Rack Pulls

  1. Set up in a power rack with the bar on the pins. The pins should be set to the desired point; just below the knees, just above, or in the mid thigh position. Position yourself against the bar in proper deadlifting position. Your feet should be under your hips, your grip shoulder width, back arched, and hips back to engage the hamstrings. Since the weight is typically heavy, you may use a mixed grip, a hook grip, or use straps to aid in holding the weight.
  2. With your head looking forward, extend through the hips and knees, pulling the weight up and back until lockout. Be sure to pull your shoulders back as you complete the movement.
  3. Return the weight to the pins and repeat.

 

Hyperextensions (back extensions)

  1. Lie face down on a hyperextension bench, tucking your ankles securely under the footpads.
  2. Adjust the upper pad if possible so your upper thighs lie flat across the wide pad, leaving enough room for you to bend at the waist without any restriction.
  3. With your body straight, cross your arms in front of you (my preference) or behind your head. This will be your starting position. Tip: You can also hold a weight plate for extra resistance in front of you under your crossed arms.
  4. Start bending forward slowly at the waist as far as you can while keeping your back flat. Inhale as you perform this movement. Keep moving forward until you feel a nice stretch on the hamstrings and you can no longer keep going without a rounding of the back. Tip: Never round the back as you perform this exercise. Also, some people can go farther than others. The key thing is that you go as far as your body allows you to without rounding the back.
  5. Slowly raise your torso back to the initial position as you inhale. Tip:Avoid the temptation to arch your back past a straight line. Also, do not swing the torso at any time in order to protect the back from injury.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variations: This exercise can also be performed without a hyperextension bench, but in this case you will need a spotter. Also, a similar exercise to this one is the good morning and the stiff-legged deadlift.  Tip: you may also grasp a weight plate in your hands for extra resistance.  Please use caution.