What is the Roman Chair Exercise?

A Roman chair is a piece of back extension equipment with pads that move your upper body. If you want to strengthen the lower back, reduce abdominal fat, and fortify the core, there are several roman chair exercises you can incorporate in your workout routines.

What Is the Roman Chair Exercise?

A roman chair exercise is a type of workout routine that primarily strengthens the lower back and erector spinae. It involves lying or sitting on the chair and moving the body at certain angles to work on your core, glutes, hamstring, and abs.

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Man using a roman chair for his back muscle exercise

What are some Roman Chair Exercises and Workout Routines?

If you’re ready to get yourself all sweaty and energized, it’s time to learn a few practical roman chair exercises and workout routines you can do at the gym or home.  

Roman Chair Routines for Locked and Rigid Core

Maintaining a rigid core is essential if you want to gain better posture. If you tend to sit for long hours due to school or work, here are some roman chair routines for a rigid core and healthy spine. 

Plate Twist

This high-impact exercise requires you to keep your core activated at all times, which also trains the abdominal wall and upper and lower obliques.

To execute the roman chair plate twist, sit on the pad while holding a weight plate and secure your feet under the ankle pads. Then, lean back slightly and engage your core.

While leaning back, twist from side to side as you are holding the plate away from your torso. Exhale as you twist and continue doing reps. 

Air Planks and Sit-Ups

Sit-ups with air planks are harder than the traditional sit-up because as you move backward, you are in the air instead of the floor. This requires your core to exert as much power as it can to lift the body.

To do this, sit on the pad and place your feet in the anchor pads. Sit upright and cross the arms over your chest. Lean back into the plank and hold this position for at least three seconds. 

Roman Chair Exercises for Lower Back

Back pain and injuries happen to people, regardless of age. You can help prevent this by reinforcing your lower back muscles using the following roman chair workout routines. 


Lie on the roman chair facedown. Make sure the distance between the pads enables you to extend the legs fully. With your hips resting on the pad, extend your upper body so that the torso creates a straight line with the legs. 

After that, cross your arms in front of the chest and lower your body as low as you can. Hyperextensions focus on lifting from the lower back as you rise back to the starting position. As you repeat the movement, you strengthen the lower back muscles while helping you keep a tight core.

Kettlebell Lift

Combining a kettlebell technique improves your spine mobility and strengthens your lower back. 

For this routine, you need to set the ankle pads to their lowest position and put a kettlebell in front of the roman chair. Hop onto the machine, reach down, and grab the kettlebell. 

With the back arched lower, lift the kettlebell up and down. Make sure to have locked out arms while performing this move.

Roman Chair Exercises for Toned Glutes and Hamstring

While lunges and squats are the common exercises for shaping the buttocks, roman chair exercises also engage and build those muscles

Isometric Glute Hold

First, set up the roman chair’s ankle pads in a direct line with the groin pad. Hop onto the machine in a facedown position, with your legs fully extended and hips slightly over the pads. 

After some warm-up back extensions, place your body in a fully extended position to let your body form a straight line. With your hands stretched out, hold this position for at least 30 seconds. 

Trunk Extensions

Lower the height of the ankle pads, position yourself on the device and let your legs form a 45-degree angle. 

To perform a trunk extension, cross your arms in front of the chest and lower your body down as far as you can comfortably go. Lift back up immediately by contracting the glutes and pushing the ankles against the ankle pads.

Roman Chair Exercises for the Abs

With the core and torso’s constant movement, you can ultimately help reduce abdominal fat and sculpt the abs. Since building abs involves undergoing a series of actions, try incorporating these roman chair exercises to your workout routine.


Set the anchor pads as low as possible. Place yourself on the roman chair with the body upright, which should make you face the ceiling. Then, hook your feet under the pads.

Keep your hands together in front as you lower yourself to a 90-degree angle. Squeeze your abs to pull back to the starting position.


Hop onto the roman chair with your body upright and face the ceiling. Hook your feet under the pads, with the ankle pad set below the level of your hips. 

Hold a weight plate at arm’s length and move it from side to side without bending the knees. Keep your core braces and abs engaged as you do the movement. 


A Roman chair is a fantastic piece of equipment that engages and fortifies several parts of the body. With its versatility, you can execute various roman chair exercises and customize your workout routines at home.

Robert Lemus has been a natural competitor for 6 years, starting in Men’s Physique, then Bodybuilding, and then into Classic Physique. He is the Orange County Bodybuilding champion in 2016 for the Musclemania Organization. In 2018, he received his Pro Card with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Classic Physique.