Exercise Library
Glute-Ham Raise

The glute-ham raise strengthens and develops stamina in the primarily in the hamstrings, and secondarily in the glutes and back.
Fix the ankles in a glute-ham bench adjusted to place the fulcrum or pad on the thighs. The strict GHR begins with the body extended approximately horizontally. From this position, curl the legs at the knee to bring the thighs and upper body into a vertical position, attempting to keep the body straight rather than bending forward at the hip. Lower under control to the starting position and repeat.
If you’re not strong enough yet to perform the strict movement, you can perform a hybrid hip/back extension and glute-ham raise. Begin with the upper body hanging close to vertically and extend the back and hips to generate upward momentum to carry you through the leg curl. Lower yourself under control to begin building more hamstring strength during the eccentric motion. The momentum can be adjusted over time to gradually reduce the assistance until you’re able to perform strict GHRs, or this variation can be used for higher-rep sets (or even just adding additional reps after a series of strict reps).
The glute-ham raise back improves hamstring, glute and back strength and/or stamina depending on the repetition range and resistance used.
Glute-ham raises can be performed in sets of 6-20, with the lower rep range better for strength and the higher range better for stamina or hypertrophy.
The speed of the movement can be changed—slow eccentrics or a lot of speed initially to generate more momentum. Weight can be added by holding an implement or using an elastic band over the back of the neck. Back extension can be added as well by beginning with the back relaxed rather than already extended. Finally, the upper back can be held in a rounded position to further emphasize hamstring contraction.


March 29 2018
I wrote an article about this exercise, and how it can be beneficial for older trainees - it's very joint friendly but still let's you work a maximum of posterior chain muscle mass. Any comment on why that's the case? https://fitatmidlife.com/i-love-the-glute-ham-raise/