For most, the glute ham raise machine is a large and expensive piece of equipment that might not fit into your home. 

So what can you do instead?

This article lists the seven best glute ham raise alternatives to help you work the same muscles, so you won't miss any of the leg building benefits the glute ham raise offers. 

Sounds good, right? Check out the list below and add a handful to your workout. 

Looking for a brilliant glute ham raise substitute? Here are 7 of the best that you can perform in your home gym. 

1. Good Mornings

Woman Doing Good Mornings In The Gym

The good morning is an excellent alternative to the glute ham raise because they work all of the same muscles in a reversed range of motion. It is important that you maintain good form because bad form can lead to injury. 

It's an excellent glute ham raise substitute, add it to your workout and discover why.

If performing the good morning exercise proves challenging, it's definitely worth exploring good morning alternatives to continue working those same muscle groups effectively


  • Develops a strong posterior chain. 
  • Works your core muscles too.

How To Perform The Good Morning:

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and squeeze your shoulder blades. Hold a barbell along your shoulders and upper back while maintaining a slight bend in your knees. 
  2. Keep a neutral spine, hinge forward with your hips until the upper part of your body is parallel to the ground. 
  3. Remember to engage your glutes and hamstrings in order to pull your body back to your starting position. 
  4. Repeat the same steps. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Always maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. Doing so places less stress on your lower back and reduces your risk of serious injury. 

Related Article - Good Morning Vs Deadlift

2. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

Man Performing A Romanian Deadlift Exercise

The Romanian deadlift is an intense and effective posterior chain exercise that bulks out your back, glutes, and hamstrings at the same time as training hip extension.

If you want to do fewer repetitions, then you can use heavier weights (instead of using lighter weights and doing more repetitions) to reveal greater gains in a shorter period of time.

However, remember to maintain good form throughout the exercise. 

If injury, limited equipment, or the desire for variety prevents you from performing the Romanian deadlift, you can check out Romanian deadlift alternatives that you can easily perform in your home or garage gym.


  • Allows you to overload your hamstrings.
  • Strengthens your entire body.

How To Perform The Romanian Deadlift:

  1. Start with your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your knees. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip at hip level. Keep your back straight and pull your shoulders back. 
  2. Hinge and push your hips back while you lower the barbell in front of your legs. You should feel your hamstrings stretch at this point. 
  3. Engage your glutes and hamstrings when the barbell is below your knees to pull back up to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat the same steps. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you find that the barbell is touching the floor at the bottom of the deadlift, stand on a weighted plate to elevate your position. 

3. Nordic Hamstring Curl (Glute Ham Raise Without A Machine)

man Doing Nordic Hamstring Curl In The Gym

If you want to grow your hamstrings, then you should definitely try the Nordic hamstring curl.

The Nordic hamstring curl is a versatile and effective bodyweight exercise, and they are an excellent glute ham raise alternative in the sense that they will strengthen your hamstrings and avoid potential injuries.

They will also build mass in your arms, chest, and shoulders. 

The Nordic hamstring curl is the perfect variation for when you are working out in the park or your garage gym at home. The exercise will really work your hamstrings, so you should expect to perform a lower number of repetitions.

You will require a soft surface for your knees to rest (like a cushion or mat) and a stable item for you to secure your feet.

In this case, you can use a doorway pull-up bar, a weighted barbell, a lat pull down machine, a partner, or even your sofa to help keep your feet in place. 

It's a tough glute ham raise substitute, but if you can master it, you'll have excellent glutes and hamstrings.


  • Ideal for advanced lifters.
  • Develops super-strong hamstrings.
  • Similar movement pattern to glute ham raises.

How To Perform The Nordic Hamstring Curl:

  1. Get down in a kneeling position and secure your ankles. Remember to keep your back straight. 
  2. Engage your abs, glutes, and hamstrings. 
  3. Lean forward slowly and keep your back straight. Then, when you first start to perform the Nordic hamstring curl, you should be ready to catch yourself as you descend. 
  4. Contract your hamstrings in order to lift your body into the starting position. You might have to push yourself away from the ground at first. Remember to squeeze your glutes and hamstrings when you reach the start again. 
  5. Repeat the same steps. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you're struggling with this exercise, try holding a pole out front to support your body weight. I tend to use a pole to assist my clients; it works pretty well.  

4. Kettlebell Swing (Glute Ham Raise Alternative At Home)

Man Doing A Kettlebell Swing Outdoors

The kettlebell swing is one of the classic glute ham raise alternative exercises. It is a powerful exercise that will seriously work your glutes and hamstrings.

You will definitely see an improvement in your hip extension, glutes, and movement. 

I use this glute ham raise substitute at the end of my workouts as a finisher. It's even popular with my clients.

If you lack kettlebells in your home gym setup, you might want to try out kettlebell swing alternative exercises.


  • Suitable for all ability ranges. 
  • Trains your hamstrings through hip extension. 
  • Gets your heart pumping.

How To Perform The Kettlebell Swing:

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell in front of you on the floor. 
  2. Lean forward with your hips, keep a neutral spine and slightly bend your knees. Hold the kettlebell with both of your hands and pull it back between your legs. 
  3. To push back into the standing position, extend your hips while you swing the kettlebell up to the level of your eyes. 
  4. Lower down and let the kettlebell swing between your legs. 
  5. Repeat the same steps. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  •  Let your hips and glutes do all of the work. DON'T let your shoulders do the lifting for you. 

5. Hip Thrusts 

Man Doing Hip Thrusts In The Gym

The barbell hip thrust is an excellent weight training move that will activate the posterior chain. It will help you to build muscle and strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, as well as your hip adductors and core.

If you add a barbell or a high tension exercise band to the standard hip thrust, it will seriously increase the difficulty of the move, and you should expect to feel sore the following day after performing the hip thrusts.  

If you are unable to perform hip thrusts or looking for an alternative exercise, there are effective hip thrust alternative exercises that can target and strengthen your glutes without the need for hip thrusts.


  • You can lift a lot of weight. 
  • Helps with injury prevention. 
  • Strengthens your posterior chain.

How To Perform The Hip Thrusts:

  1. Start by leaning your upper back against a raised surface, like a box or a bench. Try to keep your knees bent and your feet on the ground shoulder-width apart. Then place a barbell on the hips. 
  2. Raise the hips from the ground until the thighs are parallel to the floor and keep your knees at a 90-degree angle. Remember to squeeze the glutes. 
  3. Lower yourself slowly back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat the same steps. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Increase your glute activation by placing a glute loop (resistance band) around your quads. This will increase the amount of work your glutes need to do, resulting in bigger and stronger muscles.

6. Cable Pull Throughs 

Woman Doing Cable Pull-Throughs

It is worth noting that the cable pull through will definitely make your lower body ache. However, if you pull through the pain, then you will develop amazing glute and hamstring strength.

You can also use a resistance band if you do not have access to a cable machine. 


  • Great for beginners. 
  • Stretches and strengthens your hamstrings.

How To Perform The Cable Pull Throughs: 

  1. Hook the rope on the lower setting of the cable machine and stand with your back towards the pulley and keep the cable between your legs. Hold one side of the rope with each hand and keep your feet shoulder-width apart while you slightly bend your knees. Then take a few steps forward. 
  2. Hinge from the hips and bend forward as you let the rope move back towards the machine as far as possible. 
  3. Extend the hips without bending your arms in a strong movement in order to return to the standing position. Remember to lock the hips and squeeze the glutes. 
  4. Repeat the same steps. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Stop the cable from hitting your private parts by standing on a weighted plate or step. You'll thank me, the last thing you want is cable burn down there.  

7. Reverse Hyperextension 

Man Doing Bench Reverse Hyperextensions In Home Gym

The reverse hyperextension is one of the best glute ham alternative exercises due to the fact that it works all of the same muscles. It is excellent for working on glute and hamstring hypertrophy and developing power and strength in the posterior chain.

You will require a stable surface that is high enough to grant you a long range of motion (such as a flat bench). 

If performing the reverse hyperextension exercise is not feasible for you, there are reverse hyper alternative exercises that can effectively target and engage the same muscle groups, allowing you to diversify your workout routine and achieve similar benefits


  • Places a lot of stress on your hamstrings and glutes. 
  • Doesn't require much equipment.

How To Perform The Reverse Hyperextension: 

  1. Start the exercise with your torso and hips resting on the bench, and let your legs hang off the edge. Hold the bench for stability. 
  2. Extend your legs and lift them slowly behind you and try to reach as high as you can. Push your hips into the bench at the same time and hold your legs at the top position for a moment. 
  3. Let your legs lower back to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat the same steps. 

What Exactly Are Glute Ham Raises?

The glute ham raise, also called the glute ham developer (GHD), is a hypertrophy and posterior chain strength exercise.

In other words, the movement will burn almost every muscle on the back of your body, including your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. 

How To Do Glute Ham Raises

  1. Start lying down, ensuring your body is roughly parallel to the ground. 
  2. Make sure that your thighs are in contact with the rest pad. Your knees should sit just behind the pad. 
  3. Your ankles should rest on the other two pads. Raise these to increase the difficulty. 
  4. Force your knees forward and into the pad while pulling in your hamstrings to lift your body. 
  5. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the movement. 

Glute ham raises help to develop serious muscle mass and improve your full body strength, stability, and overall back health. Glute ham raises work the knee flexion and hip extension, which exercise your hamstrings while building strength in your upper legs and lower body at the same time.

If you lift, then you will definitely want to reap the benefits of glute ham raises because having a strong posterior chain will help you to lift heavy weights and improve your squat and deadlift. 

The main reason why people tend to avoid glute ham raises is because glute ham developer is an expensive and large piece of equipment, or they might not be able to make it to the gym as much as they would like. However, glute ham raise alternatives will also allow you to: 

  • Build Strength
    The glute ham raise will throw you into the deep end of glutes and hamstrings, but the alternative exercises that we have listed below will help you to gradually increase the weight and difficulty according to your strength level and goals.
  • Work From Home
    The alternative glute ham raise exercises listed below use equipment that you most likely already own or are less expensive to purchase. The alternatives will also let you modify and adjust the movement according to the tools that you have on hand.
  • Change It Up
    If you perform the same exercise repeatedly, you will eventually stop seeing gains. It is essential that you have a range of compound exercises that will target your glutes and hamstrings to keep your muscles active and engaged.

Why You Should Work The Glutes & Hamstrings


The glutes and butt muscles are comprised of three sets of muscles — the gluteus minimus, medius, and maximus.[1]

The maximus is the largest and strongest muscle in the human body — it allows you to extend your hips and move your thighs, along with the added benefit of filling out your jeans. 

The medius is known for rotating the thigh and moving the leg away from the center of the body. The minimus works with the medius and brings stability to the pelvis when you run or walk. 

The glutes, abs, obliques, and lower back make up the core of your body, and they are the power behind explosive movements such as jumping and sprinting, along with assisting you in standing, sitting, and walking.

If you have strong glutes, then you will be able to lift heavy weights and experience a reduction in back pain. Glutes that are weak will put stress on your lower body joints, knees, calves, and hamstrings. 

A good machine you can use to build the glutes up is the leg press machine 


The hamstrings are a set of muscles and tendons that are on the back of your legs. They work to extend the hip and flex the knee joint. The muscles start moving when you walk, run, jump and move up the stairs. 

The hamstrings work opposite the quads. It is vital that you balance quad workouts with exercises that help to develop strength in the hamstrings.

It is also worth noting that the hamstrings are vulnerable to injury when it comes to sports that mix running with sudden starts and stops, such as soccer, tennis, basketball, or football.

The most common injuries for athletes and people who are new at the gym are hamstring pulls and strains. If you work on strengthening your hamstrings, it will help you to avoid sustaining hamstring and knee injuries.[2] 

The glutes and hamstrings create the posterior chain, along with the calves and back, which are the most powerful groups of muscles in the human body. 

You will want a strong posterior chain, regardless of whether you are a bodybuilder, weightlifter, football player, sprinter, or anyone who likes to work out. 

An excellent way to build the strength of your hamstrings is the leg extension machine. 

Common Glute Ham Raise Questions

How do you do a glute ham raise without a machine? 

There are many bodyweight movements such as the Nordic curl that you can perform instead of using the glute ham raise machine. 

Is glute ham raise same as back extension?

Not quite! You usually perform a back extension using a Roman chair; while a glute ham raise uses a glute ham developer machine. While they do work some of the same muscles groups, you'll get much greater glute activation with a glute ham raise.

How do you make a ham raise at home?

All you need for this simple DIY glute raise set up is a large piece of plywood, a towel, and a ratchet or furniture lifting strap. If you don't have DIY skills, I recommend trying one of the exercises on the list. 


It is essential that you maintain a varied and challenging workout routine that targets all of the muscles and areas you are looking to build. The list of exercises that we have shared with you will work best when added to a varied strength and cardio routine.

If you spend the whole week performing only hamstring exercises, then it will lead to pain and no gain in the end. 

We have laid out all of the secrets to developing mass and strength in your posterior chain. Try mixing in a few of these glute ham raise alternative exercises into your workout routine and prepare for serious results. 




Lee Kirwin

Lee Kirwin

Lee has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years. He's trained hundreds of clients and knows his way around the gym, including what you need for your garage gym. When he's not testing products, he loves weightlifting, Ju Jitsu, writing, and gaming.