It’s the best glute exercise you don’t do: the rounded-back 45-degree hyper extension. A variation on the traditional hyperextension, which is performed on a device that is usually set up in a dark corner in the gym.
HYPEREXTENSIONS FOR THE LOWER BACK
Hyperextensions are intended to train the so-called posterior chain. That is, the back stretcher (erector spinae), the hamstrings, the buttocks (gluteus maximus) and the hip muscles (hip adductors).
They are also called back extensions and for good reason: you actually train with the exercise, at least in the standard version, especially your lower back. In that standard version, the head and neck are in a neutral position, and the hips and shoulders are in line when fully extended. The exercise then looks like this:
Targeted lower back training is something only powerlifters need to do to strengthen the spine’s extensors. For bodybuilding purposes, lower back hyperextensions are normally not necessary.
HYPEREXTENSIONS FOR THE BUTTOCKS
What you as a bodybuilder do benefit from are hyperextensions in the version for the buttocks. This variation was made popular by coach Bret “The Glute Guy” Contreras, who called the exercise rounded-back 45-degree hyper. With this exercise you train your butt first and foremost, but your hamstrings are also involved. Increasing and strengthening these muscle groups also benefits your lower back, as lower back pain is often associated with weak glutes and hamstrings.
The implementation of this hyper variant is as follows.
1. Place your feet as far apart as possible and point them 45 degrees out. As a result, your hamstrings cannot assist as well and you isolate your glutes almost completely.
2. Adjust the seat so that your hips (the bones) are above the pad.
3. Round your upper back. Yep, this is one of the few exercises that ‘allows’ you to bend your spine. In doing so, you ensure internal rotation of your shoulders (they are not in line with your hips), you look down and you keep your chin thucked. A rounded upper back allows you to create a posterior pelvic tilt that limits lower back movement and maximizes hip movement.
This all looks like this:
When using a weight, hold this against your chest:
This version has a smaller range of motion, but you will immediately notice that your glutes are activated much more than with the traditional version with a neutral back.
The rounded-back 45-degree hyper is one of the best exercises for the buttocks. Since the glutes require a fairly large training volume, the exercise can be a valuable addition to the barbell squat, hip thrust and cable pull-through, among others.