If you’re looking for a good way to work your core and strengthen your back, a Roman chair or hyperextension bench could be just the piece of equipment you need. It’s a simple bench that has been used as an essential part of training routines for a long time. It’s extremely versatile and allows you to work your abs, legs, and glutes. Some even have extra stations to do some arm work, too.
There are also some other health benefits you can gain from using a roman chair. If you’ve ever been in physical therapy, you have probably either used a roman chair or have seen another patient using one. If you’ve had an injury or are experiencing lower back pain, a hyperextension bench is a great way to strengthen your back and resolve any pain from injury as long as you have the assistance of a trained physical therapist.
You shouldn’t take it upon yourself to use a bench like this to treat an injury, but if your physical therapist recommends you get a bench for home to continue your strengthening exercises or if you want a simple, effective machine that will help you define your abs, glutes, and more, we put together a buyer’s guide so you can learn more about roman chairs. Then, check out our reviews of the six best roman chairs/hyperextension benches of the year.
Top Roman Chairs Comparison Chart
Roman chairs, or hyperextension benches, are simple and versatile. Whether you want to work on your physique, posture, or keep your lower back pain at bay, a roman chair or hyperextension bench is one way to help you do it.
These benches have roller pads to hook your feet under and a padded middle support which for your hips and groin to rest against during exercises. The distance between the rollers and the groin pad is usually adjustable for people of different heights and so you can change the height as necessary to work different parts of your body.
You use your core with every exercise you do on a roman chair which makes it such a great piece of equipment. Your glutes, abs, and core will all get a serious workout.
Why Buy a Roman Chair?
In addition to the health benefits, there are several other reasons to consider buying a roman chair of hyperextension bench.
While they can be heavy, they’re usually easy to assemble. Some models are quite compact and are ideal if you don’t have a lot of room for equipment in your home. Most are adjustable and can work for people of all shapes and sizes as well as different levels of fitness and experience.
Some workout equipment just looks intimidating and might scare inexperienced people away, but a roman chair is pretty straightforward. The exercises aren’t that easy to figure out and it manages to be really effective and produce stunning results without a bunch of fancy monitors, weights, or completely blowing your budget.
Are There Any Limitations to Who Can Benefit from a Roman Chair?
Most models can be adjusted to fit any height and have weight limits that go to about 300 pounds so they’re useful for a wide range of people. This makes them a great addition to a home gym as they can easily be modified to suit any member of the family.
One of the great things about this kind of machine is that there are no heavy weights to put on and take off. The resistance that gets such good results comes from your own body so you can work at your own pace.
While this is a wonderful tool to rehabilitate injuries and is commonly used in therapy, again, it’s important to note that you should not use one of these machines if you have suffered an injury without clearance from a physical therapist. Deciding to use one of these machines with an injury and are not sure of what you’re doing could lead to other problems.
What Can Exercise on a Roman Chair Do?
There are a few very specific exercises you can do on a roman chair to get some dramatic results.
Since people started spending more time at desks looking at computers or with their heads down staring at phone screens, posture, in general, has started to suffer. This can lead to sore backs and necks and even hunched shoulders.
Doing back extensions on a roman chair can helpfully extend your back and contract lower back muscles plus strengthen your abs, both of which will help support your spine and improve your posture.
Help and Prevent Back Pain
Strengthening your abs and lower back will also alleviate a lot of the pressure that’s normally put on your lower spine and reduce lower back pain. Sometimes, lower back pain can be caused by bad posture, but some people who work out a lot invest a lot of times in their upper body without bothering to work their lower back. As you work out using heavier and heavier weights when doing squats, etc, your back takes a lot of abuse. Incorporating a roman chair into your workout can help keep your lower back strong enough to keep up with the rest of your routine.
Full Body Workout
We’ve spend a lot of time talking about back, glutes, and abs, but make no mistake. There are plenty of ways to use a roman chair to work your upper back and arms. This really is a great piece of equipment to have in your home gym for this reason. It’s an affordable way to work your whole body.
Things to Look Out For
Make sure you choose a roman chair that can support the weight of everyone who will be using it. While most hold upwards of 200 pounds, weiweightlifters athletes looking to add a back workout to their routine could very probably weigh much more than that.
While all of these roman chairs are adjustable, be very careful about getting one that’s designed for your height. We included the specifics about this in most of our reviews. Some of the pad adjustments aren’t enough to support anyone really short or really tall. Using a machine that’s either too big or too small for you isn’t going to be as effective and may even lead to injury, so make sure you find one that’s just your size. Some power towers include enough height for a built in roman chair.
Pads come in various thicknesses and some are firmer than others. There’s no way to tell which will be more comfortable for you, but it’s a good rule of thumb to assume that the thicker or denser a pad it, the better it’s going to feel when you’re exercising.
We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s important the you don’t use a roman chair to treat any back pain without the advice of a physical therapist. Often when you’re going to therapy for back pain or injuries, your physical therapist will recommend that you use a roman chair but only after you’ve been shown how to use it properly. Getting a roman chair for exercise is one thing, but if you’re injured, you need to be careful that you’re doing the exercises in the right way.
Now that we know a little more about roman chairs, let’s take a closer look at the six best roman chairs of the year.
Best Roman Chair Reviews
If you’re looking to invest in a higher end hyperextension bench, the BodyCraft G670 is a great option. The pad is extra wide and can accommodate a wide range of body types. The thick padding keeps you comfortable while you’re working out and the slightly curved sides help you feel secure like you won’t slip or shift once you’re into your workout and start sweating.
The pad is placed a little lower than it is on some other models so while this pick might be great for someone short, anyone who’s tall should make sure that the pad isn’t too low for them. While the general height of this bench is adjustable, it doesn’t really seem to be made with really tall people in mind. It’s also only able to hold up to 300 pounds.
The BodyCraft F670 has a sturdy frame made of heavy-gauge steel and is made with high-quality parts, from the foam rollers to the injection molded pad. You can rest assured that this is a great investment because it’s covered by a lifetime warranty on materials and workmanship. It doesn’t fold up for easy storage, but it has a relatively small footprint and won’t take up too much room.
- Lifetime warranty
- Strong reliable construction
- Not ideal of tall people
The Powerline Roman Chair/Back Hyperextension is constructed of heavy gauge steel with a wide base that prevents any unsteadiness or rocking that can happen during your workout, especially once things start getting a little more intense. It has wide pads that that are dense and comfortable so you won’t experience any pain when your hipbones are digging into them during your routine.
Again, this is a bench that might not be a good fit for someone really tall, say anyone over six feet or so. While the foam rollers are adjustable, they still may not move enough to make this comfortable to use if you’re really tall. It only holds up to 250 pounds, too, so keep these things in mind if you’re tall or weigh a lot.
The heavy steel frame is powder coated to protect it from general wear and tear. It’s strong and durable and a really great choice, as long as you’re not exceptionally tall. It comes with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty for the frame and one year for all other parts. If you’re of average height and weight, you’ll get a lot of use out of this machine.
- Good warranty
- Not suitable for really tall people
- Only holds up to 250 pounds
The XMark Roman Chair XM-4429 is surprisingly versatile. Not only is is made of 14 gauge steel and powder coated so it’s scratch resistant, it’s also has a wide base for extra stability and skid-resistant rubber feet to protect your floors from any scratches. You can tell that this bench is put together with care when you look at the cushions, made of extra thick 2 ½ inch high-density foam, double stitched and covered with Duraguard vinyl.
Its ergonomic design makes sure that you stay as comfortable as possible while you’re doing your workout. You have ten different levels of adjustments you can make so this bench can adapt to your skills as you improve and need more difficult workouts for a long time to come. It also has an integrated tricep dip station so you can define and sculpt your legs, core, and arms with this one Roman chair.
Unlike some of the reviews we’ve done where the equipment wasn’t suited for really tall people, this one is just the opposite as it might not be the best choice for anyone on the short side. It’s definitely still usable, but the pads may not sit exactly where they’re supposed to so this one might not be the most comfortable option.
- High-quality construction
- Reasonably priced
- Not a good fit for short people
The XMark Hyperextension Roman Chair has an impressive 12 levels of adjustments and helps improve flexibility, a range of motion, and circulation. It’s made of heavy-duty14 gauge steel with the mainframe built using 2 x 3 rectangular steel. The powder coated finish protects it from wear and tear and any exposure to the elements.
It has 12 pad height adjustments so it can be adapted to fit almost any body shape or size. The high-density foam pads are 2 ½ inches thick and covered in Duraguard vinyl that’s sweat and tear resistant, keeping you comfortable while you work out for many years to come. The oversized contour rollers work for anyone and the angled rubber grip handlebars allow you to comfortably work tricep dips into your workout.
Compared to some other models, the XMark Hyperextension Roman Chair XM-4428 is reasonably priced. Assembly is a little tricky because it takes a lot of muscle to tighten the bolts and, despite the fact that the instructions tell you no additional tools are needed, you’ll definitely need an adjustable wrench. The unit will definitely wobble if you can’t get the bolts tight enough.
- Affordable price
- 12 different pad height adjustments
- Good for tall people
- Difficult to assemble
- Not for short people
For a really budget-friendly option, try the Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair. It’s made of a heavy duty, powder-coated steel frame that won’t sway or wobble even during the most intense exercises and will last a really long time. The ergonomic design keeps your body in good position to maximize the effects of your workout.
The handles and leg holders are made of high-density foam with a comfortable covering so you be able to do your workouts as comfortably as possible. Another really great thing about this bench is it only weighs 42 pounds which makes it a great addition to a home gym. It’s small and lightweight enough that you can easily move it out of the way if you need the space for something else. Plus, even though it’s compact and lightweight, it can still hold up to 300 pounds.
The downside to this hyperextension bench is that it’s made for short people. This isn’t the first roman chair we’ve encountered that wouldn’t work for someone over 6 feet tall but with this model, anyone over, say, 5 feet 8 inches might feel a little cramped.
- Great price
- Not a good choice for anyone moderately tall
Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Back Extension Bench
I’m a firm believer in muscle balance, and I like this bench because it provides an “all-in-one” solution for your mid-body. Not only do you get the benefits of a Roman Chair or Hyperextension Bench (which works your lower back muscles mainly) but you get a piece of equipment (for around the same price) that gives you way more versatility by letting you work out the opposing muscle group which would basically be your abs. Plus, having that option in one machine reminds you to do both – win/win I say!
Not only that, but you’re given a set of push up or dip handles as well! Wow – all for the low low price of …. well, about the same as an average Roman Chair price!
Some nice features/specs include 12-inch soft, slip-resistant pushup/dip bars, double stitched vinyl bench cover, 4 different adjustments for incline angles and 14 adjustments for support cushion height. It can handle 650 lbs of weight (though who do you know that weighs that?!!), and it’s extremely stable.
User reviews on Amazon on plentiful and very complimentary!
- Relatively Inexpensive
- Tons of adjustments
- More versatility means workout ability for both lower back and abs (as well as pectoral muscles and triceps)
- A bit larger than a single Roman Chair
Final Thoughts & Recap
If you’re willing to invest in a pricey but high-quality piece of equipment, the BodyCraft F670 is a higher-end option that can accommodate a wide range of body types comfortably. The main supporting pad is placed a little low on this one so it’s a better fit for shorter people. The sturdy frame and quality craftsmanship come with a lifetime guarantee make this a safe investment that will last you a long time. Overall roman chairs are some of the best and most versatile pieces of ab workout equipment on the market today.
The Powerline Roman Chair/Back Hyperextension is also a good fit for shorter people. The steel frame is powder coated and extremely durable and the wide base keeps it sturdy. It won’t wobble even during intense workouts. It’s an affordable choice that comes with a 10-year guarantee on the frame so it’s also a great investment for long-term use.
For a versatile choice, the XMark Roman Chair XM-4429 is powder coated, scratch resistant, and has a wide base for extra stability. The foam is extra thick for comfort and support and covered in Duraguard vinyl for durability. There are ten different adjustable levels with this one and it’s a great choice for someone who’s tall.
If you want even more adjustment, the XMark XM-4428 has a whopping 12 levels that can be adapted to fit almost any body size and shape. The foam is 2 ½ inches thick, durable so it’s resistant to tears and sweat and made of strong, powder coated steel. This is another bench that’s a good fit for someone tall.
The Marcy Adjustable Hyperextension Roman Chair is a budget-friendly choice that’s lightweight and easy to store. The powder coated steel frame and high-density foam pads and rollers make it a comfortable choice. This bench is a little petite and a good fit for anyone on the short side.
EVELOVE’s Roman chair is another great budget-friendly choice that can support up to 440 pounds. IT’s lightweight and easy to move out of the way if you need the space. The 5 different height settings are great for tall people. This one’s also designed at an angle that places less pressure on the lower back than some other models.
A roman chair or hyperextension bench is a great way to work your lower back and abs and a great addition to any home gym. The most important thing to consider when buying one is how it will fit your body. You height and weight should be taken into consideration when choosing the one that’s right for you. Use our reviews to find the ones that will work and you’ll be able to start sculpting your abs and strengthening your lower back a little bit sooner.