The 7 best alternatives to glute ham raises (2023)

Glute ham raises are aExercise used to work the major muscle groupsthe back chain. Muscles in this area include the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Glute ham raises are performed by lying face down on a GHD machine, similar to a bench press, with the hips bent 90 degrees. A pad is placed behind your ankles for support. Your arms are stretched out on the same side as your legs.

The glute ham raise strengthens the muscles that are important for posture because they are resistinganterior pelvic tilt(Anterior pelvic tilt is when the lower back curves too much due to tight hip flexors). People who sit too much during the day have weak glutes compared to stronger hamstrings, which is why glute ham raises are sometimes included in injury prevention programs.

While this is a great exercise, there are some other alternatives to the glute ham raise that you shouldn't overlook.

But first, let's take a look at the main benefits of the glute ham raise exercise.

10 Benefits of Glute Ham Raise Exercise

Glute ham raises have many benefits. The 10 most important are:

1. Glute ham raises promote postural improvement

Glute ham raises strengthen muscles in the posterior chain, including the glutes, calves, and hamstrings. When these three muscle groups are strengthened, they prevent anterior pelvic tilt, which means the lower back curves too much due to tight hip flexors pulling the front of the pelvis forward.

2. Glute Ham increases aid in injury prevention programs

Injury prevention programs often include a glute strengthening component, which helps correct the forward tilt of the pelvis and prevent related injuries like sciatica or hamstring strains by lowering your risk of injury.

3. Glute ham raises build balance and coordination

Performing glute ham raises builds coordination in the body because it takes upper body strength to be able to lower your upper body while also using your hamstrings and calves.

4. Glute ham raises work more than just the posterior chain muscles

Glute ham raises work more than three posterior chain muscles, they also help strengthen the iliopsoas muscles responsible for hip flexion. If you have strong glutes, you'll have better balance when attempting things that require a lot of core strength, like squats or deadlifts. In addition, strengthening these two groups can prevent pain associated with a diseased iliopsoas muscle.

5. Glute ham raises increase core strength

Glute ham raises build the core muscles of the body to keep the upper body upright while using your glutes and hamstrings to perform reps in a controlled manner. A strong core increases balance when performing functional movements, which in turn helps prevent injury. They also improve their ability to lift heavy weights with good form due to increased strength from a stronger core.

6. Glute ham raises improve vertical jumping ability

Performing glute ham raises not only strengthens the posterior chain muscles, but can improve vertical jump height due to the strengthening effect they have on the lower back muscles.

7. Glute ham raises improve Olympic lifts and snatches

The glute ham raise is an exercise that can help build the muscles needed for power snatching and power cleans, since both are explosive, high-intensity movements that require a large amount of hamstring strength . Both of these exercises require you to be able to explosively move your bodyweight against resistance, which involves the use of posterior chain muscles.

8. Glute ham raises reduce the risk of injury

Glute ham raises are used by many trainers as part of injury prevention programs because they reduce the risk of pain related to strain or strain in the back caused by weak glutes versus stronger hamstrings.

9. Glute Ham raises help with hypertrophy

When working on glute ham raises, they target the hamstrings and calves, meaning these muscles experience less hypertrophy overall. As a result, performing glute ham raises can help improve the size of your back muscles.

10. Glute ham raises improve hip extension ability

Performing glute ham raises builds strength in your hip extensors, allowing you to simultaneously lower and raise your torso during an explosive movement like a clean or snatch. This also avoids stress in the lumbar spine area as it increases stability throughout the posterior chain.

There are many benefits to doing glute ham raises, which is why they are often included in training programs that work on hamstring strength. Glute ham raises not only build strength, but also explosiveness, balance, coordination, strength and endurance. They are also used to reduce the risk of injuries caused by low hamstring strength relative to the glutes. Glute ham raises can also improve your Olympic lifting skills because you're targeting them to build the muscle groups needed for this explosive movement.

Glute ham raise alternatives

Some of them are better made than GHRs and some are not as good. Here we look at 7 budget-friendly alternatives:

  1. hip thrusts
  2. Nordic curls
  3. Einbeinige RDLs
  4. Stability ball leg curls
  5. cable glands
  6. Kettlebell swing
  7. Reverse hyperextension

1. Hip Thrusts

Hip thrusts are a great alternative to glute ham raises. It activates the major muscles of your posterior chain like the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. Aside from that, it also trains your hip adductors and core.

How to do the exercise:

  • Place either a squat pad or an Airex pad under a weighted barbell.
  • To add to the excitement, dig your traps into the side of the bench and keep your chest up.
  • With your toes lifted and your knees bent, place your feet further out than directly under your knees.
  • Maintain the starting position by lifting the bar 90 degrees with your hips.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings as you drive your hips up to full extension.
  • Bend hips back 90 degrees to return to starting position.

2. Nordic curls

If you want to strengthen your hamstrings, the Nordic curl is a great option. The Nordic Curl is a versatile and effective bodyweight exercise that's a great alternative to the glute ham raise to strengthen your hamstrings and prevent injury. They also attack your arms, chest, and shoulders, which is an added benefit.

The Nordic Curl is an excellent alternative for working out in the park or at home in your garage gym. Since the workout targets your hamstrings, you should expect fewer reps.

How to do the exercise:

  • Place both knees on an Airex or foam pad to make this exercise easy on your knees.
  • You can ask a partner to hold both heels tight.
  • If you don't have a partner, place both feet under a firm surface that can support a lot of weight.
  • Maintain a standing position with your torso parallel to the floor and your knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Slowly lean forward while maintaining a straight line across your back, glutes, and hamstrings. Try to resist the movement by tightening your hamstrings.
  • To return to the starting pose, gently push yourself off the floor while pulling through your heels.

3. Einbeinige RDLs

The Single Leg Romanian Deadlift (single bone RDL) is a vertical hip-hinge movement in which you balance on one leg, flex at your hips, lower your body until it's practically parallel to the floor, and then reverse the movement to return to your starting position.

This exercise will engage your glutes and hamstrings, as well as your calves. Since the exercise is performed while standing on one leg, your stability is also trained.

How to do the exercise:

  • To stand on one leg. If you're doing this exercise with extra weight, hold it in your other hand.
  • Keep your knee slightly bent on your working leg. Slowly start with a hip hinge motion, keep your chest up and extend your non-working leg behind you.
  • Once your body is parallel to the floor, use your glutes and hamstrings to pull yourself back up.

4.Leg curls with stability ball

Stability ball leg curls are another great exercise for your posterior chain: glutes, hamstrings, and your lower back. Just like many of the previous exercises, it also trains your stability.

To perform this exercise you will need a swiss ball.

How to do the exercise:

  • Place a stability ball under your heels and lie on the floor hip-width apart.
  • Straighten your hips so the ball can support your entire body weight.
  • Roll your heels back until your knees are at a 90 degree angle.
  • Return to the starting position of the exercise by straightening your legs.

5.cable glands

Acable pull-throughis another exercise that works muscles similar to the glute ham raise. It requires a cable machine to perform, but you can also use a resistance band and anchor it to something low to perform a similar move.

A major benefit of the cable pull exercise is that it keeps tension on the target muscles at the end of the exercise movement.

How to do the exercise:

  • Attach the rope to the lower setting of the cable machine. Hold one end of the rope in each hand while standing with your back to the pulley and the cable between your knees. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your knees should be slightly bent. Taking a few steps forward is a good idea.
  • Let the rope run back to the machine as far as you can by bending forward at the hips.
  • Return to an upright position by straightening your hips in one powerful motion without bending your arms. Squeeze your glutes and lock your hips.

6. Kettlebell swing

A kettlebell swing (orswing dumbbell) is probably one of the most common glute ham raise alternatives. It's become a classic exercise over the years and doesn't have a fancy setup, just a kettlebell.

How to do the exercise:

  • Start in a standing position with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell in front of you.
  • Lean forward from your hips, keeping your spine neutral and your knees slightly bent. Grab the kettlebell with both hands and pull it back between your legs.
  • Swing the kettlebell to about eye level while straightening your hips to bring them back to an upright position.
  • As you return to the starting position, swing the kettlebell between your legs.

7. Reverse hyperextension

A reverse hyperextension is another glute ham raise alternative that, in most cases, is performed using just your bodyweight. While it might look a little scary at first, it's actually not that difficult to perform.

To perform this exercise, you need to find a sturdy bench, couch, or bed that can support your weight and allow you to grip it firmly throughout the exercise.

How to do the exercise:

  • Begin by laying your body and hips on the bench and dangling your legs over the edge. To keep yourself stable, reach for the bench.
  • Extend your legs as far as possible and evenly raise them behind you as high as you can. Simultaneously push your hips into the bench. Keep your legs in the up position for a moment.
  • Return to the starting position by lowering your legs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Glute Ham Raises

1) Which muscle does a glute ham raise hit?
A glute ham raise hits muscles in the posterior chain, including the lower back, hamstring, and glutes.

2) How do you increase the difficulty of a GHR?
You can strain your body or resistance band to increase resistance. Additionally, you can try different variations like a single-leg glute bridge to further challenge your balance and core stability.

3) How Much Weight Should I Lift for the Glute Ham Raise?
You should be able to do at least 8-10 reps with just bodyweight before considering adding weight. After you get comfortable with this, you can slowly start adding extra weight that you can do at least 6 reps with it.


Exercising the posterior chain of muscles is crucial to maintaining a healthy body, especially for people who spend a lot of time sedentary during the day. These exercises allow you to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles, which will help you treat or prevent lower back pain caused by anterior pelvic tilt.

Most of these exercises should not be done every day, but 1-3 types per week, depending on the volume and intensity of training.


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