The Glute Ham Developer
The glute ham developer (GHD) is in most strength and conditioning facilities and in many functional fitness gyms. In the fitness space it’s mostly used as a place to safely put your phone and hang your jacket on. Surprisingly, it was not made for that. Exercises used on the GHD can be quite difficult but extremely beneficial.
It’s name holds true and will help strengthen your glutes and hamstrings. But it can also be used to develop your core muscles, hip flexors, quads, and erectors of the spine (long muscles that run parallel with your spine). So the GHD can strengthen both the posterior and anterior chain.
These accessory lifts are best used to keep the muscles around the pelvis strong and are perfect for after a leg day with squats or deadlifts.
The GHD hip extension is meant to train the glutes. The hamstrings and erectors still have to engage as stabilizers but the main muscle to squeeze is the glutes. For someone who wants a bigger stronger butt, this exercise is a great place to start. Set up by placing your hip bones off the leg pads by a few inches. This allows for hinging at the pelvis so you can engage the glutes throughout the full range of motion. Hinge down as low as you can then extend the torso upwards and squeeze your glutes as you are parallel to the ground. Avoid bringing your torso too high and hyperextending your spine.
Glute Ham Raise (GHR)
The glute ham raise is for strengthening the hamstrings and flexion at the knee. This potent exercise still requires the glutes and erectors to engage. Strengthening the hamstrings with this exercise helps to stabilize the knee by pulling the tibia and fibula back into place. It counteracts the quad muscles from pulling the patella tendon too much. Set up with your knees on the back of the leg pads closest to you feet. Push your feet into the back of the GHD while pulling your heel into the ankle pads. Your knees and quads will push into the leg pads as your torso rises to vertical.
GHD Sit Up
The GHD sit up trains the front side of the body including the core, hip flexors, and quads. When performed correctly you will feel this demand a lot from the quads and will surely leave your abs sore. Because of the higher demand on the body and a longer range of motion it is recommended to start with small sets and slowly work your way up. These will leave you sore and are not meant to equal your sets of regular sit ups. By strengthening that anterior side of the body you will see this transfer to exercises on the rig including toes to bar and muscle ups. The set up for this starts with your butt off the leg pad furthest from your feet. Lower yourself with control and let the knees bend. Once your body is slightly aimed downward, flex your quads and lift your body up using your core. Avoid bending down too far. I recommend getting a coach to watch and make sure you are performing these safley.
If you have any questions about the GHD or found this helpful let me know in the comments!