A Roman chair (hyperextension bench) is the best exercise equipment you can have at home if you want to strengthen your lower back. But, it also shapes your glutes and hamstrings. If you want strong and shaped midsection, it should be in your workout routine.
Who Should Use Roman bench?
A weak lower back is one of the main reasons for back pain and bad posture. No matter what type of sport you do, you should not forget to train that area. And there is no better gym equipment for that than the hyperextension bench. It is also ideal for those who sits a lot and/or have bad posture.
Here you will learn everything about this equipment from the reviews of the best models to tips to how to buy and use it correctly.
Best Roman chair reviews
1. Fitness Reality X-Class Ab/Hyper Back Extension Bench
The best buy item on the list as it is provides the most workout options. You can use it as an ab, weight and hyperextension bench.
2. Marcy Hyperextension Bench
Classic piece of equipment at an affordable price. Stable and adjustable Roman chair. The best selling chair on Amazon.
3. Stamina Red
45 degree hyperextension bench with folding mechanism. Easy to store and adjust.
4. Stamina Pro
Sit up bench and back extension feature in one machine. Good choice for ladies.
5. XMark XM-7456
Gym quality equipment which is the most comfortable on the list.
1. Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Back Extension Bench - The Best Buy
From its name, we can see that this is a commercial grade exercise equipment. That means it keeps its quality even under hard usage for long years. Because of this, it comes with lifetime warranty. Cool, isn't it?
Why we love this model is its useful features and robust design that allows doing more types of exercises compared to other Roman chairs. It can be used to do the hyperextension exercise, but it can be used as a sit up and a weight bench with a power rack. This way you save money as you do not have to buy other equipment separately for your home gym. Plus, you save a lot of space.
The height adjustments is another thing that makes it so useful. You can use it as a flat bench for example for chest presses. Also, there are 3 decline positions. The thigh support can be set into 14 positions, so you will surely find a position that will suit your needs while you do the 45-degree hyperextension exercise.
The board is 36 inches (92 cm) long and 12 inches (31 cm) wide at the bottom, and 8 inches (21 cm) at the top. Such a board is enough for even a taller or broad shouldered user.
- It has slip resistance handlebars that help you to sit on and get off it, plus it can be used for incline leg raises which is an excellent abdominal exercise. Also, they are good for doing push ups.
- The transportation wheels help to move it around the house.
- Very thick hip pad. It is covered with 2.5 inches medium density foam, while the tight pad, used for the hyperextension exercise, is covered with 2 inches. This way you do not feel pressure on your back or thighs when you use it.
- Extreme weight capacity (sturdy steel frame). This is the only gym equipment on this list that supports 650 lbs (300 kg). So, you don't have to be afraid to use heavy weights with it.
- Even if seems to be a complex machine, the assembly is easy.
- Very versatile
- High capacity
- Robust structure / steel frame
- Excellent adjustability for the 45-degree hyperextension exercise
- Very stable, no wobbling
The price is higher than the other products here, but you get what you pay for. A high-quality workout equipment with a lifetime warranty.
The buyers are satisfied with the Ironman multi-workout bench. They find it comfortable and efficient to use. And those people who have tried other Roman chairs find it a far better option. The only complaints come from those who are over 6.5 feet tall, as they find the board a little bit narrow.
2. Marcy Hyperextension Bench - Classic Equipment at Good Price
The Marcy adjustable hyperextension roman chair is recommended for those who are searching for a cheaper model that suits the needs of an average user.
The manufacturer paid attention to create a hyperextension bench that provides comfortable usage. It comes with assist handles that help to mount and to unmount. And it has a thick hip pad that keeps your upper body in the right position while exercising.
It lets you adjust the ankle pads that is important since you will be set the machine for your maximum comfort and alter the resistance of the exercises. For example, it lets you do side extension that is a powerful exercise to work your oblique.
One reason why this Mary product is so popular is the price. Compared to other models, it is much cheaper. But, keep in mind that it is not a gym quality equipment, so it is not suitable for heavier and taller people. So if you are over 6 feet (180 cm) or over 200 pounds (90 kg), you should choose a sturdier chair. People above these do not find it stable and safe enough, although the manufacturer says the capacity is 300 lbs.
- Made from a heavy duty steel frame that is sturdy enough for an average weight and high user. Strong enough for home usage.
- Easy assembly. It comes with easy-to-follow instructions to put together. It is easy for even a non-techie buyer.
- The assist handles can be used for doing dips, but you may not find it comfortable to use if you are shorter.
- It has a compact design, so you can store it rather easily in your home gym. However, it is not foldable.
- Good price range.
- Suitable for home usage and for average men and women. It doesn't wobble.
- Handlebars for easy mounting and unmounting.
- Thick hip pad and adjustable ankle pads.
- It is not the best option for taller and heavier people. It would be useful if the distance between the feet support and the pad would be adjustable.
- If you ask for assembly, the price is a way too expensive.
Verdict on Marcy roman chair
People loves it for its affordable price and most of them like working out on it. Most of the complaints come from above the average people.
3. Stamina Hyper Bench (Red) - Compact Design
Stamina hyper bench is a classic 45-degree back extension machine, but it has handlebars, so it's suitable for dips or push-ups as well.
Both the backrest and feet support rollers have adjustable height. So, you can set it to the distance that suits you the best. Even people who are 6 feet tall can use it comfortably. But shorter users also find it OK to train on.
The price is another a good point. You can purchase it for about 100 bucks, but keep in mind that it is not a gym quality chair. Even if the manufacturer says the capacity is 300 pounds (136 kg), 250 pounds is the maximum. A few heavier users or those who used heavy dumbbells complain about broken parts.
- It can be folded, so it can be easily stored it even if you have limited space. Suitable for small home gyms or flats.
- Hand grips that might be used for dips, if you are light, or for push ups. These are great bodyweight exercise for the upper body.
- The foam rollers and the pad are thickly padded for better user experience. Users do not complain about pain in their ankles and stomach while they use it.
- Non-slip rubber caps keep this hyperextension equipment in the right position while you use it. But the floor should be flat.
- Affordable price. Good quality for the money
- Highly adjustable
- Easy assembly
- Foldable and compact
- Stamina Hyper is not suitable for extreme usage, for overweight people and with heavy weights. If you are an average high and weight, it is OK to use a few times a week.
- The warranty is not clean. You should contact Amazon to get to know.
Most of the buyers think they get what they pay for and their user experience is pretty positive. On the other hand, those people who put this standing Roman chair under hard usage complain about broken parts and wobbling.
4. Stamina Pro - Good choice for women
Well, we can call it the little brother of the Ironman reviewed above, although it is not as professional and robust.
This is another model that can be used as 45-degree hyperextension and a sit up bench. So, with the help of it, you can do a complete core workout at home. Since, both the foam rollers and the thigh support can be adjusted to various levels, you get the distance that lets you do sit ups and hyperextensions safely.
The levels are set with the help of locking pins, but that is the part that has the most complaints. Firstly, some users say they fall out too easily. While others find these pins disturbing the ones at the feet support. Creative users replaced that rod with bolts that way they avoid the popping out.
Also, keep in mind that this item is only suitable for those who are under 250 lbs and 6 feet tall. You may use it as a workout bench as well.
The length of the board is about 30 inches (76 cm). That is OK for an average high man or woman, but taller people have to hold their head up while they do sit ups. Plus, it can be adjusted just into levels.
- Good price
- Functions to strengthen the entire core (crunches, sit ups, side hyperextension, etc.)
- If you are light, you are allowed to use light dumbbells to increase the resistance.
- Easy storage
- Problems with locking pins
- Small for taller people
- Not sturdy enough for pro users
- The warranty is unknown, should be asked from Amazon
If you are not so tall and large and you need a fitness equipment that provides more functions than a simple hyperextension bench, this model will do for you. Considering the price, the features, and the user experience, Stamina Pro is not a bad back extension equipment at all.
5. XMark 11-Gauge Lower Back Bench - The best 90 degree model
This Xmark model has almost the same design as the Marcy one above, but mush more robust than that. It has an 11-gauge steel 2" X 3" mainframe steel construction which makes it a good option in case you are heavy or want to use weight when doing the back extension exercise.
What makes it different from the other products is that it has a horseshoe design that makes it extremely stable. So, it does not wobble even under heavy usage. The maximum weight capacity is 350 lbs, but because of its robust design, it can handle a little bit more weight than that.
- The oversized thickly padded rollers can be adjusted to 10 heights. This way the resistance can be altered. If you find the flat-positioned back extension too hard, by moving the feet support, you can decrease the resistance.
- Also, it has triceps handles for dips which is a great bodyweight exercise to strengthen your upper body. Though this section is not adjustable, so depending on your high, you may find it too narrow or wide.
- It is pretty heavy, so it isn't easy to move around, but that is why this Xmark model is so massive.
- Extremely stable and balanced.
- Highly adjustable
- Heavy duty solid steel construction
- Perfect for anyone
A bit more expensive than others.
Buyers love it for its comfortable design, adjustable height, and strong structure. You will hardly find any minor complaints.
Types - 45 degree angle vs 90
Depending on the structure of the gym equipment, there are two types. One that allows doing the back extension exercise in 45-degree position, and one when you lay facing to the ground in a horizontal position. Some models are adjustable so that you can change the angle for more or less resistance.
The 45-degree chair is maybe better for beginners since it's easier to perform the extension move, but with that, we can do more reps and sets. Also, we can use light dumbbells to make the exercise more challenging.
The horizontal chairs are much harder to use simply because of the gravity. So, they strengthen your lower back muscles better. Pro athletes also use weights to add more resistance.
Personally, since I'm not a newcomer I prefer the flat hyperextension benches.
What To Look Out For When You’re Buying a Hperextension Bench
The back extension exercise can be a dangerous activity if it is done incorrectly or on a badly-made bench. If your legs slip out, you may fall off and hit your face into the ground. Or if it isn't stable you may also land on the floor.
Another crucial point is to check if it fits your weight and size. If you are taller or shorter the average, you should pick a back extension chair that lets you place your legs or feet in the right position so that your lower stomach is positioned comfortably on the hip pad. This is important to perform the extension correctly and to avoid pain in your feet and abs. So always pay attention to the adjustability of the product.
If you are heavier than average always pick a solidly-welded machine. Light models will break quickly and wobble under you.
Another important factor is the balance and stability of the chair. It should have rubber protections at the bottom. Firstly, to avoid slipping while you work out on it. Secondary, to avoid the scratches on the floor.
And finally, the price and the functions. As you could see above, there is equipment that can be used for more than just for back extension. For example, there are ones with sit up board that is excellent for training your abs, or all in one equipment for weight training. Everything depends on your budget. However, if you can afford it's better to buy a multi-workout model like Ironman since you strengthen your core muscles totally, and you will be able to use it for other purposes.
Roman chair exercises & benefits
While the back extension is the most beneficial exercise to strengthen your lower back and muscles around your spine, if it is badly done, you may quickly suffer from injuries. It is crucial to do properly, so watch the video below. Never use weights until you cannot do at least 20 reps well, and just use light ones. Too heavy weights may lead to lower back pain.
How to use a Roman chair
You can also do a few ab exercises such as crunches, side extension, leg lifts, but I think there is better abdominal equipment for this purpose.
Want to focus more on your abs? Get a sit up bench instead.
Compared to other piece of equipment such as a home gym machine, it looks an unimportant machine. But its benefits are numerous. Strong lower back and spine muscles are vital for the health of your upper body and performance in any sports. And if you already have back pain you can also cure it with it but always consult with your doctor before. Finally, it is the best option for those who sits a lot and want to develop their posture.
Can you show me an example Roman chair workout?
For example, do the following on the bench:
- Hyperextension: 3-4 sets with 10-15 reps
- Leg raise by sitting on the hip pad: 3-4 × 10-15
- Sit-ups: 3-4 × 10-15
- Oblique twist: 3-4 × 10-15 for each side
This way, you will strengthen all parts of your core.
Roman chair exercises for lower back pain? Are they safe?
In most of the cases, you have lower back pain for two reasons: you have weak lower back and spine muscles, or you have medical problems such as a hernia.
So, before using it always consult with your doctor to know the reasons for your pain. If you have medical problems, hyperextension bench exercises can make things worse.
What is the difference between the lower back bench and GHD?
The glute ham developer (GHD) because of the design of the machine more load is placed on the hamstrings besides the lower back. So, if you want to strengthen your hams and glutes, a GHD is a better option.
On the other hand, if you use the Roman bench, the load is on the posterior chain. That means multiple muscles such as your lower back, spinal erectors, and glutes. All these muscles are engaged to lift the torso.
I hope you found the best Roman chair for you. If you still need advice feel free to ask below.