and lower your trunk. The hamstrings at the back of the thighs and the adductor magnus, a large triangular muscle at the inside of the thigh, also assist. If you place your hands behind your head, the levator scapulae along the sides of the neck work as stabilizers.
The hyperextension can be made more challenging by adding a weight plate across your chest. If you do not have a Roman chair, you can do stability ball reverse extensions to train the same muscles. Lie prone with your hips on the ball and your hands and feet on the floor. Draw your abdominal muscles in toward your spine and raise your legs up until they are line with your torso. Keep the feet together and move the legs as one unit. Slowly lower back to the floor to complete one repetition. Avoid bringing your legs higher than your torso or risk strain to the lower back you are trying to train.