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Two of the best lower back exercises to target the posterior chain are the back extension and the glute-hamstring raise, or Nordic curl. However, the right equipment for these exercises—a GHD, back extension, or Nordic bench—can be bulky and not the best addition for a compact home gym setting.

Shogun Sports has brought forth a new product to address this issue with its NORD-EX, the world’s first product that combines a back extension machine with a Nordic bench, all in a fairly compact space, especially when you consider that it’s replacing two pieces of fitness equipment.

But how does this piece of equipment stack up in terms of quality, construction, and versatility? GGR founder and Nordic curl aficionado Coop Mitchell was able to test out the Nordic bench and back extension hybrid machine, and in our Shogun NORD-EX review, we’ll look at how it fares in use, to see if it’s worth considering for your next garage gym purchase.

Building Knowledge and the Posterior Chain Through Testing Expertise

Coop has been training Nordic curls twice a week for over a year at this point, so if there is someone suited for testing out the NORD-EX, it’s him. He took it through the ringer as a Nordic bench, and then tested out its durability and ease of use when converted to a back extension machine.

Additionally, we at Garage Gym Reviews have tested several Nordic benches, and have even made some DIY benches along the way. Our team of certified personal trainers, lifting coaches, and athletes uses our knowledge and expertise to provide you with an informed, unbiased review of each and every product we test.

Shogun NORD-EX

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.

A Quick Look at the Shogun NORD-EX

Shogun Sports is a veteran-owned manufacturing company with the goal of producing high-quality fitness and recovery equipment at affordable prices. Along with strength equipment, Shogun offers muscle recovery tools as well, such as their Ninja Pro massage gun, foam rollers, and muscle scrapers, too.

The Shogun NORD-EX is heavily inspired by the Knees Over Toes Guy, Ben Patrick, owner of ATG. These products mirror the methodology of “bulletproofing” your knees and feature other equipment such as VMO boards, tib bars, and weight sleds. While the NORD-EX is certainly not inexpensive, Shogun offers a Nordic strap for a budget-friendly option, attaching a strap to any weight bench to convert it to a simple Nordic bench.

The Shogun NORD-EX is the first-ever combination of a Nordic bench and back extension machine, providing great functionality for one piece of equipment. While it’s pricey, it solves a major issue for home gyms: providing one product to replace two other expensive, bulky pieces of equipment. Essentially, it can save your garage gym money and space if you’re looking to have or use both of these machines.

Before You Buy

  • One feature that adds to the NORD-EX’s functionality is that it has a built-in Nordic curl progression. A pad can be adjusted to 15, 30, or 45 degrees to allow someone building up to a full Nordic curl to progress steadily to the floor. In Coop’s quest to perform an unassisted curl, he says something like this would have been incredibly helpful.
  • Although the nearly $1,000 price tag is intimidating at first, the machine has been built with high-quality materials, including heavy-duty steel construction and high-density molded foam. 
  • Making adjustments from Nordic bench to back extension may seem daunting at first, but in Coop’s experience, adjustments were easy to make.
  • Be sure to use our code “GGR15” for 15% off your Shogun NORD-EX at checkout.

Is the Shogun NORD-EX Worth It?

Training the posterior chain is vital for sports and athletic performance, and also just everyday life. Whether it’s a team sport like football, soccer, or basketball, or an individual sport like Olympic weightlifting, it’s important to have strong glutes, hamstrings and core for explosive dynamic movements. A strong posterior chain will also make day-to-day tasks much easier with a lower risk of injury (a fact we’ll playback over and over again!). How does this cutting-edge piece of equipment fit into your training, though?

RELATED: Best Kettlebell Workouts for Glutes

Coop was incredibly impressed with the Shogun NORD-EX, saying, “If you’re looking at a Nordic curl board and a back extension, I highly recommend this one. I don’t often say that, but this has really impressed me.” At its price point, getting this hybrid piece will be more affordable than getting two separate pieces, plus it’ll save you space in your home gym as well. 

Image of the Shogun NORD-EX set up as a back extension

Additionally, the NORD-EX functions as a Nordic bench or back extension just as well as other curl boards and back extension machines. It’s designed well, not sacrificing any functionality with its ability to adjust back and forth between machines. Also, the Shogun NORD-EX is made with high-quality foam and steel, making it a durable product worth its price. 

Great for:

  • Home gym owners with limited floor space
  • Those looking for a Nordic bench and a back extension machine
  • People wanting to train the posterior chain—glutes, hamstrings, and lower back

Not recommended for:

Video Review

Shogun NORD-EX Specs

Price$999.95
Weight126 lbs
Footprint41” L x 25” W
Frame material11-gauge steel
Foam materialCustom-molded, self-skinning polyurethane foam
Back extension angles35, 40, 45, 50, 55 degrees
Assisted Nordic angles15, 30, 45 degrees
Warranty3 years on metal parts, welds, and cushions,
90 days on finish and plastic and rubber parts

Workout Experience Using the Shogun NORD-EX 

Coop was able to test out the Shogun NORD-EX in both orientations, as a Nordic curl bench and as a back extension. While in use as a Nordic bench, Coop remarked, “This feels pretty much like any other Nordic curl board except, honestly, better.” 

The biggest thing to set this core exercise equipment apart, aside from the construction (more on that later), is the incremental Nordic curl progression. The hip pad that’s used for back extensions can be detached and reattached at the front of the curl board to support the chest during Nordic curls at various angles: 15, 30, or 45 degrees. This allows for true progression in Nordic curls, which isn’t typical to see in other Nordic curl boards.

Coop performing assisted Nordic curls on the Shogun NORD-EX

As a back extension, the machine is very stable, and Coop had no issues with the machine wobbling during his workouts on it. It can do weighted extensions no problem, and will hold a good amount of weight. Coop notes, “While using it, I’ve never worried about it not holding up to the weight.” And it should hold up; while the website doesn’t have an official weight capacity, this video says it should hold about 500 pounds.

The back extension can adjust between 35 and 55 degrees, which is a nice additional perk to the machine, as most back extensions are fixed or max out at 45 degrees. Coop prefers a more upright angle, so the option to go above 45 degrees was a great addition.

Coop performing back extensions on the Shogun NORD-EX

The curl board is very compact, at a minimum of 34 inches long, but can be extended up to 43 inches. The hip pad can be adjusted as well to accommodate most people between 5 feet and 6 feet, 8 inches. With all the angle and length adjustments, the NORD-EX can work for a pretty good variety of people and skill levels. It’s quick and easy to adjust between angles and between modes.

Man with his feet hooked under the ankle rollers of the Shogun NORD-EX

The NORD-EX has a footplate and ankle rollers able to be used in both modes. This was the only real complaint that Coop had, as the plate was a little narrower than he prefers. In the grand scheme of things, it was a choice to make the machine more compact, and it’s not a huge complaint—more of just a preference.

Durability & Construction

One of the biggest surprises Coop found on the NORD-EX is from the quality of the materials and construction. Shogun uses a variety of gauges of steel in building the NORD-EX: 11-gauge steel for the frame, 8-gauge steel for the foot plate, 4-gauge steel for the side plates, and 13-gauge steel on the adjustment tubing.

Man adjusting the Shogun NORD-EX

All padding is made of a high-density molded foam, similar to high-end AbMat products or Rogue’s new premium bench pads. Coop liked the dense, springy feel and remarked that it should last quite a while. This foam should take longer to have permanent compression and indentation in the materials.

RELATED: AbMat Accessories Reviews

The entire machine is either finished with a textured black powder coat or stainless steel. Coop loves this attention to detail, as the machine won’t rust or corrode over time. There’s not a sticker in sight, as the adjustment positions are laser-etched onto the stainless steel, and the logo itself is a stainless badge.

Close up image of the Shogun NORD-EX ankle rollers and footplate

A lot of the finer touches still feel high-end. “The pop-pins are metal, with strong springs that feel premium,” says Coop. The footplate is diamond-patterned for good grip, as well. Although Coop wished it was wider, it felt solid and comfortable while in use.

Footprint & Portability 

While 41 inches long by 25 inches wide may not be the smallest footprint for gym equipment, when it comes to Nordic benches, GHDs, or back extension machines, it’s fairly compact. When not in use, the bench can be folded into the flat Nordic curl board to optimize its smaller footprint.

Shogun NORD-EX set as a Nordic curl board

In addition to having a relatively small footprint, the end of the board has casters to maneuver the machine when not in use either. Coop says the casters work, but aren’t anything special.

Coop with the Shogun NORD-EX standing vertically

Even though this saves you a lot of space by putting two large glute-ham machines together, it’ll still take a bit of room in your home gym. If space is a prime commodity in your home or garage gym, this may not be the ideal piece of equipment to get.

Comparison to Rogue Floor Glute and EliteFTS 45 Degree Back Raise

Rogue Floor Glute

Rogue Floor Glute

GGR Score: 4.7 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.

EliteFTS Professional Back Raise

EliteFTS Professional 45 Degree Back Raise

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.7 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Versatile back extension machine
  • Wide footplate to allow for wide or narrow stance
  • 62" L x 41" W
  • 9 color options

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Wide footplate
  • Adjustable hip pad
  • Durable build
  • Adjustable ankle rollers

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Large footprint

Bottom Line

Although pricey, the EliteFTS Professional 45 Degree Back Raise is a durable back extension with tons of versatility. With a wide footplate and adjustable hip and heel pads, this back extension can be used for a variety of core and back exercises.

The NORD-EX is a combination of a back extension and a Nordic bench, and it’s really the first of its kind. Because there is nothing quite comparable to it and its design, we’ll take a look at two pieces of equipment that are top products in their respective categories: the Rogue Floor Glute and the EliteFTS 45 Degree Back Raise.

All of these products are made with high-quality components, particularly a heavy-duty frame constructed out of durable 11-gauge steel. The most expensive machine is the NORD-EX, although it is a combination of the other two pieces of equipment. Those two combined are over $1,700, so this is an indicator of the perks of the hybrid machine.

The adjustments are another benefit of the NORD-EX. The EliteFTS back raise is fixed at 45 degrees, whereas the NORD-EX has 5-degree adjustments between 35 and 55 degrees. Additionally, the Rogue Floor Glute has no ability for assisted Nordic curls, whereas the NORD-EX can be adjusted at three levels of assistance. This machine has more versatility to help meet athletes where they are at currently.

The NORD-EX is also pretty compact compared to the other two machines, with the EliteFTS Back Raise at over 4 feet long and the Rogue Floor Glute at over 5 feet long, too.

If you’re looking for both a Nordic bench and back raise, then the NORD-EX will be the cheaper and better option, but if you’re looking for just one machine, then it may be wise to purchase the single machine then.

Shogun NORD-EXRogue Floor GluteEliteFTS 45 Degree Back Raise
Price$999.95$600$1,107
Weight126 lbs108 lbsNot disclosed
Footprint41” L x 25” W62” L x 24” W62” L x 41” W
Frame material11-gauge steel11-gauge steel11-gauge steel
Foam materialCustom molded, self-skinning
polyurethane foam
Not disclosedNot disclosed
Back extension angles35, 40, 45, 50, 55 degreesn/a45 degrees
Assisted Nordic angles15, 30, 45 degreesNo assistancen/a
Warranty3 years on metal parts, welds,
and cushions, 90 days on finish and plastic and rubber parts
Limited lifetime on frames and welds,
90 days on upholstery
Not disclosed

Customer Experience 

Shogun Sports offers a 30-day return policy for unused items in the same condition that they were received in. They require a receipt or proof of purchase to complete the return. Additionally, sale items can’t be returned, and you’re responsible for shipping costs from a return.

The metal parts, welds, and cushions on the Shogun NORD-EX are covered by a three-year warranty, while the plastic and rubber pieces—as well as the finish—are covered by a 90-day warranty. The warranties cover defects in materials and workmanship of the product, but not misuse of the product. Furthermore, Shogun asks for you to register your NORD-EX to receive full support.

While they don’t offer it yet, Shogun is planning on stocking spare parts and components for purchase, particularly ones that may be affected normally by wear and tear and might need replacements down the road. If you need to contact Shogun Sports, they have a contact form and live chat on the website.

Ordering the Shogun NORD-EX

Currently, the NORD-EX is on pre-order, with orders planning to be shipped out in mid-July. Shipping is free in the Continental U.S. Have I mentioned using our code “GGR15” for 15% off at checkout?

Although most Shogun products can be financed through Affirm, at the time of this writing, the NORD-EX doesn’t have financing options, likely due to the pre-order.

Customer Reviews

As of this writing, there are no reviews out for the Shogun NORD-EX specifically, as the product is still on pre-order. As for the rest of the products sold by Shogun Sports, there are several reviews for those, and they are overwhelmingly positive, with all reviewed products ranking above 4 stars out of 5. Many appreciate the high quality of the products.

Final Verdict of Our Shogun NORD-EX Review

The Shogun NORD-EX is a versatile piece of equipment that allows you to train your entire posterior chain with one piece of equipment. Able to adjust easily between a back extension machine and Nordic bench, the NORD-EX can target your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back all with one hybrid machine that doesn’t take up too large of a footprint. 

While the price may be more than what some are looking for, it comes in at a lower price point than getting two separate machines. To make this really worth your money, though, you should be looking to use both features of the machine; if you’re only looking for a Nordic bench or a GHD machine, then there are high-quality options that will be cheaper.

The ability to have incremental Nordic curl progression is a unique feature that honestly would be great on more Nordic benches. With heavy-duty components made of high-quality materials, the NORD-EX certainly can be a high-value addition to a home gym. Time to crank up your favorite Spotify playlist and train your posterior chain.

Shogun NORD-EX Rating

Shogun NORD-EX

Read on for our thoughts on this extremely innovative piece of equipment, designed to train the entire posterior chain, in our Shogun NORD-EX review.

Product Brand: Shogun Sports

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 999.95

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.5
Footprint & Portability – 4
Functionality – 5
Construction – 4.5
Materials – 5
Padding – 4.5
Stability – 4.5
Value – 4.5
Warranty & Returns – 4

Shogun NORD-EX FAQs

What is the company’s name?

The NORD-EX is developed by the company Shogun Sports.

What are the benefits of the NORD-EX?

The NORD-EX combines two larger machines—a glute-hamstring raise and a back extension machine—into one relatively compact space. At under $1,000, the NORD-EX is a less expensive, space-saving option for any garage gym users wanting those pieces of fitness equipment without taking up much space.

RELATED: Best Compact Exercise Equipment

How does the Shogun NORD-EX work?

Starting off as a flat Nordic bench, the front pads can be lifted up to an angle between 35 and 55 degrees to be used as a back extension machine, ideal for glute and lower back exercises. When set again as a Nordic bench, the hip pad can be removed and reattached to be used as an incremental Nordic curl progression, at either 15, 30, or 45 degrees. The NORD-EX combines these two pieces of equipment into one compact, high-quality machine.

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