Game-Planning for the Glute-Ham Raise
Written on March 24, 2020 at 5:27 am, by Eric Cressey
Today’s guest post comes from Cressey Sports Performance – Massachusetts Director of Performance, John O’Neil.
Today, I’m gong to be covering a few ways to progress the glute-ham raise (GHR). We use GHR variations for hypertrophy and injury prevention, as they are a good supplementary exercise to a lifting and/or sprinting program. These variations are a nice replacement for people who struggle to do a GHR well, or, people looking for variety in a program. These variations are heavily impacted from our good friends at Resilient PT, so be sure to check them out on Instagram at @resilientPPT!
1. Glute Ham Raise ISO Hold
-Muscle Action: Isometric Hamstrings, Glutes
-Purpose: Create context for other exercises that require a the ability to create posterior pelvic tilt using your feet (i.e., deadlifts, RDLs, etc..)
-Degree of Difficulty: Beginner
-Common Rep Scheme: 3-5 reps x 5-10seconds, or, minimal reps for long duration breaths
-Common Error: Don’t set up too far away, and don’t expect to cover too much ground
2. GHR Hip Extension
-Muscle Action: Isometric Hamstrings, Eccentric to Concentric Glutes
-Purpose: Create context for hip hinging by driving your feet into the pad as you descend and ascend. Additionally, work on syncing upper and lower half tension needed on a deadlift variation.
-Degree of Difficulty: Beginner -> Intermediate
-Common Rep Scheme: 6-10 Reps
-Common Error: Don’t go for speed. The goal is to feel tension throughout the movement. Additionally, make sure to achieve full hip extension at the top of the movement.
3. GHR Razor Curl
-Muscle Action: Eccentric -> Concentric Hamstrings, Isometric (mid-range) glutes
-Purpose: Hamstring hypertrophy. By avoiding full hip extension, the stress of the activity is placed purely on the hamstrings.
-Degree of Difficulty: Advanced
-Common Rep Scheme: I’ll typically program this as an RPE. For example, if I write 9 RPE, it’s assumed that you go 1 rep shy of technical failure. Other ways to write this include (Max – 1) or 1 Rep in Reserve (RIR). Take this close to failure to make it a hypertrophy focused exercise. I’ve seen an athlete go from 3 reps in week 1 to 17 in week 3, so, don’t assume one rep scheme for a 4-week block.
-Common Error: Don’t go for speed on the eccentric, and really reach your body out into full knee extension to assure that you hit the distal fibers of the hamstrings. Also, don’t cheat it by coming up into hip extension at the top and keep the tension.
4. GHR Waterfall
-Muscle Action: Eccentric -> Concentric Hamstrings and Glutes
-Purpose: Hamstring and glute hypertrophy.
-Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate -> Advanced. Slightly easier than the razor curl for two reasons – one, the eccentric is with gravity, and two, achieving full hip extension at the top gives you a moment of releasing tension from the hamstrings.
-Common Rep Scheme: Same as the razor curl. Typically better formatted as an RPE or RIR.
-Common Error: Don’t rely on momentum to bounce out of the bottom. You want to feel your feet leading the movement from the bottom of the motion.
5. Decline, Incline, Band-Assist, Band-Reach, Load
If you want to make any GHR variation easier, decline the machine (elevate the front). To make it harder, incline the machine (elevate the back). Depending on the machine, you might be able to fit a band behind the back and either hold it or wrap it around your body to unload the bottom of the motion and provide more of an elastic component upon the return to the top.
To make the motion harder, adding a banded reach or adding load (holding a weight or using a weighted vest) will add to the eccentric stress and make the concentric motion more difficult.
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