The glutes consist of three parts known as the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. From an anatomical standpoint, this is the largest muscle group in the body. If you stepped foot into a gym, you would most likely see men and women doing exercises like squats, lunges and stepups to work their glutes. A reverse hyperextension is a less common exercise, but still effective, provided you do it correctly.
Function of the Glutes
Every muscle in the body has a designated function. The primary function of the glutes is to produce a motion called hip extension. This takes place when you move your thigh backward. The reverse hyperextension involves this motion, which makes it an effective exercise for working the glutes.
A specialized bench is used to perform the reverse hyperextension. This comes equipped with an elevated, stationary padded support and two hand pegs to grasp for balance and upper body stability. The reverse hyperextension is actually a variation of another exercise called a back extension. A back extension machine is set up so that your feet are placed firmly on a platform and your hips are pressed against a padded support. This allows your upper body to bend instead of your lower body.
Proper technique is very important with the reverse hyperextension. This is the case any time your spine is involved. Begin by lying face-down on the padded support with your hands on the pegs and hips just past the edge of the support. Your legs should be hanging straight down at this point and your body should be bent in half. Keeping your upper body down tight on the support, raise your legs in the air as high as you can and squeeze your glutes for a full second. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat.
Even though the reverse hyperextension is a body weight exercise, you still have the ability to increase the resistance. Either strap ankle weights to your lower legs, pinch a dumbbell between your feet or pinch a medicine ball between your lower legs. Before you add any resistance, make sure you master your form.
If you do not have access to a reverse hyperextension machine, you can use a stability ball instead. This variation takes a little bit more balance. Begin in a face-down position on the ball with your hands on the floor and legs together behind your body. Keeping your upper body as still as possible, raise your legs in the air and hold for a second. Slowly lower your legs and repeat. If you have a hard time keeping your upper body still have a training partner face you and grab her ankles for support.
Other Muscles Targeted
The glutes are the focus muscles with the reverse hyperextension, but other muscles get targeted as well, such as the hamstrings, erector spinae, rectus abdominis and obliques. The hamstrings sit on the back of the thighs, the erector spinae runs down the spinal column, the rectus abdominis is in the middle of the stomach and the obliques sit on the sides of the stomach.