The Glute-Ham Developer (GHD) often sits in the corners of gyms collecting dust and serving as a coach rack. But this is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment for building posterior chain strength and endurance. If your low back, glutes, and hamstrings need extra work, try these different GHD exercises in your programming!
For more great accessory exercises, check out our GHD Sit Up Variations article and the following eBook!
GLUTE HAM RAISES
These are probably the best known GHD exercise out there. The Glute ham raise is an incredibly challenging exercise on the hamstrings. Many athletes will get quickly humbled by how difficult this exercise can be.
GHD EXERCISES – HIP EXTENSION VARIATIONS
GHD Hip Extensions are great for strengthening the posterior chain. In these variations, we focus on keeping a flat back and moving from the hip joint.
GHD Hip Extensions can also be progressed pretty quickly. So adding external loads is often helpful.
Barbell GHD Hip Extensions are probably the easiest way to add load. Grab with a snatch grip to allow you to lift through increased range of motion.
Alternatively, the barbell can be placed on the athlete’s back. I find this set up to be more difficult so prefer the snatch grip version shown above.
Banded versions of GHD Hip Extensions can also be an excellent way to challenge the posterior chain. I feel these work my low back musculature more.
GHD EXERCISES – BACK EXTENSIONS
While the majority of our strength training should focus on maintaining a neutral spine. I do believe it is also important to work on strength out of neutral. One of the best ways to do that is with GHD back extensions where we focus on moving segment by segment through the spine as we flex and extend.
GHD REVERSE HYPERS
Another great way to work on strengthening the back when not in neutral is reverse hyperextensions. While there are dedicated pieces of equipment for this movement, if find the GHD version gets the job done very well.
GHD SORENSON HOLDS
Working low back extension endurance is important for those wanting to maximally push heavy weights. The double leg Sorenson hold is a great way to work low back endurance.
The single leg kicks this movement up a notch. It will put more stress on the hamstrings to hold position, making it also a great exercise to use in hamstring strain rehabilitation programs.
GHD LUMBAR ENDURANCE ISOMETRIC VARIATIONS
If I’m being honest, the above Sorenson holds are quite boring. Holding those for 60-180 seconds is mind numbing. So here are some of my favorite ways to work lumbar endurance isometrically in a more challenging way.
GHD Muscle Snatches quickly fatigue the low back as your arms moving really ups the difficulty of holding back position. Focusing on moving your arms up and down is also distracting from the boringness of holding the same position.
GHD Rows are a crushing variation. No need to go heavy here as even light dumbbells will create significantly more work on the low back! This is probably my favorite of all the GHD exercises I’ve shared in this article.
GHD AROUND THE WORKS
GHD around the worlds are another variation that will really tax the low back and glutes.