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The Glute Ham Developer, also referred to as a GHD, is a specialized machine used to develop the posterior chain and core. Many companies make and sell GHDs in various shapes, sizes, and styles. Some companies even make GHD-Reverse-Hyper Combo machines. In this review I will be discussing several aspects of the Titan Fitness GHD, including cost, shipping, assembly, quality, dimensions, features, drawbacks, usage, and a brief comparison to other GHDs.
Cost and Shipping
At $379 with free shipping, the Titan GHD is one of the least expensive GHDs on the market, which sets it apart. To give a few examples, the equivalent from Rogue is the Rogue Abram GHD 2.0, which costs $695. The closest to Titan in terms of price is the Rep Fitness GHD, which costs $369, shipping not included. Furthermore, Titan very frequently has 10% off, which brings the price down to $341.
The GHD arrives in 2 boxes, both of which are lined with plywood to protect the pieces. I received my shipment with no damage to any parts. However, when I opened each box, all of the hardware was strewn about the bottom of the box. It took several minutes to remove each nut, bolt, and washer and sort them according to size. I was missing a bolt, which I ended up not needing since I did not install the (almost useless) wheels.
Assembly and Initial Impression of Quality
The GHD took about an hour to assemble, 10 minutes of which were spent collecting the hardware and organizing the pieces before assembly. It was easy to assemble, and my only piece of advice to is to wait to tighten all of the bolts until the end. The powder coat was overall good, though there were a few areas where it was scratched off upon arrival. All of the plastic end caps for the frame were included and fit well. The steel is heavy duty 11-gauge steel, and I did not see any signs of rust or corrosion on any parts of the frame.
The most important parts of the GHD are those that the user directly interacts with the most, which are the roller pads for the feet and the crescent shaped pad for the thigh (or glutes and hamstrings if it is used for GHD sit-ups). All of the pads were in good shape with no tears or rips in any of the fabric. The thigh pad is mounted to a solid base, which attaches to the rest of the frame during assembly. I will give more details on the thigh pad and roller pads in the section below.
Dimensions, Features, and Drawbacks
The first thing to note about this GHD is that it is very large. It takes up the better part of an entire 4’x6’ stall mat. It is 45.5” wide at the front, 21” wide at the back, 67” long without the wheels, and weighs over 100 lbs. This size can be a double-edged sword though; the larger footprint and heavier weight make it sturdier and less prone to moving for large people, however, it also eats up a good bit of real estate in your gym. If space if not an issue, the latter may not be a concern, but for many people trying to pack as much as they can into a 1 or 2-car garage gym, it is something worth considering. The feet stick out 23” in front of the pad which prevents it from tipping forward during use. The thigh pad is 34” from the ground at the base and 42” at the top. It is high enough for tall people to use it for its intended purposes, GHRs and GHD sit-ups, but it is not tall enough to perform reverse hypers on without bending significantly at the knees, which I feel detracts from the movement. Another feature that I like is the split-pad, which is an excellent feature, especially if you are a male athlete. The handles stick out 8” from the thigh pad and are sturdy enough to do dips on, since they are 1” solid steel welded through the frame.
The roller pads for the feet are mostly stationary and do not spin freely, which I do not think impacts the movement for better or worse. The rollers are spaced an appropriate amount to easily slide the feet in but still hold the feet firmly. Additionally, there is a ton of adjustability in the foot plate assembly: there is 10” of vertical travel and 15” of horizontal travel to accommodate virtually any size individual (at 6’6”, I still have several additional adjustment slots left). The adjustment pins are nice, spring loaded pull-pins with the screw-in for additional security. Furthermore, the foot plate assembly has screw pins on both axes which prevent any side-to-side or forward-backward motion. Once the pins are screwed in place, the entire assembly has no play, which is ideal. The foot plate itself is also a good size, though if you prefer Titan does sell an oversized XL foot plate. The final feature is the holes for band pegs, 4 in total on each side, which allow you to use banded resistance to increase the difficulty of the movement.
There are several drawbacks to this GHD as well, which are listed below.
- Size and large footprint. As already mentioned, this GHD takes up a lot of space. Again, this is only a drawback to those who are looking for a compact unit to fit into a space-constrained gym.
- Thigh pad. The thigh pad is a bit softer than I would like, and the pleather shell on the pad does come a bit loose when in the pad is depressed while in use. If the shell had a bit more elastic or if the pad was firmer, I don’t think this would be an issue. Also, it is not large enough of an issue to impact the function of the machine. Within 30 seconds after use the foam pad returns to its original shape. After a year of use the pads are still firm and have retained their original shape.
- Lack of included band pegs. While this GHD does have holes for band pegs, it does not come with band pegs, so unless you already have some from another purchase, the holes are useless.
- Foot plate assembly off center. The foot plate assembly is slight off center from the thigh pad, which is noticeable during use, though not a deal-breaker. You simply have to adjust your feet to be slightly off from the center of the foot plate. I have heard of several other GHDs having similar issues with the alignment between the foot plate and thigh pad, so it is likely a prevalent issue that could be present on other GHDs as well.
- Wheels. Since the wheels are at an angle they are almost useless. This is a very minor issue, since this thing will likely not be moving much once it is placed in its final location. I chose to not install the wheels at all, partly due to the fact that I have my GHD wedged in a corner of my garage and not installing the wheels bought me a precious 3” of extra room.
- Powder coat. The GHD arrived with the powder coat scratched off in several places, and the powder coat is not quite as nice as you would see on a Rogue GHD or rack. In my opinion, this is a cosmetic issue that does not really bother me when considering the price I paid.
The Titan GHD is great to use. I do not change the adjustment settings very often, though they are easy enough to adjust when needed. I perform GHRs and GHD sit-ups on it at least once or twice a week and it does exactly what I need it to. I am able to explode up from the bottom position and it moves very little to not at all. I have read some reviews speaking of the back coming up when doing the movement explosively, but I have not had that experience (and I am on the higher end of the scale at 250 lbs). If I were to have issues with it falling forward, it would be easy enough to put a sandbag on the base to help keep it stable. The most important part about using this GHD is that I feel safe when using it. It doesn’t make any odd sounds when in use and there are no extraneous wobbles.
I have also gotten creative with my GHD and potential uses. I have done bodyweight reverse hypers, though it is not quite tall enough to do them properly. I have used the handles for dips with no issues. I have also used the thigh pad as a makeshift preacher curl station, and it actually works pretty well. I do have to crouch down, but it does simulate the exercise sufficiently.
Editor’s Note: See the Barbend article on the difference between hyperextensions and glute ham raises. They both target the glutes and hamstrings, but hyperextensions shift more load to the spinal erector muscles.
Other GHDs to consider
If you are in the market for a GHD, I wanted to list a few other GHDs for consideration and a brief description of each. This list is meant to give a few options either in a similar style or price range from other well-respected companies. Depending where you live in the US, any of these options could be cheaper than the others when factoring in shipping or the ability to pick up in person.
First is the Rep Fitness GHD. This GHD is listed on Rep Fitness’ website for $369, not including shipping. Depending where you live in the US (the closer to Denver, CO the better it would be to order directly from Rep Fitness), it may be worth purchasing through Amazon, at a price of $489 with free shipping. This unit features a linear rail and bearing style adjustment mechanism, a smaller footprint, a step-up plate, and slightly taller frame.
Second is the Vulcan GHD. It looks almost identical to the Rep Fitness GHD, and is listed at a price of $599, including shipping (or, if you are in the Charlotte, NC area, you can pick it up for $509).
Third is the Rogue Abram GHD 2.0, which is the exact model that the Titan GHD is based on. It has every feature that the Titan GHD has, with the benefit of a higher quality fit and finish on the powder coat, pads, and hardware, as well as being made in the USA with American steel. This is the most expensive of all the options listed, at $695 before shipping (Rogue is based out of Columbus, OH).
In summary, I really like the Titan GHD. I think it is an excellent piece of equipment at a very competitive price. If you are aware of the listed drawbacks and willing to put up with them, then this GHD is a great buy. As I mentioned earlier, I would definitely wait for one of Titan’s frequent sales to get the price down to $341. I will say that the GHD can be a hit or miss piece of equipment for various people. Some people love to do GHRs and call them the “lower body chin-up,” while others do not get very much from the movement at all. If possible, I would recommend trying a GHD for several weeks before purchasing one for your home gym.