How To Use Roman Chair For Your Abs Workout

If you’re wondering why you’re reading about a “Roman Chair”, rest assured that this is not about some mysterious torture instrument meant to wear you down and drag a confession out of you. This is about one of the most effective gym equipment’s designed to get the most out of your workouts and build those killer six packs that women admire and men envy.

Not many persons know how to use this piece of equipment, and are often confused about this tool and other similar gym equipment that athletes, body builders, and others use to enhance their fitness levels.

By the end of this article, you’ll learn some easy to execute exercises that will benefit your core, abdominal muscles, your legs, and other areas that can be strengthened with resistance training. You will also understand the different Roman Chair exercises that you can do for minutes per day.

Let’s show you how you can use this versatile equipment to produce the amazing results that will get tongues wagging.

The Roman Chair

A very useful piece of exercise equipment for strengthening your core is the Roman Chair, also known as the Glute Ham Developer. This equipment comes with pads for hooking your feet as well as pads to support and protect the groin area.

You can make adjustments to the distance between the groin pads and the pads for your feet. Make sure that the adjustments you make are best for your shape and size.

The Roman Chair is the most effective equipment for working on your abdominal, core and glutes at the same time. It is quite effective in keeping your core engaged in every movement. You might have seen the Roman Chair in your local gym. It is an ever present piece of equipment used for extensive ab work.

But don’t let the simple design fool you. The Roman Chair is a very effective tool for shaping your abs. You’ll find it more effective on your abdominals than floor exercises. So, if you have trouble with your lower back we recommend that you try another equipment.

It’s important to note that for the Roman Chair, your core needs to be engaged at all times so for effective exercise, all your muscles in the abdominal, lower back, and the obliques are working during Roman Chair exercises.

You have four types of Roman Chairs to choose from. The common thing about them though is the ability to keep your feet anchored as you use your own body weight for resistance exercises.

Description of Four Types Roman Chair 

  • Roman Chair / Power Tower – a combination you sometimes find in gyms where the chair is combined with a pull-up bar common in power towers. You get a full body workout from this equipment that also uses your own body weight as resistance during exercise.
  • Hyperextension Bench/ Roman Chair – the design of this equipment makes it ideal for targeted exercises for the abs, back and obliques. You may find a 90 degree or a 45 degree hyperextension bench to choose from. Each impact the muscles differently based on how your body is positioned during exercise.
  • Decline Roman Chair – also known as the sit-up bench, this equipment is perfect for creating those ripped abdominals you desire. It’s an easily recognizable equipment found in most gyms.
  • Roman Chair/ Sissy Squat – great for complete workouts of the core and leg muscles. You won’t find this equipment in every gym.

Here are a few roman bench exercises that are great for your abdominals.

First Exercise: The Roman Chair Crunch

Get yourself into position on the Roman Chair, making sure that you are in an upright position, with your face to the ceiling. Hooking each foot under a pad, as low as you can, place both hands together on your chest.

Get your torso as low as possible toward the floor. At this point you should be lower than parallel to the ground, at around 70 degrees. Next, tighten your ab muscles as you raise yourself upwards toward your starting position.

You may try for a good stretch of your abdominal muscles at the starting position to ensure that your core is properly engaged. For more resistance, you may also add a weight on your chest.

Do as many reps as you can handle.

An alternative Roman Chair Crunch involves the combination chair and power tower. Here you grip the handle bars in front of you, with your back straight and firmly pressed against the rear, raise your knees as high as possible, keeping your legs bent. Repeat as much as you can handle, remembering to rest in between reps.

Second Exercise: The Roman Chair Twist

Again, get yourself into position on the Roman Chair, making sure that you are in an upright position, with your face to the ceiling. Hook each foot under a pad, making sure that the ankle pad is a little below where your hips would be.

Next, hold a weight plate with arms extended in front of you. Keeping your arms extended, move the weight from side to side.

Do not bend your knees!

Are you feeling your abdominal muscles? You should.

If not, try again but this time make sure that your abs are working and you are bracing your core.

A note of caution:

When doing the Roman Chair Twist, ensure that you twist your body toward the same area on each side for each rep. That way, you won’t be injured

Third Exercise: The Hanging Leg Raise

Suspend yourself from the pull-up bar with your body fully extended.

Bringing your knees together, raise them as high as you can to your chin.

Return your legs slowly to the starting position.

If you’re using a Roman Chair without the pull-up bar, here is the alternative exercise:

Grip the handles of your Roman Chair with your forearms resting comfortably on the padding, and your back firmly braced against the rear. Using your abdominal muscles, and supported by your grip, raise your feet from the ground. At this point you may either:

1. Bend your knees and raise your legs as high as possible toward your chest (the easy version)

2. Extend your feet in front of you as you do your leg raises parallel to the floor (the harder version).

Either way, you’ll be working your abs while you perform this roman chair workout.

Do as many reps as you can handle, remembering to rest in between sets.

Fourth Exercise: The Roman Chair Twist Hyperextension

Position the pads in line with each other. Lie face down on the Roman Chair. Set the distance between each pad so that your legs are extended fully. Make sure that at this point your hips rest on the pads.

Form a straight line with your torso and your legs by extending your body so that everything is at the same level. Put your hands on your ears.

Avoid clasping your hands behind your neck!

Next, keep your body fully extended as you lower it as far as you can go. As you lift yourself back up, twist your body to the right side. Your right elbow will come up before your left.

You should feel your abs tightening as you come up. Lower your body to the left and repeat your move.

Completing both sides counts as one rep. Do as many reps as you can.


  •  With a Roman Chair, you don’t have much to support your body so it’s important to lock your core every time. Keeping your body rigid will help prevent injury.
  • It’s worth repeating that a tight core is important to every roman chair exercise. So, keep it tight with every movement.
  • For good hyperextensions, don’t allow your body extension to be above the parallel level.
  • Avoid holding weights behind your head during hyperextension exercises.
  • If you feel dizzy or woozy - Stop! This woozy feeling is caused by your head being too far below your body’s level. When this happens, blood rushes to the brain. You really need to pause and allow yourself to settle down again before continuing.

You have seen the many ways you can use the Roman Chair to build the killer abs and strong core that you desire. The roman chair workout exercises mentioned here are just a few examples of the variety of routines you can use for building your upper body, and legs. The Roman Chair is a staple in most gyms so it’s not hard to find a suitable one for your needs.

You can also seek to own one for your personal gym. Choosing the right Roman Chair is dependent on your fitness goals and what you really want from the equipment you intend to use.

Once you commit yourself to the roman bench exercises that target your abdominals, core, glutes, and other muscle groups that you want to strengthen, you will to see amazing results in a relatively short time.

Do you really need to wait any longer before you try the Roman Chair?

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