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13 Best Hyperextension Alternatives For Home & Gym Exercise

hyperextensions alternatives

Strengthening your lower back muscles goes beyond just the hyperextension exercise.  

While we acknowledge its benefits for boosting back strength and improving mobility, it’s not the only method to achieving a strong back.  

What if you don’t have access to a hyperextension bench (aka the Roman Chair), or you just find the exercise uncomfortable to do?  

lower back hyperextension

Stay with us as we explore some of the top alternatives to the hyperextension exercise.

These great substitutes are equally effective in developing your lower back muscles, promising significant results without the need for a hyperextension bench.

Evaluating The Best Alternatives To The Hyperextension Exercise

The best hyperextension alternatives are going to achieve two things.

Firstly, they’ll engage the same muscle groups, allowing you to focus on building strength without any discomfort.

Secondly, they’ll include some bodyweight options, ensuring you can still perform these exercises at home, even without any equipment.

We’ll be recommending alternatives that will work the erector spinae muscles, gluteus maximus, and hamstrings, as these are crucial for strengthening your lower back and promoting overall stability.


Recommended Reading – 5 Easy Hyperextension Roman Chair Exercises For Upper Body


Additionally, consider the accessibility and convenience of our alternatives.  

If you’re not a member of a gym and prefer to work out at home, choose exercises that can be easily performed with minimal equipment or even just body weight, as this allows for flexibility in your workout settings. 

Finally, evaluate the safety and comfort levels of each exercise to ensure you can do them with proper form to reduce the risk of injury.  

Choose options that best suit your ability, flexibility, and mobility as this will give you the best results.  

weighted hyperextension for lower back

Hyperextension Alternatives To Do At Home

The following alternative exercises are ideal for home workouts with minimal equipment needed.

Simply get yourself a set of resistance bands so you enhance the difficulty of specific movements.  

This allows you to continuously challenge your muscles to improve strength and stop you from hitting a plateau.   

  1. Superman
  2. Bird Dog
  3. Glute Bridge
  4. Standing Band Pull Apart
  5. Resistance Band Good Morning
  6. Flutter Kicks

Let’s look at each of these in a bit more detail along with how to perform them.  

Superman

Superman-Exercise

The Superman exercise targets the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings without any equipment, with a similar movement pattern of the hyperextension.

Lie face down on the ground with arms extended in front of you. Simultaneously lift your arms, chest, and legs off the ground, forming a slight curve with your body. Hold this position for a few seconds, then lower back to the starting position.

Increase hold time or add ankle and wrist weights to increase the resistance.

Bird Dog

bird dog exercise for lower back

This movement engages your core and lower back muscles while improving balance and stability, like the stabilizing effects you’ll get when doing hyperextensions making it a great alternative.

Start on all fours in a tabletop position, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.

Extend one arm forward and the opposite leg back. Hold for a moment, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Add ankle and wrist weights or pause and add a pulse at the top of the movement to increase the difficulty.

Glute Bridge

glute-bridge-using-exercise-mat

The glute bridge targets similar muscles to the hyperextension being the glutes and hamstrings while also emphasizing the lower back, crucial for the same posterior chain activation.

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Lift your hips towards the ceiling by pressing through your heels.  

Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement then lower back down.

Hold a weight plate (or similar) on your hips or use a resistance band above your knees for increased resistance.  

If you have a stability ball, try resting your feet on it to make it even more challenging.  

Standing Band Pull Apart

This exercise strengthens the upper back and shoulders, promoting good posture and upper body stability making it an excellent alternative to the back extension.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a resistance band with both hands in front of you at chest height.

Pull the band apart by moving your arms out to the sides.  

Be sure to keep your arms straight throughout, then slowly return to the starting position.

Progress by moving to a higher resistance band or increase the tension by gripping the band closer together.

Resistance Band Good Morning

This is a great way of mimicking the hip hinge movement of the hyperextension, working on lower back strength while hitting your entire posterior chain.

Stand on a resistance band with your feet hip-width apart, squat down, and hook the band over your head so it rests on your upper traps.

From this position, tighten your keep and pull your shoulder blades back.  

Push your glutes back so you hinge forward to lower your torso towards the floor, keeping your back straight, then slowly return to the starting position.

Increase the resistance of the band or pause for a few seconds at the bottom of the movement for more contraction of your muscles.  

Flutter Kicks

Flutter kicks are an easy way of engaging your lower back, glutes, and hip flexors, providing a dynamic movement similar to hyperextensions while targeting the core at the same work.

Lie on your back with arms by your sides and legs extended.

Lift your legs off the ground a few inches, then alternate kicking them up and down in a controlled and fluid motion, as if you’re swimming.  

Increase the speed or amplitude of the kicks or add ankle weights for added resistance.  

If you access to a flat bench, this can allow for a greater range of motion. 

Hyperextension Alternatives For In The Gym 

With access to the right equipment, here are some of our top alternatives that you can try out in the gym which can take the place of the hyperextension: 

  1. Romanian Deadlift
  2. Nordic Hamstring Curl
  3. Cable Pull-Throughs
  4. Good Mornings
  5. Kettlebell Swings
  6. ​Reverse Hypers
  7. Barbell Hip Thrust

Let’s break these down. 

Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

romanian deadlift pull

The Romanian deadlift targets the hamstrings and lower back in a similar way to hyperextensions but also engages the glutes and reinforces proper hip hinge mechanics.  

It’s one of the most effective exercises for lighting up your posterior chain.  

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell with an overhand grip.  

Keeping your back straight and head and chest up, hinge at the hips, slowly lowering the barbell until it’s at shin height while maintaining a slight bend in your knees.

Feel the stretch in your hamstrings, then return to standing position.  

Don’t start with heavy weights and increase gradually, focus on depth of the stretch, or try performing single-leg RDLs for added challenge.

Nordic Hamstring Curl

Nordic curls specifically target the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors with eccentric loading, promoting strength and injury prevention making it one of our best back extension alternatives.  

Kneel on a soft surface with your partner holding your ankles.

Lower your torso forward while keeping your back straight until you cannot control the movement anymore, then catch yourself with your hands or fall forward.

Push yourself back up to the starting position.

Perform controlled negatives when starting out or elevate your feet for added challenge.  

If you have access to a glute ham developer in the gym, move over to this as it will increase your range of motion making the exercise much more difficult.

Cable Pull-Throughs

Cable pull throughs are a great way of activating your posterior chain while minimizing stress on the lower back.

Stand facing away from a cable machine with a rope attachment set to a low position.

Grab the rope between your legs and hinge at the hips, pushing them back while keeping your back straight.

Squeeze your glutes and push your hips forward to move back to the start.  

As your hammies and glutes get stronger, start to increase the weight on the stack to keep the muscles firing.  

Good Mornings

Barbell good mornings really focus on hip hinge mechanics and posterior chain activation, especially the hamstrings and glutes.  

Your core muscles also get a good workout along with your lower back muscles.  

Begin with a barbell resting across your upper back or holding a pair of dumbbells up at your shoulders.

Hinge at the hips, pushing your glutes back while keeping a slight bend in the knees and maintaining a flat back throughout.

Lower your torso until parallel to the ground, then return to the starting position by pushing through your heels and thrusting your hips forward.  

Move to lifting heavier weights as you become stronger.  

Kettlebell Swings

kettlbell swing

Kettlebell swings are a dynamic exercise that will improve explosiveness and power while strengthening your lower back.   

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands and in front of your thighs.

Keeping your chest up, push your hips back and allow the kettlebell to swing between your legs, then drive your hips forward to swing the kettlebell up.  

Continue doing this in a fluid movement until momentum allows you to swing the kettlebell to chest height.  

Increase weight gradually, focus on explosive hip drive, or perform single-arm kettlebell swings for asymmetrical loading.

Reverse Hypers

Reverse hyper extensions are one of the best exercises for working on your lower back strength, while activating your glutes, and hamstrings.  

It keeps stress away from your lumbar spine helping you to develop a healthy lower back.  

Rest your upper body on a reverse hyper bench so that your legs are hanging off the edge.

Depending on the attachment, either hook the back of your feet under the rollers or place the straps around your ankles.  

Hold onto the handles for stability and lift your legs until they are parallel to the ground, squeezing your glutes at the top.  

Lower back to the start and get into a swinging rhythm.  

Increase the weight gradually, focus on controlled movements, or perform single-leg variations.

Barbell Hip Thrust

Barbell-Hip-Thrust-On-Bench

The hip thrust is a more challenging variation of the glute bridge and a great way of isolating and strengthening your glutes while also engaging the hamstrings and lower back.

Sit on the ground with your upper back resting against a bench and a barbell across your hips.

Plant your feet flat on the ground and push through your heels to power your hips until they are fully extended.

Squeeze your glutes at the top, then lower back down.

To increase activation of your core muscles, try resting your upper back on an exercise ball.  

Why Is The Hyperextension Causing Lower Back Pain

Doing a hyperextension is not supposed to hurt your back and if you find this then you’re most likely doing it wrong.  

When done properly it’s a great exercise for targeting your low back muscles but if you’ve set the hyperextension bench up incorrectly, this is when you’ll suffer from discomfort when doing the exercise.  

The main goal when performing a back extension is to lock yourself against the pad at just below your pelvis.

This allows you to hinge forward at the hips for a full range of motion while your lumbar spine remains fully supported.  

If the hip pad is set too high on the bench then you’ll find that your lower back rounds as you hinge forward, this is what’s causing you pain.  

On the other hand, if it’s set too low, it will dig into your quads which will also be uncomfortable.  

How To Do A Hyperextension With Proper Form

First things first, setting up the bench is key to being able to do the exercise correctly.  

hyperextension exercise at gym

Here’s how to do it:

Adjust the pad by moving it up or down.  

Get yourself onto the bench, lean on the pad, and carefully check its positioning.  

The top of the pad should be resting just below your pelvis and in your hip crease.  

Hinge forward making sure that your lower back doesn’t start to round.  

If too much pressure is placed on your quads, raise the height of the pad and check again.  

Conversely, if you find that you can’t bend forward too much and your lower back starts to round, then lower the pad a little.  

Now that you’ve set up correctly, you’re ready to perform the exercise.  

Here’s some step-by-step instructions:

  1. Position yourself so that your hips are at the edge of the pad and your feet are securely hooked under the rollers. 
  2. Cross your hands over your chest or place behind your head. Keep your back straight and your head aligned with your spine throughout the movement.
  3. Slowly lower your upper body towards the ground by hinging at the hips. 
  4. Keep your back straight, your lower back should not be excessively rounding. 
  5. Lower your torso until you feel a stretch in your lower back and hamstrings, but avoid going past a neutral spine position.
  6. Engage your lower back muscles to lift your torso back to the starting position. 
  7. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement to fully engage the muscles of the lower back and hamstrings.
  8. Perform each rep slowly and with control, don’t go too fast or you could strain your lower back.  

Wrapping Up

When done with good form hyperextensions offer a fantastic way to target and strengthen the lower back muscles, contributing to overall spinal health, posture improvement, and core stability.

However, not everyone has access to a hyperextension bench. 

Thankfully, there are numerous hyperextension alternatives that can be performed with minimal equipment or even just body weight. 

Incorporating a mix of them into your routine can help prevent workout monotony, reduce the risk of injury by diversifying your training, and ensure continuous progress towards building a stronger, more resilient back and core. 

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