The Reverse Hyper

"If you're back rounds in the bottom of a reverse hyper, then you're doing it wrong."  --Louie Simmon, 11.06, Lake George, NY

“If you’re back rounds in the bottom of a reverse hyper, then you’re doing it wrong.” –Louie Simmons, 11.06, Lake George, NY


I like the Reverse Hyper a lot.
Now you know where I stand.

To understand the utility of the Reverse Hyper, I suppose you have to believe that the Special Exercises used in a Westside training format do carry over to the sport or activity that you are training for.  I believe this is usually the case, especially if we are training more generally.
Articles literally over the last 15 years gives you all the foundations to Louie’s Westside training approach, and The Westside Book of Methods along with the other books at Westside’s Website and videos on YouTube will answer a lot of questions straight from the horse’s mouth.

The bottom line is that if box squats, deadlifts, good mornings, and jumps are the main answers, the sub- and superscripts to those answers are the accessory exercises such as the Reverse Hyper.  I believe in this, and I program like this often.

A potential hole in the whole Westside model is the apparent reliance on sagittal plane lifts.  I don’t know that is totally true that everything is sagittal, but it is not an unfair knock on Westside.  When we run Westside by the book, all of the movement and locomotion skills and transverse plane stuff like anti-rotation and med ball throws all progress through the finish of the Warmup.  Ending the Warmup with what appears to be a workout is really a great fit into any type of programming, in my opinion.

Back to the Reverse Hyper, I think in a functionally dense program, it can fit as a B1 or C1 on a Lower or Full Body Day.
I also think it’s an option, far less often than Louie may suggest, for training some capacity when closing the chain of the spine is painful.  I think we have better tracks to lay down when there is back pain, but as I usually say, if it works, it works.

Some opinions
I don’t think using the Reverse Hyper automatically triggers imbibition of the discs like what Louie says.  I wish he never said such a thing.
From a rehab point of view, I think what it does or can do is remodel lumbar musculature in direction of flexion and shearing stress and create more robust tissue to those directions of forces.
It is a concern to round under the bottom but if you use the right weight and the right muscles to decelerate the movement, you won’t round.
Rounding is also limited when the construction of the swing is further away from the edge of the pad.  This way the swing is relatively back to its start position, but your hips are further away from any given position of the swing.  The Rogue one we have in NJ is built like this, but the best one I’ve ever used is the one made by Bill Crawford’s at Adirondack Barbell in Glens Falls, NY.
Bottom line is that when I was with Louie in 2006, which I will mention below, he said anyone that is letting their back round in the bottom of a reverse hyper is doing it wrong.
The biggest issue I see is the arch that people use to reverse the swing out of the hole and to create a higher excursion.  This is just death to a spine and the easy answer for the “just” sore back that many of us have during hard training.  I’ll even admit that it’s probably impossible to handle the legendary 4 or 5 wheels you’ll see like Vogelpohl using, unless you might  arch hard.  I think that’s a terrible mistake and actually takes load off the posterior chain.
But because if I’m anything, I’m transparent, maybe I hold favor of the Reverse Hyper because it revolved around one of the greatest highlights of my career.
So I'd like to see him break in that hat a bit.

So I’d like to see him break in that hat a bit.

One of the greatest moments in my career was being a spotter and loader at the WPO Semi-Finals in Lake George, NY.  This was when Andy Bolton pulled 1003 for the first time.  I was like 3 feet from that circus.  There are so many stories from that weekend, but one of them was that it was the first time I met Louie and spent time with him.
One of the topics we started talking about was the Reverse Hyper frankly because one of the dudes from IronSport was suggesting that it was a very good thing to get as rounded in the spine as much as possible int he bottom of the movement.  Like many things I would say, guys at IronSport would never believe anything I said.  I think it was just a natural pissing contest of being at a monster gym, and at that time, maybe one of the crabs was getting out of the pot.

So during a break Louie and I jumped in my truck and drove over from the hotel where the meet was to the old Ft. William Henry church where Bill Crawford had his gym at the time.  Louie showed me some things on the Reverse Hyper that Bill had built (he has a big ironworking setup for gear, which I think he still has) and 45 minutes later, we all had a private seminar from a coach that just always wants to share.  I hope that somewhere in me is that same voice and enthusiasm to talk shop and share just like Louie.

Well, maybe not the voice, but I can do impressions.
I remember when we left, Louie said, “We have to get back watch the Russian kid pull.”

That was Oleksandr Kutcher, who we saw for the first time in America, along with the other IPF guys that had just came over like Meszaros and Yarybash.

So I like the reverse hyper a lot.
I can't believe I'm allowing this picture on my site.

I can’t believe I’m allowing this picture on my site.

  • March 1, 2015

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