Back extension endurance and strength: the effect of variable-angle roman chair exercise training

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2002 Aug 15;27(16):1772-7. doi: 10.1097/00007632-200208150-00016.


Study design: A pre- and postintervention randomized, controlled trial was conducted.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of progressive resistance exercise training using a variable-angle Roman chair on the development of lumbar extensor endurance and strength.

Summary of background data: Progressive resistance exercise for the lumbar extensors has been used successfully for low back pain rehabilitation, but the limitations of currently available back exercise devices have negatively affected its use.

Methods: For this study, 36 healthy volunteers were randomized into one of two groups: a variable-angle Roman chair exercise group (n = 18) that performed one set of 15 to 25 repetitions of dynamic progressive resistance back extension exercise on a variable-angle Roman chair three times per week for 8 weeks or a control group (n = 18) that did not perform resistance exercise. Before training and after 4 and 8 weeks of training, static back extension endurance (seconds) and isometric lumbar extension strength (Newton.meters) were recorded.

Results: The variable-angle Roman chair exercise group displayed a 42% increase in static back extension endurance at the 4-week and 8-week tests relative to the pretraining measure (P < 0.05). The control group did not increase back endurance time at either the 4-week or 8-week tests (P > 0.05). Neither the variable-angle Roman chair exercise group nor the control group displayed an increase in lumbar extension strength at the 4-week or 8-week tests (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Dynamic progressive resistance exercise training on a variable-angle Roman chair is capable of developing back extension endurance. Future research is needed to determine the clinical applicability of variable-angle Roman chair exercise training for patients with low back pain patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Back / physiology*
  • Equipment and Supplies*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Lumbosacral Region / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Reference Values