As anyone who knows me can attest, I love DIY projects in a gym. Commercial equipment is just too expensive for what it is, especially specialized pieces of gear that are useful for assistance/accessory exercises. I have no problem spending a few hundred bucks on a nice barbell or power cage, but stuff like Glute-Ham Raises or Back Extension setups can run several hundred dollars.
We modified our power cage with a crappy chrome barbell, water pool noodle, 200 pounds of plates, an orange EliteFTS resistance band, and a standard flat bench to create a GHR / Back Extension setup (click for full size):
You lay prone on the bench, pin your legs under the padded bar, and do back extensions with your arms across your chest. You can load it up by putting an EZ-curl bar behind your neck (one of the few acceptable uses for this bar in our facility), or you can grab the resistance band attached to the chin-up bar to provide resistance going down and assistance coming up.
As someone who is rehabbing a likely stress fracture in his lumbar spine (don’t worry, it’s nothing too bad), this setup has helped me a lot.
We just need to keep the padding away from people who would like to use it in their squats. It’s acceptable for use in the GHR / Back Extension setup and push pressing, but not much else. Remember, folks: Friends don’t let friends use the pad when squatting.