Hyperextension benches are a popular exercise apparatus used for strengthening the muscles of the lower back and hamstrings, but exercises performed on such apparatus must be performed properly or they will do more harm than good.
Compared to the seated back extension machines, exercises performed on hyperextension units place less compressive forces on the lower back. In fact, research published in 1975 by Alf Nachemson of Sweden showed that leaning forward just 15 degrees from a seated position almost doubles the compressive forces on the L2 and L3 vertebrae.
When using a hypertension bench, it’s important to adjust the footplate so that the knee is not hyperextended. Further, you should begin the concentric portion of the exercise slowly and avoid hyperextending the neck as you perform the movement. When you complete a set, to avoid becoming lightheaded (due to a drop in blood pressure from a condition known as postural hypotension), you should exit the machine slowly.
Copyright ©2011 Charles Poliquin