The roman chair is a piece of exercise equipment that is incredibly versatile. You can use it to develop your core strength, get sculpted abs, or improve your posture.
You can perform a wide range of exercises to target your back muscles, glutes, hamstrings, or abs for a full-body workout.
Whether you want to perform roman chair exercises at home or need inspiration for your next gym workout, the following roman chair exercises will help you get in shape.
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9 Roman Chair Exercises to Get in Shape
You can incorporate the following roman chair and hyperextension exercises into your workouts to target different muscle groups, strengthen your core, and straighten your back.
#1. Side Bend
The side bend is an exercise that targets your oblique muscles. The external and internal obliques are abdominal muscles that run along the sides of your upper body. They control trunk rotation, and developing them can increase your core strength and flexibility.
While you can tone your obliques with traditional crunches, the side bend is one of the roman chair exercises that target these muscles more effectively.
Here is how to perform a reverse hyper side bend:
- Start by lying on your side in the chair. Use the ankle pads to secure your feet.
- You can keep your hands behind your head or cross your arms on your chest for this exercise.
- Bend your hips to lower your upper body to the side. Go as low as you can.
- Raise your upper body slowly to stand up straight into the chair.
- Turn around to lie on your other side and repeat the exercise.
Variation: You can perform a weighted variation of this exercise if you want to make your workout more challenging. Leave your arm that corresponds to the side you are working on loose by your side and use it to hold a dumbbell to create more resistance when you raise your upper body.
#2. Incline Push-Up
Traditional push-ups are a great exercise for your chest, arms, and shoulders. Many variations exist for this exercise, including the incline push-up on a roman chair.
Because you won’t rely as much on your arms and shoulders to perform this variation of the push, you will be able to target your lower chest more effectively.
Here’s how you can perform an incline push-up:
- Stand behind the chair and grab the handlebars.
- Incline your body to form a 45° angle with the floor.
- Bend your elbows and use the handlebars to lower your upper body so that your chest almost touches the pads on the back of the chair.
- Make sure you keep your body in a straight line and avoid arching your back.
Make it more challenging: The incline push up is one of the roman chair exercises that you can make more challenging by changing your posture. Keep your elbows inward and bring your hands closer together to target your triceps as well as your chest.
#3. Hanging Dip
The hanging dip is a killer exercise for your chest and triceps. It’s something you can perform on a dip station, but you can also use a roman chair if you don’t have access to a dip station.
Follow these steps to perform a hanging dip on a roman chair:
- Position yourself behind the roman chair and grab the handlebars.
- Get on your knees and keep your knees in a bent position.
- Use the handlebars to raise yourself off the ground slowly.
- This exercise is easier if you keep your feet crossed.
#4. Kneeling Preacher Curl
The kneeling preacher curl is a great isolation exercise for your biceps. It’s one of the roman chair exercises you can perform with a dumbbell. Even though you can do preacher curls without a roman chair, using this piece of equipment will help you adopt a good posture.
How to perform a kneeling preacher curl on a reverse hyper extension machine:
- Here’s how you can target your biceps with this exercise:
- Kneel in front of the chair.
- Place your arms on the chair’s pads.
- Raise your forearm slowly to perform a preacher curl.
#5. Back Extension
Back extensions are a classic roman chair exercise. The hyperextension machine can strengthen your lower back muscles and help you develop a stronger erector spinae. This muscle group plays a crucial part in helping you keep your back straight.
These roman chair exercises for back pain can relieve lower back pain and help you improve your posture, but you need to be mindful of keeping your back straight when you perform them. There is a risk of developing pain or even injuring your back if you don’t perform this exercise correctly.
Here is how you can work on your back strength and correct your posture with back extensions:
- Place your feet into the foot stands.
- Your thighs should rest against the chair’s pads.
- Cross your arms in front of the chest.
- Keep your body straight and engage your abs.
- Bend your hips to lower your upper body slowly.
- Go as low as you can before raising your upper body again to stand up straight in the chair.
- You can continue bending backward to hyperextend your back if you want to strengthen your erector spinae.
Be mindful of your posture when practicing back extensions. You shouldn’t arch your back and should keep your spine and hips aligned. If you experience back pain when performing this exercise, it’s best to stop.
Variations: You can perform a weighted variation of the back extension if you want to make your workout more challenging. All you have to do is hold a weight against your chest.
Back extensions allow you to target different muscles, depending on how you adjust the chair. If you want to target your erector spinae, adjust the chair’s pads, so they support your hips and keep them stable.
If you want to target your glutes and hamstrings, adjust the chair’s pads to have them sit below your hips. You should be able to move and engage your hips as you perform this exercise.
#6. Alternating Side Back Extension
The alternative side back extension is a variation of the back extension. Besides working on your erector spinae, this exercise engages your obliques and other core muscles. It’s more challenging, but it helps with flexibility.
Here’s how you can perform alternative side back extensions:
- Get in the chair and use the ankle pads to secure your feet.
- Place your hands behind your head and your thighs against the chair’s pads.
- Bend your hips to lower your upper body.
- When you bring your upper body up, twist to the side so that your elbow is pointing upward.
- Repeat and twist to the other side.
Variation: You can make alternating side back extensions more challenging by holding a weight against your chest when you perform this exercise.
#7. Isometric Glute Hold
Isometric glute holds are one of the roman chair exercises for abs that also engages your glutes. It’s a simple exercise, but it will engage your core like no other.
Here’s how you can perform an isometric glute hold:
- Start by adjusting the roman chair. Raise the ankle pads so that they align with the groin pad.
- Lie face down into the chair.
- Secure your feet under the ankle pads.
- Raise your upper body and keep your body straight and parallel to the ground for as long as you can.
Be cautious: The purpose of this exercise is to engage your glutes and core muscles. Because you have to maintain this position for a few seconds, it’s best not to hyperextend your back. Keep your body as straight as you can when holding this position.
#8. Roman Chair Crunches
If you don’t have access to an ab bench or simply want to try something new, you can use a roman chair to do crunches. The ankle pads give you leverage, and sitting up high in the chair can make this exercise more challenging since you won’t have the back support of an ab bench.
Here’s how you can target your abs with roman chair crunches:
- Sit in the roman chair facing up.
- Secure your feet behind the ankle pads.
- Place your hands behind your head.
- Lean back until your body forms a line that is parallel to the floor.
- Sit up slowly to perform your first crunch.
Variation: You can hold a weight against your chest to engage your core muscles further and make this exercise more challenging.
#9. Roman Chair Twist
The roman chair twist is similar to the roman chair crunch. However, the twisting motion engages a wider range of core muscles and improves the flexibility of this muscle group. It’s similar to the roman chair crunch, but you will perform a twisting motion as you sit up into the chair.
Here’s how you can perform a roman chair twist:
- Get in the chair and secure your feet under the ankle pads.
- Place your hands behind your head.
- Lean back to have your upper body parallel to the floor.
- Sit up and twist your upper body to the side. Your elbow should point in front of you.
- Lean back for another rep and twist your body to the other side when you sit up.
Variation: You can make your workout more challenging by holding a weight against your chest when you perform roman chair twists.
Tips for Using a Roman Chair Safely
There are a few things to keep in mind when using a roman chair. It’s a piece of equipment that can result in pain and injuries if you have a poor posture when exercising. The following tips will help you exercise safely with a roman chair:
- Pay attention to where the chair’s pads sit. Depending on the exercise you want to perform, the pads should support your hips or allow your hips to rotate more freely.
- Always keep your back in a neutral position when you start a new rep. Keep your back straight throughout the rep.
- Rounding the spine is a common mistake. Don’t forget to engage your core muscles to keep your back straight. Have someone watch you perform different exercises to make sure you’re not rounding your spine.
- All your movements should be slow, and you should engage your core and back muscles to control your movements. Don’t relax your muscles and let gravity pull your body down when performing crunches or back extensions.
That’s A Wrap!
These nine reverse hyper extension exercises will help you target different muscle groups, including your abs, back muscles, glutes, arms, and chest. Using a roman chair can introduce an additional level of difficulty for some of these exercises.
So it’s essential to start slow and be mindful of your posture when using this piece of equipment.