This GHD machine from Christian’s Fitness Factory is inexpensive, solidly built, and works well for its main purpose, sit-ups and hip extensions. It does have a few minor annoyances, the worst being that the foot pads are too small and spaced too far apart to hold in the bottom of your feet. Christian actually contacted us about this problem and is redesigning the footpads and will be sending out new ones at his own expense. So really, there’s not too much to dislike about this machine; it’s not quite as nice as a $500 GHD machine with roller pads, but that’s to be expected.
The CFF Econo GHD machine is most noticeably low in price. It only costs $200 plus shipping (which could be another $90). Many other GHD machines will cost you more than twice that amount. This low price is a serious advantage and in my opinion outweighs its problems.
It’s a very tall GHD machine, 53 inches high, and also very narrow, so it doesn’t take up too much space. The height is particularly good for tall people like myself, so that we don’t hit our heads on the floor during the sit-ups.
Doing both sit-ups and hip-extensions, the construction feels solid; it doesn’t wobble around. The food rest sliders were at first hard to move, but now that we oiled them they move easily enough.
I didn’t actually construct the machine myself, but I heard that it was easy to put together and only took about 20 minutes.
There is a rather long list of minor grievances I have with this machine, none of which make it unusable or even too uncomfortable.
- The worst problem, which, as I said before, is being fixed by Christian at his own expense, and will most likely come standard with any new units sold, is that the foot-pads are extremely small and far apart. On other GHD machines I’ve used, the bottom pad will push up behind your heel to keep your feet from slipping out. But the bottom pads on the Econo machine don’t even get close to securing your foothold. In the picture to the right, you’ll notice we taped extra roller pads onto the bottom pads, which can be rotated up against the back of the legs if desired. Otherwise, without the extra rollers, you’ll have to keep your feet and ankles tense to hold their hook.
- You’ll notice that the foot plate is slanted in one direction. It’s actually reversible so that you can have it slant one way for hip extensions and the other for sit-ups. As you can see in the picture, my feet don’t even get close to touching the plate while I’m doing the sit-ups or hip extensions; they just hang on the roller pads. The only time my feet touch the plate is when I’m getting in or out of the machine, and in both cases the slant is annoying. The other GHD machines I have used have straight vertical foot plates.
- The front handles are a bit shorter than I prefer, which makes it a little more difficult to get in and out, especially since the machine is so tall. But, at least I’ll never hit the handles while doing sit-ups.
- The pivot pads, which support the pelvis during hip-extensions or the back of the legs during sit-ups, are padded enough to be comfortable, but their base corners stick out too far into where I bend during the exercise. When I do hip-extensions, the base of the pivot pads, push into my lower abdomen slightly.
I can’t move myself forward any further without the pads pressing too low on my quads and hurting them (especially when they’re sore). I still seem to get a full range of motion though, so this really isn’t a problem. However, I do prefer the comfort of the big roller pads on more expensive GHD machines.
The CFF Econo GHD from Christian’s Fitness Factory is a well constructed machine for a low price. Its main problem, the small, far-spaced footpads, is being fixed by Christian, which leaves only a few other minor annoyances that are easily outweighed by the low price and quality construction. I recommend it for home use or in a “Elite-Fitness” gym, though its warranty doesn’t cover commercial use.
If you buy one, you can either get it directly from CFF, which is about $200 plus $90 shipping, or you can get it [amazon_link id=”B004IA90HC” target=”_blank” ]from CFF through Amazon[/amazon_link] for $237 and maybe no shipping.