The 8 Best Glute Ham Raise Alternatives for Strong Glutes (2023)

Movement, sport and everyday life put a strain on the back, hips and knees. You want to strengthen these areas to protect them from the risk of injury and pain - but what to do?

I've tried many different exercises to strengthen and protect these muscles. Everyone worth listening recommends glute ham raises for both strength and health.

There are two problems:

  1. Glute ham developers are rare and expensive!
  2. Glute Ham Raises Are Hard: What If You Can't Do One Yet?

If you're concerned about both, you need a great alternative to the glute ham raise.

Luckily, this list includes 8 of the best alternatives. They are, like me, got stronger, fitter, and healthier without a Glute Ham Developer (GHD), and they can do the same for you...

The 8 Best Glute Ham Raise Alternatives

1. Reverse hyperextension

This is a great alternative to the glute ham raise because it involves all of the same muscles. The glutes and hamstrings are used for stretching, although they lean more towards the buttocks than the hamstrings.

You can also pause the reverse hyper in the top position for a more challenging but effective exercise.


You can do this exercise on anything stable and high enough to give you a wide range of motion. The stability ball (or Swiss ball) is one of the most popular options along with the flat bench.

How to run:

  • Stand with your core and glutes tight and hold on to a flat bench or other stable surface so your legs hang over the edge
  • Press your hips into the bench while straightening your legs, trying to get them in line with or behind your body
  • Hold briefly before returning to the starting position and completing the exercise

2. Gluteal Bridge

via Gfycat

This is a classic - you can do aglute bridgeand get stronger without gear. Bridges are also great for developing effective glute and core control, which you definitely need!

How to run:

  • Lie with your back flat and your heels close to your buttocks
  • Keeping the weight on the back of your foot and your core tight, drive your hips toward the ceiling
  • Pause in the top position and tighten your buttocks before lowering yourself back to the starting position

Bridge variations are also great for scaling. The standard version is easy to execute, but you can make it harder and more effective as you improve. You can also try them with your shoulders on a Swiss ball to practice your stability.

There are a few notable variations to keep in mind as you get stronger and need a new challenge:

· deficit bridge: More difficult and emphasizes control and strength in the glutes.

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

· One Leg Bridge: Ideal for sports and keeping hips/knees healthy.

· Weighted Bridge (Hip Boost): harder and a great driver for muscle and strength gains.

· Explosive Bridge: ideal for sports and performance.

3. Beincurl

This exercise is all about the hamstring. Squat in particular: Closing the knee joint, just like in a glute ham raise.

This makes it a perfect move for keeping the knee healthy and "covering all your bases."

If you don't have access to a machine, there are great alternatives.


You can perform bodyweight leg curls on a swiss ball, sliders, or withresistance bands.

How to run:

  • Sit in a machine, attach bands to your feet, or grip the dumbbell between your feet—depending on your equipment
  • Slowly move from a straight knee to a closed knee, squeezing at the end of your hamstrings
  • Hold the closed position briefly before slowly returning to the starting position to finish the repetition

4. Back Extensions

If you struggle with glute ham increasesStrengthreasons you should try extensions again. These use the same 45 or 90 degree Glute Ham developer but are easier for those with weak hamstrings.

However, they still offer the same muscular benefits in the glutes, hamstrings and back. These will help you build the strength you need for aGlute Ham Raisewithout the ridiculous barrier to entry!

How to run:

  • Line up the pad directly on the bottom of your hips, allowing you to fully rotate to 90 degrees at the hips
  • Keeping your core tight and feet pressed into the footplate, lower yourself all the way down
  • Squeeze your hips into the pad and straighten your hips to straighten your body - hold for a 2 count
  • Lower yourself down in a controlled manner to finish the rep in the starting position

5. Nordic curls

via Gfycat

This is a brutally difficult - and effective - glute ham raise alternative. They basically cover the entire top half of the glute ham raise. This makes Nordic curls a perfect choice in combination with reverse hyperextensions and leg curls.

How to run:

  • Hook your feet under something stable and kneel on a padded or soft surface
  • Begin by kneeling, with core and hips active and stable - maintain a straight line from head to knee
  • Lower yourself forward, opening the knee joint until you reach the floor / a straight head-toe position
  • Keep your hips open, lock your knees and pull yourself up with your hamstrings to the starting position

However, these are very difficult, so you should start with an assisted Nordic curl. You can do this with a push off or with aresistance band, For example.

(Video) Glute Ham Raise Alternative (GHD Sit Ups, Hip & Back Extension)

Assisted Nordic Curls:

6. Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift (or RDL) is a classic strength exercise that has produced champions in all sports. It's one of the bestweight trainingOptions to replace the glute ham raise and can be practiced with an empty bar.

High reps, light weightRomanian deadliftare a great place to start practicing the movement. You can add as much weight as you like over time, making the RDL suitable for any strength levelat the moment.

How to run:

  • With adumbbell, stand erect with knees soft and feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart
  • Keeping your core tight and back flat, drop your hips as you close them, and keep your weight on the back of your foot
  • At 90 degrees, or the end of your hamstring flexibility, reverse the movement by pushing your hips forward and bringing your chest back up
Related Post: Asian Squat Exercise Guide: Target Muscles, Benefits, Alternatives

7. Good morning

via Gfycat

Good Morning is an amazing exercise for the posterior chain muscles, but they require some caution. The bar position makes them an easy spot for injury if you're not careful - or load too quickly.

The good morning strengthens the hamstrings and hips as well as the core and back. These are the same muscles as the glute ham raise, but all you need is a free weight.

The good morning move is exactly the same as the RDL, but with the weight on the upper back like a squat.

If you want to build confidence, you can try lighter good morning sayings. The Good Morning barbell is perfect for long-term progress, but you can also use a punching bag or other heavy object.

You should practice toobreak good morningstart with light weights.

8. Kettlebell swing

TheKettlebell-Swingis an old-school posterior chain exercise that ticks all of our boxes for a glute ham raise alternative. It's a great hinge movement that builds core strength and power/control. What's not to love?

(Video) Glute Exercises Ranked | Hamstrings (BEST TO WORST!)

kettlebell swings– like Guten Morgen and RDL – require care and good technique. They are a hip hinge movement and you should take care to move well before adding any more weight or strength.

There are very few exercises that offer the same hip and hipmuscular strengthand power like a well-executed kettlebell swing!

How to run:

  • Stand tall with thatKettlebellin both hands, between the legs, standing hip-width apart
  • Keeping your knees in one place, fold your hips back to bring the kettlebell back as far as your balance will allow
  • Keeping your back straight, aggressively push your hips forward and swing the kettlebell forward and up
  • Control the top of the movement - keep the kettlebell close and your whole foot on the floor
  • Continue swinging down through the starting position and all the way back before beginning the next rep

Related post: The 10 Best Adjustable Kettlebells with a Buying Guide

What Makes a Good Glute Ham Raise Alternative?

Glutes and/or hams: posterior chain construction

A good glute ham raise alternative needs to work the glutes and/or hams. Apparently.

It can focus more on one or the other, but it needs to train those muscles.

The posterior chain is the muscle group that includes the back, buttocks, and hamstrings. An exercise that combines them in a similar way is usually preferable. Not youalwaysneed both in one. You can combine a glute specific exercise and a hamstring specific exercise at different times.

Related Post: 8 Alternatives to Seated Calf Raises to Build Stronger Calves

Hinge and/or Push: Learning to use your hips

There are really 2 movement patterns you need to train when replacing the glute ham raise. The first is the hip hinge and the second is the hip thrust.

These are related, but they are not exactly the same.

The hip joint is one of the most important movements performed by the human body. The joint is key to athletic performance, as well as spine, hip and knee health.

You needlearn the correct hip jointand practice itintentionally. To simplify: keep your torso neutral, feet flat and knees in place as you close and open your hips.

The jerk is less important but focuses more on glutes and core working together. These are important because the glutes stabilize the spine, so more strength keeps the lower back safe and healthy.

Core: staying stable during exercise

You need a strong and active core for these glute ham raise exercises.

The buttocks must be trained to stabilize the trunk in combination with the core. This is a key skill for weight-bearing movements (like squats and deadlifts), as well as healthy aging and injury resistance.

Getting 2 benefits from a single move is great. Glute Ham Raise Substitutes That Work The Core Are Worth Your Time!

(Video) The 4 BEST Glute Exercises For A Nicer Butt (GYM OR HOME!) Ft. Bret Contreras

frequently asked Questions

What can I use in place of glute ham raises?

There are a few things you can use in place of a glute ham raise: bodyweight movements, free weights, and resistance machines. Bodyweight exercises like reverse hyper and Nordic curl are great if you don't have a lot of equipment.

Exercises like "Guten Morgen" and "RDL" can help develop the hamstrings and glutes, but require good technique. Poor technique will sabotage your results or produce inferior results.

Finally, some machines like the hamstrings can be used to develop the hamstrings. This is important because you need to work hip flexion (closing the knee) and hip extension to replace the glute ham raise.

What muscles does the glute ham raise work?

The name says it all: glute ham raises train the buttocks and hamstrings. The glute ham raise works the entire posterior chain: back, glutes, and hamstrings. They also work the core and lower back. All of these muscles stabilize the core.

That's why our list of alternative glute ham raise exercises covers all of these areas. They are all important and you must train them all to be soReallyReplace the glute-ham raise in your training program.

What can I do instead of hip thrusts?

Hip thrusts and glute hams target some of the same muscles. Luckily, the exercise alternatives listed above also target the glutes and hamstrings, just like a hip thrust.

For example, movements like RDL and Good Morning are free weightsglute exercises. They're all about technique: if you do them in a controlled manner and with good form, you'll develop great hip strength!

(Video) How To Target Your Glutes | Glute Ham Raise Machine


1. Glute Ham Raise Alternatives
(Coach Burgess)
2. Strengthen your Posterior Chain (Glutes & Hams) - Reverse Hypers & Alternatives
(Citizen Athletics)
3. 45 Degree Glute Ham Raise
4. GHR Killer Hamstring Exercise (Very Underrated)
5. IRON Series 30 Min Glutes & Hamstrings Workout - Hip Thrusts / RDL | 8
(Caroline Girvan)
6. Glute Ham Raise 8 times!
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nicola Considine CPA

Last Updated: 04/23/2023

Views: 5502

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nicola Considine CPA

Birthday: 1993-02-26

Address: 3809 Clinton Inlet, East Aleisha, UT 46318-2392

Phone: +2681424145499

Job: Government Technician

Hobby: Calligraphy, Lego building, Worldbuilding, Shooting, Bird watching, Shopping, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Nicola Considine CPA, I am a determined, witty, powerful, brainy, open, smiling, proud person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.