Reverse Hypers using rubber bands
This is a great foundation-level exercise, particularly for clients presenting weak spine erectors, or lack of gluteal activation, or poor hip function awareness (or "all of the above") and also referred patients in rehab stage post-surgery. The mechanic of this movement simulates the action executed during power-walking. The main value of the horizontal setting is that uses gravity as prime source of external resistance at the end of "stride", when the prime movers -the glutes- must activate sufficiently to allow the the ideal extension of the hip joint. The Power bands are only needed if performing 20 or more repetitions correctly. Wearing one band for each foot is highly recommended to avoid compensation.
Main Targets: Gluteus & Spine Stabilisers (Spine erectors or the"steel rods" of your lumbar region)
Action: Flexion and extension of each hip, one leg at the time.
Main tips: Keep straight legs the whole time (in particualr don't bend the knees). • toes in (ankle dorsiflexion) so as to enhance and maintain engagement of the posterior chain of the body. • Keep spine neutral and rather rigid torso • Also maintain a strong grip, regardless if you are using elbows as pivoting point or grabbing the pad.
Both Hips Reverse Hypers
Once the Walking Pattern is mastered, we recommend lifting both legs simultaneously. It doesn't mean we should stop training the Walking pattern against gravity, as incorporating a stronger rubber-band is always a great way to add more resistance if the goal is to adapt to new strength standards . I never prescribe the "The reverse-hypers walking" and "Both hips extension" during the same training session. My clients usually do one or the other at the end of their sessions. And not always with the same amount of resistance. The reverse-hypers are one of my favorite finishers. Given that its enormous value as a "butt activator", I might also include reverse -hypers at the beginning of the session for those with therapeutic requirements. As a thumb rule, always train your weaknesses first. Then, if there is enough time, do anything else.
Action: Extend both hips at the same time. A big however here. The device used for his video, the GHD (Gluteus-Hammy-Developer apparatus) is more effective when keeping spine in rather neutral position to facilitate the leverage of the upper body. Having said that, the Lou Simmons' Revers Hypers offer the option to get a deeper stretch of the whole kinetic chain during the "stretch" eccentric phase of the lift and slight lumbar flexion as a result.
However, after testing different body-types in terms of comfort and efficiency, the GHD is not versatile enough to allow the bending of the upper body. But, hey, in the other hand, it allows the engagement of the lats and a rigid torso, which are coveted factors when performing all the big movements with weights (Squats, deadlifts, sumos, chest press, luges, hip-thrust, etc).
Another characteristic of the GHD version is the different options for arms position: Those are using the hip-padding as a pivoting point for the elbows or grabbing the "overhead" padding strongly and flexing the shoulders and elbows at approximately 90 degrees. If it sounds confusing, just check again the last 15 seconds of the video above. Both positions facilitate strong grip, torso tightness and lats activation. However, the most important feature is that those presenting a given shoulder impingement don't have to stretch the arms straight "overhead" as suggested by some GHD makers.
The Louie Simmons' contribution
According to many, Louie Simmons is the creator of the Reverse Hypers as we know it. Simmons is the owner of Westside Barbell, known as the "Strength-Mecca" for millions of male and female athletes worldwide, such as Laura Phleps, arguably one of the strongest women in the world and who also features in the first video below.
But the Reverse hypers not only makes you stronger. Among the powerlifting community is widely known how Simmons fixed his own low-back issues and became even stronger by implementing training protocols mostly influenced by techniques used in the former Soviet Union.
Simmons and Laura Phelps demonstrate how his patented machine (the Reverse Hyper Roller) works.
Can't get enough about reverse-hypers's benefits? See here more technical cues from Louie Simmons.
If you want to take home only one statement from this post, remember:
"As a thumb rule, always train your weaknesses first. Then, if there is enough time, do anything else".
So, if you or somebody that you know presents lack of gluteal activation, poor awareness about hip function or weak spine erectors, the reverse hypers might be the answer. Well performed this exercise might improve your overall performance and even your quality of life. That means pain free. The strengthening or cosmetic results are collateral benefits.
Please, leave questions or comments below. Thanks for reading. Will