3 Roman Chair Workouts For a Sexy Stomach and Toned Glutes

What on Earth Is A Roman Chair?

The Roman Chair (aka Glute Ham Developer) is a stationary piece of exercise equipment with pads to hook your feet under and a padded support for the groin to rest against. The distance between the anchor pads and the groin pad can be adjusted to allow you to work the glutes, core and erector spinae in the best way to fit your size and shape. It is a great way to achieve hyperextension of the lower back.

Because any movement on the Roman Chair involves hyperextension you are using your core on every single movement. It goes without saying, then, that this is a fantastic way to work your entire core area. More and more people are realizing the vital importance of shaping and strengthening the glutes, core and abdominals. The Roman Chair is one of the best devices to accomplish all three in one go.​​

5 Reasons You Need to Be Using a Roman Chair

  • The Roman Chair exercise will improve your posture. Most people have terrible posture today. Too much time hunched over the computer screen can cause damage to the lower back and result in a hunched shoulder appearance. The Roman Chair is an ideal piece of equipment for doing back extensions. It allows you to pass your body down below parallel to get the fullest extension and contraction of the lower back muscles possible. The machine also allows you to do a number of abdominal exercises to strengthen the abs, which support the lower back.
  • It will help heal your back pain. By strengthening the lower abs and their antagonistic muscles, the abdominals, you will be, in effect, putting a brace around your spine that will alleviate a lot of the pressure that is put upon it. That is why the Roman Chair is acknowledged as one of the best ways to help to reduce lower back pain.
  • It prevents later lower back pain. Many people who work out with weights neglect to strengthen the lower back muscles. This will cause problems as they get stronger and handle heavier and heavier weights on exercises like squats and deadlifts. By getting into the habit of working on the Roman Chair early on, they will build up the strength in their lower back muscles, preventing problems in the future.
  • Adjustability. Roman Chairs are completely adjustable to fit your frame and height to allow you to customize the device for your situation. Many modern Roman Chairs also allow you to adjust the angle at which you lie to either increase or decrease the intensity of the exercise.
  • Full Body Workout. The Roman Chair allows you to specifically target the lower back, core, glutes, and hamstrings. But it also works the upper back, deltoids and arms. In other words, you are getting a full body workout on this machine.

Key Roman Chair Tips

  • Keep your core locked at all times. You don't have anything to lock your body so it is important that you keep it rigid.
  • Make sure that your core is tight throughout the movement.
  • Stop if you feel dizzy. You will be taking your head down below the level of your body, which may cause a blood rush to the brain.
  • When doing hyperextensions, do not extend your body above the parallel position.
  • Do not hold a weight behind your head when doing hyperextensions.

Recommended Roman Chairs On The Market

The best roman chairs we highly recommend are: Rogue Monster Swing Arm GHD by Rogue Fitness, the Marcy Roman Chair, the CFF Glute Ham Developer, the Powerline Roman Chair and the Rogue Abram 2.0. Check out comprehensive GHD Review Round Up to point yourself in the direction of the best one for you.

Killer Roman Chair Workouts

Workout One: The Glute Ham Developer

source: abmachinesguide.com

Exercise One: Isometric Glute Hold

Set up the Roman Chair pads so that the ankle pads are in a direct line with the groin pad. Hop onto the machine in a face down position, with your legs fully extended and your hips slightly over the pads.

Warm up by doing a couple of back extensions. Now take your body up to a fully extended position so that your entire body forms a straight line with your hands stretched out in front of you.

Hold this position for 30 seconds. As you get stronger extend the length of the hold.


Exercise Two: Roman Chair Trunk Extensions

source: www.limbcmalaysia.com

Lower the height of the ankle pads so that your legs are on a 45 degree angle when you position yourself on the Roman Chair.

Get into position and place your hands across your chest.

Perform a trunk extension by lowering your body down as far you can comfortably go. Immediately lift back up by squeezing the glutes and pushing your ankles against the ankle pads.


Exercise Three: Glute /Ham Developer

source: syracusefitness.com

With both sets of pads in a direct line with each other and the distance between them shortened, hop on the machine face down with a slight bend in your knees. Your hips should be slightly over the pads, with most of the pads sitting on your quads.

Initiate the movement by pulling your knees down and pushing your toes against the pad. Return to the start position.

Perform two sets of 12 reps on each of these exercises, with a 30-second rest between sets.


Workout Two: The Ab Killer

source: www.refinedguy.com

Exercise One: Roman Chair Crunches

Position yourself on the Roman Chair with your body upright, so you are facing the ceiling. Hook your feet under the pads, which should be as low as possible.

Keep your hands together in front of as you lower yourself to a 70% angle.

Now squeeze your abs to pull back to the start position.


Exercise Two: Roman Chair Twists

source: www.webdirectbrands.com

Position yourself on the Roman Chair with your body upright, so you are facing the ceiling. Hook your feet under the pads, with the ankle pad set just below the level of your hips.

Hold a weight plate at arms length. Without bending your knees, move the weight from side to side.

Make sure that your abs are engaged and your core is braced.


source: womenshealthsa.co.za

Exercise Three: Hanging Leg Raises

Hang from a pull up bar at full extension.

With your knees together bring your knees as high as possible toward your chin.

Slowly lower to the start position.


Workout Three: Lower Back

Exercise One: Hyperextensions

source: www.wxfitness.com

With the pads positioned so they are in line with one another, lie on the machine face down. The distance between the pads should allow your legs to be fully extended. Your hips should be resting on the pad.

Extend your upper body out so that your torso forms a straight line with your legs.

Cross your arms in front of your chest. Now lower your body as low as you can. Focus on lifting from the lower back as you rise back to the start position.

Keep your core tight throughout.


Exercise Two: Twisting Roman Chair Hyperextension

source: www.fitnesszone.com

With the pads positioned so they are in line with one another, lie on the machine face down. The distance between the pads should allow your legs to be fully extended. Your hips should be resting on the pad. Extend your upper body out so that your torso forms a straight line with your legs. This time, place your hands by your ears (don’t clasp them behind your neck).

Lower your body to a full extension. As you rise, twist your body to the right, so that your right elbow comes up before your left one. Try to achieve a full twisting contraction. Lower and repeat on the other side. Both sides count as one rep.


Exercise Three: Kettlebell Lift

source: kijiji.ca

Set the ankle pads to their lowest position. Position a kettlebell in front of the Roman Chair.

Hop on the machine so you are hinged at the waist and reach down to grab the kettlebell.

With your back arched lower and lift the kettlebell up and down.

Make sure that your arms are locked out during the movement.



Gyms are filled with all sorts of weird and wonderful contraptions, many of them resembling medieval torture devices. One such device goes by the name of the Roman Chair.

Largely due to the advent of CrossFit, the Roman Chair has undergone an image make-over in recent years. It is now variously known as a GHD Machine, a Glute Ham Developer, a Glute Machine, a Glute-Ham Machine, a Glute Ham Raise machine or a CrossFit GHD. Don’t be confused; they’re all referring to the same thing, which we are still calling the Roman Chair, the same hardcore piece of training equipment that’s been producing ripped abs and dynamic cores for decades.​

Whatever you choose to call it, there is nothing better for zoning in on the lower back, glutes and hamstrings. This fantastic piece of equipment deserves to be in your home gym. In recent years, a number of manufacturers have produced high quality home versions of the Roman Chair.

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  • Jim
  • March 25, 2016

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