Lots of people asking advice on using the GHD machines lately.
So I thought a re-do of an old blog post was in order, with a few additions... about how to use them and WHY we think they are worth the massive footprint on our valuable gym floorspace……
A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research looked at which hamstring exercise was the most effective. They used four exercises: the good morning, glute ham raise, Romanian deadlift, and lying leg curl.
Subjects performed each exercise at 85% of 1RM and researchers measured muscle activation in the hamstrings.
The Glute Ham raise and RDL produced significantly more muscle activation than the other exercises.
Which is great! Because we do both of those.....
If you are a beginner to intermediate athlete, you'll see Romanian deads cropping up in the Fitness programming quite regularly, and occasionally in Performance programming. The Good Morning is a great exercise too, but the RDL is basically the same movement, and heaps safer and easier to perform to boot.
The Hip Extension is a similar movement to RDLs that is performed on the GHD machine also. Glute Ham Raises are much more advanced and so they tend to be only prescribed to our advanced athletes and those training in Strength Division.
Leg curls however, are a waste of time, and it’s good to see the research to prove it.
Back Extensions are great to learn lumbar control, and are good warmups. More of an intermediate exercise though, as most people are still trying to learn efficient hip extension. Hip Extensions are fantastic not only for warmups, but they teach you how to hip hinge. If you have trouble with swings, and deadlifts, give it a try. They're also a great finishing exercise, post workout. Try sets of 10-15 reps, slow and controlled.
How to use the GHDs
GHD Situps - by Chris Spealler
- set your butt just off the back of the pad
- your knees MUST be bent, as it's the extension of those knees that initiate the contraction of hip flexors to bring you up.
- keep your midline engaged, the entire time.
- don't try it unless you've been cleared by a coach, and even then, don't rush progress, start by descending to parallel only. Ask me about the Elephantitis Scrotum story sometime if you need further convincing.....
Back and Hip Extensions - by Jason Khalipa
- make sure you are set up correctly. Hips need to be off the pad in Hip Extensions for example, in order to keep lumbar curve maintained.
- keep it slow and light. Nice controlled movement. You can add weight to some of these exercises, but there is no need in the beginning.
- 10-25 reps for the hip/back extensions, 5-15 reps for the GH raises.
- talk to a coach first! Get their help with doing things correctly the first time.
- also a quick reminder to anyone that uses the Glute-Ham machines to please tighten the adjustment knobs firmly, but just finger tight. Too loose and you strip the thread from the inside, too tight and the knob snaps. Adjust by pulling on the main supports, not the knobs......
Power Clean 5 x 1.1.1
5 DB Power Clean
10 DB Reverse Lunge
50m Single Arm Waiters Walk
Clean Work up to a heavy 1.1.1
2 reps E30s for 7mins