In today’s “Exercise of the Week”, we have one of my favorite hamstring/posterior chain exercises of all time – the glute-ham raise.
Strangely enough, I remember the first time I ever did these. We were at Westside Barbell in Columbus, Ohio, and Dave Tate and Louie were taking us through a dynamic effort workout. We had just finished box squatting, and Dave had us all try the glute-ham since we didn’t have one at that time at BSU.
Needless to say, it felt like my hamstrings were going to tear off the bone and EPIC muscle soreness ensued for days afterwards. It was awesome.
I’m a huge fan of glute-hams for several reasons:
– It trains the knee flexor component of our hamstrings. Many great posterior chain exercises like RDL’s, good mornings, and pull-throughs focus more on the hip extension function.
– They get us off the leg curl machine.
– In my own experience, I always say a high correlation between my glute-ham performance and improvements in my squat and deadlift. Take it for what it’s worth, but I feel they are a great strength builder.
To perform this exercise, it really helps to have a glute-ham bench (they can be purchased at www.EliteFTS.com). If not, you can always try the manual version, although they’re even tougher.
Here are some exercise tips to help you out with your performance:
– Keep the stomach and glutes tight throughout. One of the unique benefits of glute-hams versus leg curls is the high-degree of co-contraction you can maintain throughout your core.
And for an extra-special bonus, it makes them much harder 😉
– The exercise can be performed either stopping at about parallel to the floor (as I show in this video), or where you fold all the way over to the bench. In the second version, you’d have two different components to the exercise – a trunk extension (to get you to parallel) and then the “curling” portion of the movement.
– DO NOT allow the hips to shoot back at the beginning. Try and keep a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. If you look like an “A” frame house, you’re doing it wrong.
The glute-ham is a fantastic exercise, and hopefully one you’ll add into your programming. Enjoy!