The Roman chair squat is an old school exercise rarely found in gyms these days. But, it really works the full length of the quads.
If you are looking for an exercise that thoroughly isolates the quads and has the potential to build impressive size look no further than the Roman Chair Squat. This is an old-school exercise that is forever disappearing from the landscape of many gyms. As Bud and I (Nancy) planned this leg workout we decided to venture to the Outback gym. This is the small gym in my hometown that I workout at on the weekends. The Outback gym boasts many older pieces of equpment and the Roman Chair Squat is one of them. As you can see I am preparing to begin the exercise and from the look on my face I know what I will be feeling in my quads very shortly.
This exercise can be done with body weight progressing to holding a weight plate once strict form is achieved and the bodyweight version becomes easy. The Roman Chair Squatting device is small. There are adjustable pads that touch your shins and stationary pads that secure your calves. These pads hold your legs and feet in place so that when you move into the squat position you will not fall over.
To begin the exercise adjust the shin pads snugly against your legs. Begin the exercise in an upright position then lean back slightly-this lean places the tension completely on the quads. Keeping your back as straight as possible bend your knee's and lower yourself towards the floor reaching at least a 90 degree bend in the knee. As you rise upwards come to a fully extended poistion in your legs while maintaining the rearward lean. Again, this will keep the stress on the quads. The most common mistake is to rise to a completely upright position which releases the tension on the quads.
As you can see Bud begins the exercise leaning back a bit. As he lowers his body he maintains a straight back and also reaches the 90 degree bend in his knees. As he rises to the top he keeps his torso leaning back and in doing so maintains maximum stress on his quads. He displayed great form in his roman chair squat debut! By the fourth set of these Bud was holding a 10 pound weight plate.
[Bud: Nancy is a little too kind here. The video details a little how it was difficult for me initially to get proper form.]
As you can see in the start photo, I'm not quite into proper position-there is no backward lean. As I lower my body my back stays very straight and I get a very good drop-a bit below parallel. In the last photo maximal tension remains on the quads due to the lean.
- Serious About Fitness has a great how-to article on The Roman Chair Squat. Combine their article with these videos, and you have a pair of great resources for learning this exercise.
- Bud provides a fuller account of our visit to Outback . He was very impressed with the atmosphere and variety of equipment.