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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 10-01-2005, 03:29 PM   #1
Nikki Young
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I just checked out the glute-ham sit-up video in the exercise section. I was always taught that doing a sit-up with your legs straight put too much strain on your hip flexor in a bad way. Because this exercise specifically includes 'glute/ham' in the name, am i right in thinking the glutes and hams take over putting too much strain on the hip flexor? So would the progression of muscle activation be something like ... abdominal, glute, ham, hip-flexor?

However, if someone doing this exercise didn't have very good abdominal strength, their hip flexor would become involved more than it should be, in which case, should this exercise be limited to those with at least an intermediate level of abdominal strength?
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Old 10-01-2005, 04:20 PM   #2
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I think the only way they could really pose a hip flexor problem is with people with a pathological level of hip flexor inflexibility (which unfortunately refers to far to many people). The GHB sit-ups are definitely something to ease into gradually. Spotting first timers so they don't flop back and smack their bean bags is a good idea. And new folks should also be started with very low volume (like 5-10 total reps maybe).

It's also important to adjust the pads so the person isn't getting uber-low back compression. Play with moving them fore/aft until that pressure is limited. Also, it's critical to stay tight through the whole range of motion--if you release your abs/flexors, that back is pretty vulnerable to compression.

The glute/ham part of the name comes from flipping onto your stomach and doing back extensions--you can also complete extension with leg flexion. The glutes and hamstrings act as stabalizers in the sit-up, but aren't really directly involved.

When you're coming up from the bottom, ideally you're flexing the quads to allow for a good hip flexor contraction and accelerating out of the hole. Glute contraction helps too just to create a solid pivot point.

I'm not even sure now if that answers your question(s).
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Old 10-01-2005, 04:35 PM   #3
Jesse Woody
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I would definitely check out the crossfit journal that features the situp, L-seat and hollow rock. It gives a great description of the benefits of each.

From that issue:

"Though the hip flexors (iliopsoas and rectus femoris) are the primary movers the abs play a strong role in stabilizing the torso to prevent hyperextension of the spine. (This is, in our opinion, a more functional role for the abs than trunk flexion.)"

...now, if I only had a sturdy glute-ham developer sitting around here!
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Old 10-01-2005, 04:45 PM   #4
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Jesse - BFS makes a cheaper GHB (more like $500 instead of Sorinex's $1200 or so) if you're looking for one.
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Old 10-01-2005, 05:07 PM   #5
Kalen Meine
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I think the comment about a more functional role for the abs is a really good point. Think about all the books about "core strength" on the shelf at borders. They all involve some combination of crunches with weird arm and feet position, sometimes with huge rubber balls and sometimes with pink fuzzy weights, most with an intro chapter akin to "a strong core is...good. And it keeps you safe." They never discuss what midline stabilization actually means, do any exercises that resemble anything realistic, or in general be any form of useful. If it's nearly impossible to create an "ab" move that doesn't involve your hip flexors, maybe your hip flexors have an important job to do? Grr...
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