Glute Ham Raise Regression Ideas

In my last post, I discussed how to properly execute a Glute Ham Raise (GHR) and some common mistakes I often see people make when performing it.

A GHR is not an easy exercise when done correctly.  Therefore, today I want to go over some possible ways to regress the exercise to prepare yourself and/or your clients for a legit GHR.

She could probably use a regression.

Tips to regress the GHR or make it easier:

Start with your hips already extended and back flat.  In other words, do not worry about the back extension portion of the exercise.

I will usually have people new to the exercise start this way because it allows them to focus on squeezing their glutes and getting their back neutral.  I have also found that it is easier to substitute with back hyperextension by doing the back extension part of the GHR.

 –Try a swiss ball leg curl, valslide leg curl, or TRX leg curl.  With all of these options, you still keep your hips extended and only flex at the knee.  Therefore, they are similar to the GHR, but they are easier to perform because the load is not as great.  I would always begin a client with one of these exercises before progressing them to any GHR variation.

If this option is still too difficult, then just perform a straight leg hip extension with legs elevated.  Make sure that you or your clients are not using their back and hyperextending.

In the video below, I demonstrate a swiss ball hip extension (I would start someone new out on a more stable surface such as a bench) and a swiss ball leg curl.  During the swiss ball leg curl, you can see that I make sure to keep my hips extended and do not arch my back.


Try a band assisted GHR.  To perform this, you wrap a band around your chest and the footplate behind you.  This way the band will help support some of the load (your body) and make the exercise easier.

Work only the eccentric portion of the GHR.   Lower yourself very slowly (3-5 second count) and then push yourself back up.  This will also help to strengthen the glutes and hams, as well as teach the person the proper execution of the lift.  BUT be prepared to be sore!!

Try a GHR ISO hold.  Get into a good position in a certain range of the lift and try to hold it for a specified length of time.

Try an eccentric/isometric contrast GHR.  Below is a video of this.  It is essentially a combination of an eccentric GHR with 2-3 pauses on the way down.  This is also a great way to build posterior chain size and strength.  If a client cannot perform a GHR, then I would have them push themselves back up.

I think this is also a great exercise if someone is very close to being able to perform a GHR but cannot quite keep the optimal body position throughout.  By adding in the pauses, you can make sure that they are in the right position at each point in the lift.


As you can see, there are multiple ways to help someone build up to a legit GHR.  I cannot tell you which of these options to use because it will all depend on your level of lumbar stability and posterior chain strength. Remember to have progressions and regressions in mind!

A possible sequence for a client may look something like this (but like I said, it depends):

Supine hip extension -> Supine leg curl variation (swiss ball, TRX, etc.) -> Eccentric GHR -> GHR ISO -> GHR without back extension -> Full GHR

You can also perform single leg variations of these exercises before moving on to the next progression as well.  Although these can sometimes be more difficult than the next progression.  Again, experiment and see what works with you and/or your clients.  If the exercise is getting you closer to your goal (in this case a full GHR), then it is the correct choice.  Otherwise, try a different exercise or manipulate the sets and reps.

Now go build a bada** p-chain!!!

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