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Natural Glute-Ham Raise?

I just tried doing a ‘natural’ Glute-Ham Raise (feet anchored under a barbell) and got humbled, as I just couldn’t do it. Besides negatives and pushing myself up at first, are there any tips on training these beasts?

Just keep working hard on the negatives. I used to try and knock out a few sets of 2 or 3 negatives every couple of days. I got much stronger on the movement quickly. I just started doing them again and was doing 5 set of 3 negatives once a week and some swiss ball ghr’s on a separate day. I could do 3 good , fast concentric reps in yesterday’s workout. The movement is worth the effort. Good luck!

I second that… It’s a very productive excercise considering eccentrics are particularly favourable to fast-twitch fibres like the hams. Do them frequently and they’ll improve frequently.

You aren’t going to get anywhere with just the negatives. Loop a band over the top of the rack. and pull yourself up. As you get stronger, use less/weaker bands. Phase out the assistance. I started with two bands and I’m down to one light band.

I remember that humbling feeling also.
I used a swiss ball in the beginning when I started doing them. It works great because you can adjust the resistance instantly depending on strength or fatigue. Just roll the swiss ball out with your hands as you go into the negative portion and then use it to push on to get yourself back up. Takes a few times to get the hang of it, but then it’s like anything else. Took a few weeks to get rid of the ball completely. Good luck.

At most gyms you can simulate a glute/ham raise (at least somewhat closely) by kneeling on a lat pulldown machine. Put your knees on the pad where you would usually sit, facing away from the machine. Anchor your lower legs by slipping your ankles under the pad for your knees. Have a partner hold a physio ball out in front of you. Then drop down, keeping your body from your knees to your shoulders straight, and pull yourself back up. You can push off the of the physioball to make it easier, also a bigger ball is easier. Of course you can hold weights or use no ball if you want to make it really hard.

If the lat pulldown pad is too narrow for your knees bring over a bench or stool of equal height and put that next to it. Sometimes it feels better to put a stretching pad on top of the lat pulldown seat to make it easier on the knees. It is a sweet exercise, like doing a leg curl with almost your bodyweight, hits the gastroc a lot too.

Adding to the ghr on a lat pull down, you can do assisted ghr’s like this by using holding the cable with a rope attachment, and then decrease the weight from there.

I’d prefer a band though, as it would give the most assistance where the most assistance is needed, although it’d be easier to measure progress with straight weight.

Yeah, put your hands in front of you and spot yourself down and up. Make sure you are actually using the targeted muscles and not just doing knee pushups though. It took me a little over a month doing these to even be able to do a full set of 10 reps that were “all me”.

Yesterday it was 2 sets of all me, 1 set assisted with my pinkies, then 1 set of “knee, girl style pushups”…sorry girls, not a slam, I know some of you are stronger than me…that’s just what I’ve always heard them called.

Good luck, this is an awesome posterior core exercise.

I just started doing these as well. I put my feet under the bed and let the bed frame anchor me while going down. I, too, have to do negatives. So don’t worry, you’re not alone. And reading this gave me some good tips as well.

I fixed a pull up bar at foot height and used an ab roller initially.

I hooked my heels under the bar (kneeling on a pad) and used the roller to help me. You gradually put less and less weight on the roller until you can do them unaided.

Hope this might help.


Its a bodyweight leg curl, not a natural glute ham raise. Louie has covered this in a few articles.