T Nation

Natural GHR vs. GHR Bench?

I recently discovered a sports facility where they have a glute ham bench.
My current gym membership lasts until the end of this month. This one doesnt have a glute ham bench so i do natural GHR eccentrics (not strong enough to do a full concentric rep without pushoff).

It takes about 20min for me to walk to my gym now. The other facility is in another part of town, and it takes about an hour to get there.

What I’m asking is, is a glute ham bench that much more better than natural GHRs that i should invest the time to go to the other facility and train?
Which one is harder to do, bench or natural?

Well, doing them without bench is way harder and different.

For me, I need to pad to dig into on the way up. I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to do many reps without the bench.

I do know guys that can do sets of 10 without a bench, but they are also small and lean, so if you’re a bigger guy, I’d say go with the bench because you’ll be able to get more reps in.

How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

[/quote]

I’m not advanced at all. I havent squatted 1.5xbw. well i have, but that was many years ago before injuring myself. MY deadlift right now sits at about 2xbw. I train for performance improvements in football.

As of late, I’ve been focusing on bringing my leg strength up with PC dominant lifts, as I get a lot of fatigue in the lower back with the big lifts since I’m long legged and have excessive lordosis. Also squatting does harm to my knee tendinitis.

So would you then say that the ghr bench is not worth the travel?

[quote]Dominator wrote:
Well, doing them without bench is way harder and different.

For me, I need to pad to dig into on the way up. I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t be able to do many reps without the bench.

I do know guys that can do sets of 10 without a bench, but they are also small and lean, so if you’re a bigger guy, I’d say go with the bench because you’ll be able to get more reps in.[/quote]

How have you progressed with GHRs?
I’m actually quite big, 6’5" 215 lbs, so that might apply to me.

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

[/quote]

OMFG!! I don’t believe it… Someone who actually knows what they’re talking about on this site!

I know MANY guys who’ve squatted 3x bodyweight at an IPF standard (and a few of them do it raw too) and none of them have EVER used a GHR bench. Hell I don’t think they’d even know what they are.

It’s vastly over-rated in my opinion. Of course it would be nice to have one, but is it absolutely neccessary for a big squat…? Not a chance in hell. I tripled 405 in just knee wraps at 198 last week, and am hoping to pull 510 in the next month, I’ve only ever done 5 reps on a GHR. I don’t see my squatting or deadlifting ability being limited by not having one either.

My hamstrings have been built thru RDL’s, SLDL’s, pullthru’s, deadlifts, hell even leg curls, the list goes on and on.

I hesitate to say this, but it’s in danger of becoming another “fad”. While it’s effective, it’s not a magic bullet.

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

[/quote]

This is the best advice you will receive, right here.

Hanley’s response also brought a smile to my face.

I train at a gym with a GHR bench. While I do use it and I have gotten better at it- i.e., more reps, band tension, jacking up the back, etc.- I am not totally convinced it has done much for me other than make me better at GHRs.

Like most accessory lifts, it is somewhat interchangable with several other lifts in terms of results (romanian deads, stiff-legs, GMs, 45-deg back raises). Much of the buzz about this piece of equipment originated from those that happen to sell it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a useful piece of equipment, but it will not change your life.

[quote]L-Dee wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

I’m not advanced at all. I havent squatted 1.5xbw. well i have, but that was many years ago before injuring myself. MY deadlift right now sits at about 2xbw. I train for performance improvements in football.

As of late, I’ve been focusing on bringing my leg strength up with PC dominant lifts, as I get a lot of fatigue in the lower back with the big lifts since I’m long legged and have excessive lordosis. Also squatting does harm to my knee tendinitis.

So would you then say that the ghr bench is not worth the travel?[/quote]

What are you currently doing to correct your lordosis?

What kind of squat variations have you been doing? Not that all tall folks can’t squat and can’t squat deep, but you may have to find some different variations to accomodate your knee issues. Once you get your lordosis straightened out, you might consider trying box squats at or a little above parallel.

Also, on the majority of your PC lifts, I assume you are either doing these barefoot or in flat soled shoes? This is the way to go here.

You can also build up your quad strength with some lunge and single leg variations, but given your knee, it’s probably a good idea to make the PC a priority.

-Matt

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

OMFG!! I don’t believe it… Someone who actually knows what they’re talking about on this site!

I know MANY guys who’ve squatted 3x bodyweight at an IPF standard (and a few of them do it raw too) and none of them have EVER used a GHR bench. Hell I don’t think they’d even know what they are.

It’s vastly over-rated in my opinion. Of course it would be nice to have one, but is it absolutely neccessary for a big squat…? Not a chance in hell. I tripled 405 in just knee wraps at 198 last week, and am hoping to pull 510 in the next month, I’ve only ever done 5 reps on a GHR. I don’t see my squatting or deadlifting ability being limited by not having one either.

My hamstrings have been built thru RDL’s, SLDL’s, pullthru’s, deadlifts, hell even leg curls, the list goes on and on.

I hesitate to say this, but it’s in danger of becoming another “fad”. While it’s effective, it’s not a magic bullet.

[/quote]

Agreed. I think the main benefit of the GHR is its convenience. Just find a place to hook your feet under and BOOM bang out some effective and productive reps.

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:
L-Dee wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

I’m not advanced at all. I havent squatted 1.5xbw. well i have, but that was many years ago before injuring myself. MY deadlift right now sits at about 2xbw. I train for performance improvements in football.

As of late, I’ve been focusing on bringing my leg strength up with PC dominant lifts, as I get a lot of fatigue in the lower back with the big lifts since I’m long legged and have excessive lordosis. Also squatting does harm to my knee tendinitis.

So would you then say that the ghr bench is not worth the travel?

What are you currently doing to correct your lordosis?

What kind of squat variations have you been doing? Not that all tall folks can’t squat and can’t squat deep, but you may have to find some different variations to accomodate your knee issues. Once you get your lordosis straightened out, you might consider trying box squats at or a little above parallel.

Also, on the majority of your PC lifts, I assume you are either doing these barefoot or in flat soled shoes? This is the way to go here.

You can also build up your quad strength with some lunge and single leg variations, but given your knee, it’s probably a good idea to make the PC a priority.

-Matt[/quote]

I’m doing foam rolling, stretching and activation drills. the first one involving hip flexors, rectus femoris, mainly. the activation drills are for the glutes from the magnificent mobility dvd. I also do some ab work like bridges and the ab wheel.

One of the biggest things though is that i’m seeing a rolfer, which has improved my posture quite a lot. I have 2 sessions out of the total 10 left, and will most probably get 10 more with a focus only on correct pelvic alignment.

My most recent squat variations have been fairly wide box squats to about parallel or slightly above. While those dont aggravate my knee as much, trying to arch my lower back hard during the lift might contribute to excessive lordosis. I asked MR and EC about this and they concluded that one should stay away from those until more optimal pelvic alignment is achieved.

Yes, I do my warmups and lifts barefooted. when squatting I use Chucks.

I’ve tried single leg lifts, and most of them aggravate the knee. reverse lunges were alright to the point where I started adding more weight to the bar. stationary lunges work the best usually, dont get that much knee problems from them.
Right now my lower body lifting consists of natural eccentric GHRs, single leg dumbell SLDLs, and cable hip extensions. The last one I’ve done only once, its the first time ever doing them, I thought I’d throw them in the mix to see if they’re any good.

The common opinion in the replies seems to be that GHRs arent all that important. Does anyone else have long legs/short torso and how did it affect your lifting. My biggest problem is that my lower back takes a big brunt of the load with almost all PC lifts…

[quote]L-Dee wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:
L-Dee wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

I’m not advanced at all. I havent squatted 1.5xbw. well i have, but that was many years ago before injuring myself. MY deadlift right now sits at about 2xbw. I train for performance improvements in football.

As of late, I’ve been focusing on bringing my leg strength up with PC dominant lifts, as I get a lot of fatigue in the lower back with the big lifts since I’m long legged and have excessive lordosis. Also squatting does harm to my knee tendinitis.

So would you then say that the ghr bench is not worth the travel?

What are you currently doing to correct your lordosis?

What kind of squat variations have you been doing? Not that all tall folks can’t squat and can’t squat deep, but you may have to find some different variations to accomodate your knee issues. Once you get your lordosis straightened out, you might consider trying box squats at or a little above parallel.

Also, on the majority of your PC lifts, I assume you are either doing these barefoot or in flat soled shoes? This is the way to go here.

You can also build up your quad strength with some lunge and single leg variations, but given your knee, it’s probably a good idea to make the PC a priority.

-Matt

I’m doing foam rolling, stretching and activation drills. the first one involving hip flexors, rectus femoris, mainly. the activation drills are for the glutes from the magnificent mobility dvd. I also do some ab work like bridges and the ab wheel.

One of the biggest things though is that i’m seeing a rolfer, which has improved my posture quite a lot. I have 2 sessions out of the total 10 left, and will most probably get 10 more with a focus only on correct pelvic alignment.

My most recent squat variations have been fairly wide box squats to about parallel or slightly above. While those dont aggravate my knee as much, trying to arch my lower back hard during the lift might contribute to excessive lordosis. I asked MR and EC about this and they concluded that one should stay away from those until more optimal pelvic alignment is achieved.

Yes, I do my warmups and lifts barefooted. when squatting I use Chucks.

I’ve tried single leg lifts, and most of them aggravate the knee. reverse lunges were alright to the point where I started adding more weight to the bar. stationary lunges work the best usually, dont get that much knee problems from them.
Right now my lower body lifting consists of natural eccentric GHRs, single leg dumbell SLDLs, and cable hip extensions. The last one I’ve done only once, its the first time ever doing them, I thought I’d throw them in the mix to see if they’re any good.

The common opinion in the replies seems to be that GHRs arent all that important. Does anyone else have long legs/short torso and how did it affect your lifting. My biggest problem is that my lower back takes a big brunt of the load with almost all PC lifts…[/quote]

Good to hear that you’re taking steps in the right direction.

I agree with MR and EC on the box squats…at this point it’d just put much more unneeded stress on the spine.

Why’d you stop the reverse lunges if they were working for you? There’s a lot of different variety that can be had here btw. Elevating the front foot onto boxes of different height, using DBs for load, a BB on the back, BB in front squat position, weight vest, etc.

Do you have a powerrack at your gym? If so, you can set it at varying heights and practice doing rack pulls so that you’ll need to bend over less when getting down to the bar.

-Matt

And what areas are you specifically working on in terms of the stretching, foam rolling, and activation?

-Matt

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:

Why’d you stop the reverse lunges if they were working for you? There’s a lot of different variety that can be had here btw. Elevating the front foot onto boxes of different height, using DBs for load, a BB on the back, BB in front squat position, weight vest, etc.
[/quote]

Here’s something to consider, and it fits quite well with what Pinto said earlier, does doing the lunge variations make you stronger in the squat and DL or does it jsut make you better at that specific lift?

Like is there a direct correlation between your clean racked reverse lunge and squat? Or your barbell reverse lunge and deadlift?

I don’t have a conclusive answer to it, but my guess would be there isn’t any direct carryover.

When you get down to it, the reason you’re improving in those specific positions is because your neurological pathways are becoming more efficent. It’s not like you’re legs (whcih after all are the prime movers) are doing more work.

At least that would be my take on it, I could be way off base, but I think I’m thnking along the right lines…?

I actually go to two gyms because of this.

The one gym I train at has an ER rack, GHR, and a reverse hyper (not that I use it). It is also less crowded and I can get some quality time in there.

The commercial gym (much more convenient location) I go to is more for basketball, recovery, mobility, and foam rolling.

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

[/quote]

Matt, you hit this one dead-on. Too many lifters, and in most cases young ones, are looking for that magical piece of equipment or newest suit that will give them powerlifting greatness all the while forgetting that champion athletes of the past and of today have gotten by without a GHR.

I think the sense of urgency for powerlifters to buy the GHR comes from the Westside club and its leader Louie Simmons. People need to understand he is running a business in several different functions. He needs to sell and move products. He’s thinking about his retirement and his “nest egg” for that day like most people that are his age. That GHR that Elite Fitness sells is way over-priced anyway. If people are willing to pay it then I’m sure Louie appreciates it, but don’t expect a hand written note from him promising that the GHR is going to make you a champion.

I fell into this trap myself a few years ago and paid out the money for a reverse hyper. I trained with it and hard. Did I get much carry-over to my squat and deadlift? No, I did not. When I started doing other assistance work (barbell related) I did. It’s been a great tool for recovery or secondary assistance work, but relying on the reverse hyper or a GHR as a primary assistance builder for the squat or deadlift never panned out for me personally.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:

Why’d you stop the reverse lunges if they were working for you? There’s a lot of different variety that can be had here btw. Elevating the front foot onto boxes of different height, using DBs for load, a BB on the back, BB in front squat position, weight vest, etc.

Here’s something to consider, and it fits quite well with what Pinto said earlier, does doing the lunge variations make you stronger in the squat and DL or does it jsut make you better at that specific lift?

Like is there a direct correlation between your clean racked reverse lunge and squat? Or your barbell reverse lunge and deadlift?

I don’t have a conclusive answer to it, but my guess would be there isn’t any direct carryover.

When you get down to it, the reason you’re improving in those specific positions is because your neurological pathways are becoming more efficent. It’s not like you’re legs (whcih after all are the prime movers) are doing more work.

At least that would be my take on it, I could be way off base, but I think I’m thnking along the right lines…?
[/quote]

In my own training, I haven’t seen much improvements in the squat or deadlift from any unilateral work- which is why I don’t have any in my program right now. Despite the other benefits that they have, I just don’t find them worth my recovery allocation especially considering how sore I tend to get from them.

But, I am training for powerlifting. This guy is an athlete training for football. So in his case, I could see them being more beneficial in numerous ways while he corrects his postural and knee issues to that he can squat again.

Firstly, it can help iron out the discrepancies in unilateral strenth. Second, it’ll help you develop the stabilizing muscluature around the hips so that you’re better prepared for unilateral demands on the field. Btw, weighted step-ups are another exericise you might add in.

As for the variations in load position, like DBs, barbell on back, barbell in front, etc.- they are just small variations to change up the exercise for the CNS and musculature so that (if its an exercise that works for him) he can keep with it longer. Like using a buffalo bar, straight bar, SSB, etc in a regular squat to the same depth. Just small variations to keep progress moving along.

But Hanley, I think I get what you are saying. I know that although single leg stuff never helped my squat and deadlift go up, the reverse is definetly true. When I was box squatting 295 last year, I believe that my DB split squat weight was probably 60-80lbs. Since I hit 405lb from the same height on box squats, I can do DB split squats with 120lbs DBs for 6 reps or so.

So while squatting would be optimal, it’s probably better to find solutions in the mean time.

If he was a powerlifter, I might suggest not even wasting his time, but since raising his squat and dead aren’t his main goals, I’d say it’s good for him to work hard at what he can do for now.

-Matt

[quote]tigerak02 wrote:
I actually go to two gyms because of this.

The one gym I train at has an ER rack, GHR, and a reverse hyper (not that I use it). It is also less crowded and I can get some quality time in there.

The commercial gym (much more convenient location) I go to is more for basketball, recovery, mobility, and foam rolling.

[/quote]

I do this as well. I generally make a 4.5 hour expedition once a week to train at a gym other than my usual one mainly because the attitude is highly competitive and I have a lot to learn from people there. Although they do have a GHR, I only do my bench day there because it’s the only one that works out scheduling-wise.

But to go and travel for an hour simply for one piece of equipment seems like a bit of a waste, all things being equal. That’s just my opinion.

-Matt

[quote]Matt McGorry wrote:
L-Dee wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:
L-Dee wrote:
Matt McGorry wrote:
How advanced are you? Have you ever squatted 2xBW? 1.5xBW? If not, I suggest you don’t sweat the GHR. MANY champion powerlifters and athletes have been built without one.

It is a good exercise, but it is just one exercise and a small piece of the puzzle. It’s not a piece of magic that will turn you into a superhero.

-Matt

I’m not advanced at all. I havent squatted 1.5xbw. well i have, but that was many years ago before injuring myself. MY deadlift right now sits at about 2xbw. I train for performance improvements in football.

As of late, I’ve been focusing on bringing my leg strength up with PC dominant lifts, as I get a lot of fatigue in the lower back with the big lifts since I’m long legged and have excessive lordosis. Also squatting does harm to my knee tendinitis.

So would you then say that the ghr bench is not worth the travel?

What are you currently doing to correct your lordosis?

What kind of squat variations have you been doing? Not that all tall folks can’t squat and can’t squat deep, but you may have to find some different variations to accomodate your knee issues. Once you get your lordosis straightened out, you might consider trying box squats at or a little above parallel.

Also, on the majority of your PC lifts, I assume you are either doing these barefoot or in flat soled shoes? This is the way to go here.

You can also build up your quad strength with some lunge and single leg variations, but given your knee, it’s probably a good idea to make the PC a priority.

-Matt

I’m doing foam rolling, stretching and activation drills. the first one involving hip flexors, rectus femoris, mainly. the activation drills are for the glutes from the magnificent mobility dvd. I also do some ab work like bridges and the ab wheel.

One of the biggest things though is that i’m seeing a rolfer, which has improved my posture quite a lot. I have 2 sessions out of the total 10 left, and will most probably get 10 more with a focus only on correct pelvic alignment.

My most recent squat variations have been fairly wide box squats to about parallel or slightly above. While those dont aggravate my knee as much, trying to arch my lower back hard during the lift might contribute to excessive lordosis. I asked MR and EC about this and they concluded that one should stay away from those until more optimal pelvic alignment is achieved.

Yes, I do my warmups and lifts barefooted. when squatting I use Chucks.

I’ve tried single leg lifts, and most of them aggravate the knee. reverse lunges were alright to the point where I started adding more weight to the bar. stationary lunges work the best usually, dont get that much knee problems from them.
Right now my lower body lifting consists of natural eccentric GHRs, single leg dumbell SLDLs, and cable hip extensions. The last one I’ve done only once, its the first time ever doing them, I thought I’d throw them in the mix to see if they’re any good.

The common opinion in the replies seems to be that GHRs arent all that important. Does anyone else have long legs/short torso and how did it affect your lifting. My biggest problem is that my lower back takes a big brunt of the load with almost all PC lifts…

Good to hear that you’re taking steps in the right direction.

I agree with MR and EC on the box squats…at this point it’d just put much more unneeded stress on the spine.

Why’d you stop the reverse lunges if they were working for you? There’s a lot of different variety that can be had here btw. Elevating the front foot onto boxes of different height, using DBs for load, a BB on the back, BB in front squat position, weight vest, etc.

Do you have a powerrack at your gym? If so, you can set it at varying heights and practice doing rack pulls so that you’ll need to bend over less when getting down to the bar.

-Matt[/quote]

Matt,
Thanks for taking your time.

The reverse lunges I stopped doing because my knee was getting irritated when I added more weight. 50kgs (~110 pounds) on the bar was too much for my knee. At that time I was using the bar on the back.

Yes I have a power rack at the gym. that’s actually a good idea with the pin pulls. I dont know why I’ve never done them, I guess because I felt I was weaker at the start position of the DL than at lockout. But I’ll probably have to give them a try.

I do foam rolling and stretching for my hip flexors, rectus femoris, adductors and calves. Activation drills i use for the glutes.

I disagree with some of the sentiments on this thread. I think the GHR is one of the best pieces of equipment out there.

That said, I’m not a competitive powerlifter. I do have decent lifts (2.5X BW squat and deadlift, almost a 2X BW bench) but I’m an athlete first and foremost.

When I do GHRs regularly (4X a week, twice weighted and the other two times unweighted with high reps) I am much faster and explosive and feel much more powerful coming out of the hole on squats and pulling the bar off the ground with deads. Not to mention that my hammies blow up too.