Glute Ham Developer vs Roman Chair

A glute ham developer and roman chair are two of the most useful gym tools. While these two have some similar benefits, there are still distinct differences between them. To make sure you’ll be able to use both the proper way, you must compare and contrast a glute ham developer vs roman chair. 

Glute Ham Developer Vs Roman Chair: General Overview 

The Glute Ham Developer 

A glute ham developer is a piece of gym equipment that you lay on, with feet hooked in, keeping the hamstrings elongated and the legs straight. In this way, you get a more effective way of training the glutes and hamstrings while also impacting the lower back and spinal erectors. 

This free-standing piece of equipment enables you to move a maximal range of the hamstrings, often with a stretch at the end of the movement. This is why sports like powerlifting and gymnastics use GHD to build strength in the posterior chain and improve body size while also preventing injuries. 

While the CrossFit world most commonly uses a glute ham developer, those who want to improve balance, flexibility, and tone overall physique can also benefit from it.

The Roman Chair 

The roman chair is a versatile piece of gym equipment mainly used for the lower back, yet it can also target the abdominals, hamstring, and gluteal muscles. It involves lying or sitting on the larger pad and hooking the ankles on the anchor pads to move the body at certain angles. 

Woman using a Roman chair outdoors

This strength-conditioning workout tool focuses on building the upper body, especially the lower back and core. A roman chair can be your all-around equipment if you wish to fortify your lower back, strengthen hamstring, tone glutes, and build abs.  

It’s the superior gym equipment if you want to do serratus and oblique exercises since the pads will require you to hold yourself in place using the torso and leg muscles.

Glute Ham Developer vs Roman Chair


If you’re aiming to become a serious athlete, a bodybuilder, or CrossFit trainer, you’ll find that developing the glute and hamstring is equally important as to strengthening the core and back. This is why a GHD and roman chair can work together to help you train.

While they have different target muscle groups, they both aim to develop muscle strength necessary for power sports. A GHD can build hamstring and glute hypertrophy and muscular endurance, while the roman chair can boost spinal erector and glute development. 

When used together in a well-balanced routine, it will be easier for you to tap key muscles for squats, deadlifts, and other weightlifting exercises. Whether you have a glute ham developer or a roman chair, the good thing is that you can perform workout variations like:

  • Side bends
  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • Back raises
  • Reverse knee curves
  • Trunk twists
  • Kettlebell lift 
  • Inversions



When it’s your first time seeing a glute ham developer and roman chair, you’d think the two are the same, which means you can probably use either of them. Well, they are similar at some point because the idea of GHD came from the traditional roman chair. 

A glute ham developer has three key features: a knee pad, an adjustable footplate, and the ankle hooks. On the other hand, a roman chair has two main elements: a small pad that serves as an ankle hook and a larger pad that supports the hip or back.

Level of Bending

A glute ham machine requires you to bend at the knees to focus on the glutes and hamstring, whereas a roman chair needs you to bend at the waist or hips to target the core and lower back. 

When you bend at the knees while the torso is perpendicular to the ground, you’ll be doing a lot of hamstring and glute work. When you tap the power of your waist and hips, you can firm up and solidify the core.

Degree of Difficulty

Both equipment require a basic level of strength awareness and joint mechanics. A GHD needs more strength in the knee joints so that you can contract glutes and hamstring safely, whereas using a roman chair means putting stress on your core to get your hips and lower back to move. 

If you lack posterior chain strength, it will be more difficult to use a glute ham developer. If your abdominal strength is on a beginner level, then a roman chair may pose some challenges on your first few tries.

Major Distinguishing Factor

While a glute ham developer and roman chair both provide muscle-building benefits, they differ in the targeted muscle group. As the name suggests, a glute ham developer specifically works on the glute and hamstrings. Meanwhile, a roman chair targets the core and lower back.

When to Use a Glute Ham Developer 

If you’re after hypertrophy, which is an increase and growth of muscle cells, then a glute ham developer is better than a roman chair because it puts greater emphasis on the posterior chain while minimizing lower back stress. 

Since a glute ham developer allows movement at the knee joint, it can contract and promote hamstring movement safely. By keeping slightly bent knees while contracting the hamstring, a GHD serves as a targeted approach to increasing glute and hamstring engagement. 

When you commit to a GHD routine, below are the most worked muscle groups: 

  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteals
  • Spinal erectors
  • Rhomboids 
  • Calves 

When to Use a Roman Chair

If you want to strengthen the backbone to improve posture and reduce back pain while sculpting the abs, a roman chair is more beneficial than a glute ham developer in this case because it will push the body’s upper portion to move and stabilize. 

A roman chair lets you do back extension exercises that put a significant amount of muscular demands upon the lower back and spinal erectors. As the hip joint and lower back work together, you create muscle development and endurance in the spinal regions. 

While the movement predominantly targets the lower erector spinae, a roman chair also works on: 

  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Hip adductors
  • Neck extensors

The Verdict 

When you opt for a glute ham developer, you can build leg and glute strength. If you choose a roman chair, you can form a strong core by targeting the abdominals and lower back muscles. 

While both can be highly beneficial to your workout routines, deciding on whether to invest in a glute ham developer or roman chair should depend on the muscle group you are aiming to improve.

Robert Lemus has been a natural competitor for 6 years, starting in Men’s Physique, then Bodybuilding, and then into Classic Physique. He is the Orange County Bodybuilding champion in 2016 for the Musclemania Organization. In 2018, he received his Pro Card with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Classic Physique.