Glute-ham raises are one of my favorite exercises. Whether your goal is to run fast, lift heavy stuff, or simply to keep your hammies healthy, glute-hams can help you achieve that goal.
Unfortunately, the glute-ham raise is often performed incorrectly. The video above should help depict proper performance, and how to get more out of the exercise.
Here are a few key points to remember:
- Whether you lower your torso all the way down, or simply get it parallel to the ground, is largely a matter of preference. Do whatever you feel most comfortable with. Some people prefer to get a back extension in first, and then perform the glute-ham. Again, it’s largely preference and dependent upon your goals.
- Before initiating the movement, think about actively squeezing the glutes and getting the core tight. You want to get the pelvis as close to neutral as possible, and minimize any excessive arching of the lower back.
- While keeping the stomach/glutes tight, press your toes into the plate and “curl” your body up using your hamstrings. Try and keep a straight line from your knees, to your hips, through your shoulders and head.
- Don’t let your butt shoot back first!
- Come up to a point where your torso is perpendicular to the ground, and then lower under control to the starting/finishing position.
- As I note in the video, Lance is short-changing the motion a bit. I want you to get your knees straight in the bottom, as this develops the hamstrings through a full range of motion.
If you’re unable to perform glute-hams correctly, start with a more basic exercise like a ball leg curl first. You can use the same principles (hips extended, stomach tight, butt tight) while developing the knee flexion component of the hamstrings. As you get stronger, progress into glute-ham raises.
BTW – if you’re serious about your performance, buy a legit glute-ham raise. In my opinion, Elite Fitness Systems makes the best GHR’s on the market today.