It is.

The GHR, or Glute Ham Raise is the only exercise the provides, in the words of Fred Hatfield, “a unilateral co-contraction of the hamstrings at the origin and the insertion”.

EliteFTS Glute Ham Raise GHR, GHD


And it's not a damn GHD, Glute Ham Developer.

Why change a perfectly good name for an exercise to soemthoing dumb?

That means it is the only one the fully contracts your hamstring all at once.
That makes it the best.

It is also, as the Yuppies say, scaleable.
The GHR can be regressed for those who cannot do one, and progressed to make it virtually impossible for those who are really strong.

Really, it’s that good and that important.

On the Q&A we get questions all the time about what equipment to get or how to replace and exercise.
The GHR is ALWAYS on the list of must haves.

When it comes to exercise substitutions, generally you can swap out many exercises, but for this one, I say to save your money and get a bench.

Really, it’s that important.

The GHR will carry over to your squat and deadlift like nothing else.

It will help your Cleans and Snatches too.

Your Posterior Chain (glutes, hamstrings, lower back and gastoc) needs to be trained as a unit.
It works as a unit doesn’t it?
It is also 50% of your lower body.

Training your Posterior Chain is pretty important.

Might as well do it right.

To do it right, you need to learn it in steps.

The back raise is the first part of the exercise.

The back raise. Master this part first.

The back raise.
Master this part first.

The leg curl is the second.

From the top of the back raise, think about doing a leg curl to get here.

From the top of the back raise, think about doing a leg curl to get here.

Bracing your abs needs to be done the entire time.

It is really imperative that you don’t arch your back on these, you are not working the erectors directly, you are working the chain.

Don't finish like this!

Don't finish like this!


TPS GHR (13)

Smothered in wrong sauce.




Watch the video below to see how to master them.

If you can’t do a GHR, regress it as shown in the videos below.

We like to use bands for this.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, let’s look at the two basic variations:

Full GHR:


The Full GHR is the one where we do a back raise first and then the leg curl after.
These are what Hatfield is referring to as the most complete exercise for the hamstrings.
The cool part is the get the erectors, gastroc and glutes too.

Top Only or Leg Curl GHR:


Pretty easy to surmise this is where you start at the top and lower yourself down to parallel and then come back up, skipping the back raise portion.
This version is pure hamstrings and may make you cry or jump off the bench with hammy cramps or a gastroc cramp too if you’re lucky.

Which one should you do?

This is easy.

Do them both.

Try Full GHR’s for a few weeks and then shock the body and keep the muscles guessing like in Dodgeball and do the Leg Curl GHR for a few weeks.


Do each one once a week on different days.


The easiest way to make this harder or to increase the lever.

Hold your arms at the side of your head and touch your fingers to your ears.



That will make it harder.

Not hard enough? (That’s what she said.)

Go to Long Lever GHR’s.

Straighten your arms all the way out as if you were flying like Superman.

Harder than it sounds.

Still not hard enough?

Add weight.

I prefer the weight to be behind the head instead of at the chest.

TPS GHR (14)

Holding it at the chest makes it easier to lose the abdominal brace and you’ll be more likely to arch up into it.
Holding it behind your head allows you to keep the brace and do it right.
Holding it behind your head is also a lot harder than at the chest.

Other ways:

You can replace the weight with a band around your neck.

You can raise the footplate. It gets harder the higher it goes.

You can jack the ass end of the bench up on boxes or plates.

Why Dave doesn’t make a GHR that has a pop pin adjustment for this I’ll never know.

That’s all I have for now.

If you don’t have a GHR, save your pennies or get a new gym.
Luckily, TPS has four of them.
Really, it’s that important.
Ask me a question-Be sure and Type to Murph in the header

Find me on Google-search for Total Performance Sports Malden, Mass. The Best Gym in Boston, Facebook too.

Oh, yeah, follow us on Instagram too. TPSMalden



Vincere vel mori

Total Performance Sports