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  1. #1
    Registered User pama0605's Avatar
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    Which hamstring machine to get

    I am expanding my gym in the basement a bit and am thinking about getting a hamstring machine. There are two for sale on Facebook not too far from me and figure I would see what you all think. The one is a Cybex VR3 seated leg curl for around $400 and the other is a Hammer Strength Glute Ham Developer GHD for around $700 (pictures attached below). I have never used a GHD machine before so I have no idea how well it hits the hams versus the traditional seated or a lying leg curl machines. I appreciate all thoughts, opinions and feedback.
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    Last edited by pama0605; 08-25-2020 at 11:22 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Seated Leg curl, hands down without a doubt (your picture is a leg extension though).

    GHD's are nice for ab work, but those seated hamstring curl machines are awesome.
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    Most seem to prefer a lying/prone leg curl over a seated, but I'm partial to the seated. I have a Cybex VR2 seated leg curl in my home gym. Zero complaints about it.

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    Registered User pama0605's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Seated Leg curl, hands down without a doubt (your picture is a leg extension though).

    GHD's are nice for ab work, but those seated hamstring curl machines are awesome.

    Thanks, picture fixed (rookie mistake)
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Seated Leg curl, hands down without a doubt (your picture is a leg extension though).

    GHD's are nice for ab work, but those seated hamstring curl machines are awesome.
    This. Not even close. Nothing allows more pure ham output through a large ROM
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    Most seem to prefer a lying/prone leg curl over a seated, but I'm partial to the seated.
    When I went on vacation the gym I visited had a Hoist Seated curl / leg extension combo machine, would love to own one of those bad boys!
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    I would pass on both of these - the GHDs have a pretty large footprint and are not a staple for a lot of folks, although you tend to see them in every Crossfit gym and athletic training center. If you are going to get one you can usually find high-end commercial ones in the $300-350 range (Sorinex, EliteFTS, etc.).

    If your goals are a mix of hypertrophy and performance I would look for a plate-load standing leg curl or perhaps a selectorized laying leg curl. Great way to add in some volume and warmup for squats/deadlifts/etc.

    The seated ones could be good if you can find a combo extension/curl, but otherwise I prefer the laying or standing leg curls over the seated ones.
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    Originally Posted by TomMutaffis View Post
    I would pass on both of these - the GHDs have a pretty large footprint and are not a staple for a lot of folks, although you tend to see them in every Crossfit gym and athletic training center. If you are going to get one you can usually find high-end commercial ones in the $300-350 range (Sorinex, EliteFTS, etc.).

    If your goals are a mix of hypertrophy and performance I would look for a plate-load standing leg curl or perhaps a selectorized laying leg curl. Great way to add in some volume and warmup for squats/deadlifts/etc.

    The seated ones could be good if you can find a combo extension/curl, but otherwise I prefer the laying or standing leg curls over the seated ones.
    What makes you say that? Most of the standing machines have a god awful load profile
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    Registered User C123C's Avatar
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    My opinion - GHD is an entirely different beast. If you are looking for a hamstring focused exercise, you are thinking about muscle groups in isolation. Get the machine. If you aren't looking for a GHD, don't get one. Can be a good exercise for some people. I'm one of those who get better at GHDs and see very little carryover into other exercises (unfortunately I own one so it's a nice ab bench).
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    Originally Posted by C123C View Post
    My opinion - GHD is an entirely different beast. If you are looking for a hamstring focused exercise, you are thinking about muscle groups in isolation. Get the machine. If you aren't looking for a GHD, don't get one. Can be a good exercise for some people. I'm one of those who get better at GHDs and see very little carryover into other exercises (unfortunately I own one so it's a nice ab bench).

    I am looking for something to build my hamstrings. I am sure there are hamstring exercises that I am not familiar with, but really all I have ever done at the gym in the past for hamstrings is either some type of leg curl or straight leg deadlifts. Now that I am setting up something at home, I was looking to add an exercise for hamstrings and not just be stuck doing straight leg deadlifts.
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    Originally Posted by pama0605 View Post
    I am expanding my gym in the basement a bit and am thinking about getting a hamstring machine. There are two for sale on Facebook not too far from me and figure I would see what you all think. The one is a Cybex VR3 seated leg curl for around $400 and the other is a Hammer Strength Glute Ham Developer GHD for around $700 (pictures attached below). I have never used a GHD machine before so I have no idea how well it hits the hams versus the traditional seated or a lying leg curl machines. I appreciate all thoughts, opinions and feedback.
    Definitely a leg curl machine over a GHD if you're just looking to isolate hamstrings.

    Seated and lying leg curls both load the hamstrings differently so ideally both would be nice. Is it necessary for the average joe? Probably not. Either would be a very nice addition to a home gym. I passed on a really desirable lying leg curl for $200 because it was about an hour farther than I was willing to drive, still regretting it to this day. Depending on the condition, $400 is a pretty decent price.
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    When I went on vacation the gym I visited had a Hoist Seated curl / leg extension combo machine, would love to own one of those bad boys!
    I own one, but the plastic bushings on the top plate are swollen and I have been unable to find someone to replace them. Hoist doesn't sell them and wants about $200 + shipping to replace the entire top plate. I will probably eventually do it myself when I have time, but for now the machine is just sitting idle. My wife keeps pestering me to sell it, but it's a really, really nice machine. :P
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    Originally Posted by pama0605 View Post
    I am looking for something to build my hamstrings. I am sure there are hamstring exercises that I am not familiar with, but really all I have ever done at the gym in the past for hamstrings is either some type of leg curl or straight leg deadlifts. Now that I am setting up something at home, I was looking to add an exercise for hamstrings and not just be stuck doing straight leg deadlifts.
    Making it simple:
    1) If you've never used a GHD to the point where it's proven effective, don't buy one.
    2) If you are thinking "hamstrings" as opposed to "increase posterior chain strength transferable to squats/deads", don't buy one.

    Stiff/Romanian Deads are a great exercise for posterior chain. If you have the space I'd buy both a leg extension and leg curl. Very few combo units are good ones though Atlantis does make what's probably the best combo unit. But if you want some hamstring work grab a nice commercial leg curl on the used market and be done - lots of gyms going out of business so keep a watchful eye.

    This advice comes from someone who owns a leg curl/leg extension and a GHD. I used a GHD for years and bought it as a combo GHR, 90 degree hyper, sit up unit as that at least made sense as I don't get a whole lot out of GHRs for whatever reason (and I'd used them for years previous so I knew that). Ended up buying a 45 degree hyper, superior to the 90 on GHD for my use, so the GHD is really just a huge ab bench now and hasn't seen any use for a year. Might work it in again soon because it's there. I will eventually sell it for the floor space when I get a functional trainer.

    Notice how no one on the forum, including myself, is telling you to get a GHD from your line of questioning. That is a high conviction answer.
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    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by C123C View Post
    Notice how no one on the forum, including myself, is telling you to get a GHD from your line of questioning. That is a high conviction answer.
    Amen. Unless you are an Elite Powerlifter looking for a competitive edge or are into crossfit, I don't see the benefit. Even if you were considering one because of Crossfit it's still a waste of time, do they even use the GHD for anything outside of ab crunches?
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    Agreed you do not need a GHD. Look up Nordic leg curls and you should be able to rig something up in your gym to replicate this. This is commonly done with a lat pulldown machine, you can use any sort of bar/stick for support, or you can loop a band around something above you for support. If this isn't clear after a bit of searching I will find relevant videos for you.

    Regarding lying vs standing vs seated leg curl, as you can see opinions differ, and I think this is going to significantly depend on one's anthropometrics. That obviously is not helpful to you if you haven't tried them. It may be worth spending money for a 1 day pass to a large gym that has these variations, try them all, and see what you like best. Do realize with standing you're going to be doing 1 leg at a time; that could be a deal breaker.
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    My vote would be a cybex plate loaded kneeling leg curl or the HS version.
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    Originally Posted by TomMutaffis View Post
    I would pass on both of these - the GHDs have a pretty large footprint and are not a staple for a lot of folks, although you tend to see them in every Crossfit gym and athletic training center. If you are going to get one you can usually find high-end commercial ones in the $300-350 range (Sorinex, EliteFTS, etc.).

    If your goals are a mix of hypertrophy and performance I would look for a plate-load standing leg curl or perhaps a selectorized laying leg curl. Great way to add in some volume and warmup for squats/deadlifts/etc.

    The seated ones could be good if you can find a combo extension/curl, but otherwise I prefer the laying or standing leg curls over the seated ones.
    I completely agree with this, standing leg curl is the one to go with, if you feel the need to GHD, get a GH Roller instead, if you feel the need to seated leg curl, set up banded leg curls instead. RDL, SLDL, and Good Mornings build hamstrings better than anything else.
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    One of my past gyms had a Hammer Strength GHD and the pad that you lay your upper legs on is a roller which I think makes the movement much easier. The gym that Im currently a member of (if it ever reopens) has a GHD that doesn't have a roller for the leg pad and when I first used it, it was definitely more challenging. That said, I use to be jealous of those who had access to a GHD but once I started using it, didn't feel I benefited much from them.

    I read an article in T Nation by Ben Bruno about alternative ways to work hams with knee flexion. One I've been doing is floor leg curls using a core slider like Valslide. Doing those one leg at a time was far more challening than a glute ham raise for me
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    Originally Posted by KoolDJVader View Post
    I read an article in T Nation by Ben Bruno about alternative ways to work hams with knee flexion. One I've been doing is floor leg curls using a core slider like Valslide. Doing those one leg at a time was far more challening than a glute ham raise for me
    I just watched a couple videos on that and it looks like something I might try. Are the Vaslides basically just fancy furniture movers- the ones you put under the corners of furniture to easily move around on carpet? If so, I think I have some of those around here somewhere to try it with.
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    I appreciate all the posts so far, it has broadened my repertoire for hamstring exercises. Regarding the standing leg curls, it just occurred to me, what about getting an ankle strap and using my dual adjustable pulley machine for those? I have never done SLC's, so would not having a pad to place my thigh against and lock the leg against (like all the machines have) pose issues with the properly doing the exercise? (picture of machine attached for reference)
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    Originally Posted by pama0605 View Post
    I appreciate all the posts so far, it has broadened my repertoire for hamstring exercises. Regarding the standing leg curls, it just occurred to me, what about getting an ankle strap and using my dual adjustable pulley machine for those? I have never done SLC's, so would not having a pad to place my thigh against and lock the leg against (like all the machines have) pose issues with the properly doing the exercise? (picture of machine attached for reference)
    That's what I do with my low pulley for lying hamstring curls. I don't see why it wouldn't work for standing/leaning leg curls. You can also do seated leg curls with this setup, play around with the pulley height to get it right. None of these will be as good as a dedicated machine but pair it with a hip hinge movement like RDLs/SLDL and it will get the job done.
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    Originally Posted by pama0605 View Post
    I appreciate all the posts so far, it has broadened my repertoire for hamstring exercises. Regarding the standing leg curls, it just occurred to me, what about getting an ankle strap and using my dual adjustable pulley machine for those? I have never done SLC's, so would not having a pad to place my thigh against and lock the leg against (like all the machines have) pose issues with the properly doing the exercise? (picture of machine attached for reference)
    Definitely try it out first. I thought I could made it work with the Spud Hamstringer and I didn't like that type of setup.



    There's also this premium comparative product but I assume it functions exactly the same:



    What would probably work well in your home gym is combining one of your cable machines with this Roger's Athletics Standing Leg Curl. Just clip on your cable and good to go. Saves space but still high quality.





    As someone else mentioned, single leg exercises can become a drain on time so try it out first before you commit to it.
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    Originally Posted by Duplicitous View Post
    I own one, but the plastic bushings on the top plate are swollen and I have been unable to find someone to replace them. Hoist doesn't sell them and wants about $200 + shipping to replace the entire top plate. I will probably eventually do it myself when I have time, but for now the machine is just sitting idle. My wife keeps pestering me to sell it, but it's a really, really nice machine. :P
    I wasn't aware of the dual leg extension /curl machine and ever since you mentioned it, I want one. How much did you pay for yours? I am thinking there probably aren't a whole lot of used ones out there so I don't know how long it would take before finding one at a decent price. I am planning on looking at a Cybex VR3 leg curl and a VR3 leg extension and was possibly going to buy both. If I could find a dual one, that would save me a lot of much needed space. Also, regarding the plastic bushing situation, do you know the usage history of it where as do you think the cause of it is due to inferior components?
    Last edited by pama0605; 08-28-2020 at 05:39 PM.
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    For me, hams are important muscles to work out in a gym. With the years I have own a lot of pieces for hams.

    I currently have the bodysolid seated leg curl/ leg extension combo


    And i also own an Atlantis lying leg curl


    And an Atlantis GHD


    But I recently sold a Powerbody lying leg curl/ leg extension


    I also have had a Bodysolid plate loaded glce365 which i have sold a few years ago. (this is not my unit, took it from the internet)


    Now that i have shared my experiences, here are my thoughts:
    If i only had to have one piece for hams, i would go with a lying leg curl if i would just want to focus on hams and if i wanted to have a more versatile piece, i would go with a combo seated leg curls/leg extensions. Why a lying leg curl VS a combo with seated leg curl: lying leg curls and seated leg extension are to far apart, one is done lying and the other one is done seated so you loose too much ajustments because it needs to move from seated to lying on the same machine, you can’t move the back pad from front to back position for the leg extensions which is a big downside for aligning the pivot with the knee which could cause injury long term.

    I would not go with a plate loaded unit too, the tension is varying too much during the movement due to gravity.

    I would not recommend a ghd as the only hams machine, the movement is really hard to do and you can’t vary tension (weights) enough compared to a lying/seated leg curl. It is a good exercise when done correctly but you need time to get used to it.

    I would not recommend a standing leg curl neither as the position of the movement does not put you in a power position which means that you can’t load it enough to get a great workout. It is an awesome activation exercise but i dont think it is a great « only exercise »

    SO after all that, here are my choices

    1st- Lying leg curl machine (or a combo SEATED leg curl/extension if versatility is important)
    2nd- Seated leg curl machine
    3rd- Standing leg curl machine
    4th- GHD

    and far behing the cable attachment as you can’t have enough stability during the movement to focus on hams

    And always with a stack, not plate loaded. But remember, this is my opinion based on MY experience, i also understand that some people could view it a different way .

    I hope this helps, Good luck
    Last edited by alexthaman; 08-29-2020 at 03:40 AM.
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