T Nation

Glute-ham raises ??

Just started doing GHRs, with heels hooked under the lower pad of a leg-raise machine (see, they are good for something!). I did however primarily feel them in my hams, not really in the glutes…am I doing something wrong, or does this simply indicate that my hams need more strenghtening than my glutes ?? Being new to them, I only managed 3x3 partial reps (maybe between 50 and 60 percent of full reps…).

the full name of this exercise is glute-ham-gastroc, it mearly describes the muscles involved.

you are doing it right if you feel it in the hammies, try and get full reps with you pushing yourself off at the bottom, check out coach D’s articels for a good description of that.


Squeeze your glutes together as you reach the top. Not only will they help you complete the movement, they will be worked hard this way. Your hams are what get you through the movement, for the most part.

Thanks guys, - I did also feel it a bit in my calves, but primarly in the hams.

Only the bench version or the version I do on the hyper with feet pressed into a wall, pad on mid thigh will feel like that, the floor version is just a manual leg curl

Shit, I didn’t read that you were doing manual leg curls and not true GHR’s. Totally different.

I thought that I was doing something similar to natural GHRs, - is that what you call manual leg curls ?

CoolcolJ- Can you elaborate on that please.


I partialy agree but it is unfair to call it a manual leg curl, the form and strength needed to coplete this movement is completely different.

I agree that the GHR has to have the toes pressed into the plate but these are a very good alternative if planter flexion is observed on the concentric portion of the lift.

the carry over to the other lifts is certainly greater than a simple hammie curl.

keep doing them and you’ll build goos strong hammies.


The workout and fatigue I get from a NGHR is no where near what I would get if I did a leg curl. They are two different worlds. Sure its not the same exact feeling and motion as a true GHR machine but its definatley not a manual leg curl. When was the last time someone was sore in their lower back and glutes from seated leg curls? I sure as hell never was.

Well for one the weight one uses on a manual GHR is like over 100%

stack a weight over your 1RM on the leg curl and do forced reps and see how you feel :slight_smile:

Who cares what you call it. It’s a leg curl. Sure it’s demanding. Call it what you will, but it’s not a GHR. Run this by Dave Tate and he’ll give you his opinion.

I understand what you’re saying Cool but you don’t have to stabilize your back doing a leg curl. You do with a NGHR. NGHR require more muscle groups to be used than a leg curl and if you can somehow get your toes pushing into something the muscle groups required are even greater. Its much more than a leg curl no matter how you disect it.

Run it by for instance Coach Davies and Chad Waterbury, and you will see that it is a natural Glute-Ham raise, which is actually harder than the “machine” GHR.

Of course it’s harder. Nobody would deny that. The divergence here is in the name. A glute-ham-gastroc raise is done differently than a natural glute-ham raise. Very differently. The muscle groups that are utilized and the effects of the exercise on them is the reason why Louie, Tate and others get you on the GHR bench. Watch a video of someone doing a GHR and then someone doing a natural glute-ham raise. You will see what I am referring to. The differences appear subtle, but these subtle differences are why it is utilized. You are recruiting the hams, for instance, in a very different way.

And another thing, not that I want to get into an argument here, but since when did either of these squat over 900 lbs? When Tate or Louie tell me to use the bench, I use the bench.

“A mind is like an umbrella, it works best when open…”

My mind is completely open. I do both. I focus on GHR’s most of the time and use manual leg curls now and again. There is much more carryover to powerlifting with GHR’s for so many reasons.

Now, I would turn your comment around and ask you to take the time to read the Eaight Key’s that Dave has written for T-Mag and you will see his comment on this and watch his videos and read his articles.

I don’t known about you, but I only open my umbrella when it rains :slight_smile:

Id love to use the GHR bench as well (as a matter of fact, the Nitro Squat program from Coach D that Im starting calls for both), but dont have the luxury… Im working on finding a “real gym” to train at, but so far, I have to make do with the natural version.

And btw, - already read Tate’s 8 keys a long time ago: Good stuff.