T Nation

Useless Hamstring Exercises


In the 8 Keys of Strength article, Dave Tate mentioned that most people's hamstring strength was very poor, and as a result, the first time they started using a real Glute Ham machine, they would have to build up to it. Last night was the first time I was ever able to use a GHR, and I discovered that Dave was absolutely right, even to his predictions of how many reps most people can do.

Now here is my question: I have been doing the suggested exercises for hamstrings when you don't have access to a bench, and I am still very weak in this movement. Are the other hamsting exercises just not that valuable, or am I just struggling to adapt to the GHR bench? And yes, I have been doing the other exercises with good form.


Someone in another thread mentioned using the pulldown machine for assisted GHR. Knees on the seat, calves under the knee pads, & pulling down on the cable. I haven't tried this but it sounds like it would work.


Try the "natural" version of the glute-ham raise. Kneel on the ground or bench, anchor your feet and perform the movement just like you would on a GHR bench. The beauty of this exercise is that you can manipulate the degree of difficulty by a) lowering yourself slowly b) pushing off into the concentric phase with varying amounts of force.


Brother to be honest the only thing that increased my GHR capacity was doing GHR's. I do about everything else as well, like you mentioned, but I realized I had to GHR's at LEAST twice a week to improve. I'm a 750 squatter and still got my ass kicked by that damn GHR bench. I can definitely tell they are helping.


Totally agree - this one can be brutal (although the true GHRs on the GHR bench are even tougher). I do these a lot and they punish you... in a good way.


I've doen "natural "GHRs, and while they were a bitch, the GHR machine still blows them away. I remember reading that Dave Tate calls them "manual hamstring curls". He was really insistne that the foot plate be long enough to drive your toes into. Anyways, I'm going to be doing them in my warmups, so I'm looking at hitting them 4 times a week until I've built up to doing themas part of my regular leg workout.


Honestly I never found GHG's to be too hard, with or without the hip extension. Most powerlifters use it as a sort of leg curl machine, not in the way it was used by sprinters, which involved both hip extension and knee flexion, which takes advantage of the biarticulate nature of the hamstrings. I probably found them easy because I'm not in the highest weight class that I could compete in, however, most people on this forum are not so I think most people here should find true GHG's easy.