What are the Best Glute Ham Developers for Your Home? A 2016 Review
Glute-Ham Developers, otherwise known as GHD machines or Roman Chairs, are finally gaining the respect they deserve as an indispensible piece of training equipment. For decades, the glutes and lower back have been neglected in favor of the more showy muscle groups, like the chest and biceps.
The advent of CrossFit has emphasized the need to have strong, well trained glutes, hamstrings and core. And that has led to a resurgence in popularity of an ancient piece of training equipment that we knew as the Roman Chair.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, the Roman chair was a favorite of guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the ensuing years, however, it fell out of favor and was hardly ever seen in gyms. Recently, though, it has risen from the ashes, with a new look and a new name - the Glute Ham Developer.
The Glute Ham Developer has been developed for both commercial and home gym use. The models on offer for use in the home gym setting range from mediocre to outstanding. We have sifted through what is available to bring you the best of the best.
In this review round up we’ll cover the 5 best glute ham developers on the market today. The very best GHD machine we encountered was the Rogue Monster Swing Arm GHD. We were also impressed with the Marcy Roman Chair, the CFF Glute Ham Developer, the Powerline Roman Chair and the Rogue Abram 2.0.
The Rogue Monster Swing Arm GHD Is the Ferrari of glute ham developers. This machine is packed with features that set it apart from the competition. It's pricey and you may not be able to afford it for your home gym but it sets the standard, and that standard is high.
The Rogue Monster Swing features extra thick padding on the ankle and torso supports for enhanced comfort. It also provides a double step up deck to make getting into position much easier. The rear foot rest is fully adjustable to allow you to customize your position on the machine precisely.
At the base of the machine you’ll find an adjustable, easy to use handle. This allows you to instantly reposition the footpads to any position that your next exercise requires without having to dismount from the machine.
The Rogue Monster Swing Arm GHD is constructed of heavy duty steel. It weighs in at an impressive 250 pounds and carries a 34 inch by 62 inch footprint. This provides the ultimate in durability.
The two Monster hip pads are constructed from heavy duty, urethane coated upholstered vinyl, as are the four monster foot roller pads. The unit also comes with side handles to provide extra stabilization when mounted on the unit.
- Monster sized pads
- Swing arm for precision adjustment
- Heavy Duty Construction
- Step Up Plates
- Tapered Oversized Roller Plates
If you can afford the $1350 price tag, buy one today. If not, use it as the standard upon to which to judge the other models out there.
At the other end of the price spectrum to the Rogue Monster sits the Marcy Roman Chair. This is a no frills unit that is designed to effectively work your glutes, hamstrings and core - and that is precisely what it does.
The unit is constructed of 2 inch by 2 inch heavy duty 14 gauge framing. The padding is high density, dulux boxed uphosltery. The machine is finished in a stylish gray powder coating. The unit is easy to assemble and comes with full assembly instructions.
The Marcy GHD features adjustable height ankle pads to allow you to adjust the unit to your bodily dimensions. Padded assist handles support when you are in position on the machine.
The Marcy Roman Chair is manufactured by Impex Fitness who have been key players in the home fitness industry since 1980. They offer a 2 year guarantee on the Marcy Roman Chair.
- Solid construction with 2 inch square, 14 gauge steel framing
- High density padding
- Side grip handles
- Easy to assemble
- Adjustable ankle pads
- The handles do not extend sufficiently to provide full support
- The torso support pad is not as thick as it needs to be
The Marcy Roman Chair is a very good glute ham developer that you can pick up for well under a hundred bucks. It is a no frills unit that delivers.
The CFF Glute Ham Developer is a mid range product between the two extreme of the Rogue Monster and the Marcy Roman Chair. This GHD machine was specifically designed for cross-training. With the feedback received from their original glute ham developer, CFF have added some very helpful features to this unit.
The unit is constructed of durable to 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch 9 gauge steel. The padding is larger than the original model with both ankle and torso pads coming in at 330 PSI. See if you have added band pegs and plate horns to provide extra stability for the machine.
The CFF Glute Ham Developer now features wheels for ease of transport.
The 18 & a half inch handles are slightly angled to make it easier for you to get into position on the machine. There is also a handle above the foot roller to assist you in getting into position for sit-up movements.
- Solid construction
- Easy to assemble
- Wheels for easy transport
- Handles above foot rollers
- Extra long support handles
- Band Pegs
- Weight horns for enhanced rigidity
- Extra thick ankle and torso pads
- The 72 inch by 29 inch footprint takes up a decent amount of space, which might make it fight fit in your home gym
Rogue Fitness are well known for constantly striving to improve their already high quality home training range. The Abram 2.0 is yet another example of how they have succeeded. The original Abram was a top quality GHD machine, and yet they have managed to improve it further.
The Abram 2.0 has increased stability with a single piece chassis, making adjustments to the ankle foot pads quicker and easier, adding wheels and a triangular design for more efficient transportation. Constructed from 2 inch by 3 inch steel and coming in at 221 pounds, the Abram 2.0 is an extremely solid, durable machine.
This Rogue GHD machine comes in at less than half the price of the Rogue Monster Swing Arm GHD.
- Wheels and triangular design for ease of mobility
- Adjustable ankle foot pads
- 2 inch by 3 inch steel construction
- Increased stability
- Very heavy
The Powerline Roman Chair is a solidly constructed unit made from 2-inch by 2-inch square steel framing. It features a wider than usual solid base to provide rigidity when exercising.
It comes in an electrostatically applied powder coated finish. Ankle pads are fully adjustable. This unit will support anyone up to 250 pounds in weight.
- Very rigid base
- Heavy duty steel construction
- Adjustable ankle pads
- Short support handles
- Large footprint
- Pads are not very thick.
Key Benefits of Using a GHD Machine
You may not have considered adding a glute ham developer machine to your home gym inventory. It’s about time you did. There is nothing else that so effectively works the entire posterior chain, which is undoubtedly the most underworked part of the human body. When your posterior chain is weak, you put yourself at a greater chance of injury, especially if the front of your body is strong.
Here are 8 reasons why you need to have a glute ham developer as part of your home gym:
- It will improve your postureIt will help alleviate back pain
- It will strengthen your lower back (erector spinae)
- It will strengthen and tone your abdominals
- It will make your glutes stronger
- It will strengthen your hamstrings
- It will train your entire body
- It will work your posterior chain in unison
The best glute ham developer that we came across was the Rogue Monster Swing Arm GHD. This is an advanced spec, top of the line machine from one of the most experienced and respected names in the home fitness industry. The levels of custom fit and adjustability of this machine is unparalleled. For those who can’t afford the premium price, Rogue’s Abram 2.0 provides the next best thing. The budget conscious can’t do much better than the Marcy Roman Chair.
Whatever decision you make in terms of product, don’t leave it too long before putting a glute ham developer into your gym. Without one, you training facility is incomplete. Read more on our article for Roman Chair workouts for a sexy stomach and toned glutes.