now appears that the way most people execute the glute-ham raise it is not a
true glute-ham raise. In essence, they are doing a reverse knee curl which is
great for the hamstrings and the lower hamstring tendons that cross the knee
joint. But this exercise does little for the hamstrings and glutes at the hip
joint which is most important for athletes. Because of this athletes are still
experiencing hamstring injuries in spite of doing this exercise. And perhaps
even more importantly, they are not getting the benefits possible to improve
performance on the field.
I introduced to the glute-ham-gastroc raise back in the 1980s I have seen this
exercise gradually evolve into the reverse knee curl. Rather than the shin being in motion, as in a typical knee curl
exercise, we see the thigh -- and the rest of the body in line with the thigh
-- in motion. It may look different but it is the same joint action at the
am the one who came up with this exercise, I speak with quite a bit of
knowledge about how it should be executed and what it does for the athlete. I
originally called it the glute-ham-gastroc raise because it strongly involves
all three of these muscles when done correctly. I guess coaches thought this title was too long so they gradually
changed the name to glute-ham so it would sound different. In the process they also changed how the
exercise was executed.
helps to explain why the development that athletes are receiving is far from
what they should be getting. It is
also why many athletes still experience hamstring pulls even though they do the
“glute-ham” exercise. They are not
developing the hamstring in a manner that prevents injury or enhances
done correctly there is very strong contraction and involvement of the
hamstrings at both the knee and hip joints, as well as the glutes at the hip
joint and gastrocnemius at the knee joint. The way the exercise is presently
being done i.e., as a reverse knee (leg) curl, there is only strong involvement
of the hamstrings and the lower tendons of the hamstring. Because only one
major joint is involved in execution, it is much easier than the correct and
effective glute-ham-gastroc raise. This is another key reason why most coaches
and athletes gradually changed to this method of executing the exercise.
by becoming easier the exercise also became less effective. When done
correctly, however, you will or should experience a feeling that you do not get
on any other exercise. In the beginning stages of learning this exercise you
usually let out an involuntary loud yell or groan when you execute the knee
curl portion of the exercise. In fact, this is one way to gauge if the exercise
is done correctly in the beginning stages of mastery. When done correctly,
coaches and athletes who commonly brag about doing 30 or 40 repetitions in a
workout are barely able to do one or two.
is a tough exercise in the early stages. But when you gain sufficient strength
of the hamstring at both hip and knee joints, then the exercise becomes easier
and gives you the benefits that are possible. This means beginning the exercise in a trunk down position
so that it is basically perpendicular or as close to perpendicular as possible
to the legs. You then raise the trunk with an arched back. This action very
strongly involves the glutes and upper hamstrings.
you reach the level position or slightly above with the legs still straight,
you then flex the knees to bring in the lower hamstrings while the upper
hamstring is still under maximum contraction. This is how you get a double
maximal contraction of the hamstring and experience a feeling you never had
before. In essence, it should be considered a compound exercise that works the
hamstring muscle at both ends in sequence.
is not possible when you begin with a straight body from the knees to the head
and only use knee flexion in execution of the exercise. This applies to not
only execution on the Glute Ham machine, but also to execution on the floor. In
essence they are both the same when executed with only knee flexion. This is
why the best name for this exercise is the reverse knee or leg curl. It is not a glute-ham-gastroc raise
which gives you maximum benefits not only in improving sports skills but in the
prevention of hamstring injuries.
important for effective execution is to have a pad on the Glute Ham machine
that allows you to correctly position the hips to get the axis in the hip
joint. Bigger and rounder pads are great for doing the reverse knee curl but
they are not very effective for correct positioning and execution of the glute-ham-gastroc
raise. Many makes of machines also have insufficient adjustability to allow for
correct positioning of the feet which plays a major role in exercise intensity.
some cases, ineffective technique is mandated because of the machine that is
being used. The machine may not
have sufficient adjustability or the support pad may not allow for overall correct
positioning, especially for athletes of different heights. Most glaring, however, is the lack of
proper technique when doing the exercise.
prepare themselves to do the exercise most effectively athletes should do
supplementary exercises that are mostly possible on the Yessis Glute Ham Back Machine. This includes back raises and hip
extensions and its variations.
These exercises can properly prepare the athletes for effective
execution of the glute-ham-gastroc raise to produce the phenomenal results
Note however, that most machines do not
allow you to achieve the proper positioning to do these supplementary
exercises. Without the physical preparation to do the exercise most
effectively, many people have
resorted to only doing the knee curl in the name of a glute-ham-gastroc raise.