Working out has been a part of my life for over twenty years. I’ve tried many methods to strengthen my lower back during this time. But, for me, nothing works better than the good old Roman chair (hyperextension bench). A well-designed and adjustable machine, such as the Marcy Roman Chair, provides a safe and optimal position to perform lower back exercises comfortably and safely. Unfortunately, there are some really terrible pieces of exercise equipment on the market that do more harm than good because they are unstable, uncomfortable, or have a low capacity.
In this guide, I’m going to show you the best Roman chairs and hyperextension benches for home use. I listed the back extension machines based on their features, prices, pros/cons, and customer reviews. You will also learn about why they’re so beneficial workout equipment and what you should check out when you want to buy one. So, in the end, you know what’s the best item for you.
Our Top Picks
Top Roman Chair Reviews
How I picked
I analyzed the most critical characteristics of Roman chairs, such as their weight capacity, adjustability, design, dimensions, and padding. All of these aspects are crucial for a safe and effective workout experience at home. Of course, we also take into account the price and the positive reviews that we can find online about a particular machine.
Why you can trust me
I’m a 40 year old guy who has been working out for 25 years now. I have used various gym machines to strengthen my lower back. I know how painful it is to work with a machine that has a bad design that puts the user in an awkward position. Also, I know how terrifying it can be when the Roman chair is light and squeaks under us. My experience led me to compile the mentioned products.
1. Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Multi-Workout Bench
The best multifunctional bench
If you are searching for multipurpose and robust equipment, get this. It is going to be really useful home gym equipment. I think it is the best sit-up/hyperextension bench combination now that can be also used as a workout bench for weight training.
Dimensions: 64” L x 28.8” W x 35” H
Capacity: 650 lbs
Warranty: Limited lifetime
I put this equipment at the top of my list because Fitness Reality Multi Bench is multifunctional home fitness equipment. It can be used as a sit-up, hyperextension, and workout bench. Also, it has push-up and dip bars. This way, for one payment you will get a piece of equipment that can be used in so many ways. However, the cost is affordable.
The weight capacity is high, about 650 lb. This way if you have a power rack you can use it for doing chest press in flat or decline position. That limit is enough even for a pro athlete to perform heavy presses or other weight lifting exercises.
The board can be set to a flat position and 3 decline positions. So, you can find the height that suits you best for your sit-ups.
- High weight limit.
- Can be adjusted well: 4 positions for the board and 14 adjustments for the thigh support for more comfortable 45-degree roman chair exercises.
- The medium density 2.5 inches high-density foam on the hip pad provides a convenient workout.
- Moisture and sweat resistance.
- Transportation wheels for easy mobility.
- Versatile allowing you to perform more types of strength training exercises.
- Wide base for stability.
- A few sellers complain about missing parts and bad packages.
- The board moves a bit.
Three different angles can be set on the bench, which is perfect for ab workouts. It is also excellent for hyperextensions. It has a wide foot rest that doesn’t slip, adjustable foam leg rollers, and hip pads that are wide and cushioned enough but still supportive.User – Read more customer reviews
2. Body-Solid Powerline 45-Degree Hyperextension Bench
Gym quality piece
Robust structure and comfortable. If you are taller than average or a pro trainer, it is a good choice for you.
Dimensions: 36″H x 50″L x 26″W
Capacity: 300 lbs
Warranty: 10 years frame
Sturdy and stable machine. The customers like this Body-Solid roman chair machine because it is very comfortable to use and a highly-adjustable back hyperextension machine. Even suitable for larger guys as it doesn’t wobble at all.
- Hip pad height can be changed easily making it suitable for shorter and taller users.
- The cushion for the hips is soft and comfy.
- All the adjustments work well.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Suitable for home and commercial gyms.
- Ergonomic design, comfortable for the torso.
- High weight capacity
- Do triceps dip with the safety handles.
- Some people complain that assembling was not easy.
- Higher cost but excellent value.
Read the full review
It feels and moves best for your lower back and glutes when you use this 45-degree machine. At various gyms, I’ve used most brands. There are no compromises, just good bang for your buck.Douglas – Read more customer reviews
3. Sunny Health & Fitness 45 Degree Roman Chair
The cheapest 🤑
This Roman chair is a suitable choice for those who are average-built and are looking for a budget machine. Despite being not the most advanced, it serves the needs of someone who wants to do moderate workouts at home.
Dimensions: 38L x 24W x 32H
Capacity: 250 lbs
Warranty: 1 year frame
Hips are at a perfect angle in this Roman chair to maximize glute and hamstring activity. It helps stabilize the movement while protecting the spine and targeting the back muscles. You’ll tone your glutes and hamstrings (leg muscles) while building back/core strength.
It has a sleek, sturdy, compact steel frame construction that is ideal for home use and can accommodate up to 250 pounds. Floor stabilizers ensure a stable base even on uneven floors. Become more intense in your workout with no worries about rocking or tilting.
With handlebars, you can prevent calluses. Slip-resistant and padded for added comfort and safety. Foam rollers make intense workouts more comfortable, stable, and controlled.
Using the easy-fold design, you are able to easily store it.
- To prevent wobbling, stabilizers are used.
- It has a foldable design and has a compact size to save floor space.
- Ankle support and hip padding that is comfortable and thick.
- Designed to handle up to 250 pounds.
- It can be adjusted to fit a variety of heights.
- The price is reasonable.
- Assembly requires a great deal of skill.
- It isn’t suitable for people who are very heavy and big.
Even though I was skeptic about how sturdy it would be for the cost, it was quite sturdy in the end. The surface is also comfy.Kevin – Read more customer reviews
4. Marcy Roman Chair
The best value/price ✔
This Roman chair is an affordable option that is both stable and comfortable to use, as well as being on the market for quite some time. Suitable for those who prefer 90-degree back extensions, it provides a good workout experience.
Dimensions: 43.5L x 27.5W x 37.5H
Capacity: 300 lbs
Warranty: 2 year frame
This is a cheap 90-degree roman chair with some minor problems. But this model is absolutely perfect for an average user to strengthen the lower back at home. However, it definitely not for pro users. Here is the detailed review of Marcy Exercise Hyper Bench JD-3.1.
- The ankle pads are adjustable and covered with foam padding.
- Leather cushioned hip pad.
- Wide and long enough for everybody.
- Heavy-gauge steel-tubing powder-coated frame construction.
- Very easy to put together.
- Hand grips for dips
- Extra-wide base at the front.
- Some individuals find the Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension bench hard to get on, and a few think the double-stitched support pads are not soft enough.
I’m happy with my purchase after using it for about a month. The assembly took about an hour with the right tools. This equipment is solid and stable.Tim – Read more customer reviews
5. Stamina Ab/Hyper Pro
Good Choice for Women 👩
As it’s a hyperextension and sit up combo machine, Stamina is a useful purchase particularity for women. It is a good choice for moderate use.
Dimensions: 36″H x 46″L x 25″W
Capacity: 250 lbs
Warranty: 5 year frame
Maybe the best buy as it can be used as a sit-up bench and as a hyperextension station. With the help of it, you will be able to train all parts of your core, glutes, and hamstring muscles. But, the max weight restriction is not so powerful. I think it is a considerable choice for women to train their core at home. Read our detailed info here.
- Thickly stuffed hip pad, upholstery, and ankle rollers for comfort.
- Adjustable high support for thighs.
- Comfortable foam roller pads that hold your feet safe while you do back extension or Roman chair sit-ups.
- Adjustable footrest, backrest, and thigh support to accommodate height and training intensity.
- Rubber frame caps for stability. Rubber caps also protect the floor.
- Some taller users complain about it is too short for them.
- Few levels of adjustments.
- Low capacity.
I bought this to use at home as an addition to my gym routine. The product exceeded my expectations. Simple to put together, easy to use, and easy and convenient to store if you are short on area.Amazon customer – Read more customer reviews
6. Stamina Hyper Bench, Red
Compact Design (Good option for small place)
For the price, it provides pretty good value. Good for people having a small space at home.
Dimensions: 39.5″L X 22.75″W X 32″H
Capacity: 250 lbs
Warranty: 1 year frame
This is a rather new 45-degree hyperextension bench from Stamina which is versatile and fold-able for easy storage. If you have a lack of space to use and store a back exercise machine, it is a good choice for you since it has a small footprint. You can use the Stamina X Hyper Bench and store it even in a little room.
- The hip pad is thickly padded for convenience.
- Adjustable high support.
- The leg holders are adjustable and non-slip for secure training.
- Backrest with height settings for more efficient ab workouts.
- Few shorter customers complain about not being comfortable for them to use.
This machine is awesome! It is beyond my expectations. For me, it is a good fit since I am 5’8″ and weigh 156 pounds. In contrast to many other machines I’ve ordered in the past, this one sits solidly on the floor.Carlene – Read more customer reviews
7. Finer Form Multi-Functional Weight Bench
This adjustable weight bench from Finer Form is made from durable, high-strength steel, so it’ll give you the strength and durability you need for training your core, arms, legs, and abdominals.
This adjustable bench can be used to strengthen abdominals and obliques. You can use it as a flat bench for flyes and chest presses by using dumbbells. For lower back, hamstring, and core exercise, use this decline bench. As if it were a Roman chair, you can also perform 45-degree angle hyperextensions with it.
The quality of this product isn’t comparable to that of a commercial gym but it’s excellent for home use. There is a fair amount of metal, and it looks like the welds are pretty good.
This bench holds up well. With triangular base support and 3″ thick cushion pad, this weight lifting bench beats most home exercise benches available on the market today.
This multifunctional exercise bench comes with a PDF workout chart that shows dozens of effective exercises that can be performed on it.
- The unit is designed to handle a variety of workouts and is versatile.
- The heavy-duty steel construction is high quality and the finish is scratch-resistant.
- A sturdy structure and extra supporting tubes can support up to 660 lbs.
- Affordable price range despite being suitable for a wide variety of exercises.
- The foot pads are narrow.
- Limited range of motion for back extension. (better for beginners)
To do sit-ups and hyper back extensions, I needed a bench. This product was cheaper than one I had been planning to buy from another manufacturer. I’m glad I chose this one because it’s very solid and stable. In addition, it can be adjusted easily.Mimi – Read more customer reviews
8. CAP Strength Roman Chair
With Double Leg Holders
The Cap Strength Roman chair may not be the world’s best, but for regular use at home, it is a perfect fit for the majority. Additionally, it is a relatively affordable option compared to other Roman chairs on this list.
Dimensions: 56″D x 29″W x 43″H
Capacity: 300 lbs
Warranty: 30 days
This Roman chair is designed to hold your lower legs in place on both sides by using dual adjustable foam rollers rather than a single set of ankle or shin pads. Using multiple foam rollers makes it possible for the chair to maintain a better hold on your legs. This way, during training you won’t move and will be able to concentrate on your intense workout.
With its steel construction and ability to support a weight of up to 300 pounds, the Cap Strength Roman Chair is a sturdy choice. The high capacity of the machine makes it suitable for heavier individuals or for added weight in the workout. The powder-coated steel frame is gray with black high-density foam pads sitting on top.
Thanks to the adjustable height can be tilted at a number of different angles using a lever on the top section. Each of the 7 height settings on the lower body section is held in place by a circular pin.
While it does require some assembly, it shouldn’t be too difficult, so this is a solid buy at this price.
- Easily adjusts to your needs.
- Weight capacity of 300 pounds.
- This product is made from high-quality steel.
- Supports ankles and shins in a unique way with double rollers.
- This is not a product for people over six feet tall.
- Careful assembly is required.
- Due to its size, it cannot be positioned in a small space or corner.
- It cannot be folded for easy storage.
Best Multi Bench
32.5 x 28.8 x 64 inches
42″L x 27″W x 31″H
38L x 24W x 32H
43.5 x 27.5 x 37.5 inches
36″H x 46″L x 25″W
5 year frame/90 days parts
39.5″ L x 22.25″ W x 33.5″ H
90 days parts and 1 year on the frame.
60 x 23 x 30 inches
56 x 29 x 43 inches
Buyer’s Guide for Lower Back Machines
A higher weight capacity is a sign that the machine is made from quality materials. If you are heavier than average, this factor is especially important.
Make sure you leave a few feet on either side of the Roman chair so you can comfortably use it. You might also want to consider a folding hyper bench to save space. Get an item with a longer board if you are taller than average.
The machine must be adjustable because that is the only way to fit it to your height. Both the hip pad and the leg holders should be adjustable for the best workout experience.
There is a wide variety of models (90-degree and 45-degree bench) out there with fewer or more functions and at different costs. Be careful since a poor quality model can be dangerous to use. Here are some tips on what you should look for when buying a Roman chair.
- Always read the customer reviews on the products (assembly, adjustability, user experience).
- If it wobbles seriously, forget it! You are not going to be able to focus on your exercising, plus it is dangerous.
- It must be made from sturdy high-quality materials. If the product is heavy, that is a good sign of sturdiness.
- It must be comfortable. The midsection and the footpads should be covered with a durable, thick foam or other materials.
- It must be adjustable. It is important to perform the moves correctly and that is only possible if you can adjust the machine for your height.
- Check the size of the model you want to purchase to know if you have enough space or not.
- Check the length of the warranty.
- Keep in mind that in most cases a cheap product will cost more in the long term.
The hyperextension benches compared and reviewed above are the most popular and top-rated models on Amazon, so you must be sure that you will buy a high-quality product.
What are the back hyperextension bench benefits?
One of the best pieces of fitness equipment I have ever invested in was my Roman chair. I used to suffer from lower back pain since I sit too much and because I neglected to strengthen the posterior. The pain was so bad that sometimes I had to postpone my workouts, and it affected my lifestyle.
Then, I decided to go after what the solution is, and after reading researches and asking experts I decided to buy one. After using it for a month (3 times a week, 3-4 sets of Roman chair hyperextension exercises with 10-20 reps), the pain in my posterior left off. On top of that because of the stronger lower back muscles, I became better at performing weight lifting exercises such as deadlifts and squats.
It is a fact that having a strong posterior is crucial for proper posture. Therefore investing in equipment for lower back training at home is surely a good decision.
- It lets you strengthen and tone your entire core (obliques, lower-back, rectus abdominis) leading to a healthy midsection to avoid injury. Stronger core conditioning leads to better athletic performance.
- By doing hypers, you can get rid of the lower back pain because of improved strength. (If you have chronic issues, consult your doctor before!)
- It helps to strengthen and tone your hips and waist.
- The hyperextension exercise is the most recommended way to strengthen the muscles around the spine. That leads to better posture and body balance.
- Besides the core muscles, it works the glutes and hamstring, and other leg muscle groups, even your shoulders.
- Some products come with a dip station, so you can work your triceps and chest as well. Hence, they are useful for at home upper body workout programs.
- You can perform roman chair ab exercises such as sit-ups, or even leg raises for lower abs. You can even increase or decrease the resistance since they are adjustable.
- Not a big piece of equipment, there are even foldable versions. Hence, it can be even used in apartments.
- Thanks to its versatility anyone in your family can use it.
What muscles does it work?
While roman chairs are mainly used for strengthening the lower back muscle, it engages several other muscles. For example, your glutes, hamstrings, and the muscles around your spine. The following picture is an excellent presentation to understand its advantages.
Overall, it is one of the most useful fitness equipment for having core exercises at home.
Learn more: Roman chair benefits
Do you need one? Is it for you?
It is for you if you:
- Sit a lot every day. A sedentary lifestyle is bad for posture and weakens back muscles.
- Lift heavy weights because of your job or working out.
- Want to shape your abdominal muscles, waist, butt, and hamstrings.
- Want to strengthen your core (abs, spine) to keep your posture and balance healthy.
- Would like to improve your effectiveness in any sports.
- Want to get rid of lower back pain because of weak muscles.
- To shape your glutes and hamstrings with effective back exercises.
Are the Roman chair hyperextensions for back pain safe?
If you do not have back problems yet, it is excellent prevention. If you already have, then it can help but always consult with your doctor before. If you have a serious back problem, it may do more harm than good.
What kind of exercises you can do with the hyperextension bench?
You can perform several other Roman chair exercises for abs as well. For instance, sit-ups, leg raises, or oblique moves. And if you want to boost the movement get a medicine ball or dumbbells for extra resistance. This way you can set up complete training to strengthen your entire core making it a very useful piece of gym equipment.
Are Roman chairs the same as glute ham developer machines?
Both aim to develop the muscle strength necessary for power sports, but they target different muscle groups. GHDs can increase hamstring and glute hypertrophy and muscular endurance, while Roman chairs boost spinal erectors and glutes.
When you combine these exercises in a well-balanced routine, you’ll be able to tap into your key muscle groups for squats, deadlifts, and other weightlifting moves.
How to use it correctly?
Haven’t you used back exercise machines before? For back health, the hyperextension exercise is the most beneficial. Learn how to use a roman chair correctly here.
Can you show me a sample Roman chair workout routine?
Your aim should be to have complete core training meaning you strengthen your back/spine, upper/lower abs, and your obliques. Depending on your fitness level do this plan 2-3 times a week.
- 3-4 × 10-15 back extensions
- 3-4 × 10-15 Roman chair twists or / side bends on hyperextension bench for your obliques
- 3-4 × 10-15 leg raise for your lower abs
- 3-4 ×10-15 sit-ups
As you see there is a wide variety of chairs out there. What is the best? Fitness Reality is the one I prefer since it is the most versatile making it a good choice for a home gym. But if you are searching for something cheaper then Marcy is the best solution. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section.
- Lawrence, Michael A., Andrew Chin, and Brian T. Swanson. “Biomechanical Comparison of the Reverse Hyperextension Machine and the Hyperextension Exercise.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 33.8 (2019): 2053-2056.
- Yılmaz, Figen, et al. “Efficacy of dynamic lumbar stabilization exercise in lumbar microdiscectomy.” J Rehabil Med 35 (2003): 163-167.
- Verna, Joe L., et al. “Back extension endurance and strength: the effect of variable-angle roman chair exercise training.” Spine 27.16 (2002): 1772-1777.
Last update on 2022-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API