Best back machine

Fitness Equipment

A back machine is also known as a Roman chair or hyperextension bench.

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Which back machines are best?

There are many exercise machines designed to work the neck, arms and upper back, but there is one piece of equipment that focuses on your lower core muscles — a back machine. Back machines feature a large, raised pad for your chest to rest upon and smaller pads below for your feet to fit underneath so that the bench is at either a 45-degree or 90-degree angle for resistance. You can focus on your abs, lower back and glutes and trim your waist in the process with exercises specifically designed for a back machine.

If you want to ensure all your major muscles get a workout, a back bench is a terrific addition to your home gym. For a sturdy and easily adjustable machine, the top choice is the Fitness Reality X-Class Back Extension Bench.

What to know before you buy a back machine

Back machines are not weight machines

Back machines do not come with attached weights for resistance. The resistance comes from your own body weight and gravity. There are many different types of exercises that you can do on a back machine, and many of them provide a great workout. There is a difference though between a back machine and a weight machine, so be sure to understand what a back machine can and cannot do. 

45-degree vs. 90-degree model

Back machines come in styles that offer a 45-degree angle for the bench or a 90-degree, parallel-to-the-floor model. The 90-degree model is better at keeping your back from arching and provides more resistance. It does take up more room though and can be harder to get onto it. The 45-degree model is easier to mount and takes up less space, but it can be more difficult to perform the exercises correctly.

Look for a long warranty

The length of the back machine warranty says a lot about what the manufacturer thinks about its product. Look for warranties up to 10 years for the frame and at least several years for parts.

What to look for in a quality back machine

Weight capacity

Each back machine has a weight limit. Remember to include any additional free weights that you may be using when calculating if the bench can hold you.

Nonslip feet

Look for back machines with footings that are safe for floors but won’t move around. Keeping the back machine secure is paramount to perform the exercises correctly and prevent injury.


Back machines will need to be adjusted occasionally based on your height and the exercise you are doing. Look for back machines that are easy to adjust and accommodate your body size.


You may need a back machine that can be stored away in tight spaces. Most 45-degree back machines fold flat, although a few 90-degree models also do. Be sure to review the manufacturer information for details on how to store the back machine.


One of the most important features of a back machine is the padding on the footrest and the main pedestal. Review the materials used for the padding as well as the thickness to ensure that you get the most comfortable experience.

How much you can expect to spend on a back machine

Back machines are priced between $70-$300, with higher-end machines starting at $130 based on materials and features. Middle-range back machines run $100-$130 with up to 90-degree flexibility, while basic units are priced from $70-$100 and offer only 45-degree capability.

Back machine FAQ

How much weight is right for extra resistance?

A. It depends on your fitness level and overall workout goals. As a general rule, any amount of weight that causes you to jerk your muscles or arch your back is too much. That motion is putting extra pressure on your spine and could cause an injury. Start with a low weight load and continue to build your strength over time with an eye on your back staying straight and unstrained.

Should I warm up before using a back machine?

A. Yes. Since you will be using major muscle groups and putting your spine in a vulnerable position, always warm up so that your body has blood flowing and your muscles have begun to stretch a little.

What’s the best back machine to buy?

Top back machine

Fitness Reality X-Class Back Extension Bench

Fitness Reality X-Class Back Extension Bench

What you need to know: Versatile and sturdy, this back machine offers numerous options for your workout.

What you’ll love: This back machine holds up to 650 pounds. It is made from powder-coated steel and has thick pads for support. The bench has four different inclines to accommodate a variety of exercises.

What you should consider: There were some reports of the bench proportions making certain exercises difficult.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top back machine for the money

Stamina Hyper Bench

Stamina Hyper Bench

What you need to know: This back machine is perfect for the home fitness buff with an adjustable frame and footrest.

What you’ll love: A sturdy steel frame provides a solid foundation for your workouts and easily folds up for storage when you are done. Foam padded handlebars and pivoting foam rollers provide extra comfort. Nonstick rubber caps keep the frame in place.

What you should consider: Some shorter users found the bench to be challenging for certain exercises.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Goplus Adjustable Roman Chair

Goplus Adjustable Roman Chair

What you need to know: This back machine is easily adjustable and is compatible with taller users.

What you’ll love: Sturdy steel construction allows for a variety of toning exercises that strengthen your core muscles. Padded rollers hold your feet in place. It has a weight capacity of 330 pounds.

What you should consider: The instruction manual is complicated and assembly can take some time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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