Thursday, April 26, 2007

Terminology 101: Get Hip to Hip Extension

In the spirit of getting terminology straight, I'd like to suggest we use the term hip extension rather than back extension. In my book and with my people, the spine is stable and technically, the entire torso is moving in relation to the legs so it is the hip that's doing the work. I've spent many hours discussing the finer points of these terms with some weightlifting coaches. I'm all about spine/torso stability--not mobility--with this exercise and I like it for pretty much everyone. See the good vs the bad position of the spine?

If athletes cannot master this movement, then they have no business even attempting SLDLs or Good Mornings or RDLs or whatever you prefer. The necessity of these movements for athletes is the topic of another blog.

I think the traditional "back extension" or hyper apparati (?) are too aggressive for many people. Hey, if you are looking to do loaded spinal flexion/extension/hyperextension, have at it. I'll pass. And I'm a bit overwhelmed by the multitude of glute/ham thingys on the market; I have never really used one and am not sure they are essential. I'd be happy to discuss their merits over a cold beverage at the NSCA in Atlanta--anyone?

I learned to use the 45 degree apparatus while working with Derrick Crass at his clinic and I have one at home. Derrick and I used it with all back patients. Basically it is a progression of the infamous Shirley Sahrmann "Waiter's Bow." Studies show that people with back pain have problems distinguishing the two. IMHO, everyone will benefit from learning to perceive spine vs hip movement--and this seems to help with perception of lumbar spine vs hip position in squatting and lifting. I too, Joe P., like the fact I'm weight bearing through my feet with the 45 degree apparatus.

Make sure the pads are adjusted BELOW the hip joint / PSIS so that the hip can move! If the pad is too high, you will automatically beforced to do spine flexion and extension.

I don't normally use any load except that of bodyweight and I typically use reps of 10-20+ and do multiple sets. Stuart McGill probably thinks this stuff is too agressive, but if taught properly, I think it is a valuable lifetime exercise. When my back gets a little cranky after sitting through a whole weekend of a weightlifting meet, this exercise seems to relieve the compression discomfort.

Interesting tidbit: For those of you that have Harvey's Explosive Lifting for Sports, check out the model in the pics for traditional back extension exercises. You'll see she has a freakin' 20 kg bar on her back. Let me tell you, that was one of the most challenging things I've ever done. How much longer am I going to have to hold this bar here???!!!! Take the %$#@! picture already!!! So to set the record straight, I don't recommend those to anyone and I'm not sure Harvey does anymore either--except for maybe the elite lifters. I think I managed to get him to let go of the rounded back DLs and GM's too.


Joe P. said...

Who better to address the "hyperextension" issue than Ms. page 128 herself! I'm glad to hear I'm not the only fan of the 45 degree apparatus. You can play with the foot position to get some integrated isolation of the multifidi, rotatoris and all that good stuff. I don't believe it has a name. Why not the Fobernator?

climber511 said...

I have a 45 degree hyper, a glute ham, and a reverse hyper. All feel different and I use all three in a sort of rotation throughout the year but I'd have to say the G/H is my favorite for no particular reason except I like the way if feels better than the other two. I use bands for resistance on the G/H and the 45 Degree hyper for resistance. I think I like the additional movement on the G/H compared to the more static hamstring involvement of the 45 degree and RH. The "target" seems different between them all.

Lliam said...

If done carefully these can be beneficial, but it is so easy to damage a lumbar disc with anything that flexes the spine. In one of the illustrations it shows the model with a nice lumbar arch. If the arch is maintained and the motion takes place through the hips, then I am not opposed to this exercise.
These links help to illustrate my concern about anything with spinal flexion: