How To Use A Roman Chair: The Ultimate Guide

Are you wondering how to use a Roman chair? You have come to the right place. It is one of the most versatile exercise machines out there. It can help you work on some of the most important muscle groups in your body. This often neglected piece of gym equipment can give you one heck of a workout. With an uncomplicated design, it only occupies a minimal amount of space.

What Is A Roman Chair?

The Roman chair is one of the oldest exercise machines you can find at the gym. You may also find that not many people line up to use it. A Roman chair is a chair-like machine that is composed of a bench and a pair of roll pads. It is also called the “hyperextension machine” because it allows for a wide range of movement.

One of the great things about the Roman chair is that you can use it to train multiple muscle groups. Among the muscles you can develop with the help of this machine include:

  • Back
  • Core
  • Abs
  • Thighs
  • Glutes

The latest versions of the machine now have adjustable height and angles. These allow people of different body types to use the machine and perform other exercises with ease. Why You Should Get a Roman Chair?

There are different reasons why you should use a Roman chair in the gym. It is even encouraged that you get one for your home. As stated earlier, the machine can be used to perform various kinds of exercises. With the right approach, you can build some of the most important muscle groups in your body.

Its general design also allows for people to try different kinds of exercises. You can even adjust the level of difficulty of such exercises through simple adjustments. The machine also occupies very little space, which makes it ideal even for home use. It can even be packed away after your workout in a matter of minutes.

It may look like a torture device for some, but learning how to use a Roman chair will open your routine to all kinds of possibilities.

The Benefits Of Using A Roman Chair

It may not have the hype of newer and more complex machines, but the Roman chair gets its prescribed job done. Here are some of the most appealing fitness benefits you can get from using this machine for your workouts.

1. It improves your posture

Proper posture is an often-neglected part of physical fitness. However, it is a very important component for maintaining optimal body functionality. When doing your everyday chores, it is not uncommon for your body to be twisted at odd angles.

Activities such as sitting for too long also promote development of bad posture. One of the special things about the Roman chair is it builds muscles essential for maintaining proper posture. This includes muscles found at the lower back and the abs. Improving your posture has a wide range of health and mental benefits. Maintain good posture with the help of the Roman chair.

2. It helps cure back pain

how to use a roman chair

Back pain

One of the biggest problems in some machines is that they cannot be used on some body types. This is not the case when it comes to the Roman chair. You can adjust the top and bottom platforms of the machine to suit the needs of both tall and short people.

This should allow you to optimize the effectiveness of these exercises while preventing workout-related injuries. Some of the newer Roman chairs even have adjustable angles, which can be great for modifying the level of difficulty in the exercises.

Exercises You Can Do In A Roman Chair

1. Back Extensions

The back extension is considered as the quintessential workout you can perform using the Roman chair. It will primarily work on your lower back muscles, an essential part of your core. To get into position, lie face down on the chair, with your pelvis and upper thighs resting at the edge of the platform. Hook up your heels at the foot pad to secure your body. Lower your torso and then lift it up using your lower back muscles. Just as in sit-ups, you can perform as many reps as your body will allow you to. As a safety precaution, it is important that you avoid rounding your spine while doing extensions.

2. Sit-ups

The Roman chair sit-up is a step up from your usual crunches. This workout adds much-needed resistance to your usual abs routine to perk those muscles up. To get into position, sit on the platform of the chair and hook your legs at the foot pad.

Lower your torso to hip level to get into starting position. Perform sit-ups like you would with a traditional bench. The beauty of this exercise is that since there’s no platform for your back to lay flat on, your body should support its own weight, engaging other muscles in the process.

Safety precautions for all sit-ups also apply on Roman chair sit-ups. Observing proper form and emphasizing smooth movements will help prevent injuries such as back strains.

3. Leg raise

The Roman chair leg raise is one of the most effective ways to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Aside from building your abs, it also works out your hip flexors. To get into starting position, sit on the platform, holding on at the sides to stay stable.

With your knees slightly bent, rest your legs at the foot rest. Keeping your back straight, you raise your legs toward your chest. Bring your legs down smoothly to starting position to complete one rep. You can raise the difficulty of this exercise by fully extending your legs and keeping it straight as you raise it. However, just like sit-ups, it is important to keep your back straight at all times.

Precautions When Using A Roman Chair

how to use a roman chair

There are some important precautions that you should take when exercising with a Roman chair. Following these tips will greatly help in minimizing your risk of injuries.

  • Follow proper form in any exercise you’ll do on the chair. This step will help save you from injuries, especially at the lower back.
  • Moving too fast or hyperextending your back can lead to injury. When doing back extensions, the highest your torso should reach should be parallel to your hips.
  • Adjust the chair according to your height and torso length. This will help in avoiding injuries and improving exercise efficiency.


The Roman chair is a highly versatile exercise machine, capable of working out the muscles of the lower back, the hips, and the abdomen. Now that you know how to use a Roman chair, it is now time to put in the work and get the best shape of your life!

Luke Cafferty

Luke Cafferty is a fitness junkie, personal trainer and blogger. He's passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a strong and well rounded physique, while inspiring you to do the same.

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