T Nation

Help Me Do 1 Glute Ham Raise


I've been reading the westside site, and identified that i have a pretty serious hamstring weakness. So i got one of the guys at the gym who trains Westside style to show me the Glute ham raise.

Trouble is i couldn't do 1, [excuse mode on] mind you i had just completed a heavy deadlifting session on a 3" box session [excuses off]

So, what is the best way to begin or build up to this exercise

stats 5`11" 190lbs@12% training for years, but mostly following stupid personal trainer type advice, probably only 1 yr of solid training using squats and deads


if your strength is close you do controlled negatives or if you have one of those combo reverse hyper/ghr things you can simply cheat the leverage by putting the fulcrum higher up on your quad -thus lowering the knee below the hips. try cheating back a 1/2 inch at a time to see what you can handle.

obviously it lightens the load and shortens the range but is still effective if you're close to the knee. if you don't have the strength to do that stick w/ deads, stiff deads, good mornings, romanian deads until you do.


I've seen (and applied) the suggestion on here to do them on a lat pulldown machine, with your knees on the seat and your heels hooked underneath the pads, and using a rope attachment held to your neck to provide some assist. Since my gym doesn't have a glute ham raise machine anyway, I've been doing these, and they seem to work well.


That's a pretty cool idea, I'll have to try those out. Better than smashing my face into the ground, lol.


You can also reduce the load of the exercise with jumpstretch or iron woody bands.


If you have a training partner just have your partner assist by standing in front of you and after your negative rep have the partner assist you by pushing slowly on your shoulders as you come up. I found that this particular way of spotting got me to be able to do 1 after a week, months later I can do well over 10 on my own. I found that after doing these for months there are 3 variations to doing the GHR on an actual GHR bench. The hardest is with your hands behind your neck, the second hardest is with your arms crossing your chest and then the third is with your arms out in front of you to push off of the GHR bench. This third one is one that you can do if you don't have a "spotter", as mentioned above.

Pretty soon you'll be able to knock out a dozen on your own, then your squat, deadlift, clean and vertical will reach new highs.

Kir Dog


I like what swivel wrote about lightening the load by having your knee below your hips. That's good stuff.

I also make sure that I do GHR's at the end of a workout, never at the start or middle of a workout. But that's just me. I feel like it's a good hammie finisher.

Kir Dog


I'm impressed that people can do these at all, I've yet to see someone pull one off. Anyways.

I can't do a full one, but I train them every week (for the last two months) and my hamstrings are a lot more solid. Besides training partials, which I burned out on:

1) grab a stick or do them near an object that you can walk your hands up and down, then do full range ones using your hands for assistance

2) bend at the waist, touch your head to the ground then come back up. This is the way I've been training them for the last month or so.


I think that you're talking about a different exercise - I've seen people do these with around 300lbs of band tension. I can do it holding a 50lbs dumbbell so far, though I don't get to use a GHR bench regularly.

Are you referring to the ill-named "Natural Glute-Ham Raise?"



Yep, I've seen a machine version once, but didn't try it.

So, yeah, uhm...the natural one is good and those techniques that I listed are good for that, no opinion on the machine version.


You can also assist yourself with your arm(s).

I do mine on a padded seat, and set the power rack pin to hold my feet, then I have the seat of a curl machine in front of me (it just happens to be right next to the power rack) and I use my fist to help push me up (only as much as needed).

I worked my way up to doing sets of 6 this way, and I can now (after 4 weeks) do 4 without assistance (although I bend a little at my hips).


Thanks for the help guys

It's a bit of a relief that i'm not alone on the inability to do this, I was under the impression that i must have legs like spagetti.


I dont have a GHR, like 99.9% of people in the world, but I have been doing the "NGHR". I usually do them with a big ass (250lb) sand bag across my feet/ankles; I can get a few, but not as many as I want to. And one other thing do these make anyone else's feet cramp?



They make my feet and calves cramp unless I do them on the balls of my feet.