Electromyographical Differences Between the Hyperextension and Reverse-Hyperextension

J Strength Cond Res. 2021 Jun 1;35(6):1477-1483. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000004049.


Cuthbert, M, Ripley, NJ, Suchomel, TJ, Alejo, R, McMahon, JJ, and Comfort, P. Electromyographical differences between the hyperextension and reverse-hyperextension. J Strength Cond Res 35(6): 1477-1483, 2021-The aims of this study were to compare muscle activation of the erector spinae (ES), gluteus maximus (GMax), and biceps femoris (BF) during the hyperextension (HE) and reverse-HE (RHE) exercises. Ten subjects (age, 23 ± 4 years; height, 175.9 ± 6.9 cm; mass, 75.2 ± 9.7 kg) had electromyography (EMG) electrodes placed on the ES, GMax, and BF muscles in accordance with SENIAM (Surface EMG for Non-Invasive Assessment of Muscles) guidelines. Subjects performed 3 maximum voluntary isometric contraction trials of lumbar extension and hip extension using a handheld and isokinetic dynamometer, respectively, to normalize the EMG during the HE and RHE exercises. Three repetitions of each exercise were executed in a randomized order. High reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient ≥0.925) was observed with low variability (coefficient of variation [CV] < 10%) in all but the GMax during the extension phase of the HE (CV = 10.64%). During the extension and flexion phases, the RHE exhibited significantly greater (p ≤ 0.024; 34.1-70.7% difference) peak EMG compared with the HE in all muscles tested. Similarly, the RHE resulted in significantly greater mean EMG compared with the HE (p ≤ 0.036; 28.2-65.0% difference) in all muscles except the BF during the flexion phase (p = 9.960). Therefore, the RHE could be considered as a higher-intensity exercise for the posterior chain muscles compared with the HE, potentially eliciting greater increases in strength of the posterior chain muscles.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electromyography
  • Hamstring Muscles*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction*
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult