Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD Review 2024

Gluck May 2024

FA Nordic Hyper GHD machine review

Freak Athlete’s Nordic Hyper GHD is one of the most hyped home gym releases we've seen lately and for good reason. They’ve made a lot of claims with it , calling it 6 machines in 1. Freak Athlete says it’s a nordic bench with progression levels, a back extension, full sized GHD, reverse hyper, you can do hip thrusts, split squats, sit ups, and more. Not only that but it has a compact footprint and is it easy to move, stores vertically, and is supposed support users 5'-7’ tall as well as be user friendly and easy to adjust.

That's a lot to live up to and in this review we're going to break down how it performs for each exercise Freak Athlete claims it can do. We'll cover the good and bad because I don't think it replicates all 6 machines well but I do think the Nordic Hyper GHD is a versatile piece that can save a lot of space and money making it very tempting for a lot of home gym owners.

Nordic Hyper Glute Ham Developer Machine

Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD

The Nordic Hyper GHD is a very versatile and unique option for your home gym. With a compact footprint, the ability to store vertically, and over a dozen uses it's hard to find another product on the market that does as much as this. 

Save $50 on the Nordic Hyper GHD with code Gluck (code stacks with sales!)

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Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD Features

The amount of features that Freak Athlete has integrated into the Nordic Hyper GHD is very impressive. It's an incredibly versatile machine and that's where it stands out from anything else on the market. It can be adjusted to 15 different angles. That includes 10 levels of incline from 0 to 45 degree and  5 levels of decline to -25 degrees which allows you to scale your workouts. If you can't do a nordic curl, and most people can't, you can set the angle higher to make the movement easier.  Want to challenge your core on leg lifts or knee raises? Put it into a decline. The Nordic Hyper GHD can be raised, lowered, angled up or down, and it even stores vertically.

Freak Athlete GHD flat
Freak Athlete GHD Decline

Changing angles isn't its only tricks, there are quite a few features and touches on the machine that make certain movements easier or aid you during an exercise. There's integrated band pegs, weight horns to increase stability during exercises like explosive GHD situps, a knurled step to help you get into position that you can fold out of your way,  a removable GHD pad, and an adjustable front pad that you can make wider to make certain movements more comfortable (men will understand) or close the gap for more support on exercises like back extensions. The center section also telescopes to 12 different height positions which is where their claim of accommodating people from 5' to 7' comes in (more on that later).

Freak Athlete GHD Progression Levels
Freak Athlete GHD handles pegs step pad bars

Build Quality

While it does do a lot of things well, that doesn’t mean it does everything well. After you have it set up, you have to tighten all of the knobs to stabilize it. Since it has pop pins that snap into place, tightening the knobs just makes it more solid. It isn’t a big issue although it can get tedious with the amount of knobs and if you are adjusting the machine between movements often. With a machine that does so much, everything is a balancing act and Freak Athlete has done a pretty good job of finding a sweet spot between stability, cost, weight, and build quality. Even when the pins are tightened there’s some wobble but you should never feel unsafe using it, as we’ve tested it set up unnecessarily high without any plates anchoring it. One of the Nordic Hyper GHD’s biggest strengths is its space savings. Store upright it takes up less than 2’ by 2’ and laid out it’s just over 4.5’ long, though you do need some additional space to use it.

Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper Dimensions

How The Nordic Hyper GHD Performs (Exercise Breakdown)

Let's talk about what the Nordic Hyper GHD does well and where it comes up a bit short as we break down all 6 exercises Freak Athlete claims this machine can do. With an all in one type machine like this people are quick to think of the phrase "a jack of all trades is a master of none" but they often forget the second half of the saying "is oftentimes better than a master of one" and if I were to paraphrase this review it's the second half of that saying I'd focus on. This is not going to do every exercise perfectly and good dedicated reverse hyper, or GHD, or whichiever machine you choose will probably outperfom the Nordic Hyper GHD at the one thing it does well. Those machines also all take up space and you'll notice I said a good dedicated machine. You'd be spending at least as much as this does for each machine that it's attempting to replicate. If you don't have enough space for standalone machines, this is a very solid budget option. Now, onto the breakdown.

Nordic Curls

While I think the Nordic Hyper GHD does a lot well, you could make an argument for Nordic Curls being the best exercise to use it for. It makes sense as well, it's the original basis of the machine. A highly adjustable bench that caters to everyone from beginners to the advanced. There's 10 levels of progression from flat to 45 deg and even 3 levels of decline if you're an absolute monster. 

These progression levels are important because to be blunt, nordic curls are very difficult but being able to consistently progress through small adjustments makes it a non issue. We've tried all kinds of creative solutions to train them in our home gym without a dedicated piece of equipemnt and outside of bands awkwardly wrapped around us and something else, nothing has worked. With the Nordic Hyper GHD I'd argue probably just about anyone of any ability level or height could use this. 

Nordics are very comfortable because the vinyl and padding Freak Athlete is using is well done and durable. I’d say the same thing about the various rollers which are a better quality than what you’d find on a lot of other home gym equipment. They’re beefier, using better vinyl, and I feel locked in and safe on this.

Nordic Hyper GHD Angles

Back Extensions

Overall I think this does back extensions pretty well though I should note Freak Athlete has changed how they advertise using this for back extensions since they watched our original review. The Nordic Hyper GHD is now marketed as being able to perform back extensions at 45 degrees (rather than flat) and I'm happy they listened to our feedback because without the machine inclined they simply didn't work that well.
That being said, a great thing about this machine is it's adjustability. You have 12 height options to set the telescoping hip pad to which allows it so fit users of different heights (remember their 5' to 7' claim). The heights are numbered as well which makes finding your position easier once you know what it is.  

I will note when getting into position there's a little back and forth wobble on the machine but once in use it's not noticeable. I tend to perform weighted back extensions which work well on the Nordic Hyper GHD as long as you're using a plate, dumbbell, or even bands as your resistance.

Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper Back Extension 45 degrees
Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper Back Extension

GHD Sit-Ups

When it comes to sit-ups I find them great regardless or variation or angle and I'd echo that same sentiment with decline sit-ups. Just like with other exercises the Nordic Hyper GHD proves to be highly adjustable. You can move the GHD pad to give you leg support, change the angle, height, whatever works for you.  I will note that the machine can be a little unstable (rock side to side) when you're getting into position for sit-ups but during use it's not an issue. I typically do weighted sit-ups even in the decline position and while I will say getting into position on any machine with weighted decline sit-up can be a little awkward, this one does them as well as anything else I've tried.

Decline Situp
GHD Sit Up

Glute Ham Raises (GHRs)

Glute Ham Raises are a good example of an exercises that works but the Nordic Hyper GHD isn't going to compete with a good dedicated machine though I can say that same thing about any combo machine including one of of our favorites, the Bells of Steel Reverse Hammer. You have to sacrifice a little to get something that can do as much as Freak Athlete's machine does, especially at a this price.  

To perform GHRs you attach the removable semicicle pad. The pad attaches with velcro and can be attached to the telescoping portion to mimic traditional a GHD or at any point along the nordic bench which is where I prefer to place it. The pad velcros on easily and holds its place well but can move a little during the exercise which is  why I tend to put it on the flat pad rather than at the end. The nordic bench pad provides a spot for your knees and the GHD pad emulates a typical GHD pad through out the movement. If you're used to "digging" your knees into a GHD pad to begin the movement you'll understand why this won't quite feel the same. The pad isn't as large or as comfortable as an actual GHD pad and it's not going to offer the same leverage either. I do find Freak Athlete's GHD pad to be soft and have some give to it while being firm enough to emulate the movement but it's not at same level of more robust pads. That being said I find GHRs to be functional and maybe more importantly, accessible on the Nordic Hyper GHD. Rather than being a nearly impossible movement for some people you're able to work through multiple angles (10 incline, and even decline) until you've progressed and are able to complete the movement. 

Nordic Hyper Glute Ham Raise
Nordic Hyper Glute Ham Raise Incline

Reverse Hyper

In our video review I called Freak Athlete out pretty hard for their reverse hyper feature and I'm echoing that same thing here. While I appreciate them trying to get one more function in, this is not a reverse hyper. With the machine raised up and set flat you're not able to emulate the full movement and swing your feet in a pendulum motion. At 6' tall I'm not able to and at 5"6" Wynie isn't able to get a full range of motion either. You can use the pad to prop you up a few inches but it's not comfortable on your hips and stomach and we still weren't able to complete the movement. There was no spinal decompression, no stretch, and it's difficult to get tension throughout the movement even when using bands which are difficult to utilize for this movement on this machine. You can angle the bench to create more space for your legs to swing but no matter what variation and adaptation we tried, we do not think this is an effective reverse hyper.

Freak Athlete Reverse Hyper Extension Angled
Freak Athlete Reverse Hyper Extension

Hip Thrust

The Nordic Hyper GHD surprised me on how well it worked for hip thursts. To be fair I had low expectiations because I thought the knob on the retracable collapsible post would dig into my back or the roller wouldn't be stable enough but I was able to complete sets of 10 reps at 405lbs. I do feel like I was probably close to maxing out the padding on the roller because the pressure on my back was becoming noticeable at that weight but it worked and worked better than expected.

I had my doubts about how well it would work because at first glance the front post and pad don't seem particularly stable. Allow me to explain. To perform hip thrusts you remove the leg roller from the back and install it onto a collapsible post on the front of the machine. You can adjust the pad to several different heights which allows this to work for people of different heights. Once the height is set you tighten a knob on the post to stabilize the setup but even with the knob tightened there's still some side to side wobble. Luckily the entire setup process only takes a few seconds. Once you're in position you're applying enough downward force to stabilize things and it feels very stable but it did take me a little time to trust it.

Freak Athlete Hip Thrust pad
Nordic Hyper GHD Hip Thrust


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Other Excercises / Functioanlity

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Adjusting the Nordic Hyper GHD

Adjusting the Nordic Hyper GHD might look confusing or intimidating at first glance, but once you’re used to it, for the most part it’s surprisingly quick and simple. That being said there is a learning curve and you’ll have to test to see which angles and positions work best for you. That's also to be expected of a device that does this much. The Nordic Hyper GHD is adjusted by a series of different colored pop pins. You loosen and pull the pins out to change angles, lengthen or shorten it, or to lock and unlock certain features. Admittedly that's a bit of an oversimplification because there's a lot of ways to utilize and adapt it to accommodate your body but the best way to see how it works is to check out our video revew

Nordic Hyper GHD Levels.jpg__PID:985069dd-6031-46eb-989d-9cde6fb4c294

Assembly & Packaging

The Nordic Hyper GHD comes in 1 big box that weighs about 100 lbs so you can either test your ego (like I did) or ask for some help moving it. The packaging is a bit minimalist but at the same time someone clearly took a lot of time to think about how to keep things from banging together and getting damaged but I wouldn’t be that surprised if you found a scuff or two on yours.

While the Nordic Hyper GHD  may look intimidating to assemble it's actually easier than it looks. The center section comes pre-assembled so you’re really just attaching the feet, footplate, pads, handles, and a few other little things. It only took me about 30 minutes which was helped by the fact the hardware is sorted and labeled (which is oddly rare with home gym equipment) and the instructions are decent as well. Alternatively Freak Athlete has an assembly video online that you can follow.

Nordic Hyper GHD Packaging


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Final Thoughts

Freak Athlete's Nordic Hyper GHD is attempting to recreate 6 machines and while I can't say it does all 6 well, I do it does a lot very well. It's also able to overcome it's shortcoming by having additional functionality. We found it worked well for quite a few other exercises including couch stretches, copenhagen's, reverse nordics, and QL raises. If you're looking for a versatile machine that can save you a lot of space and does most movement better than I'd have though, I think you're getting a lot for your money with the Nordic Hyper GHD. The build quality is pretty good for an imported piece at this price. Sure it won't blow you away there but the padding and vinyl is better than expected. They've also improved many elements we had complaints about in our original review like it being difficult to read the original angle makrings. The 500lb weight capacity allows you to really push what you can do with it and they've even doint static tests with it at 1,250 lbs. Is it going to do everything well, no, but I think this is a really good machine and they’ve worked hard to maximize its versatility. They're updated and upgraded elements we had criticised them on in our original review. They've also worked tirelessly to improve it by doing things like adding the GHD pad just before their initial release and prototyping and releasing a leg extension and leg curl attachment.  It's not going to repleace having separate dedicated machiens but this is going to be something that a lot of people are going to like having in their home gyms.

Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD 12 in 1 machine

Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD

The Nordic Hyper GHD is a very versatile and unique option for your home gym. With a compact footprint, the ability to store vertically, and over a dozen uses it's hard to find another product on the market that does as much as this.

Save $50 on the Nordic Hyper GHD with code Gluck (code stacks with sales!)

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Freak Athlete Nordic Hyper GHD Video Review