The Roman Chair is one of the classic pieces of equipment in the fitness industry. Though there is no consensus on what “exactly” a Roman Chair is, there has been many variation and augmentations over the years to what constitutes a “Roman Chair”. To keep things simple for this list, we will be defining a roman chair as a backless bench or a hyperextension bench.
The earliest Roman Chair exercises involved lower back training through hyperextension movements. Other early roman chair exercises include sit-ups and twists on benches with leg fixed in leg pads to support the upper body. Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to LeBron James has used them in their training. The Roman Chair is an essential machine to help build a strong, tight and muscular core. No matter if you are an athlete, gym enthusiast or an average Joe, the roman chair should be used in your training programs at some point. Even though the Roman Chair is an old-school piece of equipment it has been updated to fit 2018’s fitness standards.
The 5 Best Roman Exercise Chairs:
Here is a list of 5 of the top Roman Chair machines that will revolutionize your workouts. All the products listed below can be purchased and delivered through Amazon to your home or facility.
The Marcy’s Roman Chair and Hyperextension Bench is very similar to the traditional Roman Chair’s from the past. The Marcy’s Roman Chair and Hyperextension Bench offer many benefits. First, the manufacturer, Marcy’s, has over half a century of experience developing, innovating and developing equipment for both gym and home use and this bench is no different. This bench’s frame is made of high-quality material that will last much longer than other competing Roman Chair’s. Along with a high-quality frame, this chair offer’s a nice and wide pad to rest your core on while training. This makes Marcy’s roman chair more user-friendly and functional for people from a variety of backgrounds.
This Roman Chair is less than $100 which is a bargain for equipment of such high quality. Most home equipment like this will cost close to $150 to $200. With this equipment, you can train almost your entire core at home without having to go to the gym. Lower back, oblique and glutes can all be trained on this bench.
There are three drawbacks to this awesome bench. This bench is not designed like your traditional Roman Chair but more like a hyperextension bench. This means that it is only functional at training your lower back, obliques, and glues but not the best for training your abs for a six-pack. This leaves a large part of the core that is traditionally benefited from Roman Chairs, missing out from training on this equipment. Second, the only adjustable portion of this roman chair is the leg hold. This is an issue for those of shorter stature. This limits its use to only those of a higher height. Third, the design of this bench does not allow for it to be folded up and put away after use. This means it will take up quite a bit of space when not being used. This makes it more practical for someone who is living in a house instead of an apartment.
Second on our list is the Hyper Bench by Stamina. This bench offers four different levels of incline which allows you to train almost your entire core seamlessly on one bench. You can lower the incline of the bench to try some Roman Chair Sit-Ups for your abs or increase the incline try some Russian Twists for your obliques. Moreover, this bench offers a pivoting foam roller for your lower legs that allows this bench to transition into a hyperextension bench. This allows the bench the ability to train your lower back along with the rest of your core. The Hyper Bench also offers adjustable footrests, handgrips and thigh support to support a wide variety of workouts and intensities.
The only a few drawbacks that could be found. First, the construction of this bench can be quite tedious because of its versatility. This can make it frustrating to assemble. Second, this bench is a bit more expensive than its competition. This chair will cost you a little over $100 on Amazon when used and more when brand new. This can be a little expensive for home use.
The Stamina Hyper Bench is one of the most cost-effective benches on our list. This bench has non-slip footrests which means this bench can be used in any environment. Also, this bench is designed with a sleek thin design which allows for easy storage when not being used. This makes it great for those in apartments and houses. The Stamina Hyper Bench also has thick padding allowing for a variety of exercises to be done comfortably and ergonomically. This bench only weighs 28lbs, making it one of the lightest roman chairs on our list. Being so lightweight makes it easy to use at home in an apartment or a house.
This bench does have a few drawbacks. One of the major issues with this bench is its inability to support larger individuals. The lightweight frame tends to fall apart with the use of heavier users. This limits a large number of people who may want to use this bench, not to mention being a big safety concern. The second issue is the cost of the bench. This bench is $70 used and close to $150 new. This can be a little expensive compared to some of its competitors on the market that offer slightly more options and adjustability.
The Titan Fitness Roman Chair’s multifunctional, foldable and adjustable design allowing for easy access and simple use. With a wide frame, it offers more stability than some other benches on this list. This bench can support up to 250lbs of use, making it a very safe bench to use for larger individuals or individuals using extra weight such as dumbbells. Also, its design allows for a larger variety of exercises to be performed on this bench. You can focus on crunching, hyperextensions, dips, and much more. Not all benches on this list can offer that kind of variety. Moreover, this Roman Chair is designed to be folded up and put away after its use and only weighing 40lbs makes it easy to fold and tuck away. Lastly, being offered for less than $100 is a bargain for such a versatile piece of equipment.
The only drawback to this bench is the pads are not as comfortable as the other benches on this list. Though this isn’t the end of the end of the world, it does make extended use uncomfortable.
The GoPlus Adjustable AB Bench offer’s a light frame with a large amount of adjustability. This bench has five different height levels ranging from 23” to 28”. These different height levels allow this bench to be used by almost anyone! Moreover, this bench can hold up to 220lbs of weight at because of its heavy-duty steel frame. Furthermore, the padding and foam leg holds make it a very comfortable bench for training your lower back, hamstrings or glutes. The most convenient feature of this bench is its convenient design. It can easily be folded and tucked away when not being used, making this bench perfect for bodyweight, home workouts. This bench is offered at a great price on Amazon for only $56 + shipping.
There were only a few drawbacks we could find about the GoPlus roman char. Some users found that the metal pieces did not assemble properly; others found the frame bent under their weight. However, these complaints seem to be isolated cases.
Roman Chair Buying Guide
When buying a roman chair there are a few key things to look for before you make your purchase. These features will all depend on your needs, space, budget and exercise plan.
Design & Portability
First, when buying equipment for your home gym, it is always essential to make sure you’re buying something that won’t take up too much room. If you have limited space, for example, an apartment, you don’t want a Roman Chair you can’t fold and put away. On the other hand, if space is not a concern of yours, this won’t be as big of an issue. Also, it is important to assess the grips and footing of the benches in regards to where you will be training. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to use a piece of equipment that keeps sliding while it’s being used. However, since the roman chair won’t be you’re the only piece of equipment it is a big feature to keep in mind.
Second, what your bench is made out of will be a big concern over time. If you are a workout enthusiast who plans to train every day on this bench, you will want a strong, steel frame. Wear and tear on these benches will happen, however, having a bench break on you after only a few uses will definitely be frustrating. Moreover, it is a big safety concern if you are going to be doing any weight-bearing exercises on a bench that may not be sturdy enough to support these movements. Find a bench after you have an idea of the exercises you will be performing.
Thirdly, the ergonomics of the bench may be the most important thing on this buying guide. If you need a roman chair that can train your total core (abs, obliques, lower back, etc.), be sure to find a bench that offer’s all of these features and adjustments. Some roman chairs only offer the ability to train certain sections of the body, for example, the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Understand your workout plan and expectations before purchasing a roman chair. Not all chairs are built for the same purpose. If you are unsure about which exercise you will be doing on your piece of equipment, check out this video to learn what exercises you can do on a Roman Chair.
Popular Roman Chair Exercises
Curious about what you should start with on a Roman Chair? Here’s a little bonus list of the 3 best Roman Chair exercises!
Roman Chair Hyperextension
- This exercise is perfect for training your lower back and glutes. There are 3 main points to follow to do this exercise correctly.
- Focus on control the whole way through the movement and avoid using momentum to swing.
- Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement and hold for about one second.
- Slowly return yourself to the starting position without letting your body fall.
- Following these 3 points will help you develop lower back strength and avoid pulling any muscles in your lower back.
Roman Chair Twist
The Roman Chair twist helps train the obliques and rectus abdominis (six pack muscles) of the core. Here are three key points to make this exercise successful.
- Keep your core tight and your back straight.
- When twisting, try not to turn farther than your ROM (range of motion) allows. If you do, you will begin compensating form.
- Try not to swing during this movement either. Swinging can increase the risk of pulling a muscle in your abdomen.
Roman Chair Crunch
The Roman Chair crunch is a great way to develop mass and brute strength in your core. Here are three points to help you do this exercise correctly.
- Keep your core engaged at all times during this exercise. Do not disengage at the bottom of the crunch.
- Try to avoid throwing your arms to assist in the crunch. If you can’t sit up yet, try lowering the incline or focusing on floor sit-ups until you are ready
- Be sure to breathe during this exercise. It is easy to start holding your breath but you will become light headed.
These exercises can all be paired together in a circuit or done on their own. It is best to start with 3 sets of 10 and work up from there. All these exercises should be performed with just your body weight until they become too easy. At that point, try holding a small weight (2.5lbs to 5lbs) behind your head for resistance. This will make the lift a lot harder than you think!
In closing, Roman Chairs, and the exercises you can do with them should be staples in your training program. They can help you grow and strengthen your body faster than you’d expect.
In the end, the perfect roman chair will come down to your specific needs. Everything from budget to design should be considered before making your purchase. Not all roman chairs are made the same. Also, not everyone’s need for a roman chair is the same it does come down to the user’s needs.
Our Choice: Stamina Pro Ab/Hyper Bench
Overall, this bench offer’s everything needed in a roman chair. It does not exclude any exercises because of its design, it offers a strong stable frame, and with a cost ranging between $100- $150 used and $200 new, it is an affordable option.