How to use the Glute Ham Developer Machine for Abs

ghd for abs

The glute ham developer machine is mainly used for doing back extensions. However, there are a few advanced ab exercises we can do with the help of it. They are hard, but that is why they are so beneficial to improve the strength and size of the core muscles.

Before showing you these GHD exercises for abs, I have to mention that there are a lot of discussions about the danger of doing, for example, GHD sit-ups. People mostly complain about the spine and lower back pain. Firstly, these moves aren’t for beginners. Only advanced athletes with routine and existing core strengths are suitable to do them. Also, the correct form is vital to avoid injuries. People with back injuries mustn’t do them at all. In my opinion, these GHD exercises have such a negative reputation because people don’t follow the previous rules.

Related: Best machines for glute ham raise at home

Why use the GHD to strengthen your abs?

The GHD machine has an ergonomic pad that supports the back. The curved support also makes the moves more comfortable to perform since it matches the curve of the body. Also, compared to floor abdominal exercises, we can reach a far longer range of motion (ROM), leading to increased muscle development.

Now let’s see the moves.

GHD Sit-Ups


Maybe this is the most criticized exercise of all, but if you try it, the next day, you’re going to feel the pain in your abdomen for sure. It mainly targets the rectus abdminis, but the obliques and hip flexors are also engaged. Do it slowly with a controlled technique to avoid injuries. Be careful! Only do a few reps first (3×5) and gradually increase the sets and reps.

  • Get on the bench. Fix your feet between the rollers in such a way your buttocks are lying on the front of the curved pad comfortably.
  • Put your hand behind your head, or cross your arms on your chest.
  • With aligned back, slowly lower yourself towards the ground until your trunk is parallel to the ground. (Some people go deeper, for a more extended range of motion, but getting parallel is enough to target the abs).
  • Slowly pull yourself up with the power of your abs. To ease on your lower back, you can slightly bend your knees.
  • Repeat.

If you can do 3-5×20 or more clean repetitions, you may start the weighted GHD sit up, but only with a light load that doesn’t ruin the correct form. But, this exercise is only for advanced trainees.

GHD Oblique Crunches


This type of crunch is excellent training to target only your obliques. In the beginning, do it without weights, and when you can do 15-20 reps, you can start using a light dumbbell.

  • Lie on your side with such a way that the upper part of your thigh is on the pad. So your hips are going to have enough room to move. Fix your legs between the rollers carefully.
  • Slowly lower your upper body, and go a bit deeper than parallel.
  • By focusing on your obliques, pull yourself towards your hips.
  • Perform the required reps, and then change the side.

GHD Russian Twist


Another GHD exercise to target your obliques. I think, because of the curved support, the movement is much more comfortable than doing it on the floor.

  • Get on the machine, fix your legs. Your buttocks are on the front of the curved pad.
  • Aligned your back and cross your arms on your chest.
  • Slowly bend your torso. The deeper you go, the harder the exercise is, and the more resistance is on your rectus abdominis.
  • Twist your torso to the sides in a controlled manner.

An advanced version of Russin Twist with GHD is when you go backward so deep that your upper body is parallel to the floor, and you twist in that position.

GHD abs workout

These exercises are so compound and tough that if you do the sit-ups, Russian twists, and the glute ham raise (hip extension), you have a complete core workout. To simply put, there is no need to do anything else to boost the power of your midsection.

Do 3 sets with 10-15 reps (or fewer or more depending on your fitness level), and you are ready.


if you can’t use a glute ham developer machine, you can utilize the 90-degree Roman chair instead. But, Roman benches have a flat hip pad, which ergonomically not as comfortable as GHD.

Another piece of equipment that you can try is the Ab Mat. It gives a similar feeling and position like the curved pad of the GHD, but we use it on the floor. It support the lower back while doing sit-ups.

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About Me

Walter is a 39-year old gym owner. He loves exercising and staying fit. On this website, he shares the workouts he does to stay in shape. He also gives advice about the home exercise equipment he uses to keep himself in great shape.