One of my favorite exercises

Posted on by Ben Bruno

Some of you asked for more videos, so I tried to oblige that request. Ask and you shall receive. I can’t promise videos on a consistent basis but I’ll do what I can.

Here is the glute-ham raise. This is definitely one of my favorite exercises, not because I enjoy it particularly (though I am liking them more and more) but because I think it is extremely effective. I have some exercises that I like just because they are fun to do and some that I like because of the results they get and then carryover I see to my other lifts. This exercise falls in the second category.

I am a firm believer that the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, back) is the foundation of strength, and in my experience this is one of the best exercises around for building the posterior chain, so by default, it’s a favorite. It’s not particular exciting, but it works. Being in commercial gyms much of the time, I have not had access to a glute-ham bench, so I have made due by using a 45 degree hyperextension bench doing what I call an “Incline GHR” where I mimic the glute-ham motion. That was one of my staple posterior chain exercises in college and I would load it using plates held on my chest, a bar on my back, or a bar in my arms Zercher style. I would also do “natural GHRs” sometimes, using either a lat pull down station to secure my heels or having a partner hold them down manually. These are good, but unless you have a thick pad for your knees they can wreak havoc and I personally do not like them very much.

At my new gym, we have a cool portable glute-ham apparatus that is a cross between a true glute-ham bench and a “natural” GHR. It is very comfortable and seems to work very well. If you are not including some sort of glute-ham variation in your current program, I strongly suggest you add it in.

Here is a video of how it looks in action.

I would still appreciate any feedback you have regarding what you would like to see in my blog moving into the future. Please read the previous post and let me know what you think.

  • eatsleeptrainwrite

    Hey Ben, I share your difficulties now in the gym. They have a hamstring curl machine and a back extension apparatus, but that's all. Do you find that back extensions work the posterior chain well too?


  • Ben Bruno

    Clement- Yes, I used the back extension machine as one of my primary posterior chain exercises (along with Romanian Deadlifts) for most of my time in college because the school gym was limited in equipment. It depends on how you do the movement though. I lower myself down like a normal back extension, but when I come up, I extend all the way up so my thighs actually come off the pad (do this by squeezing your glutes and not just relying on momentum) and only your knees are in contact, just as in a true GHR on the machine. You can also put some plates under one side of the back extension machine to make to more level. Hope that helps.

  • Travis Cudlin

    Very cool, do you know the company that the gym got the portable GHR from?

  • Ben Bruno

    Travis- I'm sorry I do not know the company that makes it. I asked yesterday and someone said it was a guy in Oklahoma, but I can try to ask around more and find out if you'd like.

  • David

    For those of you wondering about the company that makes it, legend fitness makes a pad like this. Here is a link:

    I called a while back on it to ask for the price and I believe it was about $250 for the pad and $50 to ship it to the west coast.

  • Ben Bruno

    Thanks David! I acutally found that link after some searching but did post it. I have also got word that Perform Better is coming out with a similar product shortly.

  • david__001

    Hello Bruno.

    I have watched a number of your weight vest training videos and have enjoyed your creativity with those.

    I wonder if you can tell me, generally speaking, what brand of weight vest you are using, especially for those videos where you are using muliple vests?

    The reason I would like to know this is beacuse I am deliberating over buying either (i), a series of low-priced "value" type vests, versus (ii), one high-priced vest, but one which has a high capacity and which can offer a wide range of loads (from low to high).

    Any feedback is much appreciated.

    David [UK]

  • Ben Bruno

    David- I use a MIR weighted vest that loads to 80lbs. It is great and has a lifetime guarantee. I only own, and the other weighted vest are the ones we have at the gym which are the "value" type vests you speak of. They are between 10-40 lbs I think. If you are buying one for personal use, I would buy a nice one because it will last longer. The ones in our gym fall apart fairly quickly. My MIR is great but there are other nice ones too.

  • david__001

    Thanks for that tip Bruno — much appreciated.

    All the best.

  • KGM

    That pad is AWESOME!!!

    "and in my experience this is one of the best exercises around for building the posterior chain, so by default, it's a favorite"
    ^^my favorite line and one of the best parts of your attitude!