The Glute Ham Developer (GHD machine) is one of the most misunderstood pieces of equipment that’s used in CrossFit. That’s unfortunate. Because this weird underused piece of equipment can ratchet your PR to a new level. A key primary purpose of this machine is to help improve your posterior chain.
The most important benefit to the GHD is body awareness (learning to control movements). With this equipment, you start training under no load to the musculature. Using the GHD helps teach the body to adapt to whatever movement it needs to make in sports and even everyday living. It achieves this by improving your vertical jump.
One of the biggest advantages of this piece of equipment is that it is ideal for a home or garage gym.
Before we get started, if you do end up purchasing one of these equipment, you can come back for the 5 key exercises here that you can do on this machine to build out a rock solid posterior chain.
Rogue Abram GHD 2.0
|View on Rogue Fitness|
CFF “Pro Series Elite GHD
|View on Amazon|
|View on Rep Fitness|
Top 3 Best GHD Machines In 2021
- Rogue Abram GHD 2.0 (Our Top Pick)
- CFF GHD GHR Hyper Extensions (A decent competitor to top pick)
- Rep GHD (Functional and least expensive)
Why would you want to improve your vertical jump? Because it serves as the foundation for other strength moves such as squatting, Olympic lifts and deadlifts. It also helps your sprint and reaction time become faster.
And even if you’re just looking to improve the exercises performed in CrossFit, the GHD machine will help you do that as well.
We have identified some exercises in this article, and go more in depth on how to build a rock solid posterior chain with these 5 exercises in this article here.
Read Also: Top 8 Best CrossFit Rowing Machines
Another benefit of the GHD machine is that as it strengthens your hamstrings, glutes, abs, and back, it helps in preventing hamstring strains and back injuries. Who wouldn’t want to be able to work their posterior chain with just one workout?
As the name implies, the GHD was designed to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings. Strengthening the glutes and hamstrings allows for maximum power of the spine, hips, and knees. When used properly, the GHD machine is a great piece of equipment. Learning how to use it requires time but is not difficult. Below is a step-by-step guide to using the GHD.
Read Also: Best Knee Sleeves for CrossFit athletes
Want to buy a GHD Machine?
If you’re looking to invest in a GHD do some homework first. They’re not cheap and not all are created equal. A GHD is more than a piece of equipment with a foot plate and a pad to rest your hips or glutes. Before you make the investment, you want to make sure you know what you’re getting and why you’re getting it.
When shopping for a GHD machine, getting a stable one is very important. Three GHD that are worth considering are:
Overall #1 Pick
Rogue Abram GHD 2.0
- Well crafted, and best, stable design
- Supreme adjustability
This GHD is built solid and stable. You can do all the exercises mentioned earlier in this article on this equipment.
The 2.0 version is an upgrade with the following features:
Increased Stability – The single piece chassis construction along the length eliminates joints that may move when under intense use.
Quicker Adjustments – By utilizing similar technology found in our collegiate style GHD machine, a varying range of athletes can quickly and easily adjust the roller assembly to the desired setting.
Enhanced Mobility – The triangular design and wheels allow for greater portability not typically found in a GHD. This makes it perfect for a home gym where you may need to move equipment around regularly.
It is no wonder that you will see this equipment at CrossFit games. Rogue Fitness makes the best CrossFit related equipment. Most of their products are made in the U.S (Ohio), and have the highest quality and craftsmanship of almost any fitness equipment.
They have really separated themselves during Covid times by not only shipping on time, but actually having inventory. The benefits of controlling their design and manufacturing really helped them come through and take market share. They seem to have been plowing those profits back into the business and providing latest and best products.
CFF “Pro Series Elite” GHD
- Brand new design (upgrade from previous version)
- Smooth adjustability due to guide rods
This piece of equipment is great for the GHD Raise and the GHD Sit-Up. It’s a little smaller than the Rogue Abram so it won’t take as much space, ideal for a garage gym. It is also just as sturdy so you don’t have to worry about the equipment shaking when using it. It is made to handle up to 650lbs, so no worries with sturdiness.
And you get to choose from different colors for the frame and upholstery – black and silver.
The big downside is that this is equipment might be a little over engineered. Meaning the guiding rods are great but you have to use the marked pin positions anyway, so the sliding capability makes it feel as though it has infinite adjustability, but you a set number of pin stops.
However, over engineering generally is not a bad thing – just means that the company spent too much money on it. So it is still a solid pick for a glute ham developer!
- Best value
- Band pegs for resistance work
- Functionally meets all the needs of a GHD
This GHD is a cross between the Rogue Abram GHD and the CFF Pro Series Elite version. It is very similar to the feel of the Rogue when seated on the machine, but the adjustments are similar to that of the CFF with the guiding rod.
The fact that this piece of equipment simply works is why most people are happier than expected, especially considering the price tag being almost half the others.
There are a couple of downsides. The padding for the feet does not feel as thick as it could be. Even though the assembly is supposed to be quick, it took longer. Most of Rep Fitness products are made in China, and instructions could be better.
Also, Rep Fitness seems to have gotten rocked by Covid. Throughout 2020 they have had almost no inventory of almost all of their equipment. So consider yourself lucky if you find this equipment in stock.
How To Use The GHD Machine
The first thing you want to make sure you do is warm up. This will prevent injury and reduce soreness. It will also help you perform more reps.
The GHD machine itself has three parts to it: the curved seat (kneepad), footplate, and ankle hooks. The curved seat is normally in a fixed position but some models may be designed for it to be adjusted. The footplate can be adjusted either horizontally, vertically, or both. The reason the footplate is adjustable is to allow for the proper setting according to the person’s leg length (tibia and femur) and strength level.
If you’re purchasing a GHD machine for a garage gym be sure you have enough space first.
The Glute Ham Raise
To start: When adjusting the footplate, make sure that your feet are secured and your thighs supported on the curved seat. Your knees should be right below the curved seat – they should not be on the curved seat. Your knees will be bent and your torso will be upright (perpendicular to the floor). Keep your arms folded in front of you in an “x”.
To execute the movement: start by squeezing the hamstrings, glutes, and abs. Your core strength will also be tested. Extend the legs with control. Once the legs are straight, bend at the hips. Bring the torso down in a controlled motion.
When coming back up, go in reverse by extending at the hips before bending the knees. You want to make sure that your hamstrings and glutes are engaged during this movement. Your goal during this exercise is to keep the torso elongated and spine aligned at all times.
Read Also: Top 8 Best Squat and Power Rack for Home or Commercial Gym
Glute Ham Raise Video
What You Don’t Want To Do With The Glute Ham Raise
You don’t want to break at the hips or hyper-extend through the spine. These two mistakes are caused by either not practicing properly or having very weak hamstrings and glutes. If this is the case, you’ll want to work on building those muscles before tackling the GHD machine.
For this workout, 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. Your torso is down so that it’s “upside down”.
To start the movement, keep the torso straight – do NOT round the back (or spine). Keep your arms in front of your chest. From the flexed position, 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. Remember to keep the torso straight! Basically, what you want here is to be dynamic at the hip and static at the trunk (torso).
Read Also: How to build own CrossFit home gym once you have mastered the CrossFit Box
Hip Extension Video
If this is too hard for you or you’ve never done this workout, you can do other exercises that will help you progress to it. You can start by doing the Superman Hold. To do this get in the same position as you would for the hip extension exercise.
Here, instead of letting your hips flex you’re going to hold your torso up so that your whole body is parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds to start. From there you can start lowering your torso a few inches and then coming back to parallel.
Hip and Back Extension
For this exercise the foot plates need to be moved close to the curved seat so that your hips clear the curved seat. The movement is similar to the back extension with a few differences.
Take up a starting position with your torso parallel to the floor. Head is up and you’re looking forward. Bring the head down first. Continue the movement by “rolling” down one vertebra at a time. When you get to the bottom on this one, you don’t stop at the hip. You extend the back (make it long). From there, you go in reverse by letting the upper and lower back round and bringing the torso up as you would when doing the Back Extension.
Read Also: Bodyweight back exercises and workouts you can do at home
The Glute Ham Developer Sit-Up to Parallel
For this exercise, you’re sitting on the curved seat. Bring the foot plate close to the curved seat so that your butt is off the curved seat. In other words, you’re not sitting directly on the curved seat. Your butt is hanging off it a little. Your knees are slightly bent. Here you’re going to be dynamic at the hip and static at the trunk(torso).
Being with a start position of bringing your torso back so it’s parallel to the floor. When you come back up, make the movement explosive. While you’re coming up explosively, straighten and lock the knees. When you’re moving your torso back to the parallel position, bend the knees. Your back should stay straight throughout the whole movement.
If you’re trying this exercise for the first time, have someone spot you from behind. Start by coming back a few inches and work your way to parallel as you increase your strength. You can also practice and do AbMat sit-ups on a regular basis to get yourself strong enough to attempt GHD Sit ups.
Read Also: Upper and lower back workouts at home for a superb physique
The Glute Ham Developer Sit-Up to Full Range Of Motion (ROM)
This exercise is similar to the Glute Ham Developer Sit-Up (GHD sit up). The difference with the Full ROM sit-up is that your back is coming further down than parallel. You’re almost arching your back here.
When executing this movement, you bring your torso back and down while lifting your arms overhead. So you’re ending position here is bringing your torso down so it’s perpendicular to the floor.
This is an advanced exercise so even if you’re and advanced athlete, make sure you practice the GHD Sit Up To Parallel before attempting the full ROM.
Read Also: The best calisthenics core and abs workouts
Sit Up Video
The GHD is a great equipment to add to your routine. If there’s one in your box, ask your coach to help you with the basics. Start using this piece of equipment on a regular basis and you’ll notice your strength quickly improving. You’ll also notice that you’re lifting heavier and achieving a better PR faster.
The name of the game in CrossFit is getting as fit as possible properly and safely. The GHD will help you do that.