The Best Westside Barbell Lower Back Machines!


The Westside Barbell powerlifting team uses many different assistance exercises to build their lower back. However, Louie Simmons says the two best lower back exercises are the reverse hyperextension machine and the back attack machine.

If you want to learn more about these Westside Barbell lower back machines then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: The Reverse Hyperextension
  • Part 2: The Back Attack

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you how to use the reverse hyperextension and the back attack machine to strengthen your lower back.

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team focuses on two exercises to train their lower back: the reverse hyperextension machine and the back attack machine.

The reverse hyperextension was invented by Louie Simmons in 1974. Louie Simmons says that this is the only exercise in the world that strengthens and rehabilitates your back all at the same time. Check it out:

The Reverse Hyperextension

The reverse hyperextension is almost the opposite of a regular back extension. Instead of extending your upper body up you are going to extend your legs straight behind you.

This exercise motion strengthens the lower back muscles and rehabilitates your lumbar spine all at the same time.

Here is the elite powerlifter AJ Roberts describing why he likes the reverse hyperextension so much:

“Heavy squats compress my lower back but the reverse hyperextension machine actually relieves that pressure.

Before I would squat and then my lower back would be so tight I’d be lying on the ground for 30 minutes. With the reverse hyperextension I get immediate relief from the traction force.

The reverse hyperextension helps me prevent injuries while building my squat and deadlift.”

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team also likes to use the back attack machine to train their lower back. The back attack is almost like a machine version of a barbell good morning. Check it out:

The Back Attack Machine

The Westside team says that the back attack machine is an improved version of the barbell good morning.

The resistance is pushing you forwards in the top position instead of straight down so you always have constant tension on your lower back. It is also much safer than the regular good morning.

There is much less compressive force on your lumbar spine and there is very little risk of injury with this machine.

I hope you found this overview of Louie Simmons’ favorite lower back machines helpful. Now let’s take a closer look at both of these machines.

Part 1: The Reverse Hyperextension

The reverse hyperextension is the brainchild of Louie Simmons. He invented the reverse hyperextension in 1974 after he broke his lower back.

Louie’s doctor wanted to fuse his lower back together and said that he would never be able to squat or deadlift again. Louie took matters into his own hands and invented the reverse hyperextension machine so that he could rehabilitate his lower back back to full health.

Here is Louie Simmons demonstrating this exercise:

The Reverse Hyperextension Machine

Louie Simmons likes this machine so much that he uses it as his primary lower back builder. Louie performs the reverse hyperextension up to 8 times per week! Check it out:

“I use the reverse hyperextension 8 times a week. I have 4 heavy sessions and 4 light sessions.

On the heavy sessions I use 50% of my best squat for 4 sets of 10 reps. On the light sessions I use 25% of my best squat for 2 sets of 15 reps.”

Louie Simmons likes to perform his heavy sessions in the morning and his lighter sessions in the evening. The lighter sessions decompress his lower back and speed up the recovery process so he can train harder throughout the week. Check it out:

Louie Simmons’ Reverse Hyperextension Schedule

Sunday

  • AM: 4 sets of 10 reps @ 50% of his best 1-rep max squat
  • PM: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 25% of his best 1-rep max squat

Monday:

  • AM: 4 sets of 10 reps @ 50% of his best 1-rep max squat
  • PM: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 25% of his best 1-rep max squat

Wednesday:

  • AM: 4 sets of 10 reps @ 50% of his best 1-rep max squat
  • PM: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 25% of his best 1-rep max squat

Friday:

  • AM: 4 sets of 10 reps @ 50% of his best 1-rep max squat
  • PM: 2 sets of 15 reps @ 25% of his best 1-rep max squat

Some people get confused about why this machine works so well.

The truth is the reverse hyperextension decompresses the spine in the bottom position. In other words it increases the space between your lumbar vertebrae. This gives the discs in between your vertebrae the chance to expand and swell up with rejuvenating spinal fluid.

Here is Louie describing the healing properties of this machine:

“This is the best cure for bulging discs. This is traction. It’s motion traction and that’s the most important type.

You’re becoming stronger as you become physically fit.

Every time you use the machine for strength it also works for restoration. It’s the only exercise I know of that can do that.”

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team performs the reverse hyperextension as one of their core accessory movements.

Here is how they might use the reverse hyperextension during their dynamic effort squat / deadlift workouts:

Westside DE Squat Day:

  • Exercise #1: Speed buffalo bar foam box squat with bands and chains, 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Exercise #2: Speed foam deadlift with bands, 5 sets of 1 rep
  • Exercise #3: Reverse hyperextension, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Glute ham raise, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video:

For this workout the Westside team uses the reverse hyperextension as their third movement of the day. They perform it right after their speed squats and speed deadlifts. If you use the Westside Barbell training program then this is good advice to follow.

Here is a max effort workout where they use this machine:

Westside ME Squat Day:

  • Exercise #1: Max effort box squat, 3 sets of 1 rep
  • Exercise #2: Inverse leg curl machine, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Reverse hyperextension, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Belt squat good morning, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video:

Once again the reverse hyperextension is used as a primary accessory exercise.

I highly recommend you purchase your own reverse hyperextension if that is something you are interested in. There are the two most popular reverse hyperextension models:

The RH-2 is the standard reverse hyperextension model that you see in most gyms. Here is John Meadows coaching one of his clients on how to perform this machine:

The Rogue RH-2 Reverse Hyperextension Machine

The RH-2 reverse hyperextension can be customized for athletes of all different shapes and sizes. The handles and the weight pendulum are adjustable to fit a wide variety of athletes. T

his machine costs around $800 and is worth every penny.

Another popular reverse hyperextension model is the Westside Scout Hyper. Here is Coop of Garage Gym Reviews giving a great overview of this product:

Westside Scout Hyper

The Westside Scout Hyper is Louie Simmons’ most affordable reverse hyperextension. It retails for about $400 which is much cheaper than the other models.

This machine is less sturdy than the other models but it folds for easy storage anywhere in your house or home gym. The Westside Scout Hyper is a great choice for rehabilitation professionals and average Joe’s who want to get the benefits of this incredible machine.

If you are a serious powerlifter or bodybuilder then the RH-2 is probably a better overall choice. It can handle significantly more weight without shaking around.

The bottom line is the reverse hyperextension is an incredible piece of equipment. It is easily the Westside Barbell powerlifting team’s favorite lower back machine.

However, it not the only lower back machine they like…

Part 2: The Back Attack

The back attack was invented in the year 2000. Sense then it has taken the athletic world by storm! Today the back attack machine can be found in powerlifting and sports gyms all over the world.

Here is Bill Gillespie, the first drug-free powerlifter to bench press 1,000 pounds singing the praises of this incredible machine:

“I believed in the Back Attack so much that we had 6 Back Attacks and I wish that I had 4 more. For the posterior chain I think it is clearly the best piece of equipment that you can buy.”

Talk about an endorsement! Here is the Westside Barbell powerlifting team giving a perfect demonstration of this exercise. Check it out:

The Back Attack Machine

The padded part of the machine is putting constant tension on your back during the entire movement. Even during the top part of the exercise the machine is applying tension to your backside in a forwards direction.

There is no other machine in the world that can do this!

Here is Louie Simmons explaining why he likes this machine so much for training the lower back:

“This machine allows you to train your hamstrings, glutes and lower back at a different type of pressure point than a normal deadlift would be, i.e. the weights pushing you forward instead of straight down into the ground.

This exercise is great for developing the hamstrings / glutes / lower back but it’s also very specific to the deadlift making this one of the machines I consider a must-have in a hardcore gym.”

One of the really cool things about the back attack machine over other lower back machines like the reverse hyperextension is you can use band tension to make it even harder.

Here is the 4x World’s Strongest Man Brian Shaw performing the back attack machine with an insane amount of band tension:

Brian Shaw Band Tension

Talk about a tough exercise! The machine has hooks where you can easily add extra band tension. The bands make the top part of the exercise harder but they also add a tremendous amount of eccentric stress.

We know from research that eccentric training is one of the best training methods you can use to stimulate size and strength gains.

Here is Louie Simmons explaining the benefits of bands:

“When using bands, be careful not to overdo it. The bands produce a large amount of eccentric overloading and can cause excessive soreness, but they are more than worth it.”

If you are going to use the back attack machine as part of your Westside Barbell workouts then I recommend you use it as one of your core accessory movements.

Here is how the Westside team used this exercise during their max effort lower body workout. Check it out:

Sample Max Effort Lower Body Workout

  • Exercise #1: Max effort mat deadlift (2 inch mat), 3 sets of 1 rep
  • Exercise #2: Back attack machine with bands, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Belt squat machine, 3-4 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team does not manufacture the lower back machine themselves.

If you are interested in purchasing this machine then check out the Sorinex website for more information.

Conclusion

The Westside Barbell powerlifting team relies on the reverse hyperextension machine and the back attack machine to build their lower back. These are two unbelievable pieces of equipment. If you have never trained on a reverse hyper or a back attack then you are missing out!

If you want to purchase your own machines then these links are for you:

Here is one more quote by Louie Simmons to pump you up even more:

“A weak man has a weak back, and a strong man has a strong back. It’s that simple.”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

Recent Posts