Glute-Ham Raises

Need a lower-body exercise to round out your routine? Check out the Glute-Ham Raise, a lower back and leg exercise that’s designed to strengthen and support everything from your lower back all the way down to your gastroc muscles. 

What makes this exercise even better, though, is that doing the glute-ham raise can help increase your performance on squats, and deadlifts, and can even help you run faster!

The Creation Of The Glute-Ham Raise

The Glute-Ham Raise, often referred to as “GHR”, is thought to have had origins in the 1950s, but didn’t become popular with the weightlifting community until the 1970s. 

An exercise attributed to Soviet athletes of the decade, an article in Strength and Health magazine discussed the potential benefits of the exercise, and it soon exploded into popularity. 

What Is A Glute-Ham Raise? 

The GHR is a posterior chain exercise that’s designed to support the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Additionally, it’s used as a targeted strength builder and is thought to be vital for injury prevention in the surrounding muscles. 

This exercise uses an adjustable weight bench with knee pads and a foot plate. 

These muscles that can be most impacted by the exercise include: 

  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Rhomboids
  • Gluteals
  • Spinal Erectors

Prepping Your Workout For The GHR

To start adding the GHR to your workout: 

  1. Make sure that your gym or workout space has an adjustable bench for you to use. 
  2. Adjust the bench for your individual height, strength, and leg length. As a rule of thumb, the closer the knee pad and foot plate are, the more difficult your exercise will be. 
  3. Set yourself up with your knees on or just behind the knee pad. Keep your feet on the platform and the back of your calves against the ankle bar. 

Starting Your GHR Workout 

Once you are in position: 

  1. Start perpendicular to the floor. 
  2. Squeeze your hamstrings, abs, and glutes to bring yourself down until you are parallel with the floor. 
  3. Push your toes into the foot plate and pull up with your hamstrings, keeping your glutes squeezed. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the desired amount of repetitions.

All The GHR Possibilities

This particular exercise is great when it comes to stretching the hamstrings, as well as increasing your overall leg strength. 

Additionally, regular performance of the GHR can help develop your posterior chain in such a way that greatly benefits your overall lower-body strength and stability. 

GHR Variants 

If you want to switch up the GHR: 

  • For beginners, using a cable pull-down machine can help bring about the same benefits as the original GHR while counterbalancing your bodyweight. 
  • To add more of an upper back workout to your GHR, consider raising your arms over your head for the duration of your repetitions. 

Support Leg And Back Strength With The GHR

This exercise is a solid way to bring posterior chain strengthening into your daily or weekly routine. By focusing on supporting your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back, you can greatly improve your results when it comes to other exercises, such as deadlifts and squats!

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