The machine hip extension is a great exercise, which allows you to work your glutes without using your quads. Girls more often perform it, since most women are not interested in increasing the volume of their legs. Men usually work on the lower body with basic exercises, but can use the hip extension to improve muscle quality.
What muscles work during the exercise?
As I already said, the hip extension exercise acts on the buttock as much as possible, while removing the load from the quadriceps.
The gluteus maximus is targeted, and the hamstrings are given additional stress
Some training apparatus allows you to fix the position of the body by resting the stomach and chest on a special shelf. Such an option makes the load maximally isolated. If you hold on to the support while standing on one leg, and swing with the other leg, the stabilizer muscles will be involved in the work
The working leg must follow a well-defined path. Some people like it, and some may be uncomfortable
You are free to do a hip extension exercise in a crossover. You need to pull the cable of the lower block with your foot and hold on to the support with your hands. However, we have already described this exercise, so now we will consider the exercise technique using other fitness equipment.
There are sports exercise machines, on which you lean with the back of your lower leg in a special roller and take your leg back, overcoming resistance. There are also machines where you push a platform or roller directly with your foot. The target muscle groups are the same in both cases, but the load is shifted.
The position of the body during the exercise may also differ. Starting from a completely upright position and ending with a prone position. The range of motion in the hip joint depends on the inclination of the body. The closer the position of the body is to the horizontal, the greater the amplitude (leg swings are wider), and, accordingly, the exercise is more effective.
The machine hip extension exercise should be done as follows:
Take the starting position. Stand on your supporting leg, fixing the body and arms in the desired position. Depending on the machine, you will either stand upright with your hands on the supports or lie on your stomach on a special shelf. A natural deflection remains in the lower back (you do not need to arch your back too much). Bend your working leg slightly at the knee.
Next, you need to take your working leg back at the expense of the gluteal muscles. It’s a very important point to focus on.
If you are pushing back a load, press on it with your heel without lifting your toe. If you are pushing the roller with the back of your lower leg, shorten your foot, that is, the leg moves back with the heel.
The leg at all the time remains slightly bent at the knee. Straighten it only at the final point to take the weight even further.
Hold at the top point for 1-2 seconds and return to the starting position.
In addition, the back-kicks exercise can be performed without special equipment. Just stand with a supporting knee on a horizontal bench (there is one in any gym) with your hands in front of you. You should lower your working leg from the bench. Next, bend it at the knee to a comfortable position. The exercise technique remains the same. Don’t forget to use weights to increase the load.
Features of hip extension
I want to say a few words about the use of the hip extension exercise in various training programs.
You should take such a weight that will allow you to correctly do 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps on each side. When performing hip extensions or swinging, you must remember that technique and the number of reps are more important. Your working weight should give you full control over it. Otherwise, all efforts will be nullified.
Girls usually use hip extension exercise as the main one if there is no goal to work out the quadriceps as much as possible, or if the level of physical fitness is not yet high.
The hip extension exercise is best done at the end of your workout if you are well prepared and have sufficient muscles in your lower body. Thus, you can work the gluteus maximus muscles after doing the basic exercises.
For men, hip extension or back swings are recommended as an additional exercise. During the exercise, some muscle stretching occurs, which further leads to more pronounced hypertrophy.