T Nation

Mastering the Glute Ham Raise

I’d like to be able to do the glute ham raise for reps with bodyweight.

Are there assistance exercises I should be doing?

Or do I do eccentrics with body weight and I’ll get strong enough eventually to be able to do reps?

I don’t have a glute ham raise bench either. I’m doing these on a lat pulldown. I don’t know if that has any bearing on anything.

Eccentrics are all well and good, but it can be hard to know if you’re progressing them. Instead, I recommend this;

If you’ve got a doorway, this is a great solution for you - and it’s what I use;

Get two pull up bars - attach one, like an inch off the floor (so you can hook your feet under it), and one at the top (you can also do chin-ups off this one).

Now get a variety of different resistance bands.

Loop a band around the top chin up bar, kneel on some cushions and hook your feet under the bottom chin-up bar, wrap the resistance band under your armpits and around your chest, and perform these ‘band assisted glute ham raises.’

Obviously, when you are finding you’re doing too many reps, switch to a thinner band, which will make the exercise harder again. Rinse and repeat, moving on to thinner and thinner bands, until soon the band will hardly be providing any assistance. At that point you may already be able to do a few reps of unassisted glute ham raises.

I have carried out this exact process and can vouch it works.

If they get too easy (and you’re turning into the hulk if they do), simply hold onto a weight plate and continue.

EDIT: oh, if you’re doing these at the lat pulldown machine at the gym, you can just loop the resistance bands around the bar at the top - perfect!

[quote]alternate wrote:
Eccentrics are all well and good, but it can be hard to know if you’re progressing them. Instead, I recommend this;

If you’ve got a doorway, this is a great solution for you - and it’s what I use;

Get two pull up bars - attach one, like an inch off the floor (so you can hook your feet under it), and one at the top (you can also do chin-ups off this one).

Now get a variety of different resistance bands.

Loop a band around the top chin up bar, kneel on some cushions and hook your feet under the bottom chin-up bar, wrap the resistance band under your armpits and around your chest, and perform these ‘band assisted glute ham raises.’

Obviously, when you are finding you’re doing too many reps, switch to a thinner band, which will make the exercise harder again. Rinse and repeat, moving on to thinner and thinner bands, until soon the band will hardly be providing any assistance. At that point you may already be able to do a few reps of unassisted glute ham raises.

I have carried out this exact process and can vouch it works.

If they get too easy (and you’re turning into the hulk if they do), simply hold onto a weight plate and continue.

EDIT: oh, if you’re doing these at the lat pulldown machine at the gym, you can just loop the resistance bands around the bar at the top - perfect![/quote]

That sounds like great advice. I’ll have to get some bands.

[quote]darkhorse1-1 wrote:
I’d like to be able to do the glute ham raise for reps with bodyweight.

Are there assistance exercises I should be doing?

Or do I do eccentrics with body weight and I’ll get strong enough eventually to be able to do reps?

I don’t have a glute ham raise bench either. I’m doing these on a lat pulldown. I don’t know if that has any bearing on anything.[/quote]

that’s fine. That’s what I did learning them years ago. The absolute easiest way to accomplish this without a messy set-up is to do them there or get an olympic bar and load it with more than your bodyweight, then put plates in front of it so it can’t roll forward and hook your heels under that.

Control the eccentric down as slow as you possibly can, as far as you possibly can. Then push off the ground hard with your hands and use the hamstrings to finish the movement. Simply use less and less help from your hands as the weeks go by. It is extremely difficult to do completely unaided glute ham raises from the floor up because you are starting at the absolute worst leverage position, so do not be surprised if you continue to need a small push from your hands…the trick is to simply use less hands as the months progress.

I did alternate one better. I took a belt-one you might hang a dumbell from while doing weighted pullups- and hooked it to the lat pulldown cable. Then I selected the proper weight on the weight stack, stuck my arms and head through the belt and voila I can bang out 2x10 of assisted glute ham raises while working out on my own.

All the big guys in the gym were telling me what a great idea it was and how much they liked it. I was hero of the day. I’m sure you’re all very proud.

Probably saved myself $100 bucks on having to buy an assortment of bands as well.

I have to give alternate some credit for the brain food. We stand on the shoulders of giants. You’re a giant alternate.

It’s so simple it’s brilliant. If I had only come up with it on my own I could be heralded as a true strength training genius. Everything was right there in front of me and I didn’t even see it.

The lat pull down just got a whole lot cooler in my book.