If you’ve been looking to develop a strong back and core, you need to have the Roman chair in your workout.
It’s a versatile piece of gym equipment that works most of your body. However, it can be challenging to know what the best exercises are.
In this article, you’ll discover the best Roman chair workout and how to perform each movement to give you the most bang for your buck.
Table of Contents
- Roman Chair Workouts (8 Best Exercises To Include)
- Benefits Of Roman Chair Workouts (Are They Good For Home Gyms?)
- Frequently Asked Roman Chair Questions
Roman Chair Workouts (8 Best Exercises To Include)
1. Side Bends
One of the most popular exercises to perform on the Roman chair is a side bend. This exercise primarily targets your obliques (located on the sides of your abdominals).
Performing this exercise helps you achieve the coveted V-cut abs.
But, the benefits of this exercise are more than aesthetic. Having stronger obliques will help to improve your other lifts, such as deadlifts and squats. Your obliques help stabilize your body throughout major lifts, so it’s incredibly beneficial to strengthen the muscle group.
How to do it:
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2. Weighted Side Bends
Once you’ve mastered the bodyweight side bend, you can progress to the weighted side bend.
Adding additional weight helps you overload your obliques with additional stimulus, increasing the engagement of the oblique muscle fibers.
You can use any type of resistance for the weight, such as a dumbbell, kettlebell, weighted plate, or even a resistance band.
However, this is an advanced variation of the side bend, so if you’re new to working out, you should aim to learn the movement using your body weight before progressing to this exercise.
How to do it:
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Using heavier weights doesn’t always mean better results. Focus on engaging the obliques fully throughout the entire movement. Don’t sacrifice form for using more weight.
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3. Back Extensions
The Roman chair back extension is one of my favorite exercises for strengthening your lower back and glutes.
During the movement, you work your posterior chain through an extensive range of motion, stimulating the muscle fibers at all stages.
This exercise is an excellent movement to teach beginners and helps develop the hip hinge needed for other exercises like the deadlift.
If you’ve had lower back problems, this exercise could be a brilliant way to get your back strong again.
How to do it:
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Always perform this movement slowly; don’t sacrifice form for additional reps.
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4. Weighted Back Extensions
The weighted back extension is the next stage of the bodyweight back extension, and it should only be attempted if you’ve managed to master the movement and have excellent form.
Using additional weight during this movement helps you increase the muscle stimulus, increasing the amount of work done and promoting muscle growth.
While I love the bodyweight extension, the weighted back extension is one of my favorite Roman chair exercises; it gives you an incredible burn.
It works your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and spinal muscles.
How to do it:
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5. Isometric Glute Hold
The isometric glute hold is a challenging exercise that maximizes the amount of work the glutes need to perform.
Usually, I'd recommend performing this exercise using the GHD (glute ham developer) as it places your body in a horizontal position, making it more challenging. However, the Roman chair is a brilliant variation of the movement, which is slightly easier to perform due to the 45-degree angle.
This is one of the best Roman chair glute exercises around.
How to do it:
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Try adding this exercise to the end of your glute workout; it’s a fantastic finisher.
6. Preacher Biceps Curl
The preacher biceps curl is one of the more unconventional exercises for the Roman chair but is an excellent way for you to isolate your biceps.
When it comes to working your biceps, you want to overload the muscles with weight while minimizing any “cheating” such as swinging. This helps stimulate your biceps for muscle growth, giving you T-shirt filling biceps.
The Roman chair is a fantastic make-shift preacher curl, making the machine extremely versatile.
This is the perfect option if you’re looking to add variation to your Roman chair exercises at home.
How to do it:
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Aim to control the weight from start to finish; this helps activate more muscle fibers in your biceps.
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7. Roman Chair Twist
The Roman chair twist is one of the tougher Roman chair oblique exercises. If you’re a beginner, you might want to try this movement using bodyweight before you attempt adding weight.
While the movement works your obliques, it trains your abdominals and lower back, helping you achieve a beach-ready six-pack.
The movement is similar to the Russian twist, except you’re sitting on an angled Roman chair. The chair’s angle gives you the perfect amount of support that your body needs, allowing you to twist through a full range of motion.
How to do it:
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Don’t rotate your body too quickly; the last thing you want is momentum taking over, as it’ll reduce the work your core is doing.
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8. Roman Chair Sit-Ups
The Roman chair sit-up is a harder version of the floor sit-up, primarily due to the angle your body is at and the increased force placed on the abs as you fight against gravity.
It’s one of the best Roman chair ab exercises around but is best suited for more advanced gym-goers looking to take their abs to the next level.
The Roman chair sit-up can be performed with or without additional weight. As with several of the other exercises on this list, I'd recommend that you master the bodyweight Roman chair sit-up before adding any extra weight.
How to do it:
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Want to increase the difficulty? Try adding a pause midway through each rep. Your abs will notice the difference.
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Benefits Of Roman Chair Workouts (Are They Good For Home Gyms?)
The Roman chair is a fantastic piece of equipment to have in your home gym. It works your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and abs, giving you an almost full-body workout.
They are useful for building muscle as they don’t require any additional weight, making them suitable for all ability levels. I love using the Roman chair because it helps strengthen my posterior chain, and I always say, "a strong posterior chain is a strong body."
By working your posterior chain muscles (such as your glutes), you are helping your body keep injuries at bay. Having strong glutes is one of the best ways to avoid back problems as you age; plus, the majority of the public have office jobs, so the glutes tend to switch off due to sitting all day; working them re-activates them.
The Roman chair is suitable for most gym-goers. As I mentioned before, it doesn’t need any additional weight, as body weight can give you an excellent workout on this machine.
If you’ve suffered from back pain, the Roman chair could be an excellent low impact exercise to re-strengthen your back. Unlike other complex movements, e.g., the deadlift, the Roman chair is a far simpler movement with a reduced risk of injury.
My clients have had great success using this machine during back rehabilitation; however, always consult your physician before introducing the Roman chair to your workout.
Most individuals who introduce the Roman chair to their workouts find that it boosts sports performance, increases back mobility, fixes postural problems, and improves balance.
There are other non-conventional ways to use the Roman chair, such as performing preacher curls using the support pads to support your arms or using the handles for tricep dips. Considering it’s not a large piece of equipment, it allows you to work many different muscle groups.
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Frequently Asked Roman Chair Questions
How often should you exercise on a Roman Chair?
Like any muscle group, your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core needs adequate recovery time. Using the Roman chair 2-3 times a week should be enough to achieve your training goals.
It’s worth remembering that doing more of something isn’t always a good thing. My clients get fantastic results from using the Roman chair once or twice a week. Try it out and see how your body reacts.
What’s the difference between a GHD and Roman chair?
The Glute Ham Developer and the Roman chair are excellent for developing your glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core muscles. However, even though the machines target similar areas, there is a slight difference.
The GHD places your body in a horizontal position, changing the way gravity acts upon your body, while the Roman chair is traditionally at 45-degrees. The Roman chair is usually the easier of the two machines.
How do you do Roman chair sit-ups at home?
To work your core at home, there is a wide range of exercises you could perform. If you don’t have a Roman chair, you can perform exercises such as the crunch, reverse crunch, Russian twist, bicycle crunch, V sit, and even the hanging leg raise.
There are many core exercise options out there, so regardless of your ability levels, there will be exercises available for you.
Can you do dips on a Roman chair?
If your Roman chair has handles on the front of the machine, the likelihood is you'll be able to perform dips on it. However, always be sure to check your Roman chair's handles can support your weight before you start performing your set. In most cases, the handles are excellent for performing dips.
The Roman chair is a fantastic piece of gym equipment that makes an excellent addition to any home gym. There are many exercises you can perform, working your entire body in the process.
The list above gives you the best Roman chair exercises, giving you everything you need to develop a stronger back and impressive core strength.
Try adding several of the exercises to your workout routine and watch your other lifts improve as your back and core become stronger.
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