11 Best Glute Ham Raise Alternative Exercises That Can Help Give You Better Posture

The glute ham raise can help you build your glutes and hamstrings. You can do the exercise with a glute ham raise machine. This article will detail the best glute ham raise alternative exercises with few or no equipment

man exercising with a kettlebell

The glute ham raise can help you build the muscles in your glutes and hamstrings. You can do the exercise using a glute ham raise machine.

But the glute ham raise machine will not be a must-have fitness equipment for many home gyms.

I will, in this article, share with you some of the best glute ham raise alternative exercises. These can help you achieve the same benefits without using the glute ham raise machine.

What is a glute ham raise?

The glute ham raise provides maximum engagement of the hamstrings. What sets this exercise apart from other lower body exercises is that it is low-impact. That means your muscles and joints won’t be under as much stress as if you were doing squats.

In other words, glute ham raises are low-impact exercises that are ideal for developing strength in the hamstrings and glutes. And since they’re low-impact, they’re not as stressful as deadlifts or squats.

Key Benefits of Glute Ham Raises

  • Strengthen Knee Flexion and Hip Extension
    The glute ham raise strengthens both knee flexion and hip extension in the same exercise, also making it time-efficient.
  • Enhances Your Posterior Chain
    The stronger your posterior chain, the greater your squatting, pulling, and athletic abilities.
  • Is a Bodyweight Exercise
    Aside from the glute ham raise machine, you don’t need any other gym equipment or weights. For most people, bodyweight resistance is challenging enough. And sometimes, even that’s too challenging, which is where glute ham alternatives come in handy.
  • Build a better butt
    Whether you want a juicier booty or just more powerful glutes, the glute ham raise will help you build a stronger, more defined rear-end.
  • Modified to suit your needs
    You can make glute ham raises harder or easier, depending on your fitness level. Use a resistance band or hold a pole to push yourself up if you’re a beginner. Clutch weights to your chest or wear a weighted vest to make them harder.
  • Enhanced Eccentric and Isometric Strength
    • Eccentric Strength: Tension is applied to a muscle as it lengthens. (Negative pull-ups, abdominal rollouts, reverse lunges, etc.)
    • Isometric Strength (or static strength): An exercise that requires muscle engagement without movement. (Wall sits, planks, dead hang, etc.)
    • Glute ham raises target the eccentric and isometric segments of your legs, making it an excellent way to focus on areas of weakness, improve muscle function and health, and prepare you to tackle more demanding activities.
  • Potential Decrease in Hamstring Injury
    Increased eccentric strength and coordination can cause a decrease in injury rates during explosive movements.
  • Minimal Lower Back Stress
    Training legs through squatting or deadlifting can cause lower back pain in certain individuals. However, the glute ham raise places minimal tension on your back, sparing you some of that discomfort.

Muscles Worked:

  • Gluteus maximus.
  • Medius.
  • Gluteus minimus.
  • Biceps femoris.
  • Semitendinosus.
  • Semimembranosus.
  • Spinal erectors.
  • Rhomboids (upper back).
  • Gastrocnemius and soleus (calves).

Limitations of the Glute Ham Raises

  • You Need a Glute Ham Raise Machine
    As powerful as the glute ham raise may be, the necessary equipment can be challenging to find since not every public gym will have one. I’ve been to about a dozen gyms in my life, private and commercial, and have spotted maybe three in total.
  • The Machine is Expensive
    Glute ham raises can carry a high price tag and may not be ideal for a home gym purchase.
  • It’s An Advanced Exercise
    Even though you can do the glute ham raise with bodyweight alone, it still requires a bit of pre-existing hamstring strength that many new lifters may not have established yet.

Fortunately, the glute ham raise is just one exercise you can use to strengthen your hamstrings and build your posterior chain. There are many glute ham raise alternative exercises available that are easier to execute and deliver close to the same results.

Best Glute Ham Raise Alternative Exercises that can help build your hamstrings

Building your hamstrings and glutes can help give you better posture.

Studies have shown that strengthening the hamstring muscles can help reduce the risk of injury to your hamstrings by about 49% (1). And most research seems to indicate that targeting each muscle group with 10-16 sets of exercises per week can increase muscle growth or muscle hypertrophy. But the level of muscle growth will depend on your goals (2, 3).

Thus, exercises that help you target those muscles should be part of any fitness regimen you adopt. And, you don’t need to make frequent journeys to the gym to get access to a glute ham raise machine for that.

Here are some of the best glute ham raise alternative exercises that can help you target your hamstrings and glutes. Doing these can help improve your posture.

Nordic Hamstring Curls

hamstring nordic curls glute ham raise alternative exercise

Nordic curls are the best glute ham raise alternative exercises to simulate the same muscle groups. However, Nordic curls focus more on developing the hamstrings than the glutes.

Level: Intermediate.
Equipment Required: Exercise mat (optional).

Steps to Follow

  • Kneel on an exercise mat or the floor.
  • Anchor your feet on the floor somehow. The best way is to have a partner do it or use a weight. If you use the weight, make sure it’s placed a few inches away from the heels, resting on the shins.
  • In this posture, have your back completely straight. In a way, your knees should be making a 90-degree angle with the floor.
  • Now, gradually, lower your entire torso to the floor. It’s crucial to keep your back straight.
  • You might find that placing your hands on the floor will provide more support when coming down. However, try your best to go down without using your hands.
  • Then, place your hands on the floor to push yourself up. Get back into your starting position and repeat.

Hill Sprints

woman sprinting uphill

This is a unique alternative for glute ham raise as it’s supposed to be done outside. This exercise is highly recommended if you train outside and find a hill.

Level: Beginner.
Equipment Required: Outdoor attire and shoes.

Steps to Follow

  • First, look for a hill that’s at least 20-50 yards long. The steeper the mountain, the better. But it’s best to start with a flatter hill.
  • Stand a few yards away from the hill and start jogging towards it. Do not run, as it will only slow you down later when you try to climb the hill.
  • Once you reach the hill, speed up and climb up the hill.
  • You’ll find it better to lean into the hill and maintain an upright posture. Keep your face looking forward instead of down to ensure that your back is as straight as humanly possible.
  • Keep going, and do not slow down until you reach the top.
  • Now, come back down (walk down this time) and repeat a few times.

Pro Tip:
If you’ve never done hill sprints glute ham raise alternative exercise before, start slow and gradually increase both speed and duration to avoid pulling a hamstring.

Kettlebell Swings

kettlebell swing glute ham alternative exercise

Kettlebell swings are a good glute ham raise alternative exercise that can target the glutes and the hamstrings.

But, this exercise is a lot more fast-paced than glute ham raises. It also builds the muscles in the shoulders and the upper back.

Level: Intermediate.
Equipment Required: Kettlebell.

Steps to Follow

  • Grab a kettlebell with both hands and hold it in front of you between the thighs. Keep your feet at least shoulder-width apart.
  • Slightly bend your knees forward. Your hips should be jutting out.
  • Maintaining a straight posture, push out your posterior and lean down. The kettlebell should be in your hands at about the same height as your knees, and your arms should be fully extended.
  • Bring the hips forward and push the kettlebell up to your eye level. Then, use the motion of the hips as a supporting force to raise the kettlebell. You may need to do this a few times to get the hang of it.
  • Bring the weight back down and repeat for 10-12 reps.

Pro Tip:

  • The power of the swing must come from the hips. So make sure you hinge at the waist and really thrust your hips forward as you swing the kettlebell.
  • The heavier a kettlebell you use, the more you’ll trigger your hamstrings and glutes by placing them under greater tension.

Single-Leg Kettlebell Deadlift

man training with a kettlebell

The single-leg kettlebell deadlift is a peculiar exercise in that it’s not very easy to perform, but it’s highly effective. You might think it’s not that hard. But it’s a lot more advanced than it looks.

Level: Intermediate.
Equipment Required: Kettlebell.

Steps to Follow

  • Grab a single kettlebell in your right or left hand and keep it by your side. Ensure your back is straight.
  • Maintaining the posture of your spine, lean forward at the hips. Your right hand should still be by your side.
  • As you lean, also bring the left leg behind you so that you’re standing on just one leg. Maintain a good balance and be very careful as it’s very easy to fall in this state.
  • Keep going down until the kettlebell touches the floor. Your torso should be completely parallel with the floor if you do this right.
  • Slowly return to your starting position. Balance and safety are crucial here.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps or as many times as you can. Then, use the left hand and right leg.

Pro Tip:
Try not to let your non-working leg drop to the floor during your repetition when doing this glute ham raise alternative. This will put extra tension on the working side. If you lack the balance, do the single-leg deadlifts near a wall or railing to use for support.

Reverse Hyperextension

reverse hyperextensions glute ham raise alternative

Reverse hyperextension is one of the best glute ham raise alternative exercises to include in your training regimen. It focuses more on the glutes than the hamstrings.

Level: Beginner.
Equipment Required: A flat or inclined workout bench or a similar gym equipment.

Steps to Follow

  • Grab onto the flat bench and lie face down, and your hips are just at the edge of the bench. Your knees should be bent and touch the floor.
  • Extend the legs outward while bracing your glutes and your core so that your legs are in line with your body. You’ll need to use a lot of core strength to do this. But try to focus more on the glutes as you tighten them and raise them.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and relax.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps.

Glute Bridge

man doing glute bridge glute ham alternative exercise

Perhaps no other exercise is as well-known as the glute bridge. It is another great glute ham raise alternative exercise that builds muscle and control.

Level: Beginner.
Equipment Required: Exercise mat (optional).

Steps to Follow

  • Lie face-up on the floor, or on an exercise mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Try to keep the heels as close to your hips as you can but at a comfortable distance.
  • Then, raise your pelvis so that your back, pelvis, and thighs form a straight line while your knees remain bent. Brace your abs and your glutes. This is easier to manage.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Then, lower your pelvis to the floor and relax.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps.

Pro Tip:
During the kickback glute ham raise alternative exercise, try not to shift your upper body. It’s a common mistake because it feels like it’s helping with the kick, but it’s not.

Single-Leg Deadlift

single leg deadlift

The single-leg deadlift is a good glute ham raise machine alternative, but it focuses more on the hams than the glutes. The best part is it can be performed with zero equipment.

Level: Beginner.
Equipment Required: Dumbbells (optional)

Steps to Follow

  • Stand upright, holding a dumbbell in each hand, if using those. Keep your feet close together.
  • Extend your left leg back and push it up slightly, with most of your weight is on your right foot. Balance is key to doing this exercise safely.
  • Now, lean forward at the hips and extend your arms so that your body forms an almost T-like shape. Your arms and forward-leaning torso should form a T with your left and right legs. Your knees should be bent slightly as your weight shifts forward.
  • Hold this pose for a few seconds and return to your starting pose.
  • Now, repeat the same with the other leg.

Donkey Kick

donkey kick

The donkey kick is another effective glute ham raise alternative exercise. It’s perfect for training both the glutes and the hams. And it develops a wider range of motion.

Level: Beginner.
Equipment Required: Exercise mat (optional).

Steps to Follow

  • Get down on all fours with your hands and your knees about shoulder-width apart. Don’t keep them too close as this will interfere with the exercise.
  • Brace your abs and lift the right leg. Your other knee should stay perfectly still.
  • Extend the right leg up and back as if you’re “kicking” your leg. Keep “kicking” until the right leg is perfectly straight. Do this in front of a mirror or with a friend to make it easier.
  • Gradually bring the right leg back to its starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-12 reps.
  • Repeat for the other leg.

Good Morning

good morning with barbell

Good mornings are all-in-one exercises that can be done with or without equipment. However, some form of resistance is required.

It is another effective glute ham raise alternative exercise. It targets the hamstrings, glutes, as well as the erector spinae, and lower back muscles.

Level: Intermediate.
Equipment Required: Barbell or dumbbells (both, optional).

Steps to Follow

  • Start by standing straight, keeping your feet at least shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your barbell on your shoulders. If you’re not using weights, you can place both your hands on your neck and apply a very small amount of pressure. Do not push down too much, as it will only strain your neck.
  • While inhaling, brace your core muscles and hinge at the hips forward. Your pelvis will push out a bit as your weight shifts forward.
  • Keep in mind that your torso should be perfectly straight. Keep hinging forward until your torso is parallel to the ground.
  • Hold this pose for a few seconds.
  • While exhaling, relax and return to where you started.

Single-Leg Hip Extension

man doing the Single-Leg Hip Extension glute ham raise alternative exercise

The single-leg hip extension is another good glute ham raise alternative. It works the glutes, hams, and a few other minor muscles.

Level: Intermediate.
Equipment Required: Exercise mat (optional).

Steps to Follow

  • Lie down on your back on the floor or on an exercise mat. Keep your left leg straight and in line with your body while your right leg is bent and your right foot flat on the floor. Keep your arms by your side.
  • Now, raise your left leg and your hips. This way, your back, pelvis, and left leg form a straight line while your right knee is still bent.
  • Stay in this pose for a few seconds, and then bring your left leg and pelvis back down.
  • Repeat, this time with the right leg extended and the left leg bent.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl

stability ball hamstring curls

The stability ball hamstring curls are perfect for people who want to develop hamstring strength and range of motion. It is another good glute ham raise alternative exercise. You’ll need a stability ball or exercise ball for the exercise.

Level: Intermediate.
Equipment Required: Stability ball or exercise ball, exercise mat (optional).

Steps to Follow

  • Lie down on the floor, facing away from the ground. You can lie down on an exercise mat if that’s more comfortable for you.
  • Prop your feet up on a stability ball.
  • Raise your hips, and make your body will form a perfect incline. Ensure your back and legs are perfectly straight. Inhale while doing so.
  • Now, pull your knees back and use your heels to pull the stability ball towards yourself. Keep your hands pasted flat on the ground.
  • Bring the ball back to its original position and repeat.

Pro Tip:
Try not to rest your hips on the ground until you have finished your set.


What is the best glute ham raise alternative?

The Nordic curls are arguably the best alternatives for the glute ham raises. The reason is that they work out practically the same muscle groups as glute ham raises.
In other words, the Nordic curls work out all three muscles within your hamstrings. And they help reduce your risk to injury.

What is the best alternative to glute ham raises without equipment?

If you don’t have any equipment at home, not even an exercise pad, then the single-leg deadlifts are the best for you. Arguably, these are quite advanced to do. But once you get the hang of them, they’re quite effective in developing the hamstrings and glute mass.
But it is worth noting that you do not require any equipment for the many of the glute ham raise alternative exercises

What are the benefits of glute ham raises?

As the name suggests, Glute ham raise primarily focuses on the glutes and the hamstrings. The exercise develops strength in those muscles. Besides that, they also help to improve your squatting and vertical jumping ability. And they don’t put as much stress on your lower back as a regular squat or deadlift does.

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