If you’re looking to build hamstrings, glute-hams are one effective option, as Shane Sweatt and Laura Phelps-Sweatt discuss during this CrossFit Powerlifting Trainer Course.
Get into the GHD just as you would for back extensions, except allow your knees to rest on the pads just behind the handles. Dig your toes into the foot plates, then get your body perfectly horizontal and contract your hamstrings to get vertical again, says elite powerlifter Phelps-Sweatt.
“You want no bend of the hip,” she explains. “Start to do these with weight . Make them more difficult.”
For athletes who are only beginning to develop their hamstrings, Sweatt says he spots from the front and gives them a gentle push back up to the vertical position.
“You gotta drive your head and shoulders back—just like a deadlift,” he advises. “If you kick your butt out, you’re gonna lose it.”
The couple also demonstrates the reverse hyper, which Phelps-Sweatt says is good for both building strength and back rehab.
“It’s just targeting the posterior chain,” she adds. “It’s working all the muscle groups you need for deadlifts: mid back, low back, glutes, hamstrings.”
Video by Mike Koslap.
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Additional reading: The Westside Conjugate System by Louie Simmons, published June 22, 2011.