5 Effective Alternatives to Lifting the Glute Ham Raise (with Pictures!) (2023)

Last update:

17 January 2023

The glute ham raise is an additional compound exercise, generally performed with the help of a machine, to work the entire posterior chain of the lower body, hence the name "glute ham raise".

Despite its relatively simple form and low impact, the glute ham raise may need to be substituted in a training program for a variety of reasons, attributable either to the glute ham raise itself or to reasons related to the lifter and their training goals.

Fortunately, there are a variety of glute ham raise alternatives - most of which are able to meet whatever demands the exerciser's training goals or health condition may have, allowing them to achieve the same training stimulus with little additional effort to maintain.

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Why should the glute ham raise be alternated?

Although the glute ham raise is relatively safe to perform and less complex, it can present several issues that can make it difficult or even dangerous to perform for certain individuals.

The biggest and most common of these complaints is the fact that most beginner glute ham raise machines are quite complicated, as the mechanics and shape cues involved require at least a rudimentary understanding of the lifter's own unique body kinetics.

(Video) "Natural" Glute Ham Raise (GHR) Alternatives - Bulletproof Your Hamstrings

5 Effective Alternatives to Lifting the Glute Ham Raise (with Pictures!) (1)

Otherwise, if done improperly, the glute ham raise can result in less effective posterior chain training as other muscle groups begin to take on the resisting load - defeating the entire purpose of the movement.

Additionally, the glute ham raise machine can be quite difficult for some individuals to gain access to as it is not common in most commercial gyms.

These two reasons above account for nearly all instances where the glute ham raise is substituted in a training program, and fortunately are relatively easy to fix with a suitable alternate exercise.

How to find a suitable glute ham raise alternative

The most important factor to look for when selecting a possible alternative glute ham raise lifting exercise is its ability to induce an effective training stimulus for the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, as well as the various muscle groups of the hamstrings.

In general, exercises that activate these muscle groups to some degree often share many characteristics with the glute ham raise itself -- as in the case of form, mechanics, and relative intensity.

For individuals who choose to substitute the glute ham raise due to injuries, it's important to choose a potential alternative that has little or no risk of worsening those injuries - generally by doing a choose with less impact and less resistance.

How to code for a glute ham raise alternative

The glute ham raise is generally performed as a secondary compound movement after more intense posterior chain activation exercises have already been completed, with movements such as the deadlift, squat, leg press, or hack squat usually taking precedence over the glute ham raise itself .

Therefore, it is important that the trainee maintain the same program structure when replacing the glute ham raise with an alternative movement with a similar muscle group activation pattern and complexity.

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However, if the reason for alternating the glute ham raise in the first place is the need for more or less intense training, subsequent reprogramming of the training routine may be necessary—either to maintain the same training stimulus, or with it the same training results, or to Prevent overtraining and injuries by reducing overall effort.

Best Alternative to Glute Ham Raise for Training: The Good Morning

In the context of athletic training, bodybuilding, or general health improvement, the best possible alternative to the glute ham raise is an exercise known as "good morning," which is a compound movement using free weights and a muscle group activation set associated with the Glute-Ham is identical to Raise, albeit with a few key differences.

5 Effective Alternatives to Lifting the Glute Ham Raise (with Pictures!) (3)
(Video) 45 Degree Glute Ham Raise

Chief among these is the resistance load of the exercise, where the freeweight nature of the Good Morning forces the exerciser's back and legs to stabilize and withstand the full weight of the barbell, making it a highly unsuitable exercise for the majority of physiques makes rehabilitation patients or others with physical injuries.

As an extension of this trait, the good morning exercise is also significantly more intense than the glute ham raise, both due to the aforementioned free weight movement type and the relative angle of resistance it imposes on the body, thereby exerting significantly more shear stress will and pressure on the posterior chain and spine.

This often requires that the subsequent intensity of other exercises targeting the same muscle groups be reduced in the workout to avoid overtraining and any risk of injury.

These factors aside, the Good Morning workout is among the best possible posterior chain training exercises in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and intensity (when done correctly).

If you decide to substitute the good morning for the glute ham raise, a recommended range of reps per set would be 5 to 8 reps, since higher volume can tire the smaller stabilizer muscles of the lower back and put the lifter at risk.

Hamstring Focused Glute Ham Raise Alternativen

One of the three primary muscle groups used in the glute ham raise exercise are the hamstrings — a group of three muscles located at the back of the leg and responsible for knee flexion and lower limb extension are responsible.

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So if you're looking for a possible alternative to the glute ham raise, choosing an exercise that utilizes this mechanic in its form will help reproduce the same training stimulus you would find in the glute ham raise—usually with the added benefit of thus activating the glutes to some degree.

1. Hamstring Curl Machine

One of the few isolation hamstring exercises available is the hamstring curl machine, a closed kinetic chain movement in which the exerciser lies prone over the bench of a machine while hooking their feet under a padded bar with the help of it He curls up towards his body using your hamstrings as the only source of strength during the exercise.

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This makes the hamstring curl machine an effective alternative exercise for individuals who want to avoid activating other muscle groups normally involved in glute ham raises, or for exercisers looking for a more targeted approach to doing this - although this may be additional Isolation exercises required.

In terms of volume and resistance, the isolation style of the hamstring curl requires the lifter to apply significantly less resistance—along with a higher number of reps per set to avoid overuse hamstring injury.

2. Side lunges

A dynamic calisthenic exercise commonly performed as part of low-impact or athletic training programsein Teil des Bewegungsbereichs rehabilitierende BewegungFor example, the side lunge is performed by the exerciser simply taking a swinging step to the side while flexing the moving leg to induce muscle activation.

(Video) Glute Ham Raise Alternatives

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The side lunge is an excellent alternative for lifters who want to maintain the same muscle group activation set as the glute ham raise, but at a significantly lower intensity level and a freer range of motion that allows them to perform the exercise more comfortably.

As a calisthenic exercise that uses much of the lower body to an intermediate level, the side lunge can also be a viable alternative for people who find the resistance of the glute ham raise too intense, such as the glute ham raise. B. Beginners or advanced age.

When deciding to replace the side lunge with glute ham raises, a direct one-to-one volume ratio can be used, requiring no additional reprogramming of the workout routine, except in cases where the side lunge is not sufficient Training stimulus for the trainee causes training goals.

3. Reverse Hyperextensions

Performed using a reverse hyperextension machine or simply a bench and the trainee's own core strength, the reverse hyperextension is a compound bodyweight movementprimarily trains the glutes and hamstrings eccentrically, making it an excellent complement exercise to deadlifts and squats.

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Reverse hyperextensions are the most appropriate hamstring-focused alternative to the glute ham raise for powerlifters, athletes, and general gym-goers looking for a movement that replicates the training stimulus and muscle group activation pattern of the glute ham raise with some of its drawbacks.

This is made possible by the freedom of movement of the reverse hyperextension – in addition to the fact that it puts significantly less stress on the lower back, which also allows a slightly looser form to be used.

Glutes Focused Glute Ham Raise Alternativen

The glutes, a pair of muscles that form the buttocks, are one of the primary movement muscle groups used in the glute ham raise - responsible for both the eccentric and concentric portions of the rep, especially in the middle of each phase.

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Therefore, any alternative exercise to the glute ham raise must also train that particular muscle group to some degree, with most glute training exercises also involving other muscle groups normally involved in the glute ham raise.

4. Barbell hip thrusts

One of those connectionsButt-focused exercisesis the barbell hip thrust, a mainstay of many glute and hamstring workouts that surpasses the glute-ham raise in intensity and efficiency - both due to its free weight nature and the mechanics involved in the exercise.

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(Video) Glute Ham Raise - Fitness Gym Training

As such, the barbell hip thrust is among the most suitable alternative exercises for individuals looking to replace the glute ham raise with an exercise that has a more intense training stimulus, as well as an exercise that recruits stabilizing muscle groups to a greater capacity - something that has been lost goes during most machine exercises.

The main disadvantage of the barbell hip thrust lies in the equipment required to perform it, with a barbell, a set of weight plates and an elevated but comfortable platform such as a bench all being important in achieving the correct training stimulus type and angle of the resistance.

5. Glute Bridges

Mechanically and visually similar to the barbell hip thrust but without any type of equipment, glute bridges are primarily a bodyweight exercise focused on the goalthe glutes, lower back, hip adductors, and hamstringsfor the purposes of a low-impact training stimulus or physical rehabilitation.

As an alternative to the glute ham raise movement, the glute bridge is best suited for patients undergoing physical rehabilitation who are seeking to increase or restore the range of motion of goniometric hip flexion—although this may not be the case for patients with a history or current conditions of the lower limb back applies.

5 Effective Alternatives to Lifting the Glute Ham Raise (with Pictures!) (10)

Beyond the realm of physical training, the glute bridge is best suited as an alternative to the glute ham raise when the lifter is looking for a significantly less intense compound movement that retains the same mechanics and muscle group activation pattern.

Additionally, the glute bridge can be used as an auxiliary movement in a role quite similar to the glute ham raise - with the lifter performing the auxiliary movement after completing more intense compound movements that essentially target the same muscle groups to induce additional training stimuli.

The only difference between the two exercises in this context is the lower resistance induced by the glute ham raise, which can be solved by adding rep volume or increasing intensity in the compound movements mentioned earlier.


1. De Ridder EM, Van Oosterwijck JO, Vleeming A, Vanderstraeten GG, Danneels LA. Posterior muscle chain activity during various stretching exercises: an observational study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorder. Jul 9, 2013;14:204. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-14-204. PMID: 23834759; PMC ID: PMC3716991.

2. Vigotsky AD, Harper EN, Ryan DR, Contreras B. Effects of exercise on good morning kinematics and EMG activity. peerJ. Jan 6, 2015;3:e708. doi: 10.7717/peerj.708. PMID: 25653899; PMC ID: PMC4304869.

3. Neto WK, Vieira TL, Gama EF. Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscle Activation, and Performance: A Systematic Review. J Sports Sci Med. 1 Jun 2019;18(2):198-206. PMID: 31191088; PMC ID: PMC6544005.

4. Neto WK, Soares EG, Vieira TL, Aguiar R, Chola TA, Sampaio VL, Gama EF. Activation of the gluteus maximus during joint strength and hypertrophy exercises: A systematic review. J Sports Sci Med 24 Feb 2020;19(1):195-203. PMID: 32132843; PMC ID: PMC7039033.

(Video) Glute Ham Raise And Alternatives!

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What is an alternative to hip thrusts? ›

Exercises such as cable pull throughs, hip extensions, single leg hip thrusts, trap bar deadlifts, and kettlebell swings are all alternatives to the barbell hip thrust.

How to do ghd without equipment? ›

There are three alternative ways to perform the glute-ham raise or nordic curl exercise without the use of a machine. You can perform a glute-ham raise with a partner assist, using a Kaiji glute-ham strap, using a Barbell Strap, using a lat pulldown seat, or using a barbell by a power rack.

What can I use instead of a lateral raise machine? ›

Sit on a bench while leaning moderately forward with dumbbells in your hands and palms facing one another directly under your shoulders. Keeping your arms straight, exhale and raise the dumbbells out to your sides and towards your upper back simultaneously with a shrugging motion.

How do you work your glutes without equipment? ›

Don't worry, you don't need anything fancy to get a good glute workout. In fact, you don't need weights to work your backside at all.
Mix 4 to 5 of these exercises for a kick-butt workout (pun intended)
  1. Squat. ...
  2. Reverse leg lift. ...
  3. Curtsy squat. ...
  4. Split squat. ...
  5. Step-up. ...
  6. Leg kickbacks. ...
  7. Superman. ...
  8. Bridge.
Apr 15, 2019

What exercise works the same muscles as hip thrusts? ›

Bulgarian Split Squats

The hamstring, calf, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus all act as stabilizers to keep you upright. And like the hip thrust, the elevated split squat gives you a large range of motion to get a pre-stretch on the glutes before the contraction.

Can you grow glutes without hip thrusts? ›

Can you grow your glutes without doing hip thrusts? Absolutely! Although the hip thrust is a reliable way to build a stronger and more muscular backside, there are other options out there. The glute bridge is a great exercise for beginners and can cranked up easily in terms of difficulty.

How do you do a hip thrust at home without equipment? ›

How to do the dumbbell hip thrust:
  1. Sit on the floor with your back to a bench (or a sturdy step or even your couch). ...
  2. Drive through your heels to lift your hips up toward the ceiling, keeping your upper back in place against the bench.
  3. Pause and squeeze your glutes at the top.
Aug 8, 2022

Are glute ham raises necessary? ›

Glute-ham raises are an effective posterior chain exercise.

No matter your fitness level, having a strong posterior chain is vital to injury prevention in your strength-training routine.

What to use if you don't have a bench for hip thrusts? ›

Use Your Couch

A couch provides a good height and a good amount of padding to perform a hip thrust. Start with your back against the couch. Place the bottom of your shoulder blades at the edge. Feet on the floor.


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