Skip to content

Roman Chair Sit Ups [Exercise Guide]

roman chair sit up

What Are Roman Chair Sit Ups

Roman chair sit-up is an old-school exercise, primarily targeting the core – one of the primary muscle groups in your body. Its’ effectiveness is proved by the time and experience of many athletes worldwide. As the title says, the exercise implies the use of a Roman chair. This equipment is beneficial in many ways, but the main advantage is its influence on the spine. The Roman chair makes your lumbar work less and increases thoracic motion. That’s why your lower back muscles don’t get tired for a long time.

This sit-up variation is a bit harder compared to conventional exercise. The reason is that the equipment demands more control and strength from the stabilizer muscles. Read on to know more about the muscles worked, proper form, the movement’s benefits, and more.

What Muscles Do Roman Chair Sit-Ups Work

Roman chair sit-ups focus on abdominal muscles. The movement is perfect for strengthening your core and developing an attractive six-pack.

Secondarily, the movement targets:

  • Tensor Fasciae Latae
  • Rectus Femoris
  • Pectineus
  • Sartorius
  • Adductor Longus
  • Adductor Brevis

Rectus abdominis and obliques work as stabilizers.

How To Perform Roman Chair Sit-Ups

Step 1. Set up

You can use both a Roman chair and a glute machine. The cushioned seat and the leg rollers are two of the most critical components in the construction of the equipment pieces needed for this exercise. Set the roller height. Set the distance between the seat and your feet depending on your body parameters. The goal is to guarantee that your lower back and hips are completely supported by the pad and feet are comfortably fixed.

Step 2. Sit up 

Sit up and keep your torso straight as soon as your buttocks and feet are securely in place. That’s a starting position. You may leave your hands on the chest or put them behind the head. 

Step 3. Lower your body

Lower your body in a controlled motion. Don’t go all the way back. Leave some space not to arch the back and keep constant tension in the targeted muscles.

Step 4. Come up

Make a little pause at the bottom of the movement, and then go back to the start. Keep your torso as straight as you can the entire way through. Maintain the tension in your abs, don’t let them relax.

Advantages Of A Roman Chair Sit Ups

Posture improvement

Because it is designed for back extension exercises, the Roman chair aids in the strengthening of the lower back muscles and, as a result, improves your posture.

Prevention of the lower back pain

The truth is most people’s waking hours are spent at a desk. It can play a dirty trick on your back and cause pain. Such physical setbacks may be avoided by practicing Roman chair sit-ups.

Core strengthening

Being able to do everyday tasks with ease is made possible by having a well-developed core. Almost all of the movements rely on it. That’s why including Roman chair sit-ups in your routine is a good idea.

Attractive looks

Well-defined abs are one of the most enticing features for everyone, regardless of gender. This is when the Roman chair comes in handy. It’s an easy way to get the six-pack abs you’ve always wanted. 

5 Roman Chair Sit-Ups Alternatives 

1. Hanging Leg Raises

This movement hits the abs, obliques and hip flexors. The legs’ weight is used as resistance throughout the whole movement, making hanging leg raises one of the best ab workouts. You will need a horizontal bar to practice this exercise.

How to do hanging leg raises:

  • Jump up on the bar, holding it with a neutral grip and hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Curl your pelvis up, and raise your legs. Keep a slight bend in your knees.
  • Focus on where you are bending. Aim at a 90-degree angle or a bit higher to make the targeted muscles work harder.
  • Avoid going too high; reaching the bar with your legs is not needed here. If you do that, gravity will work against you, not letting your abs feel the constant tension.

2. Crunches

These workouts are popular with folks who desire to build six-pack abs because of the great muscle isolation. In addition to strengthening core muscles and improving posture, the exercise also increases flexibility and mobility.

How to do crunches:

This workout may be done in a variety of ways. We’ll go with the floor ab crunch because it is the simplest.

  • Lay on your back. Maintain a 90-degree angle with your legs by keeping your feet on the floor. Your knees can stay at a hip distance or all the way together. Just choose a comfortable position.
  • Keep the hands behind the back of your head but avoid lacing the fingers (it can put too much pressure on the neck). Your spine should remain in a neutral position. Keep the elbows nice and wide.
  • Exhale and crunch your upper body slowly. Load your abs by arching your back a little. 
  • Inhale and return to the start in a controlled motion.

3. Ab Wheel Rollout 

The whole rectus abdominis is a primary target of this exercise. Aside from the abdominal muscles, it also engages the back, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, deltoids, chest, biceps and triceps. To practice this workout, you need an ab wheel. But if you don’t have one, we’ll tell you how to use a barbell.

How to do Ab wheel rollout:

  • Load a barbell with a 10-pound plate on each side. Skip this step if you have an ab wheel.
  • Grab the barbell or abb-roller with a shoulder-width hold while kneeling in front of it. Try to position your shoulders directly above the wheel.
  • Core muscles should be flexed while taking a deep breath. The barbell should be rolled forward. Keep rolling it till you’ve covered as much ground as you can. Avoid arching your lower back because it prevents core muscles from working hard.
  • Make use of a wall or other substantial structure as a halting-place if you find it difficult to regulate this movement phase.
  • Pull the wheel back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

4. Plank

The plank is a great exercise since it targets all of your main muscle groups at once. This workout may do wonders for your health from head to toe. As a result of gaining strength in your upper body, you’ll have better posture. In addition, the movement is gentle to your back.

How to do a plank:

  • Keep your back straight as you raise your body, standing on your elbows and toes.
  • Contract your core muscles to hold the posture. Make sure your back is not curved or arched. Maintain a straight line with your whole body.
  • Keep your body aligned by squeezing your abs and flexing your quads and glutes as much as you can.
  • Hold this posture as long as possible.

Russian Twist

The obliques, lower abs, and upper abs are all worked during the movement. Also, Russian twists focus on strengthening the obliques and the spine. This exercise is a favorite among athletes since it improves rotational mobility.

How to do Russian twist:

  • Lift your legs off the ground by tilting your body backward. You might also cross the legs to make the position more stable.
  • Perform two-sided upper-body twists. Keep your neck in a neutral position and simply twist your torso. To avoid spinning out of control, maintain a straight gaze.
  • While moving from side to side, keep your core contracted and exhale as you go.
  • You may use the plate from a dumbbell to amp up the difficulty of this workout.


Roman chair sit-ups are one of those well-known and time-tested exercises that deserve their respect. Regular practice of this exercise improves a posture, strengthens the core, and gives desired six-pack looks most of us want. The technique is pretty easy and available for any fitness level. If you don’t have the Roman chair, try one of the alternative movements. They work great too!