T Nation

Glute Ham Raise...WTF


So I have been working on fixing some imbalances that I have been neglecting for years. I purchased Eric's Maximum Strength book(http://ericcressey.com/). I dropped my ego at the door and dropped to weights where my form would not break down. It was pretty funny to be able to rack pull over 600 pounds but could not do a Bulgarian split squat with 40 pound DB's.

Anyway I digress, what I need help with here is I that moved into Phase two. In Phase two there are 3x12 Natural GHR. When I tried these my hamstring immediately curled into a knot that took 20 minutes to get un-done(Extremely Painful). I have seen some assisted variations of this on the web, using bands or a stick to hold on to. Does anyone have any suggestions that might help a old man with a weak posterior chain work his way into doing these un-assisted? Do you think I should substitute something else into the work out and specifically train for for this movement on off days? (Like twice a week until i can do them)

As a shout to Eric, since I have been doing the program and following the soft tissue work I have felt the a huge difference. My shoulders and ankles that have been bothering me for years have stopped hurting and I actually feel great leaving the gym. I can't remember a day in the past 10 years where I didn't have to take 800mg of NSAIDS to ease the pain of 20 + years of abusing my body....

I apprecaite any responses, thanks!


Have you been foam rolling/stretching our your lower body? I know if I don't stretch my calf muscles well they will knot up when performing natural GHRs.


I think any program that's not written specifically for you will always be based on certain assumptions (strength ratios, equipment availability, etc.); so if you can't do it exactly as written, just do as close to it as possible. I'm guessing it is more important to keep the exercise the same and lower the reps than keep the reps the same but on something else such as machine hamstring curls, which I feel to be vastly inferior to GHR. So I would say stick with the GHR, and do something simple like set a total number and get it in as many sets as it takes, focussing on quality of the reps rather than just hurrying through them to get them done.


Stretch your calves and hamstrings lots, and outside of that it just takes a lot of practice. It hurts at first, and I found my hammies got knotted as well, but you just have to keep foam rolling and stretching.

IMO, it's much better to perform the movement with as little assistance as possible. Some people may disagree with me here, but to me it's the same with things like pull-ups/chin-ups. They just take practice.


Try GHR's with less reps. Try them assisted. Try ball leg curls instead.


I am pretty religious about the foam rolling. I'm 47 and if I don't keep up with it I feel like shit. I am going to keep attempting them unassisted in the regular training session and also do them assisted twice a week when I am doing energy work.

Thanks for the replies...


Hamstring cramps are very common with natural GHRs, the amount of eccentric stress is incredible.

When I did Maximum Strength, I hooked my feet under a DB rack and did them pushup assisted like this:

Keep up the foam rolling and they'll improve with practice.


Yeah that's how I do them, I have never in any gym I've been to (I'm in the UK) come across a GHR so I have to improvise. It's amazing how much progress I'm feeling though, now I hardly need to push with my hands at all


In a commercial gym, I do natural GHR on the lat pull down. You hook your feet under the knee pad and face away from the cable pull down. Lower youself slowly as possible onto a riser if you want and push up off the bottom. I don't know anyone that can do a natural GHR like that without some kind of assistance. No doubt people can. I just don't know any.

See this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNaqjlxJF_0&feature=related

At home, I do something similar with my feet hooked on the rack pin and my knees on my bench.

Since I'm closer to your age, I can commiserate with the glute and hamstring agony. I can do heavy good mornings till the cows come home but these kick my ass (and hamstrings)


Keep pretending this shit will help your squat....or you can get a real top qualiy glute ham raise from EFS,for 500 dollars from me.


So you're saying the $500 version from you will help his squat? Awesome.


Youre an idiot.


I bring you the free version, not even EliteFTS can beat that.


is that you stallion?


Excellent Idea's thanks! If I could afford shipping from Cali to Pa I would but your GHR. It's cheaper for me to drive to Elite and buy one....lol