|07-28-2004, 10:35 AM||#1|
The issue of finding a cheap substitute for a glute-ham machine has probably been beaten to death – so if you’re tired of the issue, here’s the warning to stop reading. Here’s a short summary: for the real thing, prices range from $90 (for a crappy roman chair that needs modification) to $450 and up (BFS and other versions). Using gravity boots, Swiss balls, benches and beds have been offered as some alternatives. Personally I’ve found drawbacks to these methods:
1. The gravity boots toe touching ab exercise, for me, is vastly more difficult than GHS sit-ups (I can manage a set of 10 – barely. I’m working on it).
2. My bench doesn’t span both pins of my power rack so raising one end of it always resulted in an awkward bench angle that sometimes only vaguely approximates the exercise in question (hip/back extension, reverse hyper, etc.).
3. For me, a bed wouldn’t provide full ROM on the exercises mentioned (i.e. I want to be able to do Jim Baker Standard GHS).
4. Swiss balls, because of the curvature involved, provide support to areas of the body that a normal piece of equipment wouldn’t (i.e. at full extension on a GHS, the ball gives more support to the lower back than a regular GH machine would provide, IMO).
So, being the cheap and picky individual I am, I wanted to find another solution. I’ve finally built something that allows me to do GHS, hip/back extensions and reverse hypers with none of the disadvantages listed above. Inspiration came from Aptdwelr’s idea of lying a 2x12 across power rack pins. Also, Lynne Pitts had something similar when her garage gym’s photo was featured in a WOD a ways back.
Although I was able to build it at no charge (used materials on hand), I don’t imagine the supplies (sheet of plywood, 4x4s, section of metal pipe, carpet scraps, duct tape, wood screws, lag bolts) coming anywhere close to $90.
Construction was pretty simple. I cut the plywood into three equal sheets about 20” wide and long enough so that there was about an inch or two overlap on each side when set on the power rack pins. I then cut two 4x4 lengths so that they just short enough to fit snugly between the pins. When the board is screwed onto them, the 4x4s serve two functions. They prevent the board from slipping off the pins and they add structural integrity to the plywood. After that I used a 1” drill bit and drilled holes in the upright 4x4 sections. I slid a section of metal pipe through the holes, wrapped a small section of carpeting around it and covered it with black duct tape. On the portion of the board where the back/stomach come in contact with, I screwed a portion of wall padding down (I realize not everyone has wrestling material lying around, but you can probably sub carpet or carpet cushion here).
The only disadvantages that I can think of are the time involved (maybe 3-4 hours for me), the fact that you need a power rack to put it on, you may need weights to weigh down the one end of the rack you’re not hanging out of and the lack of adjustability in this model (people who are significantly shorter or taller than me may have a hard time using mine).
Here’s some pics:
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