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GHD Machine Exercises: The Complete Training Guide

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The posterior chain of muscles, which are made up of the structures of the spine and the back of the legs are often undertrained. They are essential for a healthy body and being balanced and pain-free. The Glute Hamstring Developer or GHD machine exercises are some of the best exercises to train the muscles, while including a few core exercises as well.

What Are The GHD Machine Exercises? GHD exercises are often done on the ever-versatile GHD machine. It is a versatile machine that gives you a full body and allows you to target the posterior chain of muscles. These are essential for a balanced workout.

Being such an underrated workout machine, we must look at some benefits of using it. This article scopes to explain why a GHD workout is efficient and what you can train. We will look at some of the best exercises to perform and how to integrate the GHD machine into your current workout routine effectively.

GHD Machine Exercise

What Is the Ghd Exercise Machine?

Even though the GHD machine can be used for a variety of exercises, the name directly implies what the machine is and what it is best used for. Being a Glute-Hamstring Developer, the machine enables the trainee to perform various exercises that target these posterior chain muscles. 

Aside from these muscles, it is also used for training the hip flexor, core muscles, quadriceps, calves, and lower back muscles. Thanks to the versatility, you can argue that the GHD machine is ideal for a full-body workout. Unfortunately, adding these different muscles to the overall name would not allow for a good abbreviation like GHD.

Top 5 Exercises to Perform on the Ghd Machine

Being such a versatile piece of gym equipment, there is obviously a massive variety of workouts that can be performed using the machine. Some of these might be beneficial to certain athletes. The following list contains some of the most performed exercises, as well as the most effective exercises to do on a GHD machine.

1. Glute-Ham Raises

Sticking to the name of the machine, Glute-Ham raises are probably the most popular, aside from hyperextensions.

The Glute-Ham raises involve hooking your feet in beneath the cushions for your feet. Your knees should be touching and resting on the front cushion. The idea of the workout is to go down with your torso until you are parallel with the machine. In essence, your head and feet should be in a straight line.

Once completed, you can lift your torso to create a 90-degree angle between your upper body and lower body. Repeat as many times as needed.

2. Hip Extension on Ghd Machine

The hip extension is one of the best exercises for targeting the glutes. It is a beginner-friendly exercise that involves mounting the machine and remaining parallel. Your head and feet should be in line with one another.

Once you are in this superwoman position, you can fold your upper body down by 90 degrees before lifting yourself back up. It is important to maintain a neutral spine and keep your chest tall. You should squeeze the glutes when you get back up to the starting position. To increase difficulty, you can add some weight to your chest.

3. Back Extensions

If you look at the back extensions and the hip extensions, you will be forgiven for thinking that they are the same. However, the setup of the GHD machine is the most important part here.

The main difference between the two is that you will be keeping your hips static when going down and coming up during the back extension. This can take a lot of mental capacity and concentration to do. However, you should feel more of a stretch in your lower back, developing the spinal erector, and individually moving the vertebrae when the back is flexing.

If the exercise is too easy, you can easily add another weight to your chest. You should be careful though, as adding weight might drive you to round the back, which can be dangerous and ineffective.

4. Hip and Back Extension

Those that can easily perform the first three exercises, might want to combine the hip and back extension. The setup is similar to the above-mentioned workouts. 

Once you are in position, you should cross your arms over the chest, and fully extend the hips. Keep in mind that your legs need to remain straight.

You can start a normal back extension, going down 90 degrees, before returning. However, once you return, you can flex the spine and transition to the hip extension. It is important to safely return to the starting position before switching to the other direction.

5. Sorenson Hold

We all know how good the plank exercise is for the core. However, the Sorenson Hold is the plank variation for the back.

For this exercise, you will need to get into the same position as the back extension. With your hips resting on the pads, you can place your hands on your chest. Once parallel with the floor, you should hold the position for 5-10 seconds.

You must engage your core. This would prevent back hyperextension. It can easily be done by contracting the abs and glute muscles.

Top 3 Ghd Machine Exercise Alternatives

Much like any workout machine, certain exercises are staples. These are the exercises that the machine is built for. However, there are a couple of other great exercises that can also be performed without a GHD machine. Here are a few great alternatives to work into your training program

GHD Machine Man Workout

1. Good Mornings

If you don’t have access to the GHD machine, Good Mornings are a great alternative to do for the Glutes and Hamstrings. 

You will start by standing shoulder-width apart with your feet. The barbell should be placed across the shoulders and upper back. With your knees slightly bent, you should hinge forward until the upper body is parallel with the ground. Once in this parallel position, activate your glutes and hamstrings to pull your upper body back to the starting position.

Repeat as necessary!

2. Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift might seem complicated. However, it is one of the most effective alternatives to the GHD machine.

You will start with your feet at hip-width apart. Your knees should be slightly bent and the barbell should rest at hip level (an overhand grip is preferred). It is important to keep your back straight and pull your shoulders back when starting the movement.

When starting, you will hinge slightly forward and push back with the hips. The barbell should be lowered in front of the legs, which leads to a stretch and some tension on the hamstring muscles. Once the barbell reaches below your knees, you will need to engage the glutes and hamstring to pull the bar back up to the starting position.

3. KettleBell Swing

If you want to develop explosive power, the kettlebell swing is one of the best exercises to consider. Being a classic exercise, you only need a kettlebell to get you started.

For the kettlebell swing, you will start with your feet about shoulder-width apart. You should hinge forward from the hips and make sure the spine stays neutral. It is important to have a slight bend in your knees to perform the movement. Once in position, you can take hold of the kettlebell and pull it up between the legs.

When starting the movement, you can extend your hips to pull the kettlebell up and swing it around the height of your eyes. Slowly lower the kettlebell back down by allowing it to swing between your legs.

How to Use Ghd Machine Correctly?

Once you get the GHD machine, you might not know where to get started. Fortunately, we have a few great tips that would help you set it up correctly and maintain the right position. Not only can these tips improve the efficiency of exercises, but they will also prevent possible injury:

GHD Machine Training

1. Ensuring You Have Adequate Core Strength

The core is one of the most important muscles when it comes to the GHD machine. You must make sure you have the right core strength to perform these exercises. Your core should always be engaged and if you cannot keep it stable, rounding of the back might take place.


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2. Adjust the Machine for Your Height

People vary in height and size. To prevent any injury, you should have the machine set up for your height and body size. It could take a couple of tries to perfect the setup, but it would ensure better efficiency and prevent injury. 

3. Make Sure That You Are Performing the Exercises Correctly

Whether you are doing glute ham developer exercises or using the glute ham machine exercises for training different body parts, you should know how to perform them.

The posterior chain of muscles is often weak in many individuals, and aside from the traditional deadlift, many people neglect these correction exercises in favor of the bigger weightlifting workouts. 

If you are just starting, you should make sure that you can efficiently adjust the machine to meet your needs. You should always engage your core and make sure that you don’t feel any pain or discomfort when performing them.

Ghd Machine We Recommend

Rogue Abram GHD 2.0

Another important factor to keep in mind would be buying the correct GHD machine for your needs. The machine should be durable enough for your body weight and enable you to make adequate adjustments for your workout.

One of the best options on the market today is the Rogue Abram GHD 2.0. At 73 x 44.5 (L X W), it is one of the larger options. However, when you feel the machine, it doesn’t feel flimsy at all. You can feel that it is made from durable 2 x 3-inch 11-gauge steel.

Rogue Abram GHD 2.0 instagram
Photo by @hoodlm13b

Wheels and handles are implemented for easy transportation and maneuverability, while 10 adjustment slots make it viable for all sizes. Moisture is wicked away immediately, making it an effective option for continuous workouts.

It might seem slightly expensive, but once you buy this GHD machine, you can perform all your GHD machine workouts without issue for the foreseeable future.


What Does the Ghd Machine Mean?

The “GHD” in “GHD Machine” stands for Glute-Ham Developer. This refers to the Glutes and Hamstring muscles. However, this machine is versatile and can be used for far more.

What Muscles Are Involved in Ghd Machine Training?

The GHD machine might be marketed toward training the posterior chain of muscles. However, it can train a whole load of other muscles. Depending on the exercise, you can target the quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back, calves, and core muscles. Since most are done by using your own body weight, it is a great bodyweight exercise machine.

Are Ghd Machine Workouts Good for Your Health?

The posterior chain of muscles is vital for a balanced and healthy individualAs we get older, people often struggle with back issues, especially in the lower back. The GHD machine enables you to train these muscles and strengthen them to prevent such issues.


If you are looking to have the optimal workout machine for training the posterior chain of muscles, whilst training additional muscles, the GHD machine is one of the best options. It is an all-around effective workout machine designed for the avid fitness enthusiast. Let us know in the comment section if you prefer using the GHD machine and which exercises you perform on it.

Also read:


  1. Gluteus Maximus and Hamstring Activation During Selected Weight-Bearing Resistance Exercises // Pubmed:
  2. Influence of hip and knee positions on gluteus maximus and hamstrings contributions to hip extension torque production // Pubmed:
  3. The real-world benefits of strengthening your core // Health:
  4. The Importance of Proper Technique and Form to Your Workout // Ahealthiermichigan:
  5. Tips for choosing the right exercise equipment // Health:
  6. The advantages of body-weight exercise // Health:
  7. Posterior-Chain Resistance Training Compared to General Exercise and Walking Programmes for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain in the General Population: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis // Ncbi:
  8. Lower Back Pain: What Could It Be? // Hopkinsmedicine:

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Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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