Grow Your Hamstrings
Today we’re going to teach you all about one of our favorite lower body accessory movements for building stronger hamstrings: the glute ham raise.
This exercise is often referred to as the “glute ham calf developer,” the “glute ham raise machine,” or simply “the glute ham developer” (G.H.D.). So why is it such an awesome exercise?
It’s the only exercise that takes the hamstring through their full range of motion – from the origin at the ischial tuberosity to the insertion on the shank. Straight (or stiff) legged deadlifts result in full extension (lengthening) of the hamstrings, however not complete contraction (shortening). On the other hand, leg curls result in full contraction, but not complete extension.
How To Use the Glute Ham Developer
Set the foot plate so that you are in plantar flexion – a calf raise against the plate. At the top of the movement, hips are fully extended and the knees are bent – this is where the hamstrings are the shortest (the most contracted).
Once you’re set up, begin to straighten the knees, keeping the calves raised and pushing on the plate. Once the knees are fully straightened, bend at the hips and maintain a flat, rigid spine. Don’t “round” over. At this point, the hamstrings are fully lengthened. To come back up, do the opposite – hip extension then knee flexion.
Programming the Glute Ham Raise
Be careful the first few times you program the glute ham raise exercise. Because of the heavy eccentric component, you could become very sore.
There are three ways to progress and program the glute ham raise exercise: 1) move the foot plate closer to the pad, 2) raise the foot plate (or the entire machine) up towards the ceiling and 3) banded resistance.
Watch the video above for a complete tutorial on how to perform glute ham raises!