Exercise Anatomy

GHD Sit-Up

The glute-ham-developer sit-up is a great movement for developing core, back and hip-flexor strength. Here’s how to perform it properly and safely.

The glute-ham-developer sit-up is an amazing movement that requires and develops tremendous core strength through the front side of the body. The GHD device allows for a unique and dynamic range of motion that is very hard to re-create on any other training apparatus.

This is a very potent movement that takes time to build up to. Don’t bite off more than you can chew before you are ready … otherwise, your abs will be sore for a week and you might not be able to sit up out of bed.

Start with GHD sit-ups to parallel, just working on building some strength and the mechanics of the movement. Then, over time, progress lower and lower to the ground. Adding the arms overhead is the last step and just adds a little more load to the movement.

Exercise Setup


Climb into the GHD, grabbing onto the footholds and sitting your butt down on the pad. Anchor your feet between the holds while holding on.

Tip: The GHD apparatus should be positioned so that you are sitting toward the back end of the pad with your legs straight. You want your hips to be able to move free of the pad.

The Action


1. Slightly unlock your legs and start to lower your torso back toward the ground while maintaining tension and brace on your belly.

Tip: Maintain tension in your belly by simultaneously contracting and pushing out the abs.


2. Reach both arms back over your head until your fingers are touching the ground. This is the bottom position.


3. As soon as you reach the bottom, initiate with your quads and drive your knees straight while flexing at the hip to start moving back up. Sit all the way back up so that your hands touch your feet.

Photos by Robert Reiff