Let me guess…
You want a reverse hyper…
But you either don't like the high price tag or you don't have the space for one…
Well, I have good news…
Thanks to Nate Evans, you can build your very own reverse hyper ON YOUR RACK for around $60 (or less) in total.
So not only do you avoid the $500-$1,000 price tag (depending on the company), but you also avoid taking up a bunch of floor space.
Let's find out how.
The Quick & Dirty On The Reverse Hyper Machine
First of all, let's quickly touch on the reverse hyper.
The reverse hyper is a fairly hyped machine that many people swear by when it comes to posterior chain development and low back prehab/rehab.
The general thought is that a reverse hyper machine, invented by renowned powerlifting coach, Louie Simmons, decompresses the spine through a swinging motion. This pendulum-like movement not only stretches the spine, but it also takes pressure off of the spine. In doing so, the theory is that it flushes the lower back muscles with blood and fills the spinal column with spinal fluid.
This dynamic strength movement can lead to improved recovery in the lower lumbar in addition to the glutes, hamstrings, and hips.
Now, while the reverse hyper is a highly sought after machine with some popular belief that it will work wonders on the back, there is some controversy around this.
For example, Chris Duffin (and others), maintain that there are better options out there to manage back and spinal health.
This article isn't really intended to spark a debate, however.
Only you can decide if having a reverse hyper is a worthy investment. If you deem it as such, but again, you don't like that it's expensive or that it takes up a lot of space, then the below DIY reverse hyper plan is a great option assuming you have a rack with spotter arms or heavy-duty cross members.
DIY Reverse Hyper Machine
Nate Evans has been gracious enough to document his build – I'd like to thank him for sharing this with the community. You can find more from him on his Instagram.
The following is from Nate:
As every other garage/home gymer I have an endless list of pieces of equipment I want to add to my collection. One big piece of equipment that I wanted very badly was a reverse hyper. I had mainly wanted it to strengthen my low back, hammies, and for spinal decompression. I knew they were expensive, but had no idea how expensive (westside $2500+, rogue $750+, titian $500+) or big they were. I saw a Rogue reverse hyper in person at Iron Valley Barbell in Indy, and that thing was monstrous! I knew I wanted one, but I didn’t want to pay (or couldn’t afford) one that was manufactured. With that in mind I started looking up some DIY reverse hyper plans. Though I found some really good plans with a smaller footprint than buying one, they were still kind of big for my space. The smallest reverse hyper I found (DIY or manufactured) was the Westside Scout, which folds up to save space, but it's still a whopping $545.
I started brainstorming about how I could make one to accommodate my needs and space confinements. I had recently upgraded my half rack to a Fitness Gear half rack with spotter arms. I got to looking at those spotter arms one day and thought to myself, man it would be slick if I could just put one on my spotter arms and remove when I was done. So that’s exactly what I did. I made a table top reverse hyper. When I’m ready to use, I just set my spotter arms at the height I need, place it on top and do my sets. When I'm all finished, I take it off and set it along the wall or behind my rack.
For about $40-$60 bucks you can make your own space-saving reverse hyper too!
Quick Note Before The Instructions
Since building mine, I have thought of one improvement I would incorporate if I built another:
Instead of using 2×4 to support the topper, I would use 4×4 instead. This way you could drill holes in the front for handles (dowel rods or black pipe could be used). I just grab the rack for support now.
I have included the improved version in the material list.
Below is a rough materials list depending on the width between spotter arms and the depth of them as well.
- 1 – ½” or ¾” 4’x4’ sheet of plywood (your preference). I only needed a half sheet because the dimensions of the top of mine was 48” x 22”
- 2-3 – 8’ 4×4's (I just got the cheapest from Lowes). This will depend on the width of your rack and depth of spotter arms. I could have done mine with just 2)
Pipe – All 3/4″ Black Pipe
- 2 – T's
- 2 – 8” or 10” (these are your plate sleeves – I put 10” on mine)
- 1 – 24” (this is the shaft from top to bottom)
- 2 – 18”-24” ( I had to use 24” because of the width of my rack)
- 2 – flanges optional ( I got 2 because with the T, my rotating shaft stuck out past my 4×4's)
- 1 – box of wood screws. You're going to need at least 5” to fasten all 4×4's together
- 2 – 1” x 10-18” dowel rods or black pipe. If you use black pipe I would add 2 more flanges (for handles – your preference)
- 1 – Strap – I use the Bodylastics anchor here, but you could use others like this from Rogue
- Padding for top – Optional
- Tape measure
- Circular saw
- Pipe wrenches
- 1 ¼ spade bit & 1” spade bit if you choose to use dowel rod handles
- Measure the width of you spotter arms/cross members (outside to outside edge) and the depth (mine was 45” x 22”). Add 3” so your 4×4's are centered on the arms (Roughly 2” of overhang, but this depends on how true the 4×4 is).
- Measure and cut plywood top.
- Measure and cut 4×4's for bottom supports (length should be the depth of your spotter arms/crossmembers. For me it was 22”.).
- Measure and cut 3 4×4 pieces for top supports (should be the width of your rack + 4”. Mine were 48”).
- Lay out bottom supports and place top supports on top of them. Space them out evenly (I just took 22/3 and that’s where I put the centers).
- Screw together (I pre-drilled holes because I was using 2×4 for my top supports).
- Decide where you want your cross bar (swing arm) to be. I chose to put mine in the front 1/3 of mine because the depth was only 22”. You can do this same thing or place where you think will benefit you most.
- Mark and use 1 ¼” spade bit to drill holes.
- Mark holes where you prefer handles to be if you wish to include them.
- Drill 1” holes approx if you use dowel rods (you can choose a depth or drill all the way through. A 1” dowel rod will fit very snug and move very little. If you want to use pipe for handles, drill all the way through with 1 ¼” spade bit).
- Place plywood on top of supports and drill down.
- Feed pipe (18”/24” – mine were 24”) into holes drilled on base supports. Screw together in top part of T and tighten with a pipe wrench (if you have pipe exposed outside of supports, put flanges on).
- Screw 24” drop-down pipe into the bottom of the T and screw the other end into the bottom of the remaining T.
- Screw remaining pipes (8”/10” – mine were 10”) into the top of T (these are your weight sleeves) and tighten with a pipe wrench.
- *Optional* – If you have padding you want to add, glue/staple/screw on top.
There ya go! Your very own table top, space savin', cheap, & effective, DIY Reverse Hyper!
If you don't want to build your own reverse hyper, there are a few places to consider if you'd rather purchase.
The Rogue fitness RH-2 reverse hyper machine is arguably the most popular version available on the market. While it's not the most inexpensive option, it comes in well under the Westside Barbell models (except for the Scout model mentioned above).
This particular unit is constructed using 2×3 11 gauge steel and it has a footprint of 40″ x 52.5″. It sits 44.5″ tall and it offers a 3″ thick pad that is considered one of the most durable on the market. Additionally, the Rogue reverse hyper offers two hand holds and the sleeves fit all sizes of bumper or steel plates.
Titan Fitness has recently released their version of the higher-end Rogue Z Hyper. This reverse hyper machine is constructed with 3×3 11 gauge steel and it has a footprint of 41″ x 52.25″ x 44.5″. The piece comes with two 6″ handles that adjust to eight different positions in 2″ increments. It also comes with a strap as well as two spring collars. The padding on this Titan unit is also thick, but it's not as high quality as the Rogue unit.
It's priced at $509.95 as of the time of this article, although it frequently goes on sale and it is shipped free.
I again want to thank Nate for sharing these plans with the community.
Definitely give these a look if you're considering a DIY reverse hyper that is cheap and space friendly!
If you want to read more about powerlifting equipment in general, check out my ultimate guide to building a powerlifting home gym.
If you have any questions about this DIY reverse hyper or reverse hypers in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you've made your own DIY reverse hyper and you want to chime in with your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
If you found this review useful, please feel free to share it on social media!
The bar is loaded,