Desert Island: Exercise Equipment Edition

If you could take only one piece of gym equipment to a deserted island, what would it be? Initially, I said a barbell until I was told I couldn’t bring plates. So, my next choice was the GHD machine. Why? It is highly functional and the versatility of exercises allow you to work almost every muscle in the body.



The GHD machine, or glute ham developer, is great at developing the hamstrings (as the name implies) but can also be used to develop the glutes, back, and abdominal muscles. There are a variety of things you can do on a GHD machine, but many people avoid it because they don’t know the set up or variations it can be used for.


GHD Back Extension vs. GHD Hip Extension

Oftentimes, people confuse back extensions and hip extensions. Both are useful movements, but require different set ups and target different muscle groups. So what is the difference between the two?


With the hip extension, the back stays static and the hip is dynamic as it generates the movement. This helps strengthen the hip extensor muscles, particularly the glutes and hamstrings.


With the back extension, the hip is static and the back is dynamic. You will round your back (yes, we said round your back!), allowing for spinal flexion and spinal extension that helps to strengthen all the muscles through the back.


Paradiso Crossfit out of Venice, CA and Industrious Crossfit out of Seattle, WA provide great instructional videos on the difference between the GHD back extension and GHD hip extension.


Other exercises to do on the GHD


Need a challenge? Hold a plate or med ball through these movements or perform them single leg. If your GHD machine has hooks, you could also perform banded hip extensions. If your GHD does not have hooks, you could loop the resistance band around a heavy dumbbell on the floor.


Here at Prime, we are big fans of the GHD machine and love to program it for rehab or performance training. We strategically choose exercises tailored to your needs and teach you how to properly utilize the GHD machine, so that you are able to use it outside of your physical therapy sessions (or if you’re ever stranded on a deserted island with only a GHD machine). Reach out to info@primeperformancerehab.com today to set up your initial consultation!