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A Roman Chair Explained

Gym Equipment Explained: Roman Chair

Have you ever seen a crazy chair like contraption at the gym that resembles, as does most gym equipment, some kind of torture device? Well that contraption is called a Roman Chair and you can really get a fabulous workout using one.

What: A roman chair is a piece of stationary exercise equipment used mainly for hyperextension of the lower back and general strengthening of trunk muscles that consists of a padded bench and a pair of roll pads. The height and distance between the bench and pads can be adjusted according to each user and the exercise being performed. Most roman chairs allow for adjustable angles to enable the user to increase the difficulty level of their exercise program.
Area of body it works: It depends on the exercise but a Roman Chair is mainly used to train the abdominals, back, core and even glutes.
Why: Roman Chairs are often referred to as Hyperextension Machines because of the movement they allow. Since you have to use your trunk muscles to perform any sort of exercise on Roman Chairs, they are a great choice for toning and strengthening core muscle groups.
How: From sit ups to legs lifts to back extensions, there are numerous exercises you can do on a roman chair. Reverse sit ups are easy to do and a great back and ab exercise. To learn how to do them just

Here's how you do them:

  • Adjust the bench so it's at about a 45-degree angle and rest your pelvis on the pads (you should be facing the floor).
  • Lock your ankles under the roll pads.
  • Keep your arms at your sides (beginner) or crossed behind your neck (advanced).
  • Use your stomach muscles to slowly lower your upper body and raise it back up again to complete one rep.
  • Do three sets of 15 reps.


Nyrina-Windu Nyrina-Windu 9 years
I didn't like it. I skipped right over it and tried everything else at the gym.
pluckyred pluckyred 9 years
If you lie on your side on one of the torso pads, hook both feet under one of the roll pads with your hips stacked and crunch up and down it works the obliques. Think side bends. I like to hold a weight plate when I do exercises on this apparatus, holding it to my chest when I work my back and at my side when I work my obliques. 5-10 pounds is adequate. Between sets I hang the weight on the chair's handles.
JustSomeChick JustSomeChick 9 years
This is my favorite thing to use at the gym. Love it!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
This was my enemy at the gym...
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