GHD Machine vs. Roman Chair: Comparison & Benefits

We discuss the differences between the glute-ham developer and Roman chair in this article. While both of these products offer some similar benefits, they are also very different from one another. If you intend to use both correctly, you must compare and contrast a GHD machine with a Roman bench.

What is a Roman chair?

Woman doing back extension on Roman chair

Besides targeting the lower back, this machine can target other muscles such as the glutes, hamstring, and abdominals. The body is moved at specific angles by hooking the ankles on the anchor pads by lying or sitting on the larger cushion.

Which muscles does Roman Chair work?

Hyper benches are great for hyperextensions of the lower back, especially to strengthen the erector spinae. While lying prone, a person is held in place by the chair while bending at the waist and extending their body up.

Exercises for the abdomen can also be performed with it. This is known as a Roman chair sit-up. A person lies on their supine back with the weight on their gluteus maximus, bends backward, and lifts themselves with their rectus abdominis while stabilizing the pelvis with their hip flexors. By turning the torso to the sides, we can target the oblique muscles better. This exercise is called Russian twist.

The upper body and core get toned with this strength-conditioning workout tool. You can strengthen the lower back, hamstrings, tone glutes, and build abs with a Roman bench.

Shopping guide: Best Roman chairs on the market for home

Are Roman chairs bad for your back?

As long as the back extension exercise is performed correctly and considers the individual’s needs and abilities, it can be viewed as a safe and viable movement.

Note: You can choose from a 90 and 45-degree machine. I prefer the 90-degree bench since the range of motion is longer and the leg support is typically better because of the adjustability.

How to do Roman chair hyperextension exercise?

Here you can see how to use the hyperextension bench in various ways to target your entire core. Here are some tips on using the Roman chair effectively.

When Should You Use a Roman Chair?

If you want to strengthen your backbone, improve posture, reduce back pain, and sculpt your abs, then the Roman chair is better for you than the GHD because it forces you to stabilize and move your upper body.

It puts a lot of pressure on your spinal erectors and lower back when you extend your back. As the hip joint and lower back work together, you develop strength and endurance in the spinal regions.

What is a GHD machine?

Man using the GHD machine

This machine develops core strength, glutes, hamstrings, and calves by using bodyweight alone.

The glute-ham developer allows you to extend the hamstrings and straighten your legs by lying on it with your feet hooked in. The glutes and hamstrings gain more strength, while the lower back and spinal erectors are also targeted.

CrossFit-style workouts use the GHD Machine for three strength-building movements: the GHD sit-up, hip extensions, and back extensions.

The GHD Machine was initially designed as a glute and hamstring machine. To fire up your posterior chain, try some glute ham raises on the GHD machine.

You can make maximal use of your hamstrings with this piece of gym equipment, often with a stretch at the end of the exercise. GHD is used for strengthening the posterior chain and preventing injuries in sports like powerlifting and gymnastics.

CrossFitters most commonly use glute-ham developers, but anyone looking to achieve a balanced, flexible, and toned physique can benefit.

Shopping guide: Best GHD Machines for home

Exercises to strengthen the posterior chain with GHD

During this video, John Singleton reviews the five top moves you can do to improve your posterior chain as part of your overall GHD training.

The mentioned exercises are:

  • Hips Extension
  • Back Extension
  • GHD Raise
  • GHD Hold
  • Reverse Hyper

What is the purpose of GHD sit-ups?

GHDSUs force you into a safe hip extension position while controlling down to the ground. Through extension, the hip flexor tissues are not only lengthened but also strengthened as we rise.

Why You Should Use a Glute Ham Machine

It is better to use a glute-ham developer than a Roman chair to increase and develop muscle. You will receive more significant muscle development from it, while your lower back will be less stressed.

Since a glute-ham developer allows hamstring engagement at the knee joint, it is an excellent tool for promoting the movement of the hamstrings without injuring the knee joint. As long as the knees are bent while the hamstrings are contracted, a GHD effectively strengthens the glutes and hamstrings.


What is the posterior chain?

These are the primary posterior chain muscle groups:

  • The semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris make up the hamstrings.
  • The gluteal muscles consist of three parts: the gluteus maximus, the gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus.
  • Spine muscles are known as erector spinae.
  • The gastrocnemius and soleus make up the calves.

In this chain, you’ll also find muscles in the upper body, not just leg muscles, like the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, and rhomboids.

A healthy backside heavily relies on strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and calves.

A posterior chain contributes a great deal of power and function to the body, allowing the body to move while maintaining balance and posture. In an athletic performance or while performing intense movements, a weak posterior chain increases the risk of injury. Hence, athletes should focus on these areas.

Is glute-ham raise the same as a back extension?

Due to the range of motion, the glute-ham raise places increased demands on the hamstrings than back extensions. The main movement of the glute-ham raise occurs at the unlocked knee joint, in contrast to the hip joint of the back extension.

To conclude

Hamstrings and glute development can be achieved through glute-ham developer exercises. You can target your abdominals and lower back muscles to form a strong core in a Roman chair. If you are looking to improve a specific muscle group, deciding whether to purchase a glute-ham developer or Roman chair for your home gym should be based on that.