Back injuries are the most common of all orthopedic injuries and they happen in gyms and the workplace a lot.

This week, I’ll show you how to perform the reverse hyperextension exercise, a very useful tool for people who cannot bend forward without feeling pain due to a previous injury.

Protect Your Back With The Reverse Hyperextension ExerciseIf you have a weight in your hands, or you’re bending over to pick up an object like a ball or chair, the load will be in your hands. As your spine bends forward, each vertebra above slides forward on the vertebra below, and that can cause problems.

Think about L4 and L5, the lowest segments of the lumbar spine. As you bend forward, the force bends down so the disk is pushed back, but the load is being transferred down.

When picking up a heavy load, as you’re bending, your vertebrae are moving and your ligaments are tightening. Plus, as the force transfers down into the vertebrae, this creates opportunities for bulging disks and vertebral endplate fractures.

Years ago, I learned the recruitment order can be reversed by doing a reverse hyperextension by using back extension bench or, in this case, a Swiss ball.

If we use an exercise that activates the same muscles in the same recruitment sequence, but in reverse, we can experience a conditioning effect.

In combination with effective core conditioning techniques and the key dietary principles I share in How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!, I’ve found this very simple, but powerful reverse hyperextension exercise has helped people who thought they would never lift weights again or always suffer from chronic low back pain.

Love and chi,