Athletes or people trying to get in shape often neglect the back of their bodies, with the glutes and hamstrings at the top of the list. Maybe it’s because they’re not the first things we see when we look in a mirror. Unfortunately, we all spend a significant amount of time sitting throughout our days and most of our lives, which actually shortens and weakens the muscles in the back of our legs.
Our glutes and hamstrings are two of our most important powerhouse muscle groups, and strengthening them should be a key aspect of any training regimen or program. Along with squats and lunges, which are exercises that target these muscles, the glute-ham raise has become a popular posterior exercise in the fitness world. It effectively strengthens the hamstrings at both the knee and hip joint by working on your knee flexion and hip extension simultaneously. It will not only whip your glutes into shape, but it will also strengthen your lower back and calves, BOOM!
This exercise is best performed using a glute-ham bench, or can also be performed in the comfort of your home with the help of a friend or something to anchor your feet.
1. Start on your knees with your feet securely anchored behind you by slipping your feet under a couch or with a partner holding your ankles.
*It is important to maintain good posture throughout the movement
- Chest out
- Shoulder blades back and down
- Pelvis in the neutral position
2. Once you are secure, lower your body towards the floor with your arms crossed over your chest, making sure to maintain correct posture throughout the movement.
3. If you can, now reverse the movement, contracting the hamstrings and glutes, to pull yourself back to the starting position.
If you’re a chump, try starting with two to four sets of six to 10 reps. If you think you’re a champ, up the ante and embrace the burn!
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