Megan showing the full range of motion (ROM) required for a proper GHD sit-up

This hunk of metal and fake leather is a GHD, which is short for Glute & Hamstring Developer.  You may have noticed some folks trying to use this nifty piece of equipment that sits unassumingly in the corner of the gym.  I say “trying” because our GHD sometimes has an elitist attitude and only seems to adjust to fit a select few people. 

Because we currently only have one of Mr. GHD, he is often reserved for warm-ups and post-workout ab and back work.  However, because he is seldom a part of the regular programing doesn”t mean he is to be ignored. The GHD was aptly named because it develops the glutes, hamstrings, and to a lesser extent everything that is not directly seen in a mirror.  This rear chain muscle recruitment is vital to athletic movement.  But, wait, there is more!!!

The Glut Ham sit-up

The Glute Ham sit-up is kinda like Fight Club.  Stay with me here.  Everyone remembers this dark movie staring Brad Pit, and if your still reading this and not searching for Pitt”s bio, then you also remember the first rule of Fight Club-“don”t talk about Fight Club.” Well, the same rule applies here, “Don”t talk about Glute Ham sit-ups.”  The reason for the secrecy is simple-this movement packs a punch! For this reason people are usually introduced (i.e picked) to do this movement after they have demonstrated the ability to dynamically stabilize their torso. Look (here) and (here) notice the range of motion (ROM), midline stability, and power that is required for a properly performed GHD sit-up.  

Rhonda, GHD start position

When learning a proper GHD sit-up the trainee will begin by securing herself on the GHD.  Once seated properly the trainee will begin by sitting tall with a rigid, flat back and bent knees.  The trainee will then lower herself to a position that is often marked by the trainer with an outstretched arm.  Once the desired depth is achieved the trainee will be cued to powerfully straighten her legs.  This straightening of the legs allows the hip flexors to get the trainee back to the top position.  Remember, the hip flexors are the prime movers in this movement. Not the Abs.  The abs get their work by dynamically stabilizing the torso.  The abs can only do their work if the torso is extended and the legs are powerfully contracted.  Watch again (here) notice the lack of leg extension on Nicole”s bad sit-ups?  So, when you finally notice Mr. GHD in the corner hop on and give it a go…Just remeber to straighten those legs.