Part of being a strong and healthy kicker or punter means working the muscles you can’t always see. Too often we are concerned with training the muscles that are visible to ourselves and others (the front side or anterior chain). Reverse Hyperextensions are one of the best lower back strengthening exercises I know. They develop your posterior (back) side: namely the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. The reason I stress working these into your regiment is because they can help prevent injury, while helping you build strength for your other lifts too. As I’ve mentioned, many injuries occur due to muscular imbalance. For example, one muscle is dominant and does the majority of the work leaving both muscles vulnerable. Reverse Hyperextensions can help ensure a strong lower back to make it through the demands of the off-season and throughout the year.
If your gym doesn’t include a GHD machine, then I have a perfect alternative for you. You’ll need a Swiss Ball and a bench. Place the ball on the edge of the bench; roll onto the ball until your stomach and hips are on top of the ball; keep your body as straight as possible, shoulders over your wrists, and legs straight; without creating any momentum with the rest of your body, raise both legs together as high as possible. Upon reaching full range of motion, lower your legs together slowly. Four sets of 12 repetitions is ideal for anyone training.