The glute-ham raise machine is like the unicorn of the gym. Something magical that you’ve only ever heard of, but have never seen.
For those of you who are not familiar with this contraption, it looks like this:
And this is how you use it:
It’s one of the most challenging ways to train your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. I’ve never actually seen a glute-ham raise machine in person. Fortunately, that’s not a problem because there are a couple of ways you can do a glute-ham raise without the machine. Right now I’m just going to go over one of them.
But first, a warning. This is advanced exercise. Not because it’s complicated or the movement is hard to figure out, but simply because it’s just plain HARD. If you’ve never done it before, you will be sore the next day. And chances are that while executing this move you are going to feel some strain in your knee pits. This is because the muscles and tendons in that area aren’t used to working that hard. Just take it easy when you’re first starting off, and keep at it. With time you’ll stop getting sore.
That being said, if you’re feeling confident, give it a go! It’s an incredible way to work your posterior chain, and once you actually try it you’ll see why. Even if you aren’t strong enough to complete them in the full range of motion, just do the best you can.
The easiest (and by easiest, I mean least complicated) way to do this exercise is with a partner, a towel, and a mat. Obviously, lay down the mat. I’d advise rolling up the towel to make it thick, because you are going to be kneeling on it. Your knees are going to need as much cushion as possible.
Here’s a video of me executing the exercise. Don’t make fun of me too much. It’s my first video!
Most importantly, when you are coming back up, don’t rely too heavily on your arms to push you. You really want to be focusing on your glutes and hamstrings to pull you back to the starting position, not the momentum created by pushing off the floor. If you aren’t feeling it in your hamstrings/butt, then you are pushing too hard.
Here’s a photo breakdown with directions:
If you can only lower yourself a few inches before you need to use your hands for support, that’s fine. As you progress, you’ll be able to go lower and lower.
If you don’t have a partner, you can always try putting something heavy over your ankles to keep you stable. I’ve seen people do it with barbells, but it’s a bit awkward.
Next time I’ll be covering how to do this exercise at the gym on an ab bench.
So that’s it! Now go do them so you can feel like slapping me for ever suggesting it 😀