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.
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.
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.