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Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Extension / Curl Machine Review

Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine Comprehensive Review

I love leg curls. Not only do I love leg curls but my programming prescribes them on a fairly regular basis; a couple times a weeks sometimes (Hybrid Performance Powerlifting; for any of you wondering.) To put that another way, I want and need to be able to do leg curls in my garage gym.

For a couple of years now I’ve been stuck using a Powertec Bench with the leg attachment for my hamstring curls and the occasional set of leg extensions. Outside of those curls and extensions, my Powertec bench wasn’t getting used for anything; not as a flat bench, not as an incline bench, not for anything.  I’ve let it consume precious floor space solely because it has that leg attachment.

Well I have finally replaced that over-sized, tough-to-adjust, wanna-be leg curl machine with a real piece of equipment; the Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Extension/Leg Curl Machine, and I cannot tell you how unbelievably ecstatic I am about this. Getting new equipment is already rather satisfying, but a major upgrade to a piece that gets used regularly is extra exciting!


Why Leg Curls & Leg Extensions Though?

The leg curl/leg extension bench is one of the few “machines” that I think has a place in the garage gym. Along with some form of cable tower and a GHD; and maybe a Reverse Hyper for some of you; I think these pieces are worth finding room for alongside your power rack. I think these particular pieces fill a void that can be tough to fill with just a barbell (though not impossible, of course) and they are just great additions if you have the funds and the space for them.

Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Curl / Extension Machine

Obviously some of you don’t do anything outside of squats, deadlifts, and pressing, and you aren’t concerned with any bodybuilding work or isolation exercises. Some of you only clean and snatch, and maybe bust out some front squats from time to time. If that’s you, well then I guess you wouldn’t be interested in a machine like this, and that’s okay!!! I still have lots of other content on this site for you to check out, and please do!

For the rest of you who do follow programming that involves some isolation or bodybuilding movements, or those who just like hitting legs as many ways as possible, read on.


What Was So Wrong With the Powertec?

I’ve never been all that impressed with Powertec’s bench; either as a stand-alone unit or as a leg curl/leg extension bench. The pads have an awful shape (both pads), there are far too many adjustments on the thing (and corresponding pivot points that allow it to wobble), and ironically, the few available seat positions are so insignificant that they may as well not even be there.  Additionally, the bench height is too low for leg extensions unless you build up the seat with a makeshift booster (although probably not for shorter users), the handles for said extensions are flimsy, and there are no handles for leg curls; which I believe are necessary.

Powertec Bench with Leg Curl Attachment

Now admittedly, of all the things this bench is intended to do the one thing it does best is leg curls. The low height of the bench is irrelevant for leg curls, the pad does adjust into a good enough decline for proper positioning,  and the length of the bench is fine. It still lacks those handles, but I personally just grabbed on to the end of the pad and make that work.

Powertec Bench with Leg Extension Attachment - with homemade booster seat

Leg extensions, however, are awful on the Powertec. It’s already bad enough that the whole unit is too low to the ground; my feet drag on the floor at the bottom of the movement if I fail to put my 4″ thick piece of foam under my butt. Add to this the flimsy handles, a seat so tiny that you basically cannot use the back pad if you want to fit in the seat, and the fact that the bench is so front heavy that you need to weigh down the rear end somehow.

Now I’m not trying to trash the Powertec just for the sake of trashing it. It has its drawbacks, but it has served its purpose over the years. I still have and use the Powertec cable tower; it is really just the Powertec bench that I’m excited to finally get rid of.

(If you’re interested, I did review both components of the Powertec here.)


 

Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Curl/Extension Review

In this review I am going to try to not let my newfound joy and contentment interfere with my efforts to deliver a fair and unbiased review of the BodySolid GLCE365. I will judge this item based on it’s design, dimensions, strength, and effectiveness. There are a few other models of the plate-loaded leg curl/leg extension out there that I also considered so I will also make an effort to compare the Body Solid to those; factoring in price, adjustability, footprint, etc.

I hope you enjoy this non-barbell, non-power rack review.


Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Curl/Extension – Specs

Body Solid Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine Specifications

  • Footprint (frame): 27″ x 44″
  • Maximum machine length (rear pad down; including plate horn): 74″
  • Minimum machine length (rear pad upright; including plate horn): 59″
  • Construction: 2″ x 3″ 11-gauge steel (partially welded, partially assembled)
  • Weight: 108 lbs
  • Seat dimensions: 17½” x 21″
  • Back pad dimensions: 9½” – 12″(tapered) x 27½”
  • Pads: Vinyl-covered DuraFirm Foam
  • Individual roller pad length: 8″
  • Roller pads total length from end to end: 19″
  • Loadable sleeve length (with 2″ adapter): 13″
  • Prone pad angles (curls): 0º, -15º
  • Seat angles (extensions): ~55º, ~70º, ~90º
  • Top roller distance from pivot point: 14″ – 17″
  • Bottom roller distance from pivot point: 13″ – 16″
  • Warranty: lifetime in-home warranty
  • Price: $550 (delivered)

 

Body Solid GLCE365 Review – Regarding Seat Angles

I did the best I could to get accurate seat positions (in terms of angle). When looking at this machine in the various seated positions, keep in mind that the seat is never quite flat (0º) in these positions,  rather it is angled downward. Only when the rear pad is flat is the seat flat, and this completely flat setting is one of the two leg curl positions.


Body Solid GLCE365 Review – Frame

The core of the GLCE365 frame is a single, welded piece. The legs are the only component of the frame that get bolted on. Overall this machine is incredibly stable. It does not wobble, rock, shift, or otherwise move around. In other words, it doesn’t feel cheap at all.

Assembly took me about an hour, with most of that time being spent attaching the pads, the swing arm, and popping in the multitude of black plastic end caps (of which there are many more than I expected!) It wasn’t complicated or frustrating to assemble, and the instructions were very easy to follow


Body Solid GLCE365 Review – Pads and Rollers

Body Solid Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine - Vinyl Pads

There isn’t a whole lot to say about either the pads or rollers outside of the fact that they are both comfortable and dense, and they appear to be more than durable enough for a lifetime of use in a private gym. They’d probably even go quite the distance in a commercial setting, but that’s not something I’ll ever be able to test and confirm, of course.

Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Curl Leg Extension Machine -Roller Pads

The vinyl covers are smooth but adequately grippy for the application. As a matter of fact, it is surprisingly tactile; by that I mean it looks extremely smooth and maybe even like it would be slippery, but it is not – not that either the seated or prone positions demand a whole lot in terms of grip to stay in position.)

Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Curl Leg Extension Machine - Pad Adjustments

Both sets of rollers are adjustable,  allowing you to accommodate users of different heights. You could also make adjustments if you just prefer for the weight to be distributed further up or down your legs. Those adjustments are made with a simple pull-pin.


Body Solid GLCE365 Review – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Leverages on the GLCE365 seem really solid. I find that it requires far less weight to be loaded than what I was needing on the Powertec. Of course, since the pads of this unit are adjustable those leverages can actually be adjusted to your liking (by shortening or lengthening the moment arm – aka how close to your knees the weight sits).
  • One-legged extensions and curls are easy to do with the GLCE365. You are not limited to two-legged movements.
  • The GLCE365 has very sturdy, well-placed hand-holds;  for both leg extensions and leg curls.

Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Curl Leg Extension Machine - Sturdy Hand Holds

  • The pads on the GLCE365 are very large, comfortable and very professional in terms of their fit and finish.
  • The numerous seat / pad adjustments should allow virtually everyone to find positioning that works well with their height and build. This machine is especially generous to us tall folk; an uncommon feature indeed.
  • The GLCE365 can be set in a decline position (my preference) or perfectly flat for prone leg curls.
  • The GLCE365; because it is adjustable; takes up less floor space than similar machines that are permanently in a prone position.
  • Assembly was fairly straightforward. It takes an hour or so, but it isn’t frustrating / overly complicated.
  • Prices for plate-loaded leg curl / leg extension machines range from about $550 to $800 or more;  with the Body Solid GLCE365 being not only on the lower end of the spectrum but also one of the most adjustable units available (if not the most adjustable.)
  • The GLCE365 even came with a couple little pots of touch-up paint.

Cons

  • The GLCE365 has a single adjustment for both the back pad and the seat  (rather than having independent adjustments for each.) This is fine, and is likely done to keep costs down, but one side effect of this mechanism is that there’s a little bit of back pad play in the bottom (prone) position. I found this to be slightly annoying at first but I have already discovered how to position myself to reduce (and just ignore) this. Still, I think that Body Solid should address this for future generations of this machine. It should also be noted that this isn’t an issue on any other combo machine because all other models have their seat at a fixed 0º angle. In other words, they don’t move at all.

Leg Curl / Extension Machine – GLCE365 vs Wright’s

I was seriously considering the Wright’s Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine. Normally $799, it has been priced at $599 for some time now, and that’s a really solid price (though it does not include the freight.)

Wright's Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine - $599 at time of writing

Everything about the Wright’s machine looks good. It’s built with strong 11-gauge steel, it is almost entirely welded, it has handles for both movements, and you can even choose your colors. I was even given the bulk of the dimensions via email and they all seemed to be in a good place. It’s a nice machine indeed.

That said, here are two things I don’t like about the Wright’s. The first is that the rollers lack any form of adjustability. They are in a fixed position and that gives you no control over how weight is distributed on your legs. It also doesn’t allow for any fine-tuning for overly short or tall athletes.

The other issue I had is with the back pad; it doesn’t move at all. It’s permanently in a prone position, meaning you have no back support for leg extensions; which helps a lot. This also means that this unit always take up the maximum amount of floor space. You cannot adjust the seat up to save a little floor space when not in use.

Still, when you consider the next machines that I’m going to talk about, the Wright’s is still a super appealing unit by comparison (and to be fair, were it not for the low, fully-shipped cost of the Body Solid GLCE365, I would definitely look to Wright’s next.


 

Leg Curl / Extension Machine – GLCE365 vs Legend

The Legend Fitness #3135 Leg Curl / Extension Machine is a very nice product indeed. It sports pretty much all the features of the Body Solid, but has all the design elements of a fully-commercial piece of equipment.

Legend Fitness 3135 Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine

The Legend  #3135 has an adjustable back pad for putting the bench in a prone position, it has handles for both extensions and curls, great roller positions, fully-upholstered pads and rollers, and a fully-welded frame. The frame is as beefy as they come at 3×3″ and the frame has guards to protect the finish.  You may also customize both the upholstery and the frame colors.

The downside is that this product is well over $1000 delivered. It’s expensive to ship, it has a hell of a lead time, and ordering process with Legend is outdated and slow.  Generally I’d not even bring up a Legend product, but when it comes to leg curl / leg extension machines the Legend is a really nice piece.  I don’t think it’s a very good use of so much money, but it is worth mentioning (and it is your money to spend, after all.)

For what it’s worth, I was considering this product seriously until I found the Body Solid for half the money. No, the Body Solid isn’t a fully-commercial product in the same sense as a Legend Fitness product is, but my garage gym also isn’t a commercial gym, and I’ll bet that yours isn’t either.


Leg Curl / Extension Machine – GLCE365 vs EliteFTS

The EliteFTS Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine is very similar to the Wright’s.  It too is built using 11-gauge steel, is permanently in a prone position (there is no adjusting the seat/back pad),  has handles for both extensions and curls, and can be ordered in a multitude of color schemes.

EliteFTS Lying Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine

One feature that the EliteFTS machine has that the Wright’s does not is the ability to adjust the leg rollers up or down in much the same way as on the Body Solid. This is a nice touch indeed, but this perk comes at a $200 premium, making it a little less than appealing ($799 for the EliteFTS versus $599 for the Wright’s – before shipping!)

The Elite FTS Leg Curl / Extension Machine would be my last choice when it comes to this particular piece of equipment. $800 plus a very significant freight charge prevented me from ever considering it as a viable option. I’d have no problem owning this machine if I ever saw one on the second-hand market for several hundred dollars less, but the cost for this device new is not very competitive.


Body Solid GLCE365 Review – Summary

Body Solid’s GLCE365 Leg Curl / Leg Extension Machine is a huge improvement over what I was previously working with, and I’m extremely happy with it. Sure I can’t pick and choose my own colors like I could with some of the others (I would have liked to have had a blue to match some of my other equipment) but nobody else could touch the $550 delivered pricing of the Body Solid, and only the $1000+ Legend has as many adjustment options.

If I were to design the next version of this machine I have to admit that there isn’t much that I would change. I like the available pad angles, I like the handle placement, I don’t have any problems with the size or shape of the pads, and I think it’s the perfect height off the ground to ensure that the feet of even the tallest users clear the ground and the frame. If I changed anything at all it would be to make the seat and the back pad adjust independently as a way to reduce play in the pads; something that is really only bothersome in the decline position.

Additionally, and this may not even be something that matters to many, but the fact that the seat adjusts into an upright position pleases me since that adjustment shaves about 15″ off the total length of the unit, which amounts to less space needed in the gym. I just back the thing up against the wall when not in use. If I need to go prone, I pull it out 15″. No biggie!

So if your programming includes leg curls and extensions and you’re struggling to get those done in your garage, or if you just want to start including these two classic, bodybuilding leg exercises into your training, the Body Solid GLCE365 is an excellent choice. It’s adjustable, it’s durable, it’s perfectly functional, and it is relatively affordable and compact.

I have no issues whatsoever recommending the Body Solid GLCE365 Leg Curl / Extension Machine. I’m very happy with mine and I can’t imagine any reason why you wouldn’t be too.


 

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Tony May 26, 2019, 7:47 pm

    Finally, the John has come back to Garage Gyms! haha just joking.

    Great, great review, man. I was patiently waiting for this, as I have been thinking about getting one of these (or something similar like the ones you mentioned in this review) for a while now. I WAS going to get a new Powertec bench strictly for leg curls and leg extensions, but what a waste of money that would have been! I’m not fan of the bench at all. Second rate. I’ve owned a Body Solid 45 degree hyperextension before and it was well… solid (no pun intended). It was just too bulky so I sold it.

    Based on your review here, I am seriously considering buying the same thing. I do not have much space left in my garage for it, but because it’s only what… 27 inches wide? I can store it length ways on the side of the double garage, and when I want to use it, just turn it out 90 degrees. The only reservation I have is that there have been a lot of “experts” saying that leg extensions are bad for your knees (Jeff Cavaliere being one of them). However, I think if you don;t go overboard on the weight, it should be fine. I used to LOVE doing both leg curls and leg extensions back in the day (when I attended a commercial gym yuck!!).

    I’m excited at the prospect of possibly getting one of these!! As always, thanks again for your review, John!

    • jburgeson May 26, 2019, 8:28 pm

      Thank you. I truly do like it. Though eve as a “compact” variant, it’s still a fairly large space commitment. Not on par with a GHD or Hyper, but close, and certainly more than a bench.

      The whole ‘leg extensions are bad for you’ argument does have a lot of truth to it. Plus even if I believed otherwise I’d never publicly try to go toe-to-toe with Jeff C about the mechanics and advantages/disadvantages of an exercise lol. I’m not nearly as qualified as he is in that department. But yeah, it’s true (at least I believe it to be true) that the leg extension is not a natural movement. You’ll never do a leg extension outside of a leg extension machine. That said, I think that an otherwise healthy athlete who isn’t using the machines to dodge squats can safely utilize this movement at the end of a workout. That’s basically how I utilize the extension; only at the end, and only with moderate weights. Never something ridiculous that I can only do a few of. It’s just not that kind of movement. One has to remember that the hamstrings are almost completely relaxed during the seated extension, and that’s not the normal state for the legs in the real world (which is where the whole ‘bad for the knees’ thing kicks in – there is only tension on the top of the leg, not under.)

  • M May 27, 2019, 12:08 am

    I’m a fan of these movements too (especially extensions for keeping knees pain-free) but don’t like the size of the plate-loaders at home. Would like to see these exercises, as well as seated and standing calf raises, operating off a selectorized low pulley with a more compact seat frame — perhaps ideally a rackmount.

  • Elian May 27, 2019, 12:30 pm

    Hey,

    Totally off topic, but is any of the amazonbasics gear any good? Was thinking of picking up a few dumbbells since it seems like there is little to go wrong….

    • jburgeson May 27, 2019, 10:14 pm

      The few Amazon basics in the strength market that I’ve looked at were not overly impressive. It’s inexpensive for a reason.

  • Marc Weiser June 13, 2019, 9:53 am

    I pulled the trigger and bought one of these. I’ve been going to the local gym to use their hammer strength single-leg prone standing hamstring curl machine to rehab proximal hamstring tendinopothy as per my PT routine. Looking forward to having this piece of equipment next to my Echo GHR so I don’t have to leave the house just for rehab. Thanks for the review! I used to own the powerline bench with curl/ext attachment and that thing was a piece of garbage – I eventually sold it for close to what I bought it for, luckily.

    • jburgeson June 13, 2019, 10:12 am

      Oh man, leaving the comfort of your own gym to visit a different gym.. well I hope the addition of this machine makes your life a lot easier! Sounds like it will.

      I’m telling you, some of that box-store-tier equipment is pretty bad. There is obviously a good market for it because they keep making it …that and the fact that you could recover your investment on it I guess proves that haha.

      • Marc Weiser August 28, 2019, 11:03 am

        Curious – my PT set a goal for me to be able to do slow and controlled single-leg leg curls with this thing using 30% of my body weight. At 210 pounds, that means I need to be able to single-leg curl close to 70 pounds; right now I can barely manage 25 pounds for 8 reps, let alone 70. I can walk up to a barbell any day and pull 400+ for reps, but can’t leg curl more than 25… does this make sense? How tough do you find single-leg leg curls with yours?

        • jburgeson August 28, 2019, 11:17 am

          I think that 70-lb single-leg curls is indeed rather heavy. I 2-leg curl sets of 12 at either 90 or 100-lbs depending on what else I’ve done that day, and I do single-leg curls about every third time I leg curl, but I’m not curling 70-lbs per leg… not on this device anyway. hell technically, by that math, my goal weight would be 9-lbs heavier at my body weight, and I just don’t see that happening.

          Perhaps this PT is used to working with a cable-based, selectorized leg curl machine that doesn’t have a 1:1 weight ratio? (as opposed to the plate-loaded unit.) Often times the numbers on those machines (the weight stacks) means nothing. /shrug

          • Marc Weiser August 29, 2019, 7:56 am

            That was my assumption, thanks for verifying. I’m not going to deny I have an inherent weakness in the injured leg but glad I can accept that the goal may be way out of reach. Interestingly enough, Hammer Strength has a standing prone single-leg hamstring curl machine and in that device I am able to do 80 pounds per leg for 4×8 reps at a 4 up, 4 down pace – I think this machine puts you in a more advantageous position to move more weight (strong standing as apposed to lying face down due to core involvement).

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