Strong glutes, as well as hamstrings, are about more than only nice-looking legs and a well-rounded bottom. The glutes, in addition to the hamstrings, are the strongest muscles that are present in our skeletal muscular system. Once we make these muscles stronger, it is possible to prevent strain as well as injury. When your hamstrings and glutes are stronger, you’ll enjoy an enhanced ability to squat deeper, lunge without pain, push heavy objects, run faster as well as jump higher.
To best train those hamstrings and glutes, you’ll want to emphasise both leg curling (knee bending) in addition to hip extension (or straightening) actions to achieve balanced training. One of the best exercises which accomplish this is the glute-ham raise (GHR).
How to perform the glute-ham raise
For this exercise, you need to make use of a glute-ham developer (GHD). Adjust this machine so that, at the time when your feet are secured, your quads rest on the middle of the GHD. You must be able to lower your torso over the end.
Begin with bent knees at 90° so that your body is straight and is perpendicular to the lower part of your legs. Fold your arms across your chest. Brace your core and then, in a slow manner, lower your torso forward over the side of the GHD until you are in a horizontal position. In the next movement, return explosively to the position in which you started by contracting your hamstrings.
If there is no GHD to work with, it is possible for you to do the exercise by kneeling on a mat and getting a gym buddy to secure your feet in place as you lean forward
Glute-Ham Raise Variations: Pull-down glute-ham raise
The lat pull-down machine provides the same benefits as a glute-ham raise. However, holding onto a double-rope cable which is attached to the weight stack, counterbalances your bodyweight. This makes it a perfect beginner move for gradually building up your hamstring strength:
- Being by setting the weight stack to the correct level of resistance.
- Kneel and face away from the machine. Make sure that the backs of your calves are against the pad.
- Take hold of the double-cable rope attachment with both hands just behind your head. Ensure that your elbows are pointing up.
- Gradually, lower your upper body towards the floor. While you’re doing this, keep your core braced.
- After you’ve performed this movement, quickly return to your starting position by contracting your hamstrings.
Not many exercises can isolate the hamstrings as well as glutes without top-loading additional weight on your spine or, alternatively, testing your grip strength with a loaded barbell. Even though you may think that this exercise looks easy in comparison to a Barbell Romanian Deadlift or Hip Thrust, it is just as challenging (if not even more so) when performed correctly.
The bridge with toe raise is another move that does well in terms of strengthening your hamstrings and glutes. Over-relying on your quadriceps in order to generate power when you run or walk can cause strain in your quads. Also, it could cause IT band syndrome, knee pain as well as other problems. Likewise, if your glutes don’t fire as well as contract during each stride, your hamstrings will take over this role, which can lead to overuse injury. This particular exercise combats both sites of injury.
The muscles that these exercise work are:
- The back of your thighs (hamstrings),
- Your bottom (glutes),
- Transverse abdominis, and
- Calves (gastrocnemius).
- Lie supine on a mat, on the floor.
- Put your feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your heels are close to your bottom.
- Lift your hips off the mat until these form a straight line between your knees, hips as well as shoulders.
- Squeeze your bottom. Pull in your tummy tight and maintain this position.
- Lift onto your toes.
- Gradually lower your heels. Then lower your bottom until you touch the mat. However, don’t rest completely.
If you feel a cramp in your muscles, rest for a few seconds. Reduce the number of repetitions. Build up until you can do the full set. Want to learn about exercising like a personal trainer?
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