5 Easy Hyperextension Roman Chair Exercises For Upper Body

If you’re looking to strengthen the muscles of your posterior chain, hyperextension exercises using a Roman chair are a great way to do it. 

The Roman chair, also known as a hyperextension bench, is a piece of equipment that’s designed to help you perform a variety of exercises which target your lower back muscles, glutes, and core muscles.

When you perform hyperextension exercises on a Roman chair, you’re essentially doing a back extension or hyperextension exercise.

Recommended Reading – 10 Awesome Lower Back Dumbbell Exercises To Try Today

This exercise helps to activate the erector spinae muscle groups, which support, connect, and protect your spinal column and overall back muscles. 

By strengthening these muscles, you can improve your posture, reduce lower back pain as well as improve your overall fitness and well-being.

However, there are plenty of Roman chair exercises that you could incorporate into your workout routine that target both your upper body and lower body.  

roman chair workouts

In this article, we’re going to suggest some of the best.  

Benefits of Hyperextension Roman Chair Exercises

Here are some of the benefits you can expect from incorporating Roman chair workouts into your week: 

Build A Stronger Core

Hyperextension Roman chair exercises are great for building a strong core.

These exercises target your lower back muscles, which are crucial for maintaining good posture and preventing back pain

By strengthening your core, you’ll also improve your balance and stability, making it easier to perform other exercises and activities.

Improve Lower Back Mobility

Another benefit of hyperextension Roman chair exercises is improved lower back mobility.

These exercises can help lengthen your back muscles and reduce pressure on your lower back and core, thereby improving your posture. 

This increased mobility can also make it easier to perform everyday tasks, such as bending over to pick something up.

Increase Muscle Strength

Hyperextension Roman chair exercises are also great for building muscle strength.

The exercises demonstrated in this article target your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, which are all important muscle groups for your overall fitness. 

The Best Hyperextension Roman Chair Exercises

Let’s dive into the best strength training exercises you can do using just your hyperextension bench.  

Back Extension

Sometimes called trunk extensions, the back extension is the most common exercise you’ll see being performed on a Roman chair and is the best way of strengthening your lower back using just your bodyweight.  

Aside from working your lower back muscles it’ll also activate your glutes and hamstrings.  

When starting out, stick with just your bodyweight and as you become stronger, hold a weight plate close to your chest to make it more challenging.  

back extension roman chair

How To Do The Back Extension Exercise:

  1. Adjust the top pads so when you’re in position they sit just beneath the top of your pelvis.  This locks your lumbar spine into place and allows for a full range of motion.  
  2. Get into a face-down position and lock your feet under the ankle pads for stability.  
  3. Cross your arms over your chest. Your body should be forming a straight line from head to heels.  This is the start position. 
  4. Engage your abdominal muscles and lower your upper body towards the floor.  
  5. Don’t be tempted to go down too far as this can involve too much movement of the spine under load.  
  6. Hold briefly and then slowly raise back up to the start and then repeat. 

Roman Chair Side Bends

The primary muscle activated when performing side bends are the obliques.  

These are the muscles that run down either side of your torso helping to twist and rotate it.  

As with the traditional back extension, do this using just bodyweight and when looking to progressing take hold of a kettlebell or dumbbell.  

How To Do Roman Chair Side Bends:

  1. Position yourself side on so that your right hip is resting on the top pads. 
  2. Stagger your feet under the foam rollers so that one foot is in front of the other. 
  3. Your entire body should be at a 45-degree angle.  This is your starting position.  
  4. Carefully, bend your upper body down towards the floor.  You should feel a stretch down your left side and your abs contract.
  5. Raise your body back up to the start. 
  6. Complete your reps before switching to work the other side. 

Preacher Curl

The preacher biceps curl is perfect for activating your biceps along with your forearm muscles.  

As the standard hyperextension bench has pads at a 45 degree angle, this is the ideal position for your arms to rest when doing a preacher curl.  

How To Do The Kneeling Preacher Curl:

  1. Adjust the upper pads so that when you’re kneeling on the ground you can comfortably rest the backs of your upper arms on them.  You may need to put them at their lowest position.
  2. Kneel behind the bench and place your upper arms on the pads so they rest just under your armpits.  
  3. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, curl them up towards your upper chest.  
  4. As your arms are fixed into position, this reduces any momentum and properly isolates your biceps.  

Incline Push Up

Incline push ups on a roman chair are a great way of engaging your upper chest muscles along with your triceps.  

To do this one, you’re going to be using the handlebars as dip handles. 

How To Do Roman Chair Incline Push Ups:

  1. Stand to the back of the hyperextension bench and take hold of the handles with an overhand grip. 
  2. Walk your feet back so you’re in a high plank position with your body in a straight line. 
  3. Keeping your arms tucked into your body, lower yourself down towards the top of the bench by bending just your elbows. 
  4. Hold at the bottom for a second before pushing back to the start.  

Roman Chair Torso Twist

This exercise is a variation on the traditional Russian twist and will train your internal and external oblique muscles.

Building strength to these muscles will help to protect your spine and help with movements than involve bending and rotating.  

How To Do The Roman Chair Torso Twist:

  1. Start by getting on the bench in a face up position with your glutes resting on the top pads and hook your feet under the ankle rollers. 
  2. With a slight bend to your hip flexors, hold a weight plate or similar straight out in front of you.  
  3. Holding the plate in position, rotate your upper body down to the left side. 
  4. Then rotate it back up and then down to the right side.  
  5. Continue moving side to side until you’ve completed your desired number of reps.  

What Muscles Does The Hyperextension Roman Chair Workout?

The prime mover muscles when performing a back extension exercise are the hip flexors with the target muscles being the hamstrings and gluteus maximus.  

Your spinal erectors engage to act as stabilizers.  

​However, as we’ve demonstrated in this article, there are several ways in which to use the Roman chair allowing to target other muscle groups depending on which exercise is performed.  


Incorporating hyperextension exercises into your workout routine can be an effective way to strengthen your lower back muscles, especially the spinal extensors.  

The Roman chair also tends to be more common in a gym setting when compared to something like a GHD machine or reverse hyper.  

When performing hyperextensions on the Roman chair, it is important to maintain proper form to avoid injury.

Make sure to keep your back straight and engage your core muscles. 

While hyperextensions can be beneficial for strengthening the lower back muscles, it is important to note that they may not be suitable for everyone.

If you have a history of back pain or injury, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting any of the exercises suggested in this article.  

In addition to hyperextensions, there are other exercises that can be performed on the Roman chair to target different muscle groups, such as the abs and glutes. 

Leave a Comment