Category: Resources

The History of the Glute Ham Raise

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Owing to the inquisitive nature of a PCS reader, I’ve finally gotten my act together, or at least come close enough to some semblance of normality, to go down the rabbit hole once again. The topic of todays post, is the rather more niche but nevertheless effective Glute Ham Raise (GHR) machine.

Having spent years devotedly using reverse hyperextensions and 45 degree back extensions, my own relationship with the Glute Ham Raise only began in the last twelve months. Since then I’ve made a point of trying as many different alternatives as possible. As is so often the case, I became too engrossed in using the machine that I forgot to look into its history. An email this month asking me about the GHR finally set me straight.

So without further ado we’ll crack into the history of the GHR. What is it? Who invented it and how did it become so damn popular?

Judging a Physique Contest

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This article first appeared in Bob Hoffman’s Strength and Health Magazine in 1957. It details the point scoring for the precusors for today’s modern bodybuilding shows. Of particular interest are the categories dealing with muscularity and athleticism.

Many of us forget that physique competitions used to include some form of strength component dealing with the 3 big lifts (the two hand press, the two hands snatch, the two hands clean and jerk).

How would bodybuilding be today if Kai Greene and Phil Heath had to compete in the clean and jerk for the Olympia crown?

Since judging a Mister Competition has become one of the touchiest subjects in the Iron World, a great deal of time was devoted to clarifying this issue at the official AAU Convention last Fall in Los Angeles. I am going to try to briefly sum up these points for the benefit of officials who handle such contests.

Fred Hatfield, ‘I May Know Diddly, But I Know Squat!’ (2001)

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The passing of Dr. Fred Hatfield in 2017 saw the passing of one of the lifting community’s most prolific coaches. Known as ‘Dr. Squat’ thanks to his own immense strength, Hatfield also helped to popularise scientific forms of training. The above article, written sometime before 2001 is perhaps the most comprehensive guide I’ve come across dealing with different types of squatting. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as me!

Bill Kazmaier, ‘Bench Pressing Style And Technicalities’, Bill Kazmaier and the Bench Press (1981), 4-6

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The basic concept of lying on a bench and taking a bar from arm’s length to the chest and back is a very simple one. However, bench pressing with maximum efficiency and power is an extremely exacting art relying on many major and minor principles and utilizing the coordination of the many muscles involved. While there is no one universal style that is perfect for every lifter-hand spacing, d<;gree of arch and foot placement being the most individual variables, there are other aspects that should be applied by all lifters. In this section I would like to consider all these intrinsic aspects of bench pressing technique as correct form is an important feature in increasing bench pressing ability and accompanied muscle growth.

Mike Mentzer,’High Calorie Diet: 6000 Calories,’ Heavy Duty Nutrition (1993), 16.

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Many young men take up weight training because they are underweight. Individuals who have been underweight most of their lives usually have high metabolic rates, i.e., they burn calories at a rapid rate, making it difficult to add mass to their frames. Having such high BMR’s, these individuals are especially prone to overtraining. In such cases, the individual should train very hard with moderately heavy weights for a few sets per bodypart, and no more than three days a week. An underweight bodybuilder who wants to gain muscle and isn’t worried about adding a little fat must increase his caloric intake by as much as 500 calories a day above his daily maintenance needs. If he were to discover (using the method previously described) that his daily maintenance need is 5500 calories, he should up his daily intake by 500, making a total of 6000 calories a day.

Brian Minogue, ‘Injury Recovery,’ Hard Gainer, 61 (1999), 18-21.

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The reality of physical injury is omnipresent to all human beings. Whether it comes in the form of broken bones, muscle tears, strains or sprains of connective tissue, damage to our all-too-fragile form is a cost of doing business on earth. While a proper strength training program can do much to decrease our risk of injury from outside forces, it can’t make our bodies impervious. Not only that, but improper exercise can do much to inflict the injuries that we try to avoid. But even with the safest training practitioners and environments, sometimes people still get hurt.

Informal acts of weightlifting in Ireland

That stone had lain in that place as long as the oldest traditions in the village could remember. And from time immemorial it had been the custom of the young men of the village to test their strength by lifting it …[i]

Liam O’Flaherty, 1937.

Simply titled, ‘The Stone’, Liam O’Flaherty’s short Irish story from 1937 centres on an unnamed elderly man wandering the outskirts of his coastal village. Struggling to accept his mortality and loss of vitality, the protagonist stumbles across the village’s ‘challenge stone’. Readers are told that ‘from the time of the most remote ancestors of the people’ men from the village challenged one another to lift the stone to the chest and prove their strength. Far from a meaningless act of bravado or spontaneous play, the stone served as an important social signifier. Accordingly, O’Flaherty’s protagonist claimed that