Execution of Glute-Ham Sit Up for Safety and Efficiency

Execution of Glute-Ham Sit Up for Safety and Efficiency

In this video, I work with Dr. Brian Campbell of Xcel Movement and Performance to cover the proper way to protect your spine during the performance of the Glute Ham Sit Up.

Muscles Working
When you’re doing the Glute Ham Sit Up, you got a couple muscles that are controlling the movement. First your big abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis, the six pack muscle which is gonna be your primary mover, as the spine moving into lumbar flexion as you’re coming up. We also have the iliopsoas, one of your hip flexor muscles which runs from the front side of your spine to the front side of your hip. And also the rectus femoris, one of the quad muscles that’s also a hip flexor and that one runs from your hips down to your knee.

Improper Form
So there’s a right way and wrong way when to do a Glute Ham Sit Up. Brian’s gonna demonstrate the wrong way first. So he goes all the way down, but when he comes back up, you see that he doesn’t move into the extension, to me that means he’s not using his rectus femoris when he comes up. He’s primarily using his iliopsoas and when he’s primarily just using the iliopsoas, that’s gonna create a lot of shear forces on his lower and probably make his back feel a little tweaky after he’s done with a lot of Glute-Ham Sit Up.

Proper Form
3The proper way to do a Glute Ham Sit Up is when he returns, he’s gonna really push his knees down into extension and he’s gonna get really strong quad contraction. That activation of the rectus femoris, because it attaches at the hips instead of the spine, is gonna take a lot of the load off his spine. So Brian go ahead and show us a quick version of the Glute Ham Sit Up. That quad contraction there is gonna do a whole lot to make them safer and as you saw he’s also a little faster when he does it that way, so his performance and his times in the workouts will be better as well.

Note: This topic is fully covered in the CrossFit Level One Guide. However, this movement is frequently coached poorly and I felt the need to go back over it. Please read the Level One Guide for their take on this movement.

See my other articles on glute ham sit up variations Here and Here