My name is Steve Hoyles. On behalf of the SHG team, I’d like to welcome you to our guide on choosing a Roman chair.
“Who’s this guy?”
I’ve been a personal trainer and gym owner for 2 decades now, which means I know both sides of the Roman-chair market.
The consumer side and the manufacturing side.
I’ve used, bought, and sold these.
We dug deep for this one
I spent the last two weeks creating a massive database of ALL Roman chairs that deserve your attention. Yes…
These are the numbers:
- Roman chairs reviewed: 51
- Sources: 35
- Factors considered: 28
- Factors rated: 19
I’ve talked to industry experts and owners. I’ve emailed manufacturers. I’ve emailed sellers.
I did it all…and I’ve found a few brow-raisers…
Based on all that, I’ve created a unique rating system and chosen 5 units for different budgets.
Time to spill the beans…
- 5 best Roman chairs
- 1 – Best Roman chair overall – Titan Back Hyperextension V2
- 2 – Money-no-object pick – PowerTec Dual adjustable hyperextension Roman chair
- 3 – Best budget Roman chair for those on the shorter side – Synergee Red back extension bench
- 4 – Body-Solid back extension bench – GHYP345
- 5 – Best cheap Roman chair – Sunny Health Fitness hyperextension bench
- Buyer’s guide to choosing a Roman chair / Hyperextension bench
- Our methodology – how we rate Roman chairs
- Other Roman chairs – close-but-no-cigar
- Best Roman chairs – resume and key takeaways
5 best Roman chairs
|Name||Best in category||Rating||Price||Defining feature/characteristic|
|Titan V2||Best overall value||73||$$$||Value for money|
|PowerTec Dual||Money-no-object pick||64||$$$$$||Most versatile/adjustable|
|Synergee Red||Budget pick for shorter guys/gals||63||$||Budget-friendly|
|Body-Solid GHYP345||Comfort||63||$$$||Great padding|
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-BH6629||Cheap||62||$||Cheap|
1 – Best Roman chair overall – Titan Back Hyperextension V2
Rating: 73 out of 100
Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a robust Roman chair that gets all the basics right on a budget.
- Moderately priced.
- Full-sized footplate.
- It may not be a fit for those on the shorter side (under 5.7).
- Bigger footprint than most.
Titan V2 is the best Roman chair because it gets all the basics right at a fair price.
In other words – it’s the best value here and a great buy for those who aren’t too particular.
To be specific:
- It’s made using 11-gauge steel.
- It features a full-sized footplate with a raised ledge.
- The fork-shaped base is made with stability in mind.
Stability of the bench
The 11-gauge steel pairs well with the shape of the base and the full-sized footplate.
Together, these three lower the center of gravity just enough to make a significant difference in the bench’s stability.
Highest capacity among our picks
The gauge and geometry allow for the highest weight capacity on the list – 650 lbs, which is double compared to benches in its price range.
This one is crucial since you can’t bolt it down without modifying it.
What this means for you
It means a lowered injury risk and a safer experience if you already have back problems.
Full-size footplate with no rollers
Again, it’s all about the basics with this one.
You could argue that sticking your legs between rollers adds stability and allows you to use more weight.
For most people, however, the convenience of getting on and off in a split second and switching stance on lateral raises will be more important.
The 20×12” footplate with a ledge allows for that.
Not for everybody
If you like to get jiggy with weight plates, bands, and barbells on back hypers, this is not the bench for you.
It also won’t be a great fit if you’re under 5.7.
The lowest position will still feel too high, and the movement will feel uncomfortable and taxing on the back.
That’s no bueno.
You want the top pad to clear your hips so that you can involve them (the hips) in the movement.
If you’re looking for stability and don’t need frills, get the Titan V2 and save a few hundred bucks for other stuff. You’re getting an extremely well-constructed item for an absolute steal.
Even with the price bump (over 50% compared to 2022), it’s still great value.
|Dimensions (LxWxH, inches)||52 x 32 x 32|
|Adjustment range (inches)||34-43|
|Weight capacity (lbs)||650|
|Weight of the bench (lbs)||50|
2 – Money-no-object pick – PowerTec Dual adjustable hyperextension Roman chair
Rating: 64 out of 100
Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a top-tier versatile Roman chair, and has the money for it.
- Most versatile Roman chair I know.
- Adjustable top-to-bottom.
- High-end materials, build, and finishes.
- Thick padding.
In absolute terms, this Powertec is, hands down, the best Roman chair for home gyms.
The reasons are threefold:
- Materials, finishes, and craftsmanship
You can normally tell how good the materials are by looking at how much a bench weighs. And the Powertec is heavier than any of the other picks we found (meaning stronger steel used etc)…
Let’s take stock of the adjustment points:
- 4 angles on the hip pad
- 2 angles on the adjustable footrest
- 13 positions for the depth/height of the footplate
- 19 heights on the ankle pads
All the adjustment points make sense for one reason or another.
Can be a GHD and a reverse hyper
This is the only Roman chair I know that’s adjustable enough to feel natural when used beyond back extensions – as a glute-ham developer or a reverse hyper.
Most Roman chairs that go up to 90 degrees feature a fixed hip pad. That makes glute-ham raises awkward at best and risky at worst.
The angle adjustment on the hip pad and footplate makes all the difference here.
If you added anything to this Powertec bench, it would be an overkill. If you took anything away, it wouldn’t be as good.
If you can afford it and need the versatility, it’s worth it. You’re effectively buying three bits of equipment in one here, so overlook the price and think of the value.
|Dimensions (LxWxH, inches)||49.9 x 34.2 x 35.8|
|Weight capacity (lbs)||400|
|Weight of the bench (lbs)||80|
3 – Best budget Roman chair for those on the shorter side – Synergee Red back extension bench
Rating: 63 out of 100
Who it’s for: For anyone looking for a decent Roman chair on a tight budget.
- Small footprint.
- Solid height adjustment range.
- Adjustable rollers.
- Foam-only ankle pads.
- One-piece hip pad.
- Light and lower capacity than most.
This Synerge is the best budget Roman chair (read: cheap) because it has no serious flaws.
That doesn’t sound great but trust me, in this price range, that is.
The adjustability range on the hip pad is 5 inches, and it goes lower than Titan V2, which makes it a better fit for anyone under 5.7. The hip pad does give me slight concerns, because it’s a touch thin. The build quality is… decent.
You’re not getting bulletproof, but it’ll cope.
It also promises a “dip station,” which is what they call the extra-long handles at the front.
But, come on…let’s be real here…
…that’s not happening unless you’re a tiny gymnast.
It also has the smallest “footprint” on this list so if you’re tight on space this is the one for you…
Finally, a pop of red is refreshing to see in a sea of blacks and grays.
If you understand its limitations and are not big/tall, this Synergee will get the job done. It’s not the versatile item the manufacturers would have you believe, but if the budget is limited and the need is high, it won’t let you down.
|Dimensions (LxWxH, inches)||40 x 19.3 x 34.5|
|Adjustment range (inches)||34-43|
|Weight capacity (lbs)||650|
|Weight of the bench (lbs)||50|
4 – Body-Solid back extension bench – GHYP345
Rating: 63 out of 100
Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a medium-range Roman chair with good padding.
- Great hip pad.
- Stable frame (2×3” cross-section).
- Sub-par finishes.
- Lower capacity than most in its price range.
This Body-Solid is an alternative to the Titan V2.
- It’s in the same price range.
- The design of the frame is similar (fork base).
- It’s likely the same steel gauge (or thicker, based on the weight).
Let’s dig into that comparison for a sec
In some ways, it’s not as good.
The higher weight capacity gives the Titan V2 an edge (650 vs. 350).
At that weight and cross-section, the weight capacity of the Body-Solid bench raises questions about the joints.
That said, I have zero evidence to indicate any durability issues.
That makes the listed capacity all the more puzzling.
In some ways, it’s better.
It’s smaller with thicker padding that feels more durable.
Also, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty (vs. Titan’s 1-year).
In some ways, it depends.
The footprint is about 3 square feet smaller (2 inches shorter and 6 inches narrower).
This means it’s a better fit for small home gyms where every inch matters, but ultimately not as stable as Titan.
The latter is the more important point for most people.
Body Solid’s creatively named GHYP345 bench is a good value choice in the medium price range. It’ll be more than capable of standing up to any use you’ll be putting it through.
Its two main fortes are the thick padding and the Lifetime warranty.
|Dimensions (LxWxH, inches)||50 x 26 x 36|
|Weight capacity (lbs)||350|
|Weight of the bench (lbs)||68|
5 – Best cheap Roman chair – Sunny Health Fitness hyperextension bench
Rating: 62 out of 100
Who it’s for: Anyone looking to spend as little as possible on a Roman chair.
- Basic build and padding.
- No footplate.
This Sunny Health & Fitness is the lowest you can go in terms of price, and still get a usable Roman chair.
For reference – Titan V2 and Powertec benches cost about 3 and 6.5 times as much, respectively.
Similarly to the Synergee Red, the target market is women and shorter guys.
If you’re over 5.8, skip it.
This might be the way to go if you’re 5.7 or under and looking for a dirt-cheap Roman chair. You won’t love it, but it’ll work and won’t cost you much money. There’s not much more to say.
|Dimensions (LxWxH, inches)||38 x 33 x 24|
|Weight capacity (lbs)||250|
|Weight of the bench (lbs)||23|
Buyer’s guide to choosing a Roman chair / Hyperextension bench
If none of the Roman chairs in our top 5 gets you amped, below is a guide on what to look for in a hyperextension bench.
If you’re looking for one out there…in the wild.
I’ll keep it super practical.
8 primary factors of choosing a good Roman chair
1 – Structural stability – gauge, geometry, and weight of Roman chairs
(no specific number of points in our ratings)
Mainframe – gauge and cross-section of steel used for the hyper bench
The gauge describes how thick the steel is – the higher the number, the thinner the steel.
The best hyper benches are in the 11-15 gauge range.
The good and bad news
- The bad news is that most brands do not list the gauge.
- The good news is, when not listed, you can get a sense of it by looking at the max weight capacity and the weight of the chair itself.
What it means for you – the 7-30 and 10-40 rules
I’ll have to complicate things before I make them really simple and boil it all down to one rule.
If you’re a heavy guy (say, over 200 lbs) and use more than your body weight, look for 14 gauge or lower.
If that’s not in the specs, here’s a 3-rule stability checklist:
- A footprint of no less than 7 square feet (10 if you’re big/tall***).
- A bench that weighs at least 30 lbs (40 for the big/tall).
- Minimum weight capacity of 300 lbs.
***over 190 lbs or 6 ft.
The first two points are crucial for stability – I call this the 7-30 rule.
For the big and tall, it’s 10-40.
I might mention these as we move along.
Anyway, back to the weight…
Below is a comparison graph with the weights of the 7 top-rated hyper benches.
2 – Weight capacity of a Roman chair
(0 to 8.5 points in our rating)
At face value, this one is self-explanatory – don’t buy a bench if you weigh more than what’s listed under weight capacity.
The “problem” is that few people will actually be heavier than the listed capacities.
Usability vs. stability of hyper benches
A hyperextension bench might be usable but wobbly and feel unsafe.
It’s the no. 1 grievance I’ve heard over the years.
A good rule of thumb that goes beyond usability and into stability is this – add 100 lbs to your weight and go with a Roman chair which clears that.
Here’s why… You probably won’t just be using your bodyweight on the equipment. You’ll also be adding extra weight with a plate, kettlebell, barbell etc, so factor that in too.
Below is a comparison graph with the weight capacities of the 7 best back hyperextension benches.
3 – Size of a Roman chair – stability vs. footprint
(0 to 6 points in our ratings)
In home-gym communities, you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone bragging about the small footprints of their new machine.
And I get it – it’s a commodity.
But in the context of Roman chairs, you have to dig deeper.
The best Roman chair in your price range is rarely the one with the smallest footprint.
Because none of the 5 benches we recommend can be bolted down.
What it means for you (the 7-30 and 10-40 rule)
It means there’s a step added to the floorspace math.
- Make sure you have room for the bench itself (the footprint – comparison graph below).
- Add 70-80% of your height for comfortable use.
- This doesn’t mean the space has to be free at all times. It means you can clear it when doing Roman chair exercises.
Once you tick those boxes, look into the stability (7-30 or 10-40 rules we mentioned).
4 – Adjustability and ROM for different body types
*ROM – Range of Motion
(0 to 9.5 points across multiple categories in our ratings)
At the very least, you’ll want height adjustment on your Roman chair.
That’s basic, and all the decent benches feature it.
The range of the adjustment is where the rubber meets the road, especially if you’re on the shorter side.
You want the “hand” of the hip pad to slide low enough to free your upper body fully.
A family thing
Finding a Roman chair that will fit one person well is pretty straightforward, at least in terms of size.
The “challenge” is finding one that’s gonna be a good fit for family home gyms.
Commonly an issue for the vertically challenged
Here’s what I found…
If the distance between the footplate and the hip pad (top edge) in the lowest position is greater than 50% of your height, the bench might not be a good fit.
Let me break it down
To clarify, I’ll use the example of a 5.8 person considering the Titan V2.
- 5.8 is roughly 68 inches.
- Legs are about 50% of that height – 34 inches without shoes and 35 with.
- At its lowest, Titan V2 measures 34 inches between the footplate and the edge of the hip pad.
- This makes it a good fit for our imaginary 5.8 person.
Note: The solution here can be as simple as drilling an extra hole.
Other adjustment points, like the angle of the footplate, height, and width of the roller pads, can add value but aren’t nearly as important as the height range.
5 – Versatility beyond Roman chair exercises
(no specific number of points in our ratings)
Here’s an off-the-bat tip – don’t pay too much attention to benches boasting about their dip station.
The “station” they’re talking about here are the handles on the front.
For 9 out of 10 people, they’re too low to be useful. Also, if you use a Roman chair as a dip station, there’s a better-than-not chance you’ll tip the thing!
True versatility calls for a more elaborate design that gives the workout bench some capabilities of a GHD (glute-ham developer, image below).
For that to happen, you’ll need the following:
- Angle adjustment on the hip pad
- Depth adjustment on the front column
- Height-adjustable rollers
- Adjustable footplate
Only one unit in our Top 5 ticks those boxes – the Powertec Dual.
Two questions arise here:
- Do you need all that?
- If yes, are you better off with a full-on GHD?
I can’t answer that for you – it will depend on your space and budget.
If it sounds like a GHD might be a better fit, you can see our guide on the best GHD machines here.
6 – Padding of Roman chairs – hip pad, seat, and ankle/leg rollers
(no specific number of points in our ratings)
In terms of padding, you want the following:
- High-density foam rollers and hip pads.
- Generous padding with no pressure points at the hip or ankles/shins.
- Vinyl or leather that’s easy to clean and isn’t prone to cracking.
- Vinyl-covered ankle pads. Foam-only rollers will break and become uncomfortable at pressure points.
“Naked” foam leg rollers are only acceptable if you’re consciously choosing a budget Roman chair (under $120). I’d try to avoid them like the plague – naked foam may as well be called ‘will split in a few weeks foam’.
- Split-pad design (crucial for guys…for obvious reasons).
The problem is that no maker of Roman chairs will tell you, “Listen, our padding isn’t that great.”
If you’re shopping outside our list, search the reviews for mentions of seat padding, ankle, or shin pads.
If you find multiple reviews, look at the older ones – those will tell you how the padding stands the test of time.
7 – Footplate of Roman chairs
(0 to x points in our ratings)
I prefer Roman chairs with full-sized footplates.
As opposed to foot-size holders, they don’t force you into a position but allow you to find your sweet spot.
If you’re recovering from an injury or dealing with back pain, it’s a huge plus.
They also make side crunches more convenient.
The trade-off is sit-ups
A back extension bench with no ankle rollers (like the Titan V2) is a non-starter for sit-ups.
8 – Warranty terms of hyperextension benches
(0 to 15.4 points in our ratings)
Below are 3 warranty-related rules I abide by when choosing a Roman chair:
- Look beyond the numbers – consider the warranty as an indicator of build quality.
- Look for a minimum of 1-year coverage on the frame.
- If you’re paying over $250, shoot for a Lifetime warranty.
The apparent outlier here (and not in a good way) is our top pick – the best Roman chair overall, Titan V2.
At that price range, I fully expect a lifetime warranty on the frame.
But I also know for certain it’s not a durability issue.
We rarely see Titan at the top…for this very reason
Titan has the 1-year warranty set in stone, and they’re not budging.
Their products have vastly improved over the last few years.
Their warranties have not.
It has always hurt them in our ratings.
The Titan Fitness V2 hyper bench overcame this hurdle on its way to the top, which speaks volumes about the other quality aspects.
9 – Price of a good Roman chair
(0 to 21.4 points in our ratings)
The cheapest Roman chair we considered costs under $70.
The most expensive one is over $500. That one’s also our pick for the best Roman chair if the price weren’t a factor – the versatile Powertec Dual.
For most home gyms, the best value lives in the $150-250 range.
Below is a price comparison graph of the 10 top-rated Roman chairs.
Our methodology – how we rate Roman chairs
We take pride in the data-driven system of rating home gym equipment.
A hyperextension bench is no exception.
Here’s what we did to get here:
- We created a vast Roman-chair database – over units from 34 sources.
- We defined the potential quality criteria – based on first-hand experiences and in consultation with industry experts.
- We refined the list of criteria and awarded “gravities” to each of the 19 factors.
Gravity conveys importance – i.e., the number of points awarded in a category.
- We created a rating formula based on the gravities.
- We tweaked the formula to make it more accurate and value-oriented.
- We chose the picks to present with a singular goal – make the list versatile but not overwhelming.
We aimed to recommend Roman chairs for different budgets, spaces, and fitness levels.
- We stay on top of any changes and new arrivals to the Roman-chair market and update this guide accordingly.
Bottom line – There’s no guesswork in our ratings. They’re a meticulously crafted hybrid between first-hand experiences and a massive database.
Other Roman chairs – close-but-no-cigar
Below is a list of hyperextension benches that were close but didn’t make it to the Top 5.
Some of these fell short by the thinnest of margins.
- Stamina Hyper Bench – a wildly popular budget Roman chair and serious competition to the Synergee Red.
- Sunny Health & Fitness Hyperextension Roman Chair (SF-BH620062) – a good foldable bench that should cost less.
- CAP Strength Roman chair – a cheap piece of home gym equipment that will deliver on the ambitious promise…provided that you bolt it down.
- Powerline Roman chair by Body-Solid – Similar to CAP, but costs more, and you can’t bolt it down.
- Finer Form multi-functional bench – an adjustable weight bench with a hyperextension unit. Versatile but not as good for Roman-chair hyperextensions as the stand-alones.
Best Roman chairs – resume and key takeaways
Let’s reiterate and get some clarity.
- The best Roman chair for the money is Titan V2.
- If you’re Ok with paying more, Powertec Dual has no real competition.
- If you’re on a tight budget (and not a big guy/gal), something cheap like the Synergee Red will do the job.
If you’re still unsure or feel overwhelmed, click here to skip back to the Top 5 table.