How to Use a Roman Chair Effectively

I think the Roman chair is one of the most underestimated exercise equipment in a gym. Also, it is among those few items which are usually poorly used. I have seen people doing the back extension on it so poorly that it was magic that they did not fall off on the ground with massive pain in their back.

In this post, you will learn how to get the most from it, why you should use it, and how to perform the exercises correctly. So, the next time you enter the gym, you will know what to do with it.

Shopping Guide: Hyperextension bench for sale! Check the best back extension machine reviews for a home here.

Benefits of Roman Chair Exercise

If you think about working out, the first thing that typically comes to our mind is chest, leg, back, abs, and arms training. Yes, these are the muscles we want to be strong and beautiful. But, have you ever done exercises for your lower back?

I’m sure most of the people do not pay attention to that body part.

But they must!

Just think about it, no matter which exercises you do, your lower back takes place in that movement. If you do squats, it works to keep your balance. If you do biceps curls, it maintains your posture straight to perform the move correctly and to avoid the use of momentum (and it does not let you fall forward).

Your lower back is the connection between your upper end lower body. So, it must be strong to keep that two parts “together.”

One exercise to keep your lower back strong and healthy is hyperextension on the floor. It is not complicated. Just lie on your stomach, fix your lower body to the ground, and lift your upper body by looking forward. That’s it! You can do it at home.

However, to maximize the efficiency of the back extension exercise, it is far better to use a Roman chair exercise equipment. Why? Because the range of the motion is considerably longer. As a result, your lower back and the muscles around your spine will be much healthier. And we should not forget that because of the lengthier motion, your hamstrings and glutes will be activated more as well.

Just check out the following picture to know which muscles are worked.

muscles worked
Roman chair muscles worked.

To sum up, the Roman bench is excellent fitness equipment to keep your lower back and spine healthy.

And you should use it if you:

  • Live a sedentary lifestyle. Too much sitting makes your back weak and unhealthy resulting in bad posture and pain.
  • Lift heavy weights because of training or your job to be able to handle the load and avoid injuries.
  • Want to better in any sport? No matter what sport you do from golf to swimming, a healthy lower back and spine is required to get the maximum out of you and to avoid injuries.
  • Want to shape your hips, waist, abs, glutes, and hamstrings? It will make those muscles tight and firm.

Related: Roman chair benefits

Tutorial to Roman Chair Hyperextension

I do not want to waste your time with a list of instructions since, from the following video, you can learn how to perform the move correctly. Anyway, just complete the motion slowly and pay attention to keep your back straight. Do not use the momentum only the power of your muscles.

Advanced exercises

Now you know how to perform the regular hyperextension, but this gym equipment provides even more possibilities.

If you are at a higher fitness level who has done hyperextension bench exercises for some time, you can increase the resistance by holding a dumbbell or weight plate under your chest. But, do this only if you can perform at least 20 correct reps from the traditional extension. Also, do not use heavy weights and increase the amount of weight gradually. I know people are getting a back injury because of using too heavy loads. It is better to keep the number of repetitions high.

weighted back extension

Roman chair abs exercises

There are also a few core moves you can do. For example, sit-ups. This training is far harder than the traditional sit up on the floor or even on the abs bench since when you move backward, you are in the “air.” It requires powerful muscles to keep your upper body in that position. But, this way, it works the core muscles supremely. Just do the motion slowly without momentum and always set the rollers to your height well to keep your ankles fixed and comfortable.

From the following video, you can learn how to do it.

Do you want to focus on your obliques? Those side muscles of your abdomen. Do Roman chair twist! It is an advanced version of the Russian Twist. You sit up on the bench until you reach the position where your abdominal muscles are flexed the most. It is somewhere before the 90 degrees. But, instead of going back, you keep that point and twist to the left and right side. This move will work not only your six-pack muscles but also your oblique perfectly. To make it even harder, you can use a weight plate by holding away from you.

russian twist on roman bench

Another exercise you may try to strengthen your obliques and hips is the side bend. It is a rather hard move that requires concentration and can be dangerous. Many people do not like it because it is not very comfortable unless the pad of the bench is not thickly padded.

side bend
Side bend

Finally, you can perform the Roman chair leg raise, which is a great move to focus on your lower abs. Sit on the pad of the equipment, catch the bars, and lift your legs. Simple, like that.

[label type=”success”]Related:[/label] Roman chair exercises for glutes

Roman chair workout routine

As you can see, this fitness equipment provides enough possibilities to have a complete core workout, which is not going to be easy yet very efficient. A full core training works all the muscles, that is your abs, obliques, and lower back. Now let me give an example circuit for people who are at a better fitness level.

Make 3-4 rounds from the following exercises with or without rest between.

  • Back extension – 15-20 reps
  • Chair sit up – 15-20 reps
  • Twist – 15-20 reps

With this routine, your entire core is worked. If you are at a lower level of fitness, have fewer reps or sets, or have longer rests between. Also, combine these practices with other abs exercises on the floor, such as planks. If you are a pro, use weight for extra resistance.


I hope after reading this post, you now understand how powerful the hyperextension Roman chair exercises for lower back pain and core training is. Just spend some time to learn how to use it correctly to avoid injury. Also, if you have no time going to the gym, you can have one at home.

Did you find this guide to how to use a Roman chair exercise machine useful? Share it with your friends.