Evidence Based Research
Evidence Based Research
This article was written by one of our qualified writers, and fact-checked by our experts. The numbers in parentheses (e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc.) throughout the article, are reference links to peer-reviewed studies.
Our team of experts include a board-certified physician, nutritionists, dietitians, certified personal trainers, strength training experts, and exercise specialists.

Best Roman Chair Hyperextension Machines Reviewed For 2021

Learn about why you should use this special machine to take your posterior chain to the next level. Also, check out our top Roman Chair product picks!

We select products we think are useful for our readers. We may earn money when you click on links on this page. View our disclosure for more details.

While compound exercises like deadlifts, squats, hip thrusts, and all their variations are the cream of the crop for developing your best body, using specialized equipment can make you realize what you were missing in your routine.

One such apparatus we’re referring to is the hyperextension machine, or Roman Chair as it’s commonly referred to. 

The main function of this exercise tool is to help exercisers develop their posterior chain muscles (backside of the body) such as the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.

Other similar exercises that people do to work the same muscles are the good morning, and stiff leg deadlift but the risk of visiting “Pain City” is higher with these movements. Not to mention, you don’t always need to use weights during the hyperextension exercise.

In this guide, we’ve explained the benefits, how to use this fantastic contraption, and you’ll see our top picks if you’d like to pick one up for yourself. 

What’s a Hyperextension Machine or Roman Chair?

If you’ve ever visited a gym then you’ve probably seen one of these.

While there are different variations or designs, a basic hyperextension machine or bench is a compact apparatus with an angled structure that has foam rollers at the lower end and sometimes foot plates, and a padded portion near the top with handles to grip onto. 

The bottom foam rollers are there to keep the legs secure and the upper padding is to support the torso during the exercise.

Roman Chair
Roman Chair

Variations

There are different variations or designs of this bench. 

For example, most are designed to be used at either a 45 or 90-degree angle. Additionally, some hyperextension machines are attached to weight benches and other multi-functional equipment and you’ll see that we included a few of these options too. 

But what’s the difference between the two angle designs? 

45-degree bench

When most people think of a Roman chain, they probably think about the one at a 45-degree angle. The difference between this and the 90-degree is that it’s designed for majority use.

What we mean by that is the 45-degree hyperextension makes it a lot easier and realistic for people to get on and exercise safely and effectively. 

It requires less core and total body strength and you have more control over the difficulty of the exercise as the 45-degree support pad keeps the exerciser more upright. 

90-degree bench

The 90-degree bench is not for the beginner or a lot of intermediate exercisers either. 

Unlike the 45-degree hyperextension, this one requires the exerciser to have more core and total body strength and balance to be able to support more of their body weight. 

Consequently, if done right, it could be more effective for developing posterior chain strength. 

Muscles Worked During Hyperextensions

Alright, let’s talk about the muscles you can expect to develop using this exercise tool.

Hyperextension Roman Chair
Hyperextension Roman Chair

Glutes

Everyone likes a nice booty and well, this exercise is just one of many that can help you get it. 

The butt is composed of a few different muscles such as the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. 

The gluteus maximus forms most of the superficial appearance of the butt and hips and is a very important muscle for function and aesthetics. 

But the glute medius is a commonly affected muscle as many of us sit all day. It gets weak and this can cause lower back issues and knee pain. So it’s important to isolate the glutes to prevent these potential problems.

The butt primarily extends and externally rotates the thighs and it plays an important role in helping us to maintain an upright posture. 

Hips

The hips are a very important muscle group to keep mobile and flexible. As we get older, hips are a common problem area because of many reasons including bone degeneration and lack of mobility. 

Related: 13 Ways to Avoid Hip Pain in The Gym

Hamstrings

The hamstrings or hammies in bro language; is a three-headed muscle group consisting of semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. 

This muscle group is located on the back of the upper leg opposite the quads and functions to extend the hips and flex the knees. It’s important to note that the short head of the biceps femoris only crosses the knee joint and not the hip like the other two muscles.

The hamstrings play an important role in standing but also explosive activities such as sprinting and jumping. 

Additionally, this three-headed muscle is active during the gait cycle to resist knee extension, plus it stabilizes the knee joints and has other functions too. 

Calves

The calves are the muscles on the back of the lower legs. It consists of two muscles – gastrocnemius and soleus. The former is the larger and more superficial of the two and it also has two heads (medial and lateral) while the soleus is large, flat, and located beneath the gastrocnemius.

Because the gastrocnemius also crosses the knee joint, it plays a role in knee flexion. 

Both calf muscles meet at the heel to form the Achilles tendon. 

The calves function to plantarflex the foot and ankle (point the toes down).

Back muscles

While the hyperextension machine isn’t the best choice for training all muscles of the back, it is a good choice to strengthen the lower back and erector spinae muscles. 

The erector spinae muscles run along the spine and are responsible for thoracic cage movement and flexion of the vertebral column and head.

Abdominals

The simple movement of the hyperextension will bring the abdominals or core muscles into play. After all, the core muscles are involved in any total body movement. 

The function of these muscles is the movement of the trunk and stabilizing the spine. 

9 Best Hyperextension Machines

Below we’ve included our top hyperextension machine/bench picks for 2021. 

  1. Synergee Hyperextension Roman ChairBuy here  Editor’s Choice  
  2. Sunny Health and Fitness SF – BH6629Buy here  
  3. Leike Fitness Multifunction Workout Station – 8300Buy here
  4. Soozier Bench and Hyperextension ComboBuy here
  5. Fitness Reality X-Class Hyper Back Extension BenchBuy here
  6. Stamina Hyperextension Bench 2014Buy here
  7. TDS Hyperextension/Roman Chair Bench Buy here
  8. Powerline by Body-Solid PHYP200X Back Extension StandBuy here
  9. Finer Form Weight Bench and Hyperextension StationBuy here

1. Editor’s Choice – Synergee Hyperextension Roman Chair

Synergee Roman Chair
Synergee Roman Chair

Synergee makes some great equipment for all levels of training experience. 

Their Roman chair offering is adjustable to accommodate different heights, and it has a single pad for comfort during exercise. 

What we also really like about this hyperextension stand is that you can use the handles for dips to train for your chest and triceps muscles (win-win). 

Not to mention, it has a vibrant red color which is great for those who care about aesthetics and things that add character to their training space.

We can also appreciate the excellent customer service. If there are any issues, they’ll replace the product for free.

Product features

  • Adjustable height between 29.5″-34.5″
  • 12″ x 17″ foam pad
  • 15 gauge steel construction 
  • Vibrant red powder coating
  • 250 lbs weight capacity 
  • Dimensions: 40 x 19.3 x 34.5 inches
  • Item weight: 25 pounds

Pros 

  • Minimal assembly 
  • Height adjustable 
  • Suitable for triceps dips
  • Small footprint 
  • Rubber feet provide stability

Cons

  • Few complaints about assembly and hardware

About the brand 

Started by Joey Huneau, Synergee Fitness USA was born from the desire to offer affordable, quality home exercise equipment to “make personal fitness goals within reach for all”.

Hunenau grew up in a health-focused household with his mother Gina, a trainer, entrepreneur, and group fitness leader who was passionate about fitness. 

As a result, Gina and Joey opened a gym, Synergee Fitness, located on the north shore of Lake Superior – run by his mother, sisters, and himself.

They were inspired by the impact their business was making on the community but it wasn’t enough. They wanted to reach a broader range of people and subsequently became a distributor of fitness supplies (I Heart Synergee) to help people everywhere improve their lifestyles by having access to exercise equipment. 

… And well, the rest was history. 

Also check out these home gym essentials for a complete setup

Buy at Amazon


2. Sunny Health and Fitness SF – BH6629

Sunny Hyperextension Roman Chair
Sunny Hyperextension Roman Chair

You cannot go wrong with Sunny Health and Fitness and we’ve featured many of its products in our reviews.

This one is feature-rich for an affordable price.

It’s a compact design with a strong steel frame to ensure safety and effectiveness. You can adjust the machine for various heights and it comes with high-density foam pads for comfort.

You also get non-slip handles for a secure grip and floor stabilizers for optimal stability. The SF-BH6629 folds up for easy storage. 

It’s important to note that you can choose from the standard hyperextension or one with dip bars for triceps training. 

Product features

  • Compact steel frame
  • High-density foam pads
  • Lock and pin height adjustment 
  • Floor stabilizers
  • Non-slip handles
  • 250 lbs weight capacity
  • Dimensions: 38L x 24W x 32H
  • Folded size: 12.3L x 24W x 43H 
  • Item weight: 23 pounds

Pros

  • Compact, space-saving design 
  • Foldable 
  • Adjustable
  • Stabilizers keep machine rigid 

Cons

  • Few complaints about assembly and hardware/may need to have handy skills 
  • May not be ideal for large individuals 

About the brand 

Sunny Health and Fitness is popular and established brand that’s been around for over 18 years. They offer a variety of quality training equipment for a fair price.

Buy at Amazon


3. Leike Fitness Multifunction Workout Station – 8300

Leike Fitness Multifunction Workout Station
Leike Fitness Multifunction Workout Station

Unlike most of the options in this review, the 8300 is a multi-workout stand that includes a sissy squat and hyperextension station. 

Therefore, not only can you work your posterior chain but you can build up your quads with a challenging bodyweight exercise. The apparatus also has resistance band anchors for more workout variety and you can do sit-ups on it too. 

It’s height, length, and angle adjustable with an adjustable foot holder. The angle adjustment allows you to position your body at a few different angles which could be useful for different experience levels as you can control the resistance.

You can also fold it up and roll it away. 

Product features

  • Backpad for comfort
  • Large steel non-slip footplate 
  • 330 lbs weight capacity
  • Dimensions: 39.5 x 19 x 33 inches
  • Item weight: 26 pounds 

Pros

  • Adjustable many ways 
  • Versatile/can do many exercises
  • Foldable and easy to move around w/ wheels
  • Easy to start using/comes mostly assembled

Cons

  • May not be ideal for taller individuals 

About the brand

Leike is under Xiamen Kangchen Sports Co. Ltd., a company that specializes in sports and fitness equipment. They adhere to the business philosophy of “integrity, dedication, dedication, and internationalization”. 

Related: Hardcore Bodyweight Exercises For More Muscle and Strength

Buy at Amazon


4. Soozier Bench and Hyperextension Combo

Soozier Adjustable Hyper Extension Roman Chair
Soozier Adjustable Hyper Extension Roman Chair

Now this isn’t just a hyperextension machine but rather a hyperextension and bench combo. This means you can do a lot more exercises as it supports a more versatile experience. 

The hyperextension feature has 7 adjustable settings to support users of varying heights. The leg foam rollers can be adjusted 4 ways.

While you can use the flat bench, you do have the option to use two decline angles (-22.5 and -45 degrees). The decline positions make it excellent for sit-ups to work your core muscles, triceps extensions, and reducing stress on the shoulder joints during chest movements. 

The bench is made from high-grade steel so you know it’s going to be durable. 

A cool feature is the dumbbell rack underneath. So if you want to have easy access to your dumbbells without them being in the way, this is pretty handy. 

Product features

  • Flat bench and two decline angle options
  • Adjustable hyperextension height
  • High-density abdominal pads
  • Anti-slip footing 
  • Made from heavy-duty steel
  • 265 lbs weight capacity
  • Dimensions: 25.25″ W x 57.5″ D x 29″ – 33.5″ H
  • Item weight: 30.2 pounds net weight

Pros

  • Adjustable bench
  • Versatile 
  • Has a dumbbell rack

Cons

  • No incline
  • Few complaints about assembly and hardware

About the brand

Soozier is a brand of the company Aosom that is “always on the lookout for cool new products at the very best prices to make life better”. 

The brand Soozier offers an expanding line of health and fitness equipment and other tools to support the many needs of different individuals and disciplines. 

Buy at Amazon


5. Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Multi-Workout Abdominal / Hyper Back Extension Bench

Fitness Reality Hyper Back Extension Bench
Fitness Reality Hyper Back Extension Bench

This abdominal/hyperextension bench is similar to the one above but obviously with a few differences. 

It has a flat bench and 3 decline levels for lots of versatility especially for doing a wide range of ab workouts. This allows for more versatility than some of the other benches on this list that only have 2 decline positions. 

You can also use the bars for push-ups and dips which we really think is useful and the apparatus is adjustable.

The bench is made with additional stability support too and has shown to be able to support up to 650 lbs. 

The bench is also portable with wheels. 

Product features

  • 45-degree height-adjustable hyperextension
  • Flat and three decline positions 
  • 1.5″ round Push-up/dip handles 
  • 2 x 2 ” steel frame construction
  • Footplates 
  • Transportation wheels
  • 2.5″ thick density foam
  • 24″ L front and rear stabilizers
  • Dimensions: 64″ L x 28.8″ W x 35″ H
  • Tested to support up to 650 lbs
  • Item weight: 55 pounds

Pros

  • Versatile 
  • three decline positions great for ab/total body training 
  • Supports 600+ lbs

Cons

  • Probably not ideal for taller individuals 
  • No incline
  • Few complaints about sturdiness

About the brand 

Fitness Reality is a division of Paradigm Health and Wellness Inc located in Southern California. 

It was founded in 2007 with the goal of offering a wide range of top-notch, innovative products to everyone from the fitness enthusiast to the stay-at-home mom.

Their motto is “Real People. Real Results”. 

Fitness Reality equipment is also featured in many of our product reviews. 

Buy at Amazon


6. Stamina Hyperextension Bench 2014

Stamina Hyperextension Bench
Stamina Hyperextension Bench

Stamina is another well-known brand that pumps out great options and offers a good value overall. 

If you want something simple, small, and cheaper than a lot of the other options then consider the hyperextension bench 2014.

It’s made with thick padding and wide padded handlebars for comfort during intense sets of hyperextensions. You can also adjust the height.

Fold it up for easy storage. 

Product features

  • Height-adjustable foot and backrest 
  • Foldable design
  • Thick upholstered cushion 
  • Wide, padded handlebars  
  • 250 lbs weight capacity 
  • Dimensions: 39″ x 25.5″ x 33.25″ 
  • Item weight: 20 pounds

Pros

  • Height adjustable for comfort 
  • Well-cushioned
  • Comfortable wide handles
  • Small footprint
  • Folds up for easy storage 

Cons

  • Can wobble a little due to small design

About the brand 

A Springfield, Missouri company born out of the same town as Bass Pro and O-Reilly Auto Parts, Stamina has an impressive history as a distributor of in-home workout equipment for 30 years.

But it’s more than that. The company was founded by five business partners – Barry Laurie, Kevin Gerschefske, Jeff Hutchens, Brent Swanson, and Bob McBride – all of whom are great friends. 

It took a lot of trust and perseverance but they ultimately succeeded in turning a dream into a reality. 

There’s a hefty background on the history of the company. 

Buy at Amazon


7. TDS Hyperextension/Roman Chair Bench

TDS Adjustable Roman Chair Hyperextension Bench
TDS Adjustable Roman Chair Hyperextension Bench

We also had to include a quality horizontal or 90-degree option in our review of the best hyperextension machines, especially for those more advanced. 

It’s a very rugged piece of commercial quality equipment with a recommended weight limit of 500 lbs. This machine is no doubt a good no-frills option.

The leg support is height adjustable although the cushioned end is not. It’s also not adjustable in length. 

Product features

  • Adjustable foam rollers
  • 4″ diameter foam padding
  • Two separate cushions
  • Two solid handlebars 
  • 500 lbs weight capacity 
  • Dimensions: 21″ x 47″ x 30″ H
  • Item weight: 44 pounds

Pros

  • Commercial quality 
  • Height adjustable legs
  • Thick, comfortable padding  

Cons

  • Cannot be adjusted in length

About the brand 

TDS makes some of the best exercise equipment anywhere and their products are sold from the famous and massive 110,000 sq New York Barbell warehouse in Elmira, New York.

Buy at Amazon


8. Powerline by Body-Solid PHYP200X Back Extension Stand

Body-Solid 45-Degree Hyperextension Bench
Body-Solid 45-Degree Hyperextension Bench

You’re probably familiar with this brand as it’s been around for some time and rightly so. 

The PHYP200X is a back hyperextension machine set at a 45-degree angle which places the exerciser in an ideal position. The telescoping midsection pads adjust for different users and the 8″ foam rollers ensure you stay in place during your workout.

It costs more than many options on this list but it’s a solid option no doubt. 

Product features

  • Set at a 45-degree angle
  • 4″ thick padding
  • 250 lbs weight capacity 
  • Dimensions: 42″L x 27″W x 31″H
  • Item weight: 43 pounds

Pros

  • Adjustable for different heights

Cons

  • No foot platforms
  • Grips may be a little narrow for some

About the brand 

Turn Your Home into a Powerhouse”

“For more than 15 years Powerline Strength Training Equipment has been saving people from the expense, travel time, and hassle of joining a gym. From the privacy of your own home you can perform the same exercises to trim, tone, and sculpt your body into your ultimate vision, on your own schedule.”

Buy at Amazon


9. Finer Form Weight Bench and Hyperextension Station

Finer Form Hyper Back Extension Adjustable Roman Chair
Finer Form Hyper Back Extension Adjustable Roman Chair

Lastly, another top-notch bench and hyperextension setup. This option from Finer Form should support a wide variety of exercises and workouts and it has a lot of great features. 

The system is made from heavy-duty steel and has a triangular frame structure for optimal stability.  

The bench can be adjusted to two decline angles aside from offering a flat workout bench.

It’s important to note that this bench does not adjust to an incline however, they do have one in their product lineup. 

The bench is designed to be able to support up to 660 lbs of static weight and 400 lbs of dynamic weight. 

There are 4 foam roller positions possible and 8 adjustable positions for the thigh pads on the hyperextension. 

The bench also comes with a digital workout chart to help guide you through different workouts. 

Product features

  • Hyperextension station attached to bench
  • Flat and two-position decline bench
  • High-density cushion
  • Triangular frame w/ added support
  • 660 lbs static weight capacity
  • 400 lbs dynamic weight capacity
  • Item weight: 36 pounds

Pros

  • Adjustable hyperextension station 
  • Very versatile
  • Supports 600+ lbs static weight

Cons

  • Few complaints about functionality of some features

About the brand

“Finer Form: The Gym. At Home” … is how the company thinks of itself in simple terms. 

They understand how busy and complicated life can be for many and how sometimes it’s just not possible to hit the gym. 

Therefore, the aim of the brand was to provide these individuals with affordable home workout equipment comparable to commercial quality. 

Buy at Amazon


How To Choose A Hyperextension Machine? 

There are a few basic things to consider when deciding on a back extension machine. For example, your budget, experience level, and desired features and design are things to consider. 

Budget

We would recommend all of the options on this list. But not everyone can afford the most expensive product which is totally fine. That’s why there are more budget-friendly hyperextensions that will still do the job.

You may or may not get as much use out of a cheaper option and some corners are likely to be cut somewhere although that doesn’t necessarily mean a cheaper buy is unsafe. 

Just be sure to assemble the piece properly, test its sturdiness, and make sure the weight capacity is suitable for those who will be using the equipment. 

Experience level

Not everyone is at the same level of fitness. Some exercisers may find that bodyweight-only back extensions are too easy which would make them less effective. 

If you typically like to use more weight such as holding a weight plate or dumbbells for this exercise, again, make sure it’s rated to support the weight and consider spending a little more money on a more rugged and thicker designed Roman chair.  

Also, it’s probably not a good idea for a beginner exerciser or someone who lacks decent core and total body strength to get a 90-degree hyperextension machine. 

For most starting out, the 45-degree Roman chair is ideal. 

Features and design

There are some things related to the features and design of a hyperextension bench that you want to keep in mind before you go buying one. 

  • Hip support pads – something to keep in mind is the pad design. Split designs where there’s space in between two hip pads may be ideal for gentlemen to prevent discomfort during exercise. For women, it may not be as much of an issue. 
  • Adjustability and size – Let’s face it, some workout equipment is better suited for some people than it is for others. Having the ability to adjust the height and length is certainly desirable although, if you’re average height, some options that aren’t as adjustable may be OK for you. 
  • Design quality – Nobody wants the equipment they’re using to fall apart on them which a) sucks and b) could cause injury. We chose products from known companies that typically design acceptable equipment that will hold up to long use. But the good news is, most if not all will make it right if anything goes wrong.

Benefits Of Using The Hyperextension Bench

The hyperextension or back extension is a beneficial exercise for many different types of individuals. 

Finer Form Multi-Functional Weight Bench
Finer Form Multi-Functional Weight Bench

Sexier rear

What’s better than a sexier backside… that’s right, keep thinking

The hyperextension activates the butt, hamstrings, calves, and even back muscles. When done with intensity, you’ll build muscle and in combination with a proper training program, a more complete physique. 

Stronger posterior 

Having a strong backside is very important for many reasons. 

Firstly, many tend to neglect training the muscles they cannot see when they look in the mirror (hamstrings, back, etc) which typically isn’t the case when it comes to chest, quads, abs, and you get the point.

This can lead to imbalances not only aesthetically but structurally and functionally. 

You may not realize it right away, but avoiding training all major muscles equally can affect your performance, strength, and all else. 

Additionally, elderly individuals can benefit and those with weaker lower backs as the hyperextension is a good way to isolate and improve mobility and flexibility. 

What’s The Difference Between The Roman Chair Hyperextension Glute Ham Developer (GHD)?

The GHD is another very useful piece of training equipment that works the posterior chain. However, because the design and function are different, so is the focus or target area and the degree to which each apparatus engages a specific muscle group. 

The Roman chair hyperextension involves lowering and lifting your upper body while the legs remain straight at an angle. As a result, this primarily engages the back and glutes. Although it still engages the hamstrings too.

The glute-ham developer (GHD) involves a large degree of knee flexion as you use your lower posterior muscles like the hamstrings and glutes to lower and lift your upper body. 

The spinal erectors also help to lift the torso into the upright position. 

The machine is also different as it allows the exercise to start in the horizontal position and end with the body forming a 90-degree angle. The feet are also higher off the ground.

How To Use a Roman Chair Hyperextension Machine

If you’re using a Roman chair hyperextension bench to alleviate back pain, then we recommend you first consult with a medical professional. That’s because we cannot recommend workouts for pain and injury. 

But if you are going the self-help route and aren’t suffering from severe pain, here’s a great resource.

With that being said, back extensions can help to strengthen the lower back, erector spinae, and other rear muscle groups. 

But you could easily flip around and use many of the Roman chairs to train your obliques, do preacher curls, dips (if it has good handles), push-ups, and variations of the back extension (weighted, etc). 

We really like this video that shows all the different exercises you can do using a hyperextension machine. 

We also recommend taking the time to watch the following video as it has a lot of great information on the back extension exercise and how to do it safely and effectively.

Wrapping Up

The hyperextension machine/bench is a proven training tool that can help exercisers develop a strong, functional, and impressive posterior chain. 

If you want to maximize your butt and hamstring development, we think it’s worth including hyperextension in your training routine. 

As you can see from this list, Roman chairs come in all different shapes, sizes, and designs and also various price points. That means there’s something for everyone and we hope this guide was useful in helping you to choose the best that’s best for you. 

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Matthew Magnante
Matthew Magnante
Matthew Magnante is the senior writer for Fitness Volt. He has had a passion for fitness since elementary school and continues to research and learn how to build muscle effectively through training and diet. He also loves to help others to achieve their fitness goals and spread the knowledge where needed. Matthew's other passions include learning about mindfulness, strolling through nature, and always working to improve overall.

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