Hyperextension benches work wonders for your back muscle strength. Not to mention, they strengthen your core and legs muscles as well as glutes, and they alleviate back pain over time.
Back extension benches work different muscles depending on if you use it at a 45 or 90-degree angle. There are also different types you can choose from including adjustable, budget friendly, and DIY reverse hyper machines.
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What Is a Roman Chair?
The term “Roman Chair” is interchangeably used as a name for several exercise equipment, but it’s most commonly used to refer to the back hyperextension bench.
The primary purpose behind this exercise is to strengthen the lower back muscles by allowing you to flex your back to varying degrees. There are two setups for the Roman chairs: 45-degree and 90-degree.
The Best Angle For A Hyperextension Bench
This setup is a good start for beginners. It’s quite easy to get on or off this chair, and the exercise itself can be done by anyone. It’s also a good choice for people suffering from back pain.
The starting position is to incline yourself to the seat padding at 45 degrees and lock your ankles to the foam supports.
- Best for: Beginners
- Exercise difficulty: 4/10
The starting position for this setup is to lie flat on the horizontal bench, which allows for a more extreme back flexion.
It’s somewhat hard for beginners and more suitable for intermediate or advanced athletes who need a more challenging exercise for their core muscles.
- Best for: Intermediate to advanced athletes
- Exercise difficulty: 7/10
How to Use a Roman Chair
As we’ve just mentioned, there are two setups for Roman chairs, and we’ve provided you with a comparison on both and how to use each of them below.
Benefits of a Hyperextension Bench
A back extension bench can improve your overall gains significantly. Here are some of the countless benefits of the back extension exercise:
- Strengthening your lower back. The hyperextension exercise mainly targets the erector spinae muscles in your lower back, supporting the lower spine.
- Back pain relief. Statistics have shown that almost half of working Americans experience back pain from one time to another. Flexing your back muscles can make them stronger and reduce stiffness, especially for those who sit for prolonged periods or lift heavy objects.
- Strengthening your core muscles. Strengthening your core muscles is essential since they contribute to many other compound exercises. If you want to improve your performance when doing chest, back, and lower body exercises, you should also pay attention to your core muscles. All essential exercises like deadlifts and squats can be performed better if your core muscles are stronger.
- Strengthening other muscles. Exercising on a hyperextension bench indirectly works out your glutes. Having strong glutes allows you to squat using heavier weights. It also hits your hips and shoulders muscles.
- Boosting fat-burning. The hyperextension is a compound exercise, meaning it works out more than one muscle group. Compound exercises boost metabolism much higher than isolation exercises, allowing you to burn more fat, even at rest.
Features to Look for in a Roman Chair
Choosing the right Roman chair may seem easy, but it’s actually a bit more complicated than you think. Before picking a Roman chair, there are several factors to keep in mind to make sure it’s suitable for you.
Make sure that the bench is comfortable and has thick paddings on the chair rest and ankle supports. Thin paddings may cause discomfort to your abdominal or leg muscles.
A Roman chair’s weight capacity is influenced by the material used in designing the frame. Almost all Roman chairs are made from steel but in different grades. Higher-strength steel allows for a higher load-bearing capacity.
Before buying a Roman chair, make sure that its load carrying capacity is well over your weight. Most of them can carry weights from as low as 250 lbs to up to 400 lbs.
Many Roman chairs feature an adjustable length that accommodates people of all heights. Others also have adjustable ankle pads since people may have longer or shorter torsos.
Using a Roman chair without adjusting it according to your body measurements may cause injuries due to improper form. Not to mention, it can just be quite uncomfortable to work out on a bench that’s not fully adjusted to suit your height.
A gap in the chair’s hip pad is quite essential, especially for males. Having a gap in the hip pad allows your pelvic area to lie flat, making it easier for you to perform the exercise in the correct form.
The stability of the chair is critical, considering that any wobbling can be alarming. A fall off a Roman chair that can’t hold itself together can be quite dangerous. Make sure that the chair is tightly assembled and that it can hold your weight quite well. A wide base is preferred since it makes the chair much more stable.
Additionally, if you’re going to put the bench on a smooth floor, make sure that its feet have anti-slip covers to ensure that the chair stays in position while you work out to avoid injuries.
Just like with any piece of gym equipment, you’re going to sweat a lot on your Roman chair, which is why you should try to pick one that’s easy to clean. Removable covers are much easier to clean than non-removable ones. It’d also be nice if the paddings are made of absorbent materials that can be washed easily.
Many Roman chairs have two handlebars that you can use to get into the right position or take a break. You can also use them to work out your chest and triceps muscles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Is Better: 45 or 90 Degree Roman Chair?
Both 45 and 90-degree Roman chairs work the same muscles, but they’re designed differently. 45-degree ones are great for beginners, while 90-degree ones are best for intermediate to advanced athletes.
How to Perform the Hyperextension Exercise?
Follow these steps to work out your back on a Roman chair the right way:
- Get on the chair and make sure your entire body is straight in line.
- Bend your waist and lower your upper body slowly.
- Once you feel that your hamstrings and back muscles are stretched enough, stop lowering your body. Make sure that you exhale while you lower your back.
- Try to lower your back until it’s in a near-vertical position as long as you maintain a neutral spine.
- Slowly move your upper body back to the starting position until your whole body is straight.
- Repeat for 10-20 reps and rest for a minute between each set or until you can continue.
- Read our article: 9 Roman chair and reverse hyper exercises
The Best Back Extension Benches Reviewed
Now, it’s time to review a few hyperextension chairs that are worth taking a look at. Based on my research, I’ve compiled a shortlist of three of the best Roman chairs out there.
Top Choice: Titan Fitness Hyper Extension Bench v2
Just like Stamina’s Roman chair, the foldable Titan Fitness Hyper Extension Bench v2 is a 45-degree one, allowing beginners to exercise on it trouble-free.
Featuring a durable Y-shaped steel frame construction, this extension bench is built to last, no matter how intense your workouts get.
The part below the rollers has a textured finish, giving your feet more stability. Not to mention, the legs have non-slip foot covers, which drastically improve the bench’s stability, even on smooth floors. It also has two padded handles that can be used to do other exercises.
On another note, the adjustable length allows you to adjust the bench according to your height for maximum comfort and usability. The vinyl padding on the bench is quite soft to prevent your body from getting strained too.
The Titan Fitness Bench can withstand a maximum load of 250 lbs, which should be enough for most users.
- Sturdy Y-frame steel design
- Foldable design for easy storage
- Good for beginners
- Non-slip foot covers
- Textured foot
Best Value: Marcy Hyperextension Roman Chair
The Marcy Hyperextension Roman Chair is designed for experienced bodybuilders and athletes. If that sounds like you, don’t miss this one!
For starters, it sports a sturdy steel frame and has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs. It also features a powder coat finish that keeps your chair looking brand-new for long.
This chair has adjustable ankle supports that can be set at six different positions. The high-density contoured foam rollers ensure that your legs aren’t strained during your workout, and the non-slip foot covers keep the chair in place even on smooth floors.
Additionally, the thick padding allows you to do high-rep exercises without hurting your chest. The chair even has a couple of padded stability handles.
The Marcy reverse extension bench can also be used to do sit-ups. Just sit on the chair’s padding, adjust the ankle supports, and lock your legs to the foam rollers.
- 300 lbs weight capacity
- 6-position adjustable ankle supports
- Non-slip foot cover
- Can be used to do sit-ups
Budget Pick: Stamina Hyper Bench
The Stamina Hyper Bench offers an excellent combination of durability, comfort, and price, making it an excellent value pick.
To begin with, it features an adjustable footrest and backrest, allowing you to customize the chair according to your height and torso’s length.
Moreover, its non-slip footrests allow you to exercise without worrying about the chair moving out of its place. Another critical safety feature included is the non-slip rubber frame caps that prevent the bench from skidding, even when you’re doing a high number of reps.
I also like the high-density foam pads, which ensure comfort, even on your longest sessions. The vinyl upholstery is also padded to eliminate workout chest pain.
This Roman chair is a 45-degree one, making it a great choice for beginners. As your fitness level gets better, you can make the exercise a bit more challenging by using a pair of lightweight dumbbells.
- High-density foam pads
- Padded upholstery
- Adjustable footrest and backrest
- Non-slip footrests and rubber frame caps
To sum it all up, a back extension bench is a must-have in your home gym. Not only will you strengthen your muscles, but also keep your back healthy and pain-free.
The Titan Fitness Hyper Bench is our favorite. It’s the perfect choice for beginners since it’s quite easy to get a grasp on quickly. If you’re looking for the best value, consider the Macy Back Extension Bench.