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In the world of fitness, there are few lower-body workouts quite as challenging as the Nordic hamstring curl, where an athlete locks their heels in place and tries to lower their chest to the floor, keeping the hips extended—only relying on the glutes and hamstrings to lower and raise their body. Oftentimes, people will have to train for months just to perform the full range of motion of a bodyweight Nordic curl.

Nordic curls are typically done with a Nordic bench, a piece of equipment that can be bulky and less versatile than other home gym essentials. If you’re looking to challenge your lower body, though, don’t fear; our team of GGR testers has tested top Nordic benches and machines on the market to bring you our top picks for the best Nordic benches.

Our team researched and tested these Nordic benches, and chose ones that add versatility, functionality, and portability to your strength training and home gym space. In addition, to the customer experience, we looked at factors according to our fitness equipment testing methodology, such as:

  • Stability
  • Construction and durability
  • Training experience
  • Portability and adjustability
  • Overall value

Read on to see which top Nordic bench will best suit your fitness goals.

The 8 Best Nordic Benches  

Best Overall Nordic Bench: Shogun NORD-EX

Good for: Home gym users wanting a high-quality Nordic bench with added versatility

Best Overall

Shogun NORD-EX

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 2 machines in 1
  • Nordic curl bench and back extension machine
  • Fully adjustable to fit most people
  • Compact footprint at 41” x 25”
  • 11-gauge carbon steel main frame
  • Custom-molded self-skinning polyurethane foam
  • 35- to 55-degree adjustments for back extension
  • 15, 30, or 45 degrees for assisted Nordic curls 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Adjustable angles for back extension and assisted Nordic
  • High-quality, heavy-duty materials
  • Compact footprint
  • Able to store with caster wheels and handle
  • Innovative design
  • Free shipping in the Continental U.S.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Ships in 3 separate boxes

Bottom Line

A truly innovative product, the NORD-EX is a fully adjustable Nordic bench that can be converted into a fully adjustable back extension machine. Able to adjust in multiple angles for a back extension as well as an assisted Nordic curl, the NORD-EX can also be folded and stored away, leaving it a very compact footprint when not in use. At just under $1,000, it’s a bit pricey, but the innovative design is built with quality, heavy-duty materials.

For home gym owners, one of the biggest drawbacks of classic Nordic benches are the rather large footprint for a single use. Our best overall pick for best Nordic bench, the NORD-EX by Shogun Sports, solves a lot of those issues by providing a two-in-one glute-ham developer machine—combining a back extension with a Nordic curl bench—all in a small, compact space.

Coop performing Nordic curls on the Shogun NORD-EX

The Shogun NORD-EX is heavily inspired by Knees Over Toes Guy Ben Patrick and ATG training. The equipment made is targeted to help “bulletproof” your knees by training and strengthening oft-neglected muscles, like the VMO muscle—part of your quad—or, in this case, the posterior chain muscles.

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One of the most impressive features of the Shogun NORD-EX that GGR founder and fitness equipment expert Coop Mitchell noticed was the materials used in its construction, earning a 4.5 out of 5 in our Shogun NORD-EX review. “The construction is much higher quality than I expected,” Coop says. “Everything is either powder coated with a textured black powder coat or stainless steel, such as the adjustment tubes that receive the most wear; they look great now and won’t corrode either.”

Coop performing assisted Nordic curls on the Shogun NORD-EX

The compact Nordic bench has plenty of adjustability options, starting with three different angles to allow for Nordic curl progressions. The back extension function can adjust between 35 and 55 degrees, as well as extend the pad length from 35.6 inches to 42.4 inches. Plus, there is plenty of room to do the full range of motion in both exercises, an issue with some compact all-in-one machines.

Because the NORD-EX is a higher-end, commercial-grade machine, it’s also one of the pricier Nordic boards available, costing nearly $1,000—of which there is no financing option. However, if you’re looking for a Nordic bench and back extension, this machine will save you money—and space—on the two machines together.

Price$999.95
Weight126 lbs
Footprint41” L x 25” W
Weight capacity500 lbs
Materials11-gauge steel frame; custom-molded, self-skinning polyurethane foam
Warranty3 years on metal parts, welds, and cushions, 90 days on finish, and plastic and rubber parts

Most Versatile Nordic Bench: Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD

Good for: Anyone looking for a versatile approach to building hamstring strength

Most Versatile

Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD

GGR Score: 4.22 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 6-in-1 workout functionality
  • Nordic hamstring curls
  • Glute-ham raise 
  • Sit-up bench
  • Reverse hypers
  • Back extensions
  • Hip thrusts
  • Vertical storage 
  • Patent-pending
  • Lightweight, 105-lb design

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 100-day money back guarantee
  • Priced under $1,000
  • Perform Nordic hamstring curl progressions

Cons

  • Pre-orders only
  • Welds are just OK
  • Subpar transport wheels

Bottom Line

The Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD has many different uses including Nordic hamstring curls (with 10 different incline progressions), glute ham raises, GHD sit-ups, 45-degree back extensions, and hip thrusts. It’s designed to support folks ranging from 5 to 7 feet tall and offers 12 different positions with easy-to-read laser etched numbers.

If you’re wanting an all-in-one machine to strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and posterior chain, all without taking up all the space in your home gym, then you may consider our pick for the most versatile Nordic Bench: the Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD. This machine is 56 inches long and 23 inches wide, but it replaces six different machines in that space:

  • Glute-ham developer (GHD)
  • Adjustable Nordic bench
  • 45° back extension
  • Reverse hyper machine
  • Hip thrust bench
  • Sit-up bench

That’s a lot of machines. While each mode and functionality works pretty well, it only earns a 4 out of 5 in our training experience, as they all aren’t the same level of quality. The main disappointment in our testing was the reverse hyper machine, which lacks a full range of motion for taller athletes. Freak Athlete Essentials recommends the reverse hyper for athletes under 6 feet, 4 inches, but even GGR founder Coop Mitchell hit his feet on the ground being underneath the 6-foot mark.

Coop does a hamstring curl on the Freak Athlete Hyper GHD bench

All other modes and machines work pretty well, and the Nordic bench works great; it’s probably the favorite mode we tried out. Not only does it perform well, but the bench has multiple adjustment angles for Nordic progressions, able to incline up to 45 degrees. Additionally, the bench has decline angles to challenge those proficient in full Nordic curls.

The construction of the Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper isn’t the highest quality, earning a middle-of-the-road 3 out of 5. Coop explains, “Overall, the fit, finish, powder coat, and everything is just OK.” The welds are OK, the steel is decent at 14-gauge, and the vinyl is an older version that most import companies have improved upon; the vinyl and padding will probably wear down a bit over time.

Still, the Nordic Hyper GHD scores high in value, earning a 4.5 out of 5, as the 6-in-1 functionality makes the machine worth its $1,000 price tag.

Since its initial release in July 2023, the Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD has been wildly popular, selling out on six different occasions in its short time on the market. You can see all of our thoughts in our Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD review.

Price$999.99
Weight105 lbs
Footprint56″ L x 23″ W x 22″ H
Weight capacity500 lbs
Materials14-gauge steel base and tubing; 8-gauge steel footplate; textured vinyl
WarrantyNone listed, but 100-day money-back guarantee

Best Budget Nordic Bench: REP Fitness 5000 Series Leg Roller Attachment

Good for: Those wanting a versatile rack attachment that’ll save them money

Best Budget

REP Fitness 5000 Series Leg Roller Attachment

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Compatible with racks with 1” hole sizing
  • 20.1” L x 4.8” W
  • Pad length of 15.4”
  • 600-lb weight capacity
  • Can be purchased as a single unit or as a pair

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Versatile rack attachment
  • Compact design
  • Can be purchased as a pair
  • 600-lb weight capacity
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Will have to buy a pair for lat pulldowns
  • Must have a power rack with 1” holes

Bottom Line

The REP Fitness 5000 Series Leg Roller Attachment is a simple and inexpensive way to diversify your training, compatible with the PR-5000 power rack, and most power racks with 1-inch hole sizing. The leg roller can be used for exercises such as Nordic curls, split squats, and even for lat pulldowns—although you’ll need to buy a second roller for this exercise.

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate a Nordic curl into your home gym workouts without breaking the bank, then you can take a look at the REP Fitness 5000 Series Leg Roller attachment. At under $50, this leg roller attachment for REP’s 5000 series of power racks—with 1-inch holes and 3-inch-by-3-inch steel tubing—is an affordable and versatile piece of gym equipment for a variety of exercises.

Along with Nordic curls, you can set up the leg roller for different heights for other exercises, such as split squats or seated preacher curls. The leg roller attachment can even be bought as a pair to be used to secure the legs during a lat pull-down (if the pull-down is mounted on the power rack’s center).

The one major downside of the leg roller attachment is that it’s an attachment; you’ll have to have a squat rack or power rack to use it. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative for Nordic leg curls and don’t already have a squat cage, then the purchase of a rack will be pricey, and it can take up floor space that you may not have. 

However, if you have a power rack with 1-inch holes and 3-inch-by-3-inch tubing—a pretty standard size—then this leg roller can be a great option. Furthermore, if your rack has 5/8-inch holes instead, then REP Fitness makes another leg roller that fits their 4000 Series of racks, although it’s a bit more expensive.

Price$49.99
Weight4.4 lbs
Footprint20.1” L x 4.8” W
Weight capacity600 lbs
MaterialsChrome-plated solid cylinder; foam and vinyl
WarrantyLifetime (attachment); 30 days (upholstery)

Best Space-Saving Nordic Bench: Rogue Monster Lite Leg Roller Attachment

Good for: Home gym owners looking for a compact solution for doing Nordic curls

Best Space-Saving

Rogue Monster Lite Rack Mount Leg Roller

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Power rack attachment for Rogue Monster Lite series of racks
  • Useful for unilateral training and glute/ham work
  • Attachment for 5/8" hole sizing
  • 10-lb product weight
  • Overall dimensione of 17.75” L x 5” W
  • Pad length of 13”

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Compatible only with Rogue Monster Lite racks and rigs
  • Pricier than other leg roller attachments

Bottom Line

The Rogue Monster Lite Rack Mount Leg Roller is a versatile rack attachment made for the Rogue Monster Lite rack series. As a relatively lightweight attachment at 10 pounds, the leg roller attachment can be used for Bulgarian split squats, glute and ham work, or even upper body work—like preacher curls.

If you have the space for a power rack in your home gym, but you’re lacking the space for a specialized piece of equipment like a Nordic bench, the Rogue Monster Lite Leg Roller Attachment is a great option to save space and add versatility at the same time. Simply lay down an exercise mat, hook your legs underneath the roller, and you’re good to go.

Sean Rigsby, owner of commercial gym Charlotte Strength and USA Weightlifting Junior National Team Coach, uses the Rogue Monster Lite Leg Rollers on his power racks for his athletes, and he’s been impressed with the level of quality and durability. “I have a rugby team using the leg roller attachments for accessory work multiple times each week, and the leg rollers still look brand new after three months of consistent use,” he says.

Man performing Nordic curls on the Rogue Monster Lite leg roller attachment

The leg rollers are made with powder-coated steel and a heavy-duty urethane-coated vinyl upholstery. The attachment has the same level of quality as other Rogue products, earning a 4.5 out of 5 in our testing for durability and construction.

After trying out the leg roller attachment myself, I give the attachment’s pads a total rating of 3.5 out of 5. Although they’re constructed well and seem to be lasting very well in spite of a lot of use, the total pad length is 13 inches, which may be short for some larger athletes. While doing Nordic curls, it was challenging to hook both feet underneath the leg roller. I think larger athletes may run into the same issue with the pad length. It’ll work great for one-legged movements though, like Bulgarian split squats.

At just over $87, the Monster Lite Leg Roller is an inexpensive alternative to a Nordic bench as well, as long as you have a Monster Lite rack with 3-inch-by-3-inch steel and 5/8-inch holes. For 1-inch holes, Rogue offers their Monster Series version, although it’s more expensive at $120.

Price$87.50
Weight10 lbs
Footprint17.75” L x 5” W
Weight capacityNot disclosed
MaterialsSteel and urethane-coated vinyl upholstery
WarrantyLimited lifetime (frame); 90 days (upholstery)

Best Nordic Bench for Beginners: Base Blocks Nordic Plus

Good for: Beginners looking for a great starting point for training Nordic curls

Best for Beginners

The Nordic Plus by Base Blocks

GGR Score: 4.22 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Adjustable to five heights 
  • Thick foam pad for knee support
  • Progression to full Nordic curl
  • Build lower back muscles

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free shipping to the USA and Canada
  • Good for various experience levels
  • 90-day app access
  • Anchors for bands
  • Set-up is fast

Cons

  • Currently only available for pre-order
  • No reviews yet

Bottom Line

The Nordic Plus may be a great addition to your home gym whether you are just starting out or are more experienced and want a way to train Nordic curls. This bench’s ability to adjust to five heights makes it extremely versatile for various strength levels.You can strengthen your hamstrings, calves, or lower back depending on the exercises you do. It also comes with band anchors, allowing you to increase the difficulty of certain exercises.Its assembly time is only five minutes, so you can get started right away.

If you’re new to Nordic curls and are looking for a bench to get started with, the Nordic Plus by Base Blocks is an excellent option. Including its flat position, there are a total of five angle adjustments up to 45 degrees, which will allow for beginners to build up to their first full Nordic curl. Plus, the bench adds versatility by doubling as a 45-degree hyperextension machine, all for under $400.

Although it only has a max weight capacity of 330 pounds, it was very stable in our testing, leading GGR Everything lead reviewer Lindsay Scheele to rate the stability a 5 out of 5. Also, the Nordic Plus performs very well as a Nordic bench, with the adjustability rated a 4 out of 5. Lindsay adds, “If you are looking for a Nordic curl machine I would choose this one. It’s a great value, offers levels of intensity, and is user-friendly. I like the adjustability of it and it is really stable.”

Woman using the BaseBlocks Nordic Plus for Nordic hamstring curls

However, the back extension portion of the machine may prove difficult for most to get a full range of motion, as many users will hit the pad with their head at the bottom of the back extension. Additionally, the pad doesn’t adjust the length, so for some users the pad will be too tall or too short.

GGR founder Coop Mitchell has been training Nordic curls routinely for over a year now and has used every setup from Nordic benches to DIY setups. He says that for progressive Nordic curls, the Nordic Plus is much better than some setups he’s used. He explains, “For anyone who has tried progressive Nordics, this is vastly better than having to stack up weight plates (or, in my case, DC blocks) in order to achieve the proper height.”

You can read more about this beginner-friendly Nordic bench in our Nordic Plus review.

Price$395
Weight54 lbs
Footprint47” L x 20” W x 16” H
Weight capacity330 lbs
MaterialsPowder coated steel frame, leather-enclosed foam pads
WarrantyLifetime replacement warranty

Best Portable Nordic Bench: Freak Athlete Nordic Mini Pro

Good for: Anyone wanting a lightweight Nordic bench that can be stowed away in between uses

Best Portable

Freak Athlete Nordic Mini

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 18” x 24” surface, which supports users up to 6’ 10’  and boasts a 350-lb weight capacity
  • Portable with built-in transport wheels
  • Designed to enable exercises typically completed on a full-sized GHD machine

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Portable
  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Lots of exercise choices
  • 350-lb weight limit
  • Only weighs 45 lbs
  • Full-size footplate

Cons

  • Sells out quickly
  • Not quite as versatile as a full-sized GHD (can’t do ab exercises)
  • Counterbalance required

Bottom Line

Freak Athlete’s Nordic Mini is a good option for home gym owners who want a GHD but do not have the space.

Our pick for the best portable Nordic bench goes to Freak Athlete’s Nordic Mini Pro, which is a redesign of their Nordic Mini. While we haven’t tested out the updated Pro version, the main difference is the dual ankle rollers feature to better secure your feet while performing Nordics.

At a maximum length of 40 inches, the Nordic Mini Pro is compact, and also stands upright  when it’s not in use, saving a lot of floor space for your home gym. Additionally, it’s lightweight at 45 pounds and has wheels, making it very easy to roll on or off your lifting platform in between uses. GGR founder Coop Mitchell rates the portability of the Nordic Mini a 4.5 out of 5.

An image for the Freak Athlete Nordic Curl review

Because of its compact nature, the bench isn’t as stable as other Nordic benches we’ve tested, only earning a 3.5 out of 5 in its stability. In use, larger athletes may tip the Nordic Mini forward while leaning forward. Fortunately, Freak Athlete added a weight plate holder that can add up to 90 pounds of weight behind the footplate—all to act as a counterbalance.

At $249, the Nordic is constructed well, albeit with some budget-friendly padding. The bench pad uses a grippy nylon, reminiscent of older, traditional weight benches from REP Fitness, which add enough padding to the board to keep the knees comfortable while in use. The ankle rollers aren’t the best material, “but at their price point, I think it’s pretty good,” Coop adds. The pads’ firmness makes us suspect there will be some cracking over time, however.

You can check out our Freak Athlete Nordic Curl review to get all of our thoughts on the original Freak Athlete Nordic board.

Price$249.99
Weight45 lbs
Footprint40″ x 18″
Weight CapacityNot disclosed
MaterialsSteel construction; textured vinyl padding
Warranty2 years

Best Premium Nordic Bench: Rogue Floor Glute

Good for: Those who have the floor space and money for a dedicated Nordic curl board

Best Premium

Rogue Floor Glute

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • More compact alternative to traditional GHD machines
  • Laser-cut-steel floor machine
  • 62" x 24" footprint
  • Adjustable foot pads can be set at six different height options

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • More compact than traditional GHD
  • Made of 11-guage steel
  • Transport wheels

Cons

  • Can only be used for specific exercise
  • Takes up 5 feet of floor space

Bottom Line

The Rogue Floor Glute provides a nice way to practice nordic curls in a more compact package than a traditional GHD, though it still takes up 5 feet of floor space.

This pick is for the people who already have their home gym outfitted with Olympic barbells, dumbbells, and weight benches, and there’s still plenty of room for a splurge purchase. If you’re not concerned about taking up floor space or having a machine with too much versatility, there’s the Rogue Floor Glute, a 62-inch-long Nordic bench made to do one thing—Nordic curls—but very well.

At $600, this isn’t the priciest product on our list, but it also doesn’t have the versatility of the other expensive Nordic benches. It’s still a great product if you’re looking for a dedicated Nordic bench though. The 62-inch length helps the entire user stay on the bench while in use, whereas many more compact alternatives have the user’s chest and head off the bench at the bottom of a Nordic curl.

rogue-floor-glute-half-way-down

This piece of equipment has a lot of finer touches from Rogue Fitness as well, including laser-cut logos on the 11-gauge steel foot plate and side plates. With that said, there are no adjustments aside from the foot roller height, earning a 3 out of 5. Anyone looking for progressions will have to stack weight plates up for a target.

The floor glute has wheels on one end to help maneuver the 108-pound Nordic bench; however, it won’t stand up in between uses, so you’ll have to have dedicated floor space for the bench. This is similar to having a reverse hyper in a home gym; it’s large and bulky and does one thing very well. So, if you have the space for it and routinely do Nordic curls, it can be a solid addition to your gym.

Price$600
Weight108 lbs
Footprint62” L x 24” W x 15- 20” H
Weight CapacityNot disclosed
Materials2”x3” 11-gauge steel tubing; laser cut steel footplate and side plates
WarrantyLimited lifetime (frame), 90 days (upholstery)

Best Weight Bench for Nordic Curls: The Tib Bar Guy Nordic Weight Bench

Good for: People wanting a versatile weight bench that can specialize in Nordic curls

Best Weight Bench

TTBG The Nordic Weight Bench

GGR Score: 3.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • A combination of the Nordic floor bench and traditional incline bench
  • 14 adjustable positions
  • Priced affordably
  • Ships worldwide

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Adjustable bench with Nordic attachment
  • 90-day satisfaction guarantee
  • Designed in the USA
  • Steel construction allows for a 700-lbs max weight
  • 14 adjustable positions

Cons

  • 10-in back pad which may not be suitable for larger users
  • Not the highest quality materials

Bottom Line

The Nordic Weight Bench is an adjustable bench that combines the traditional weight bench with the Nordic Curl bench so you can perform anything from an incline bench to a Nordic hamstring curl.

A dedicated Nordic bench isn’t for everyone; some people need versatility to add a product to their home gym. If you’re interested in versatility and Nordic curls, you may want to consider our pick for the best weight bench for Nordic curls: The Tib Bar Guy Nordic Weight Bench.

This inexpensive adjustable weight bench has a leg roller attachment by the seat of the bench. The seat pad is also a little wider to accommodate placing your knees on it. Once situated in the leg roller, the user can lean forward onto the bench, performing a Nordic curl. Because it’s an adjustable bench, the bench can be adjusted for Nordic progressions, even with the back pad completely vertical.

Coop does a nordic curl on The Tib Bar Guy Nordic weight bench

As an adjustable weight bench, there are a couple of design issues that GGR founder Coop Mitchell had to call out in his testing of the Nordic Weight Bench. To accommodate for nine back pad positions and five seat pad positions, the bench has a significant back pad, although Coop said most people may be able to avoid it by laying on just the back pad during bench press.

Additionally, the weight bench isn’t made with the highest-quality materials, earning a 3.5 out of 5 in construction and durability, leaving Coop to compare it to the popular budget-priced Flybird Adjustable Bench. It makes for a lightweight adjustable bench that has some definite wobble while in use.

“I like the addition of the Nordic curl feature, but the quality and stability leave it a bit lacking,” Coop sums up of this weight bench. If you’re not looking for Nordic curls on a weight bench, then there are better options available with higher-quality materials. However, for anyone looking for a versatile piece of equipment that adds a Nordic curl to their home gym workouts, The Tib Bar Guy Nordic Weight Bench can be a solid addition.

Read our The Tib Bar Guy Nordic Weight Bench review for more information on this unique piece of equipment.

Price$299
Weight38 lbs
Footprint62” L x 16” W x 19” H
Weight capacity700 lbs
MaterialsSteel construction; high-quality foam padding
WarrantyNo

Other Nordic Benches We Researched

Nordic benches are a hot commodity right now. There are quite a few on the market, with new innovations coming out quickly by many companies. With that said, not every bench made the cut. Here are some that we liked, but didn’t quite break onto our list for one reason or another.

  • Sorinex P3 Poor Man Glute-Ham Developer: Although Sorinex consistently makes high-quality pieces of equipment in the USA, their Poor Man Glute-Ham Developer is one of the more expensive Nordic benches on the market, at about $700 plus shipping costs. With a larger footprint and little versatility, there are probably better options available for home gym users.
  • The Tib Bar Guy EZ-Nord: The Tib Bar Guy EZ-Nord might be an ideal option for those who already have a weight bench. This attachment wraps around a bench to allow tension in the leg roller for Nordic curls, like a Nordic strap. However, the EZ-Nord isn’t compatible with every bench, and we’ve yet to test it out ourselves.
  • Nordstick Curl Strap: This ultra-budget Nordic curl strap anchors underneath your door and allows for a foot anchor for your Nordic curls. At under $30, the Nordstick is one of the cheapest Nordic bench alternatives available, but we haven’t tried this one out yet.

How We Picked and Tested

To pick the best Nordic benches on the market, the team at Garage Gym Reviews tested a dozen different machines after researching top brands and products. We rated the following categories between 1 and 5 after taking each item through several workouts:

Woman with legs fully extended during a Nordic hamstring curl on the BaseBlocks Nordic Plus
  • Stability: To perform a Nordic curl, you’ll want a bench that feels secure while in use and that doesn’t topple over during reps.
  • Construction and durability: We took a look at the materials used and noted any quality issues that could lead to a less durable product over extended use.
  • Training experience: We tried each product out through a workout of Nordic curls, as well as other exercises if the bench provided the extra versatility. This was a rating on how the bench felt and performed while in use.
  • Pads and covering: The pads need to be firm enough for support, while still being soft for comfort.
  • Portability and stowability: The amount of portability of Nordic benches varies greatly, so it was important to note how a Nordic bench may fit into a garage gym space.
  • Adjustability: While some Nordic benches have versatility to adjust into different machines, our main focus with this feature is how the angles of the Nordic bench can adjust, or even just adjusting the leg rollers or footplate.
  • Value: After looking at all the features of each Nordic bench, we compared prices to other products on the market and decided if the price made sense for the features and materials offered.

In addition to these features, we looked at the delivery and assembly of the gym equipment, as well as the customer experience: warranties, financing options, and customer service. Once we ranked each of these aspects of the Nordic benches, we averaged out an overall score to determine our top picks.

Benefits of Nordic Benches

The Nordic bench is the best way to do the Nordic hamstring curl, a very challenging exercise that involves the hamstring and glutes predominantly. To master this exercise takes time, so I’d say the first benefit is learning a bit of patience as you slowly work towards a full Nordic curl.

Aside from that, here are a few other benefits of using Nordic benches.

Strengthen the Posterior Chain

As I said, the Nordic curl isolates the posterior chain, particularly the glutes and hamstrings. The eccentric movement of the Nordic curl gives you a solid workout, but having the strength to bring the upper body back up to the starting position requires a lot of hamstring strength. Because of this, working on Nordic progressions will strengthen the glutes and hamstrings over time, much like any other strength training exercise with progressive overload.

Increased Athletic Performance

A study from March 20231 had collegiate athletes add additional Nordic hamstring exercises or sprinting to their lower-body workouts for seven weeks, plus a control group who just completed the standard lower-body workout. The athletes who added the Nordics or sprinting had significant increases in overall athletic performance at the end of the seven-week period over the control group.

Man at the bottom of a Nordic curl using the Shogun NORD-EX

The posterior chain is the center for power in athletes, as these muscles are the most important for athletic and dynamic movements, like jumping and sprinting. Working Nordic curls will strengthen these muscles..

Reduced Risk of Injury

Strengthening the hamstring can also help prevent hamstring-related injuries in athletes. A 2019 review2 showed that implementing Nordic hamstring exercises into an athletic program or strength training program can help improve the hamstrings tolerance for higher-volume training—all while reducing the risk of a hamstring strain. The review also makes the argument that the best results come from lower, more consistent volume training of Nordic hamstring exercises.

Experts Who Contributed To This Article

What to Look for in Nordic Benches

Looking to incorporate some Nordic curls into your training? Here are some things to consider before purchasing a Nordic bench.

Versatility

A person demonstrates the tall position on the Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD weight bench

Floor space in a home gym is a commodity, so typically, we want our gym equipment to have good versatility. Lots of Nordic benches do just one thing very well; if you have the space for it, then that’s great. However, in recent years, several Nordic benches have come out that add versatility by converting into different machines. If you’re wanting a Nordic bench but can’t sacrifice space for just one modality, these versatile options may be better for your gym.

Footprint

Another major factor is the amount of space that your Nordic bench will take up. Some have been developed to be compact, or store upright while not in use. Others can be used with leg attachments on power racks. Whichever Nordic bench you may be looking at, be sure to consider the floor space that you can allot within your home gym.

Coop performing Nordic curls on the Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD weight bench

Construction

Ideally, you want a product that can last, so it’s important to look at the materials used in the construction of the Nordic bench. Solid construction and materials will add to the stability of the bench while in use, but the trade-off is that these benches will also be pricier options.

Cost

Nordic benches and their alternatives can vary wildly, costing as little as $50 or as much as $1,000. It’s important to consider the sort of budget you have for this piece of equipment, as that’ll determine the types of Nordic benches available to you.

Best Nordic Bench: FAQs

What’s a good alternative for Nordic curls?

If you’re looking for another way to train the hamstrings and glutes, you can perform a back extension on a glute-ham developer machine. However, if all you have is a barbell or a pair of dumbbells, you can do a Romanian deadlift, too, where you shift the hips back on the descent of the bar, to keep the emphasis on hamstring and glute strength.

RELATED: How To Do Back Extensions At Home

Are Nordic curls safe for beginners?

Nordic curls are extremely challenging, but still safe for beginners. It’ll take time to be able to perform a full Nordic curl, so most people do Nordic progressions on a Nordic bench at first. In order to do a progression, you can stack weight plates or blocks onto the Nordic bench to raise the target position, slowly removing weights and lowering the target as you improve.

What is the best Nordic bench for home gyms?

The best Nordic bench will depend on the amount of floor space you have in your gym, as well as the cost and your fitness goals. Here are our top picks for the best Nordic bench, chosen to help out a variety of home gym users and needs:

-Best Overall Nordic Bench: Shogun NORD-EX
-Most Versatile Nordic Bench: Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD
-Best Budget Nordic Bench: REP Fitness 5000 Series Leg Roller Attachment
-Best Space-Saving Nordic Bench: Rogue Monster Lite Leg Roller Attachment
-Best Nordic Bench for Beginners: Base Blocks Nordic Plus
-Best Portable Nordic Bench: Freak Athlete Nordic Mini

References

  1. Ripley NJ, Cuthbert M, Comfort P, McMahon JJ. Effect of additional Nordic hamstring exercise or sprint training on the modifiable risk factors of hamstring strain injuries and performance. PLoS One. 2023 Mar 2;18(3):e0281966. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281966. PMID: 36862645; PMCID: PMC9980768.
  2. Cuthbert M, Ripley N, McMahon JJ, Evans M, Haff GG, Comfort P. The Effect of Nordic Hamstring Exercise Intervention Volume on Eccentric Strength and Muscle Architecture Adaptations: A Systematic Review and Meta-analyses. Sports Med. 2020 Jan;50(1):83-99. doi: 10.1007/s40279-019-01178-7. Erratum in: Sports Med. 2019 Nov 7;: PMID: 31502142; PMCID: PMC6942028.

Further reading

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In the world of fitness, there are few lower-body workouts quite as challenging as the Nordic hamstring curl, where an athlete locks their heels in place and tries to lower their chest to the floor, keeping the hips extended—only relying on the glutes and hamstrings to lower and raise their body. Oftentimes, people will have to train for months just to perform the full range of motion of a bodyweight Nordic curl.Nordic curls are typically done with a Nordic bench,  » Read more about: The 8 Best Nordic Benches (2024): Built to Build the Posterior Chain  » Read more