In the CrossFit community the GHD Sit Up is officially called the “Glute-Ham Developer Sit Up” but unofficially you might dub this the “ab crusher.” It is a powerful movement that should be approached with caution but shouldn’t be removed from your training.
When this sit up is done correctly, lowering down and then forcefully contracting the quads, straightening the legs and essentially whipping yourself back up right, little or no pressure will put on the low back and the abdominals will get a mighty good workout. What’s amazing about the GHD Sit Up is that during the actual movement, your legs seem to be doing most if not all of the work. In reality, while your legs are working hard and your hip flexors are helping to draw the spine up, it is the abdominals that actually stabilize and bring the torso upright and get the biggest workout.
For those of you who have done GHD Sit Up, the days post WOD are brutal. This particular sit up is a huge contraction of the anterior chain since the body goes past horizontal and is unmatched by any regular sit up. Not only does this movement work the Rectus Abdominis or “six pack abs,” but the Transverse Abdominis as well, which is key in stabilize the core for other movements like Front Squats or Snatches.
These 5 Post CrossFit Yoga Poses for GHD Sit Ups are meant to gently stretch the abdominals to restore normal flexibility and movement back into the anterior chain. Some of these poses might not be accessible because of soreness but do the ones you can.
*Tip: Go slow. Slow might be all you can manage the day after a few rounds of GHD Sit Ups, but either way, gently make your way into these yoga poses and hold for up to 30 seconds while you breath in and out through the nose. I would also recommend performing the stretches in the order shown below, as it will gradually restore movement back into your mid-section and prevent over stretching.
1. Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose)
Start on your belly. Come onto your forearms slowly keeping the elbow under the shoulder. Press the palms firmly into the ground and let the chest gently drive forward and up. Allow the hips to relax while keeping the tailbone reaching towards the heels. Breathe and allow the breath to invite the body to relax and receive the stretch.
2. Bitilasana (Cow Pose)
Start on your hands and knees with the knees under the hips and the hands underneath the shoulders. On your inhale, allow the tailbone to reach towards the ceiling, the belly to drop towards the ground and the chest to move forward and up. Think about arching your spine stretching out the front body.
3. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Up Dog)
Starting Sphinx Pose, walk the hands towards the hips straightening the arms. The hands should be underneath the shoulders. Press down through the palms and tops of the feet to allow the hips to slowly lift of the ground. Feel the chest move forward and up through the gateway of the shoulders as you lengthen your tailbone towards your heels. Breathing here for 15 seconds and then relax and repeat.
4. Anjaneyasana with Side Stretch (Low Lunge Side Stretch)
Starting in a low lunge with the right foot forward, the front heel directly under the front knee and the back toes un-tucked, allow the hips to relax towards the ground as you feel the hips hug together. The frontal hip points should be parallel to the front of the mat. Place your right forearm on your right thigh for stability, lift the left arm up and over to the right feeling a side stretch along the left side. Hold and breathe here for 30 seconds. If you have the space in the side body, you can gently turn the chest up towards the ceiling to feel the stretch through the hip flexor and front of the belly.
5. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Start kneeling with the knees hips distance. Placing the hands on your butt (no joke) roll the shoulders back and down and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Lift out of the side body and while keeping the hips moving forward, start to send the chest up and back. You have the option to reach the hands towards the heels but make sure you continue to lift the chest up while keeping the low back long. Breath here for 10 seconds, slowly come up by placing one hand on the butt and lifting yourself back up and then repeat 3 times.