If you’re lucky enough to have access to a glute-ham raise at your gym, then this is one machine you should definitely familiarise yourself with.
When performed correctly (which unfortunately it rarely is) the glute-ham raise is a powerful posterior-chain exercise that works your glutes, hamstrings, lower back and calves. It is considered one of the best exercises for developing explosiveness in the hamstrings, making it key for anyone looking to improve their speed and power for running or jumping. It is also an extremely useful accessory exercise to help strengthen your squat, deadlift and clean.
– Your feet should be wedged into the footplate with your heels supported against the rollers and your knees positioned just behind the pad;
– Start with your body in a straight line. Keeping your spine neutrally aligned, flex your knees and drive them down whilst simultaneously driving your toes into the plate, to pull the body upright.
– Slowly descend to the starting position, keeping your back straight at all times.
When working as a knee flexor, as it is in this movement, the hamstring is predominately a fast twitch muscle meaning it will fatigue quickly. I would therefore recommended you limit each set to a maximum of 8 reps.
The glute-ham machine can also be used to perform horizontal back extensions and reverse hypers, as shown in the video below, which are two equally important posterior-chain exercises.