The Roman chair is a piece of gym equipment that can work several muscle groups such as the core, hamstrings, and lower back. A motor does not power this piece of gear — it’s stationary. But it’s an incredible tool that can help you shape the most stubborn parts of your physique.
If you wish to utilise this machine and accessory, continue reading. Here’s everything you need to know about finding and purchasing the best Roman chair for you.
Best Roman Chair: Quick Picks
- Lloow Folding Hyperextension Roman Chair Editor’s Choice
- GORILLA SPORTS Roman Chair Best Budget Buy
- CSBH Foldable Roman Chair
- Mittory Roman Chair
- BalanceFrom Adjustable Roman Chair
Note: There’s a lot more information below but clicking the above links will take you to current prices, further information and customer reviews on Amazon.
What is a Roman Chair?
You may also know the Roman chair as the hyperextension bench. This name is actually more appropriate, as it describes the movement one performs on the accessory – hyperextension of the back. In other words, this means the movement of a joint in one direction. It’s forced beyond its normal range of motion, which can be a good thing!
Controlled hyperextension can strengthen and make certain joints more flexible.
But why is it called a Roman chair? It’s a unique term that makes this machine sound ancient, as if it was a pivotal piece of fitness equipment used during Roman times! However, that is not the case. Instead, it was popularised by a Roman bodybuilder to train the core and lower back.
It’s a perfectly crafted device — it’s a stationary machine with pads for your feet and handles for your arms. It suspends your body in the air and makes specific abdominal training exercises easier to perform.
What are the Benefits of Using One?
A useful bit of kits that trains some of the most stubborn muscle groups— the lower back and hamstrings. It also doesn’t place a lot of strain on your body, as you’re in control throughout the entire path of movement. So what are the benefits?
A strong body starts with a strong core, as it’s the body’s foundation. Unfortunately, core training is often overlooked. A couple of minute-long planks once a week won’t cut it. Instead, using a Roman chair allows you to perform assisted and more dynamic core exercises. The lower pads on the machine keep your legs secure and provide the body with enough leverage and support.
And frankly, performing core exercises on the Roman chair is entirely more fun than lying on the ground! The high density foam padding can also take some of the strain off your lower back so you can engage your core muscles better.
Works the Hamstrings and Gluteus Maximus
Another great benefit of using the Roman chair? It’s a great way to work your hamstrings and Gluteus Maximus, which is one of the body’s largest muscle groups.
Excellent to Use on Deadlift Day
Deadlifts are phenomenal for strengthening your lower back muscles (which are also part of your body’s core — it’s not just the abdominals). However, pairing deadlifts with back extensions can magnify your results.
Easy to Adjust
There are several ways to adjust the machine, so it caters to your perfect height! Have short legs? Not a problem! Long torso? You can easily customise the machine to your body’s specific proportions.
Improves Overall Performance in The Gym
Using this device can also help boost your performance in the gym. When lifting heavy weights, you want a strong core and back. This machine can single handily increase your strength in both regions, which assist your body during other important lifts, like squats. Did you know you use your lower back to stabilise your body during a squat? Your entire body works like a well-oiled machine when you pay attention to the most overlooked muscles.
The Roman Chair Works The Obliques
The Roman chair is also great for working out the side abdominal muscles. It provides more support than the floor when doing exercises like Russian twists. In addition, the machine holds your legs in place, so you don’t have to worry about finding a partner to do this for you.
How Do You Use a Roman Chair?
The hyperextension bench crunch is often a misunderstood exercise. The positioning of your body on the machine may look or feel awkward, but in reality, you’re in an optimum position to work the lower muscles of your back. There’s no need to worry about painful injuries unless you’re using this machine incorrectly! Slide into the machine and place your thighs onto the appropriate pads. Lower your body in a controlled motion, and use your core and hamstrings to bring your body upwards to complete the rep.
Here are some of our best tips for using this machine safely.
- Do not overextend your back. Your lower back should NEVER resemble the letter ‘c’. Keep it neutral. Not curved.
- Do not use additional weight until you’ve developed enough strength.
- Brace your core — ensure it’s tight throughout the entire range of motion to take the strain off your back.
- Stop if you feel a sharp pain instead of normal, dull muscle soreness usually accompanied by exercise.
Follow those rules to avoid painful injuries!
A couple more things to note when using this machine? Foot placement and mind to muscle connection. These two things can result in a different experience with the bench. If you wish to use this machine on leg day, learn how to implement these techniques. If you wish to engage the glutes while using this machine, point your toes outwards. If you want to work your hamstrings over your lower back, use a resistance band around your legs and think about pulling your body back up using the back of your legs. This cue will help activate the mind to muscle connection necessary to work the hamstrings.
Features to Look for in a Roman Chair
Looking to get your hands on your own Roman chair for at home use? Here are the top features to consider when making your purchase!
Given that you’re placing all of your body’s weight onto this machine when exercising, ensure you select a model that can support your weight. The higher quality models are typically built with sturdier materials, so keep this in mind if you’re on a budget.
Also, consider the dimensions of the accessory you’re considering. How much space will this take up in your home? 90 degree chairs are typically larger than the 45 degree variation, so keep this in mind.
45 Degrees vs 90 degrees
The angle of your hyperextension bench may also vary by a few degrees. A 45 degree bench is helpful if you’re new to the Roman chair – It’s easier to get on and off! The 90 degree bench may be suitable for someone with more experience in the gym as it offers a greater range of motion.
A Detailed Look at the Best Roman Chairs
How do you find the right one for you? We have listed several models at different price points, each with its pros and cons, to make the shopping process much easier.
1. Editor’s Choice: Lloow Folding Hyperextension Roman Chair
- Multiple exercises can be performed
- 3 different hyperextension angles
- Fitness chair made of high quality steel
- Stable and will not tilt
- Not as stable as the non-folding variety
Here, we have another tremendous multi-use machine that makes exercise a breeze. We love the thick padding on this Roman chair — expect comfort, versatility, and reliability with this model.
This option is useful for a variety of exercises including a dip station which means you can train chest and triceps!
It has a weight capacity of 130 kg which is about 20 stone (130kg). The hip cushion also has seven height adjustments, proving that this model is one of the most customisable for various heights. It’s highly functional and serves so many purposes; it will feel like you have a full gym in your home. Consider this option if you’re looking to save money but also want a reliable piece of kit to work your upper body, as well as your core and back.
2. Best Budget Buy: GORILLA SPORTS Roman Chair
- Large and comfy pad for your upper body
- Collapsible unit for easy storage
- Budget-friendly option
- Easy to assemble
- May wobble during use
- Affordable but less cost-effective than other models
Want more bang for your buck? Check out this model by TecTake. This 45 degree hyperextension bench comes with some wonderful features for a decent price.
This model weighs 8 kg, and can support 100 kg at a time — not bad for the price! We love all the neat features that come with this model. For example, it collapses so you can move and store it around your home. The padding is also thick and comfortable, giving this model longevity, as you don’t have to worry about the foam wearing away after a year of use.
Though this model is made from alloy steel, it’s not the strongest option on our list. This option may wobble while in use.
3. CSBH Foldable Roman Chair
- Non-slip foot pedals
- Ability to change the angles of your chair
- Holds an impressive amount of weight for the price
- High quality steel construction
- Stable and will not tilt
- May not be as durable as some
Looking for a piece of equipment that is beautifully designed, comfortable, reliable, and long-lasting? While the CSBH Foldable chair is less cost-effective, you get great value for money. In addition, its impressive design will make any small home gym feel absolutely professional and well equipped.
This Roman chair is for the individual who wants to build a home gym on a budget. Its alloy steel frame is powder coated and also features comfortable foam, this option finds the perfect balance between comfort and durability. Most notably, this model has a pad near the bottom so you can place weights and plates for easier access if you choose to add additional resistance to your workout.
4. Mittory Roman Chair
- Holds an impressive amount of weight
- Fitness chair with high quality steel frame
- Stable and will not tilt
- Non-slip foot pedals
- Adjustable height (8 positions)
- This model is not as compact as others on this list
Looking to get in great shape? The Mittory roman chair allows you to train abs, legs, and upper body, all for a bargain. This is a total body gym accessory that is safe, stable, and comfortable with decent quality foam hip support pads and foam leg rollers.
This model can hold a user weight up to 125 kg at a time, which is not bad given the price point. You can do a variety of exercises with this model. Ensure you have enough room to store your machine, as this model does not fold up like some other options on our list. However, this shouldn’t deter you if you’re simply looking for a versatile exercise machine especially as the trade-off leads to extra stability.
5. BalanceFrom Adjustable Roman Chair
- Reasonably priced
- Good quality
- Padding not as thick and comfortable as other models
Assembly takes just 30 minutes. It’s foldable, and also reasonably priced! What more can you ask for! We couldn’t find many qualms with this bench by BalanceFrom. It’s not exactly commercial gym-grade, but you get a lot of value for the price and is suitable for most home gyms.
The instructions may be challenging to follow, but it takes 30 minutes on average to build once you review the materials! It’s compact, as it’s a 45 degree bench. This model is also easy to adjust. However, it’s not as stable as some of the other models here.
The Roman chair is a really useful piece of gym equipment enabling you to work the lower back, abdominals, glutes, and hamstrings! Thankfully, they aren’t super expensive and a worthy purchase as you expand your home gym.
We’d highly recommend the Lloow, especially if you are trying to build up a decent home gym with plenty of equipment. The GORILLA SPORTS is great for those on a budget with both of them having the advantage of not taking up much storage space.