WSBB Blog: Reverse Hypers
Whether you’re a powerlifter or an athlete, spine health is one of the most important things to consider when training for high level performance. Maintaining a healthy spine while weight training boils down to two factors; the ability to brace and maintain a neutral posture while lifting, and the selection of exercises that contribute to spine health. Lifting with proper form speaks for itself, you should always strive to lift with optimal form while engaging the proper muscle groups to provide as much support to the spine as possible. Exercise selection depends on your knowledge of specialized exercises or methods designed to promote spine health, while also training the associated muscle groups.
The Westside Barbell Reverse Hyper is one piece of equipment that should be included in any training program that aims to increase the athletic performance of the individual, while also promoting spine health and lower body pain relief. In 1973, Louie suffered a broken back which led to the removal of two vertebrae from his spine along with a spinal fusion. Forward thinking even then, Louie knew he needed to develop a way to return himself to proper lifting shape. He ended up developing the Reverse Hyper which allowed him to not only rehabilitate himself, but also allowed him to return to Powerlifting and begin making PR lifts again.
How Does It Work?
The Reverse Hyper is an elevated platform with a pendulum which allows for the stabilization of the upper body, while the lower body is able to move through its natural range of motion. This allows for a focus on paraspinal muscles, lower lumbar spine and glute muscles, and provides traction to the lumbar spine and posterior hip. Additionally, the Reverse Hyper can assist with the full traction of the spine, as well as stretching tight paraspinal muscles, and can help rehabilitate pinched nerves in the posterior chain.
The pendulum design allows for the legs to be lifted in line with the torso during the concentric portion, then the pendulum will “pull” the legs through allowing for a controlled eccentric contraction. This motion promotes blood flow to the muscles of the lumbar spine, which allows for diffusion to take place. Spinal discs are avascular, so performing exercises that promote diffusion is essential to ensuring that the discs obtain the nutrients necessary to heal and avoid degradation or injury. Additionally, the traction provided will assist in keeping your lower back and hips pain free during squats, deadlifts, or sport specific activities.
Programming and Execution
A properly written training program should feature Reverse Hypers on a weekly basis. At Westside, our powerlifters and athletes will perform Reverse Hypers twice a week at minimum, all the way up to four times per week. Due to the demand placed upon these lifters and athletes, it is necessary to specifically program in exercises that have a strengthening and restorative effect to the lumbar spine and lower body muscles. Rep counts can vary; when light weights are used with injury recovery or disc regeneration is the focus, a higher rep count will be used.