Monday 11 May


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.

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 as such,  they tend to be only prescribed to advanced athletes.

This actually isn't as scary as it looks, but it CAN be!  Please don't try GHD situps without developing the basic strength first, and checking technique with a coach.

This actually isn't as scary as it looks, but it CAN be! Please don't try GHD situps without developing the basic strength first, and checking technique with a coach.

Leg curls however, are pretty much 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.  And check this video to make sure you know the difference between hip vs back extensions.

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

- 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.  Nice controlled movement.

-  10-25 reps for the hip/back extensions, 5-10 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......


Back Squat
3 x 10, heavier than last time400m Run
21 Russian Swings
12/8 Pushups
3 rounds
Paused Snatch Deadlift (at knee) + Paused Hang Power Snatch + Overhead Squat (or Paused Hang Squat Snatch)20 Wall Balls
20 DB Snatch
AMRAP in 7mins
Build to a heavy set of 5At 0mins: 30 STOH (DB or BB)
Rest in the remaining time.At 3mins: 40 BurpeesAt 6mins: 500m Row

At 9mins: 60 Russian Swings

100m Run
2 Deadball shoulder
AMRAP in 6mins, 3mins rest.50m Farmers Walk
10/7 cal Airbike
AMRAP in 6mins, 3mins rest.100m Row
10 Slam ball
AMRAP in 6mins.
Front Squat
Build to a heavy set of 55 DB Burpee Box Step Up
10 DB Thrusters
AMRAP in 5mins



Back Squat
4 x 8400m Run
21 Russian Swings 32/24kg
12/8 Strict Ring Dips
3 rounds
1.1 EM x 15
5 sets @ 60%
5 sets @ 70%
5 sets @ 75-85%5 Deadlifts 125/90kg
10 Burpees
5 rounds
Push Jerk + Split jerk
E2M x 7, building10 STOH (50-60%)
2 Rope Climbs
30sec parallette L-Sit
Rest 1min
AMRAP in 12mins
50m Rack Walk
8 DBL KB Front Rack Walking Lunges
6 Weighted Pull Ups
4 Wall Walks
AMRAP in 25mins
Front Squat
3 x 3, heavy500m Row
20 Front Squats 70/45kg
400m Run

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