The Glute-Hamstring Developer

  2018-08-23 10:00AM

You’ve probably seen that big scary machine in the back of the gym. Though it may resemble some sort of torture device, the GHD is one of the most underappreciated and misunderstood pieces of equipment found in a CrossFit gym. There are a variety of ways to use the machine to help build some strength and improve your fitness, but it’s very important to understand the proper technique for each movement to avoid any injury.

The GHD is comprised of three main components: the kneepad, the footplate and the ankle hooks. The kneepad is fixed while the footplate can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically. The correct setting of the footplate will vary from individual to individual based on a number of factors such as tibia length, femur length, size of the thighs, and current strength level. For some, each movement will require a different footplate setting. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to use the GHD:

  1. Glute-Ham Raises (GHRs): The GHR is a movement that can really help develop your Olympic lifts, as well as your squats and deadlift by building up the posterior chain (the calves, hamstrings and glutes, as well as other muscle groups). In addition to the weightlifting benefits, they are also effective in preventing injuries, particularly hamstring strains, back injuries and ACL tears.
  2. GHD Sit-Ups: Start with glutes off the padding and knees bent with torso facing the ceiling. Extend hip, maintaining a static trunk and bent knee, until the shoulder hip and knee are in one line. Then, rapidly extend the knee and sit up as you reach for the padding. The GHD Sit-up is an explosive movement that helps teach bracing and how to use the hips to generate power.
  3. Hip Extensions: The feet are secured on the footplate and the legs are straight on the curved seat. You want your hip joint at the front of the curved seat. Flex at the hip maintaining a static trunk. While keeping your arms in front of your chest, lift your torso up until your whole body is parallel to the floor extending at the hip. Hold for a few seconds and then bring the torso down by flexing at the hip. This helps build glute and hamstring strength as these muscles are used to pull torso back to the start position.
  4. Back Extensions: This starts in the same in the same position as the Hip Extension with the difference being that your hips are now on the curved seat to keep them “locked.” This is the opposite of the Hip Extension as you’re dynamic at the trunk and static at the hip. Start by extending the hips and allowing the back to round. Then bring the torso up one vertebra at a time. Once the torso is parallel to the floor, continue the motion by bringing the head up so you’re looking straight ahead. Back extensions improve thoracic strength mobility, build scapular strength and mobility (and overall shoulder health), and improve posture.


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