- Target muscle: Iliopsoas
- Synergists: Tensor Fasciae Latae, Rectus Femoris, Pectineus, Sartorius, Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis
- Important stabilizers: Rectus Abdominis, Obliques
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Force: Pull
- Sit on the edge of a flat bench and hook your feet under any weight (barbell, kettlebell, or a heavy dumbbell).
- Cross your arms over your chest.
- Keeping your neck neutral, inhale as you lean back and lower your torso until your hips are almost fully extended.
- Exhale as you flex your hips to raise your torso back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Comments and tips
- Use the Roman chair sit-up on a flat bench if you have no access to a Roman chair.
- The rectus abdominis and obliques only act as stabilizers in this exercise, assisting the iliopsoas in flexing the hips. However, this exercise still effectively overloads the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles isometrically, not dynamically.
- You can also position your hands behind your head instead of crossing them over your chest. This will cause your center of gravity to move farther away from your hips, making this exercise more challenging.
- When raising the torso back to the starting position, make sure that the action initiates from flexing your hips and not your neck. Initiating the movement from your neck may cause injury. Keep your neck as neutral as possible during the exercise.
- See also the Roman chair sit-up, the decline sit-up, and the decline twisting sit-up.
Roman chair sit-up on a flat bench video
In this video, the instructor hooks his feet under a kettlebell, but you can use a barbell or a heavy dumbbell. You can also wedge your feet against a wall.