Best Barbell Hyperextension Alternatives: Workout to Get the Glutes, Hyperextension Reverse, and More
Can you do barbell hyperextension without the machine? Well there are plenty barbell hyperextension alternatives that you should try at home.
But most would require a barbell and you should be careful about balancing not hurt yourself.
With that, let’s begin!
Barbell Hyperextension Alternatives
Good Morning – The most easy to load up hyperextension alternative exercises
The Good Morning exercise is a hip hinge movement that strengthens the entire posterior chain.
It is performed by bending forward from the hips with the barbell placed across the back of the shoulders, keeping the spine straight throughout the movement.
This exercise is similar to the Barbell Hyperextension in that they both target the posterior chain, including the lower back, glutes and hamstrings.
Good morning does increase the electromyography in your hamstring a lot and it might help with injury prevention (1)
Barbell Romanian Deadlift
It is similar to Barbell Hyperextension in that it engages the erector spinae and is a “strength-based” movement, but it has the added benefit of allowing the user to slightly bend their knees which gives the hamstrings slack and allows for more movement through their hips.
The Barbell Romanian Deadlift typically utilizes heavier weights than the Good Morning, making it an ideal exercise for those looking to build strength and power in the 3-6 rep range.
Please use a rubber mat so that you can just drop the weight when you can not lift anymore. By utilising the rubber mat you can maximise your 1 rep max with barbell romanian deadlift.
The Superman is a bodyweight exercise that I often do for my spine and low back (2).
To perform the exercise, you start face down on the mat with your legs straight and arms outstretched in front of you.
Then you raise both your arms and legs off the mat to a comfortable degree, forming a banana shape.
You should hold this position for a few seconds in order to give the lower back, hamstrings, and upper back time to maintain the position.
Afterward, you should lower your hands and feet back to the mat.
Exercise Ball Leg Curl or Sliding Leg Curl
The Exercise Ball Leg Curl is a bodyweight exercise that combines leg curls and hip extensions to target the hamstrings and glutes.
I do not prefer this exercise because you would need to buy a gym ball too!
This exercise is a great alternative to barbell hyperextensions, as it adds an element of balance and control to posterior chain training.
It works knee flexion while also engaging the glutes and lower back, while not overworking the lower back.
To do the exercise, first lie on your back with your legs straight and feet resting on a stability ball. Place your hands on the floor by your side for balance.
Push your heels into the ball to lift your butt off the floor, so your body is straight. Next, bend your legs and pull the ball toward you.
Push your hips up to the ceiling as you roll the ball in. Push the ball away so your legs are straight, and then lower your hips back down to the floor.
This completes one rep.
The Exercise Ball Leg Curl is a great way to target the hamstrings and glutes without having to lift heavy weights and is a beneficial alternative to barbell hyperextension.
But if you do not have a ball then you can simply use a towerl to place under your heel.
Get into the bridge position and place your heel on the towel. Now slowly slide your legs away from your hips, but keep your hip as high as possible
Reverse hyperextension is an advanced alternative to traditional hyperextension, which is performed using a barbell.
The reverse hyperextension machine can be loaded with a combination of weight discs and resistance bands in order to encourage a more explosive execution.
This exercise is a fantastic way to build strength and muscle in the glutes and hamstrings, as well as improve lower back strength and stability.
You would need the gym machine, so I would generally skip this exercise cause do not want to spend money on doing a single exercise.
Glute Ham Raise
The Glute Ham Raise is an exercise that primarily targets the hamstrings and glutes, and it is often used as an alternative to the Barbell Hyperextension. It requires a specific frame to be completed and can be done using bodyweight alone or with additional weight.
To perform this exercise, you must place your thighs on the pad or pads, with your knees at the very bottom of it/them. Your feet must be flat against the foot plate, with toes pointing towards the ground, and your body must be completely straight and parallel with the floor.
Keep your arms across your chest or beside your head for maximum stability and then contract your glutes and hamstrings as hard as you can to raise your upper body, bending at the knees until it is completely vertical. You must then immediately lower yourself back to the starting position, in order to maintain tension in the muscles at all times.
The Glute Ham Raise is a tremendous lower body exercise that can be used to increase muscle mass in the hamstrings (3), glutes, and lower back.
It not only strengthens these areas, but it also strengthens the lower back and increases eccentric strength in the hamstrings, helping to prevent hamstring injuries.
You will need the machine to do this exercise – but you can do nordic culs which can be done using a barbell and some weights but is definitely hard.
Barbell Hip Thrust
The Barbell Hip Thrust is a popular alternative to the Barbell Hyperextension exercise due to the differences in the muscles trained.
Unlike hyperextension, the barbell hip thrust focuses more on the glutes (4), as the hamstrings are not stretched as much.
This makes barbell hip thrusts an excellent choice for strengthening and toning the glutes.
The steps for performing this exercise are fairly simple. First, place a flat bench and rest your upper back on it.
Place a barbell on your hip crease and secure it with a foam pad. Keeping your feet parallel to the floor, bend your knees at an angle of 70-90 degrees.
Then, straighten your arms and hold onto the barbell. Make sure your chin is properly tucked in and your abs are tight.
Finally, try to squeeze your glutes and thrust into the barbell until your torso is parallelly aligned with the floor.
Slowly lower your hips, maintain the tension in your glutes and abs and you have completed one rep.
Girls love hip thrust – you know for why.
But men can also do this to strengthen their lower back.
Glute Bridge – Easiest hyperextensions at home
The glute bridge is an effective bodyweight exercise for strengthening the glutes and hamstrings.
You can do them using both of your legs or just single one.
The glute bridge allows for more targeted glute and hamstring development, as well as better control of the movement and the ability to progress to using heavier weights as you become more experienced.
I often do elevated glute bridge/elevated single leg glute bridge.
Nordic Curls – The toughest bodyweight hyperextensions
Nordic curls are an advanced exercise that requires special equipment and sometimes another person’s help.
It is one of the best hamstring exercises and works the entire posterior chain.
Let me warns you, nordic curls are tough to do, I could never do it at home.
With Nordic curls, the body is positioned in a kneeling position and the hips remain straight as the weight of the body is lowered forward.
The hamstrings are then contracted to pull the body back upright.
A slight modification can be made by increasing the hip crease angle to make the movement slightly easier.
This exercise can be used as an alternative to barbell hyperextensions which are usually used as a lower back exercise.
Doing Nordic curls can help to make the exercise more dynamic and challenging, as the body is required to move in a more dynamic and multi-directional manner.
Common benefits of doing barbell hyperextension and the alternatives?
1. Increase Strength and Power in the Glutes, Hamstrings, and Lower Back
Performing barbell hyperextension alternatives, such as reverse hyperextensions, can increase strength and power in the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back due to their ability to target and develop these muscle groups more effectively.
As a result, athletes who partake in strength, power, and fitness sports can benefit from using these exercises to build more muscle mass in areas that are important for explosive lifts, heavy pulls, squatting, sprinting, and general lower back health/injury prevention.
Furthermore, these exercises can also help to improve hip extension, making athletes more resilient to injuries in the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
2. Improve Posture and Core Stability
The increased glute and hamstring strength and hip mobility helps improve knee stability and ankle mobility, meaning the knee and ankle do not have to pick up the slack caused by a lack of hip mobility.
A strong glute often helps with lower back pain and posture.
3. Increase Muscle Mass in the Glutes, Hamstrings, and Lower Back
Workouts such as barbell thrusts, glute bridges etc forces the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back to work together as a unit to move the lower body up and down in a controlled manner.
This helps to strengthen these muscles and increases their mass over time.
You can easily load up the weights and do 5×5 style of workouts as well.
4. Improve Hip Extension Flexibility
By doing barbell hyperextension alternatives, one can not only improve their hip extension flexibility but also prevent injury and improve overall athleticism.
What I do is, do different exercises from glute bridge to hip thrusts to keep the variety.
It also hits the muscles at a different angle everytime.
5. Improve Performance in Other Exercises Like Squats and Deadlifts
Hip Thrusts, Nordic curls and other alternative exercises help exercises like squats and deadlifts as it strengthens the hamstrings, gluteals, and spinal erectors.
You will get stronger at your main lifts by doing these!
Strengthening the hamstrings, gluteals, and spinal erectors can help increase power and explosive movement, thus improving the overall form and stability of the back when performing squats and deadlifts.
This reduces the risk of injuries, increases performance, and maximizes the benefits of the exercises.
6. Decrease Risk of Hamstring Injury
Cable pull-throughs, Sliding glute bridge curls, good morning etc can decrease the risk of hamstring injury by strengthening the muscles in the lower back and improving overall posture.
Being mindful of form and using controlled, careful movements while lifting weights can help avoid making the region vulnerable. In everyday life, it is important to assist the lower back by bending your knees when lifting and avoiding overstretching.
Are hyperextensions bad for your lower back?
It is important to note that hyperextensions, when done correctly, can be a powerful exercise for strengthening and protecting your lower back, hips, and hamstrings.
If not performed correctly, they can place angular stress on your body.
Thus, it is vital to warm up and properly activate muscles before attempting hyperextension.
Moreover, if you are feeling weak on a training day, it is recommended to stick to body-weight movements, as this can help prevent injury.
Ultimately, with the right technique and posture, hyperextensions can be an effective workout and can help to strengthen your lower back and other muscles.
What is the difference between hyperextensions and reverse hyperextensions?
The main difference is the direction in which the body is moving.
In hyperextensions, the lower body is anchored up to the hips and the upper body acts as the moving point. Conversely, with reverse hyperextensions, the upper body is anchored and the legs move freely in space.
Hyperextensions can achieve greater integrated activity of the glutes and hamstrings than reverse hyperextensions, whereas reverse hyperextensions provide a greater hip range of motion.
45- or 90-degree back extensions can also be used to target similar muscles as reverse hyperextensions, but with the torso moving instead of the legs.
When performing hyperextensions, the legs stay still while the upper body moves, while with reverse hyperextensions, the opposite movement is used.
Reverse hyperextensions can be done using a high exercise bench, specialized reverse hyper bench, machine, or a stability ball.
The benefits of reverse hyperextensions include increased glute and hamstring development, improved hip extension, and increased injury resilience during strength, power and fitness movements.
Are hyperextensions or the alternative exercise for hyperextension worth doing?
Hyperextensions are a great exercise for strengthening the glutes, lower back, and hamstrings while also improving posture and preventing lower back pain. However, they can quickly lose their effectiveness if done too often, which is why it is important to incorporate alternative exercises into your training regimens.
Reverse hyperextensions are an excellent substitute for hyperextensions and can offer the same benefits. They isolate the glutes and hamstrings, making them perfect for anyone looking to focus on building these muscles. Additionally, this exercise can help improve hip extension, allowing you to jump higher and run faster.
What equipment do you need for reverse hyperextension?
I would not buy a machine to do just one workout but if you want to do it then the following is for you!
To do a reverse hyperextension, you will need the following equipment: a reverse hyperextension bench (or reverse hyper for short), adjustable resistance levels, footrests, a dumbbell, and a bench.
To do a reverse hyperextension, start by lying face down on the padded reverse hyperextension machine with your hips positioned at the end of the bench.
Grab the dumbbell between your feet and pull your legs up towards your body, fully engaging the glutes and lower back. Hold for a second and then slowly lower back down.
Repeat for 8-20 repetitions.
Alternatively, you can do the exercise using a GHD, an incline-free weight bench, or jerk blocks.
For those with limited access to a reverse hyperextension bench, you can also do the exercise on a regular bench. To do so, lie on your front on the bench, holding tightly onto the bench.
With your hips positioned at the end of the bench, grab the dumbbell between your feet and extend the legs and lift them up as high as you can behind you.
Squeeze the muscles hard for a second before lowering back down. Repeat for 8-20 repetitions.
What are the best exercises for posterior chain muscle development?
These can include movements such as cable pull-throughs, reverse hyperextensions, Romanian deadlifts, barbell hip thrusts, deficit deadlifts, kettlebell swings, good mornings, reverse high planks, stability ball hyperextensions, and stability ball hip lifts and leg curls.
I am particularly bad with deadlifts so I do deadlift alternatives.