If you’re looking to add a Glute Ham Developer (GHD) to your home or garage gym, that’s great! The GHD is an fantastic piece of equipment to have in your arsenal, as owning one opens the door to many important exercises that are difficult to replicate without either the glute ham developer or the various commercial hamstring machines.
In this article, I’ll talk about what these GHD exercises are and why they are important. I’ll then take a close look at many of the available GHDs on the market so you can see what options exist, and how they differ in terms of both features and price. I suppose you could consider this a GHD Review of sorts.
Finally, I’ll add videos at the end of this guide so folks who are new to the whole GHD scene can see some of these movements in action.
Last updated January 2018 – price and link verification.
GHD Review Table of Contents
- Why Own a Glute Ham Deveroper?
- GHD Review & Shopping Guide
- GHD Review Summary
- GHD Exercises
Why Own a Glute Ham Developer?
I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, but the glute ham developer is hands down one of the best tools for developing the posterior chain, building strong glutes, and promoting core-to-extremity power. It’s also one of the few efficient ways to isolate and really get at your hamstrings outside of a commercial gym setting (leg curls are complicated to pull off without a machine, after all.)
The main exercises you would typically perform on a GHD are the glute/ham raise, hip and back extensions, GHD sit-ups, and Russian twists. The videos I’ve included at the end of this article demonstrate some of these movements; for those of you who are unfamiliar.
GHD Review & Shopping Guide
Below I’ll show you a series of different Glute Ham Developers from a number of different manufacturers. Seeing specs and prices for more than just a couple units will allow you to get a much clearer picture of how features and price can vary from model to model. Ideally this will help you pin point the GHD that will best serve your needs and your budget.
If for no other reason to have some kind of structure, I’ll start with the more expensive units and work down to the least expensive. As is typical of Garage-Gyms, I don’t include any of the garbage units; the stuff I wouldn’t even use if it was free. Quality and safety is important. There are no $100 Wal-Mart or Academy-grade GHDs in this list.
Rogue Monster Swing-Arm Commercial GHD
The Rogue Monster Swing-Arm GHD is a commercial-quality Glute Ham Developer. It’s the most expensive GHD I’ll discuss in this article, and it’s easily the most badass as well. Right now this bench retails for $1395 and has a 3-6 week lead time.
Let me first say that I realize this GHD is overkill for personal, home gym use, and I’m not actually suggesting that anyone should spend this kind of money for a home gym GHD. I do however think that this unit is too cool to not bring up. I won’t go overboard talking about it, but I will share a few of the unique aspects of this GHD that make it so cool.
The Monster GHD has two step-up decks to make getting into position less of a chore, and a redesigned, fully adjustable rear foot-rest with a larger plate than is typical of the standard models. Additionally, there is an easy-to-use handle (the swing arm) at the base of the unit that allows you to quickly position the foot plate back/forward to meet almost any workout requirement. The foot plate can be moved vertically as well.
Rogue also redesigned the frame base for this GHD. The long triangular shape combined with the total weight of the unit itself will make this GHD very stable for both tall and heavy athletes whether you decide to anchor it down or not. Also, Rogue knows not to go small on the pads – big, beefy double pads are the best when it comes to comfort. Overall this GHD is a tank, but as you can see it is very pricey.
Rogue Swing Arm GHD: L 62″x W 34″x H 50″, 11-gauge steel, 250-lbs, black, Made-to-order in USA, $1395.
York ST Commercial Glute Ham Developer
The York ST Glute Ham Developer is another commercial-grade machine, so it’s still on the high end of price spectrum. That said, it does have some features that help to make up for the higher price; the biggest of which is the multitude of adjustments that can be made to fit your height, shape, and exercise of choice. Rather than the foot plate just moving back and forth a dozen or so notches as most GHD’s do, the York ST can be moved front to back for 29 different positions. Additionally, the front rollers for your thighs and the foot plate can be moved vertically and independently of one another. All these adjustments make for a whole bunch of positions.
I like this GHD for the most part. It has a long, sturdy base, rubber feet, and thick pads and rollers. The foot plate is of a respectable size, and the different positions have laser etched numbers so you don’t have to count holes. There are some complaints of the roller pads not going the distance, but it’s not a widespread complaint. It is also a bit on the expensive side, and there are a lot of less costly options out there these days. Also, no band pegs.
It is worth pointing out that the York ST Glute Ham Developer is very similar to the Hammer Strength Commercial GHD in the sense that it offers a similar feel and experience. Clearly they do not look the same, but they both have the roller wheels instead of a fixed pad (very uncommon), and they both have a lot of variability for different body sizes and builds. The Hammer Strength is clearly over-engineered, while the York is significantly less costly and takes up less total space.
The York ST retails for $839 but sometimes it can be found on Amazon for less cash (be sure and check the various sellers at Amazon as they don’t always show you the lowest priced seller by default). Of course you can always pick one up from Rogue at MSRP.
York ST GHD: 68″x W 30″x H 46″, 11-gauge steel, 102 pounds, white or silver, Made in USA, MSRP $839.
Legend Standard 3130-S Split Pad GHD
The Legend Fitness 3130-S GHD is a great piece of equipment. One of the best features is simply that fact that it’s a Legend product. Legend makes incredibly durable, reliable, great looking commercial fitness equipment that comes in just about any color combination that you can imagine. I personally own a Legend Fitness bench, and while waiting for the bench to arrive was a test in patience, it is a bench that’ll never need to be replaced.
So first of all, the colors. There are now almost 30 frame colors and something like 86 fabric colors to choose from. I’m sure that works out to thousands and thousands of possible color combinations. You don’t just get to choose the colors, you must choose them as all Legend products are made-to-order. I’m boring, I did black on black.
As far as the features go, this Glute Ham Developer has a well constructed “man-friendly” split pad, adjustments that allow the foot plate to be moved both vertically and front to back, and a very large diamond plate foot plate. It also has the much-desired pegs for resistance band training. The only thing that may be of concern is the lack of a wide footprint and lack of optional anchor holes for extra stability. Additionally, the price is a bit above average at $809 before shipping.
Just FYI, there is variation of this GHD out there called the 3130, but with no -S. That model has a single piece pad with no split. I can’t imagine why you would want that version unless you’re a woman who never intends to share her GHD. Get the split pad.
Legend 3130-S GHD Review: 66″x W 24″x H 47″, 11-gauge 3×3 steel, 263-lbs, Made in USA, MSRP ~$809.
Rogue Abrams Glute Ham Developer 2.0
When it comes to building completely badass GHDs, Rogue Fitness has definitely taken the gold. Between the Monster Swing Arm GHD that I discussed already and the new Abrams GHD 2.0 here, I believe that it’s safe to say that no other manufacturer has created a Glute Ham Developer that compares in terms of versatility, ease of use, and coolness factor.
The Abrams 2.0 has just about everything you’d want in a GHD; a wide, triangular base and single-piece chassis that is much more stable under intense use; convenient wheels for moving it around your gym with ease; 10 quick and easy front-to-back adjustment settings for the foot plate and foot rollers; vertical plate adjustments in 1″ increments; holes for 5/8″ Rogue Infinity resistance band pegs; and finally super beefy, super comfortable double pad.
Other than the $1395 Monster Swing-Arm GHD, the Abrams is easily the most impressive GHD on this page. Is it worth the $695 asking price though? Well that depends on you and your size, weight, goals, and how many years you expect your GHD to last. Do you care about easy adjustments? Do you care about stability? Do you want to buy just one GHD in your lifetime, or numerous?
The Rogue Abrams 2.0 Glute Ham Developer is basically a commercial machine for slightly less money than GHDs offered by the standard commercial brands. It’s strong, has all the right bells and whistles, and can handle a commercial gym as easily as it handles a garage gym. It’s an end-game GHD, but keep reading – you have more options. [Abrams GHD 2.0 review]
Rogue Abrams 2.0 GHD: 73″x W 44″x H 48″, 11-gauge steel, 200 pounds, black, Made in USA, $695.
Sorinex M2 GHD
The Sorinex M2 was a very popular GHD back before everyone and their brother offered a GHD. The M2 is known to be stable; even with heavy athletes; and a lot of old school lifters really dig Sorinex because they listen to the customer and utilize feedback to improve their equipment. There has been more than one version of the M2 GHD because of the desire to make these changes.
This current version of the M2 isn’t all that different from its predecessor, but some mods were made. For instance, the frame is fully welded now rather than being bolted together, which adds some stability. Sorinex also added a plate horn for Olympic plates to weigh the unit down so that heavier users can get crazy intense and not worry about the unit moving. There are wheels now for easy transport, and the adjustments for the pads are on a tilting mechanism that speeds up the process of making adjustments.
As I mentioned, some things didn’t change. The M2 still has the same beefy, comfortable pads that it’s always had, the same high-quality foot rollers, and it still has band pegs for added resistance. Speaking of the beefy pads, those pads are so massive that it makes the overall GHD look smaller than it really is. Use the bumper plate for scale in the first picture; those pads are huge.
The Sorinex M2 Glute Ham Developer retails for $799 and can be purchased directly from Sorinex.
Sorinex M2 GHD: 66″x W 34″x H 50″, 11-gauge steel, 225-lbs, black, Made in USA, $799.
Vulcan Strength GHD
The Vulcan GHD is probably the perfect compromise between price and performance. For only $599 delivered, this GHD had all the features of a premium GHD including a wide base with wheels, a large split-pad, multiple adjustments, band-pegs, step-up plate and more. It’s an imported unit which is why it’s not even more expensive, but if you’re tight on funds and want a GHD in your box or gym that will last forever without spending close to a grand after shipping, the Vulcan Glute Ham is the way to go.
The Vulcan GHD is made with 2″x3″ steel, it has a lifetime warranty on the frame, anchor holes, and even has a slightly forward titling pad that is said to be beneficial – though I don’t understand that personally since the pad is just as round tilted as it is not tilted.
In any case, this is a solid GHD for a lot less cash than the Abrams or the commercial units likes Legend and Sorinex. And unlike the lesser models that can be had for closer to $300-$400, this one will actually accommodate heavy and tall athletes without feeling like its about to fall apart. It also has a perfect 5-star rating.
Vulcan Strength GHD: 67″x W 36″x H 50″, 12-gauge steel, 180-lbs, black, Imported, $599.
Rogue GH-1 GHD
The GH-1 Glute Ham Developer from Rogue is an economical consolidation of the original Abrams GHD, and the new Abrams. The GH-1 has the same wide-stance, triangular base, as the Abrams 2.0. It also has the same over-sized, dense foam pads and roller/foot plate system. What it doesn’t have is the swing-arm or vertical foot plate adjustments – and that saves you about $150.
Adjustments are made the classic way – pull a knob and then slide the foot plate forward or backward to accommodate athletes of different heights. The GH-1 is just as sturdy as the Abrams (if not more so without the swing-arm), offers optional wheels for easy mobility, and has the same band peg potential. It’s made with 2″x3″ 11-gauge steel as the Abrams 2.0 as well.
Being that the GH-1 is a bolt-together, you also save money on shipping (no LTL.) This is a great value, though the wheels are an additional $36.50, so with shipping you’re still looking at a moderately expensive unit.
Rogue GH-1 GHD: 68½”x W 45″x H 49″, 11-gauge steel, 195-lbs., black, Made in USA, $545.
OFW “Commercial” Glute Ham Developer
If you look at the majority of the GHDs on this page you’ll notice that they weigh about 200-pounds give or take, and they are all 11-gauge steel. The OFW model here weighs barely over 100 pounds. This is mostly because it’s made with cheap, light-duty steel, but the fact that it has such a small, narrow base also contributes to how light it is. The last thing that you want is a lightweight GHD with a narrow base. How sturdy does that sound to you?
This product does have mounting holes; which I would recommend that you use unless you only weigh 125-lbs or something. It also does ship for free, but this unit should sell for close to $350 shipped rather than $550. The warranty on the frame is only a year, and the pad is only 90-days. Based on the reviews you’ll wish pad warranty was longer though. Personally I don’t care for this GHD, nor do I recommend you drop anywhere near this kind of money for a piece of equipment like this.
End of the day, the OneFitWonder Commercial GHD is anything but commercial. Make no mistake about it, this is a box-store item with a misleading name and excessive price tag.
OFW Commercial GHD: 62½”x W 29″x H 44″, 14-gauge steel, 110-lbs., Made in China, $549.
Valor CB-29 Glute Ham Developer
As mid-range equipment goes. Valor has been known to be hit or miss. I’m not generally a big fan of Valor because they tend to use light-weight steel on the products that benefit the most from heavy-duty (and safer) 11-gauge steel. The Valor CB-29 is one such product.
The GHD is one of those products where all our body weight plus any additional weight we choose to use is being balanced on support beams about 2″ wide. When light-weight steel and light-duty hardware is used, these things shake and wobble like crazy. Now they aren’t typically put in a position where they would fail, but a little stability goes a long way on the GHD, and 11-gauge is far more stable than the 12- and 14-gauge steel that Valor favors.
Choice of steels aside, the Valor CB-29 does have most of the features you’d want from a GHD. It has a long base with wheels, band pegs, padded rollers, plate horn to help give the unit some more weight (which it definitely needs), and both horizontal and vertical foot plate adjustments. What it lacks is base width (for more stability) and large thigh pads. It’s also a little pricey for not being an 11-gauge unit.
I don’t think the Valor is the worst buy possible, but with an MSRP of $499 I think you’re too close to other feature-rich, 11-gauge units to stop here. That said, Amazon sometimes has this unit down closer to $450, which is better, but still not ideal for a 12- and 14-gauge GHD.
Valor Pro CB-29 GHD: 85″x W 30″x H 44″, 14-gauge steel, 117-lbs., Made in China, MSRP $499.
Titan Glute Ham Developer
The Titan GHD is a Chinese Abrams 2.0. The dimensions of the Titan are only moderately smaller than that of the Abrams, but this is mostly because Titan altered the frame to make shipping less expensive, and probably as a way to avoid patent violations as well. Some length of the frame is also lost because of Titan’s wheels. The Rogue wheels are set further back from the frame while being parallel to one another, whereas the Titan’s wheels are set inward, and are said to be mostly useless.
There are numerous other differences between these two GHDs that most people would never notice without physically examining both units. For instance, Titan uses smaller bolts for assembly, the rollers of the Titan will not spin, Titan’s foam is cheap and susceptible to deformation, and the upholstery work is meh. The Titan also uses plastic detent pins for the various adjustments that will likely break, and the method of attaching the two front legs is borderline dangerous when a lot of weight is involved (a side effect of cutting the base into smaller pieces.)
If you weigh 100-pounds and never intend to add resistance to your glute ham raises, and you only use the thing once or twice a week, then I’m sure you can make this knock-off last for a number of years. If you’re heavy and strong or you want to utilize resistance bands or hold plates while you use this machine, think twice about buying this.
I’m not going to get into it, but when people say the Titan GHD is a Rogue GHD for half the price, that’s just nonsense. Titan knows what they are doing when it comes to making box-store equipment look like hardcore equipment, but unlike Rogue products (and all the other companies they copy), Titan equipment is only designed to sell; not last.
Titan GHD: 70″x W 45½”x H 41″, 11-gauge scrap metal, 190-lbs., Made in China, $345.
Rep Fitness GHD
The Rep Fitness Glute Ham Raise is practically the same as the Vulcan GHD, if not exactly the same thing. Because of the way Rep Fitness charges shipping to customers but doesn’t inflate pricing to offset that shipping, it’s possible that if you live in a close enough region to Rep Fitness (Colorado) that you can get the Rep GHD shipped for less than the Vulcan. If you reside on the East or West Coast, you will pay more for the Rep than the Vulcan.
So I say this, but there is a 30-pound difference between the Vulcan and the Rep; leading me to believe that while the Rep is the same design, it may be lighter-gauge steel used. If anyone happens to have both of these side-by-side in their box, feel free to chime in.
Rep Fitness GHD: 70″x W 36″x H 42″, 12-gauge steel, 150-lbs, black, Imported, $599.
Rogue Echo Space-Saving GHD
The Rogue Echo GHD is designed to attach to your existing power rack or rig so that you don’t have to commit a massive amount of space to owning a GHD. The Echo GHD is also slightly cheaper than an economy standalone unit. When I first saw this, I didn’t see it being a big hit, but it’s racking up 5-star reviews faster than I ever expected. I suppose this model is a blessing for CrossFit boxes and garage gyms that are running out of real estate.
The Echo requires both a rack of some sort, and a plyometric box. There are two variations of the Echo GHD; one for the Infinity 2″x3″ line of power racks, and one for the Monster Lite 3″x3″ line of racks. Both versions start at $345 without the box. There are a lot of do’s and don’t and special circumstances to owning one of these, so rather than try and cover all of it here, I suggest just going to Rogue’s site and reading about it.
Rogue also just released a Floor Glute. It’s interesting, but not a true GHD; and it’s insanely expensive at $525. Take a look.
GHD Review Summary – Recommendations
It’s tough to make a long-distance recommendation for a Glute Ham Developer when there are so many quality models available, but I can say this: if you’re a exceptionally heavy or tall person, you may want to lean towards a model with a larger footprint and more welds than bolts so that you’ll feel more secure when intensity is up; something like the Abrams 2.0 with it’s 40″+ wide base (I included the footprints of each model for this reason).
If you want an especially stable unit but your budget doesn’t allow for a $699 GHD before shipping, consider the Vulcan GHD or even the Rogue GH-1. You can spend less obviously, but you start to sacrifice durability and stability when you do, so you need to consider how willing you are to buy another GHD in a few years.
At the end of the day, just think about which features you care about, which features don’t matter to you, and then work out your maximum budget. Aside from Titan and OFW, all of these GHDs are from reputable brands that; generally speaking; price their equipment accordingly and reasonably well for their specs. You’ll get years and years of use from all of these GHDs, and in some cases; a lifetime of use.
Q: Which Glute Ham Developer do you own?
A: Abrams 2.0 GHD; purchased used from ’14 CrossFit Games.
Q: Would you buy the Abrams again if you needed another GHD?
A: Yes, though I’d probably get a different model for the review. Vulcan maybe?
Q: If all GHDs on this page were $500, which would you buy?
A: The Rogue Swing-Arm obviously.
Here are some videos showing the most common exercises that can and should be done with your GHD. These videos are all from Rogue, and they are all being performed on the original Abrams GHD. Big thanks to Rogue for taking the time to make these videos.
If you’re new to the GHD, take the time to learn the correct form, and take it easy at first. Like any exercise, improper use can be dangerous. Keep in mind that the GHD puts a lot of emphasis on the core; specifically your lower back. I’m quite sure you don’t want any injuries to this region.
The Glute Ham Raise
Works the entire posterior chain: hamstrings, glutes, calves, and lower back. Resistance can be added via resistance bands or weight plates as needed.
Works the abdominals. This is an awesome full range of motion sit-up for advanced athletes.
Works the lower back. Form is everything with this movement. Let Matt show you.
Works the lower back and glutes. Not to be confused with back extensions. Matt will clear this up.
That’s all folks! If you found this article helpful please share it on your favorite social media site, I absolutely appreciate it. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.