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Coach Sommer

GHR - A Bodyweight Leg Curl

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Coach Sommer

trvd6vsIE2o

Much of an athlete's ability to jump explosively resides in his glutes and lower back. GHRs (glute ham raises) are an excellent movement for developing these two area simultaneously.

First however, be forewarned; that while GHRs are incredibly beneficial for the serious athlete, they are also tremendously difficult. Ultimately you will be leg curling your entire bodyweight with this exercise. And if over the years you have perhaps partaken a little too much of your favorite evening respite and perhaps exercised a little too little - your hamstrings may protest rather forcefully the new task being assigned to them. No matter, the hamstrings will adjust and improve in time; simply be patient and step back or rest as necessary.

Lying prone, secure your feet firmly behind you and then arrange yourself so that your hips are on the edge of whatever support you have chosen. This may be a GHR unit, a box, a bench or even a vaulting table as shown in the video demonstration below. It would be most helpful, especially in the beginning, if the support you have chosen will allow you to grip it somewhere nearby your waist. This will enable you to self-spot this movement until your strength improves to the point where you can perform GHRs unassisted.

Now allow your chest to drop forward until you are hanging vertically upside down and then, utilizing the lower back, lift the torso up to horizontal. Upon reaching horizontal begin to raise yourself to vertical by strongly contracting the hamstrings. Continue curling with the hamstrings until you are sitting completely upright. Pause and then descend back to the bottom to begin another repetition.

Alongside with your arms, the speed of your movement can also be a highly effective method of assistance. Adding a little speed or momentum will make the GHRs much easier initially. Simply be conscientious in reducing the amount of momentum used as your strength increases.

In addition, the more you pike the hips and bend forward during the ascent, the easier the leg curl will be. Over time strive to develop the ability to perform the leg curl portion of the GHR with a perfectly straight body.

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer

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Scott Malin

neat, i'll try this in the morning.

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Guest Valentin

WARNING WARNING!!! this exercise it not conditioning its torture haha. I remember i used to do these...well i did them once (been to scared to try since) and i got carried away and tried a little to hard, and it took me like 10days for the DOMS to subside so that i could walk normally again. We used to have our kids do these, and i think it is time to bring them back into the plan.

Thanks for the exercises Coach Sommer. What does GHR stand for by the way?

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Scott Malin

thanks for the warning...I'll be sure to have all my clients do um! ;)

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Edward Smith

so the only real difference between this and the bodyweight hamstring is the pike at the bottom of the movement. So Coach would you suggest performing the GHR over the Hamstring Curl?

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Gregor

That is incredible exercise. Try it if you dare :lol::lol:

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Edward Smith

GHR stands for glute ham raise.

A pointer for performing these or Bodyweight hamstring curls, don't anchor yourself by the toes otherwise you will experience spectacular calf cramps.

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Alex

Been doing these for a couple of years now, nothing like em!

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shiftedShapes

used to do these on a GHR machine with the calf plate, now I don't have access to it anymore. I worry though that this variation would put a lot of pressure on the knee caps.

Thanks for the new essay.

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Ortprod

I did these during my Westside Barbell phase of training. I was surprised that, despite the fact I can pull 2.5x my bw in a deadlift, these were SOOOO difficult.

Awesome post Coach! I was wondering about the leg exercises you did with your group.

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Scott Malin

I was hugely excited this morning to see GHR's on the workout sheet we were to take the football team through. Then I found out that their version of a GHR was some pathetic regression my dead grandmother could do. :( I'll haveta introduce the real thing here soon and fix that gross error. Wouldn't want the guys missing out on the full experience!

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bthammer45

There are progressions to everything from shoulder presses to this it all deals with leverage.

Start with this get a belt (make sure it can hold your weight) and tie it up to your ankles

to make this a progression have a knee bent position like in the begining and simple bend forward and slowly as you get stronger add more and more leverage (or you could hold a weight in your hands) and you can also use negatives as this is a really hard excerses if you try to take it on right away.

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Amebix138

I dont know if this is already something people here are aware of, but if you get your feet pressed up against a wall or some other flat object it makes GHR alot easier.

"The knee flexion is completeable because the feet are blocked by the plate, enabling the calf muscles to contribute their proximal function to the knee flexion." - Starting Strength 2e, Mark Rippetoe.

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Mika Reini

Is this ghr exercise a compound (2 or more joints are worked) movement or a isolated movement (one joint worked)? :?: Just doing natural leg curl, it can not be compound movement. But in ghr you use your kneejoint and hip joint during movement. So is that movement still isolated (in this site, http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Ham ... Raise.html , they say that it is isolated, but i cannot believe it(then it will not be functional movement :( ))???

Would i be better off doing something else for back muscles+glutes+hamstrings(and maybe, +calves)? Like with free weigths? Like Cleans, deadlifts, sandbag shouldering or dumbbell swings? Or do get very strong (like real life strong) with ghr?

What kind of eguipment i should buy/build for ghr exercise? Would it be big? I dount have room for very big "machine" in my home. :x

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Blairbob

Mikke, you can do these with an adjustable doorframe pullup bar lowered close to the ground to hold the feet. I've also been able to put my feet underneath a couch and do it.

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Mika Reini

But those are bodyweigth leg gurls (isolated movement). Is it not better to do compound movement instead.. like glute ham raise (if it is compound movement, is it?)? It (bodyweigth leg curl) is like doing bicep curl and i can not see any point in there (better do rows and pull ups etc).

Am I right?

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Guest cccp21
GHR.jpg

Much of an athlete's ability to jump explosively resides in his glutes and lower back. GHRs (glute ham raises) are an excellent movement for developing these two area simultaneously.

First however, be forewarned; that while GHRs are incredibly beneficial for the serious athlete, they are also tremendously difficult. Ultimately you will be leg curling your entire bodyweight with this exercise. And if over the years you have perhaps partaken a little too much of your favorite evening respite and perhaps exercised a little too little - your hamstrings may protest rather forcefully the new task being assigned to them. No matter, the hamstrings will adjust and improve in time; simply be patient and step back or rest as necessary.

Lying prone, secure your feet firmly behind you and then arrange yourself so that your hips are on the edge of whatever support you have chosen. This may be a GHR unit, a box, a bench or even a vaulting table as shown in the video demonstration below. It would be most helpful, especially in the beginning, if the support you have chosen will allow you to grip it somewhere nearby your waist. This will enable you to self-spot this movement until your strength improves to the point where you can perform GHRs unassisted.

Now allow your chest to drop forward until you are hanging vertically upside down and then, utilizing the lower back, lift the torso up to horizontal. Upon reaching horizontal begin to raise yourself to vertical by strongly contracting the hamstrings. Continue curling with the hamstrings until you are sitting completely upright. Pause and then descend back to the bottom to begin another repetition.

Alongside with your arms, the speed of your movement can also be a highly effective method of assistance. Adding a little speed or momentum will make the GHRs much easier initially. Simply be conscientious in reducing the amount of momentum used as your strength increases.

In addition, the more you pike the hips and bend forward during the ascent, the easier the leg curl will be. Over time strive to develop the ability to perform the leg curl portion of the GHR with a perfectly straight body.

trvd6vsIE2o

Yours in Fitness,

Coach Sommer[/quote

*********** Will knee curls on machine help?

Brandon Green

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Ortprod

I would guess that is the equivalent to lat pulldowns vs pullups.

A full glute/ham raise (full bodyweight) is quite difficult, I don't consider it anymore or an isolation exercise than inverted chins or tiger bend pushups.

Just my opinion.

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Nicholas Sortino

I've run into something of an issue when doing these on a GHR/GHD machine. If i adjust the butt pads so the are close enough to the anchor that my shins rest on them, this movement looks very similar to the one in the video, but it put a lot of pressure on my knees (not to mention very very difficult). There is also nothing for the quads to rest on in the bottom of the movement. When doing these I can only do fairly pathetic Half GHRs.

My other option is to extend the pads some so my knees rest at the base of the pads when in the top position. This makes the exercise significantly easier though as now when I go down, my quads rest on the pads almost the entire time. In this form I can do full GHRs for reps and could probably add a few pounds.

What is the better option here? The second one definitely feels safer for my knees but much less of a workout. Should I just do that one and add weight to it, or stick with the harder evolution and just stop if I feel too much pressure?

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Joshua Naterman

i wish I could see a picture of what you are doing, it's hard to imagine. Every machine is different.I don't think you want your knees to be unsupported. I have been doing half GHR and NLC on the floor, and between that and the sprints that we have been doing I have gotten insanely strong.

Last Friday I got bored in the gym and ended up curious about what I could lift on a freewight back extention bench. It's one of the ones with a 45 degree angle, not horizontal. I started off light with 90 lbs, as my previous best on this equipment about a year ago was maybe 180 lbs for 5 reps, but it felt bad on my hamstrings, like something was being strained. So long story short, 225 felt just about as easy as 90 lbs. I didn't have a convenient way to load up more weight, as six 45 lb plates starts to get unwieldy. I just thought I would share that, since I was quite surprised at the rather large strength jump.

I will post a video of this sometime soon, it looks pretty silly.

Anyhow, I don't know how your quads could be resting on the pads nearly all the way down unless you're on some kind of machine with a funky angle. How does that work?

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Nicholas Sortino

I will have to wait till thursday when my wife gets in town to take pictures. It is pretty hard to explain I guess.

Here is a link to the GHD machine I own. The distance between can be adjusted as can the height of both side. As an aside, I can also take the pad out and put in safeties for squatting and benching. It is a pretty handy little set-up. The price is pretty incredible too. Only issue with it is it sometimes likes to give me a pain in the rear when I try to adjust the width. Some WD40 made it a lot better though :mrgreen:

Back on topic, either my shins rest on top of the pads and I have little knee support, or my knees rest at the bottom edge of the pads and my quads have too much support.

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Joshua Naterman

Wow, that is pretty sweet!

I see what you are talking about now... That's a dangerous-looking pad to try and do NLC/GHR type stuff on... I think my suggestion is to either get/make different pads for this work OR, since that is probably a huge hassle, to make a fitted top piece with very stiff foam and some plywood or something so that you can turn it into a flat block and work on that. Honestly, I think your time will be best spent by putting a 2 foot pole on the wall attached to wood support blocks that are lagged into studs. Like a low hand rail. Heck, that's probably the cheapest thing to do, put a hand rail on the bottom of your wall so that you can hook your feet into it and perform NLC/half GHR on the floor. That machine is going to be tough to really do them right on, unfortunately.

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Cole Dano

Nick that is one heck of a contraption! Did you buy that or did it somehow come your way.

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Nicholas Sortino
Nick that is one heck of a contraption! Did you buy that or did it somehow come your way.

I bought it. I work out in my "garage," so i figured $300 was something I could afford for a place to do squats, bench, dip and GHD situps. Especially considering most GHDs cost cost over $500 by themselves.

Slizz - One of my next plans is to build some stahl bars. So I suppose I can just find a piece of foam and do them with that. I would like to be able to do the bend at the waist part though, so maybe it would be worth it to build some flat pads... hmmm.

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Cole Dano

300 ok that's allot better than the listed price, sounds like a good deal.

For the natural GHRs the floor is much more realistic., You could just hook your ankles under your barbell if you can secure it from rolling, that and some thick foam for the knees of course.

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