If you are fortunate enough to have the space for a home gym, finding the best weight bench should be top on your list of priorities. Perhaps you want to upgrade your existing model, or you’re delving into the market for the first time. Either way, you need to find a bench capable of holding a substantial amount of weight while also being easily adjustable. Keep reading for our comprehensive guide to finding a high-quality weight bench.
Comparison: Best Adjustable Weight Bench
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What is a Weight Bench?
It is a stable platform that enables you to perform a wide range of exercises with the bench press the most commonly performed one. All you need is a pair of dumbbells, and you can perform dozens of exercises without ever having to set foot in a gym. Add in a squat rack or bench press station, and you can perform maneuvers with a barbell too.
Why Do I Need A Weight Bench?
If you are tired of waiting for equipment at commercial gyms, don’t have the time to commute or else the nearest gym is miles away, a weight bench can be a life-saver. You can meet virtually all of your muscle building goals with the bench and a few extra pieces of equipment such as a power rack and pulldown machine.
There are a number of great exercises you can perform using just a weight bench and a pair of dumbbells, here are 3 of the best with brief descriptions.
- Dumbbell Pullover: This exercise targets the latissimus dorsi but also works secondary muscles such as the chest and triceps. Lie on the bench, take a dumbbell by its end with both hands and place it above your head. Slowly move it behind your head; make sure you bend your elbows. Pause at the end of the movement and bring the dumbbell back to its starting position.
- Dumbbell Row: This superb back exercise is simple to execute. Place one knee on the bench with the other foot on the ground. Hold a dumbbell in the hand that’s on the same side as the foot on the floor (left leg on floor = hold a dumbbell in left hand) and rest the other hand on the weight bench. Your starting position involves ensuring the arm that is holding the dumbbell is fully extended. Pull the arm towards you, pause for a second and then lower the weight. Repeat with the other arm for the desired number of repetitions.
- Bench Press/Incline Press: Lie flat on the bench with a pair of dumbbells. Move them above your head by pushing your arms upwards and try to get the weights to touch one another. Lower the weights slowly, pause for a moment and repeat. Change the incline on the weight bench to target different areas of the chest.
Top 3 Weight Bench Reviews
1 – Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 Adjustable Bench
The Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 is one of the finest weight benches currently on the market. It adjusts to various positions from a 17-degree decline to a 90-degree incline; 6 different positions in total. Although it looks almost identical to the older 3.1 incarnation, it is laden with brand new features. For example, it offers a greater decline than the old model, and the 5.1 version allows you to adjust the seat. As a result, you can perform military presses without your butt slipping.
The Bowflex 5.1 is extremely durable as it is made from high-quality steel and it can handle a maximum weight of up to 1,500 pounds! We found it to be extremely comfortable when we used it due to the ample level of padding and the body is scratch resistant. If that isn’t enough, the manufacturer gives you a 30-year warranty on the steel frame and a 1-year warranty on the upholstery.
No wonder this Bowflex weight bench has received rave reviews on Amazon.com. Users are delighted with the sturdiness and flexibility of the bench, and it won’t break the bank. You can handle a significant amount of weight while lying on it without ever worrying about it wobbling. It is reasonably easy to assemble, but if you don’t back your skills, you can pay for an expert team to assemble it for you.
2 – Universal 5-Position Weight Bench
This weight bench from Universal is one of the most affordable but don’t make the mistake of thinking it is a cheap and cheerful offering. It is very much an entry-level product, but you don’t have to worry about quality as it has a max capacity of 430 pounds (250-pound max weight of user). As such, it is a bench for beginners because intermediate and advanced trainees will soon exceed the total max limit.
It is an adjustable weight bench that offers 5 positions ranging from 10-degree decline to a 45-degree incline. We like the fixed foam leg brace that ensures your legs remain fixed throughout the exercise. The steel frame is reasonably sturdy, and the upholstery is simple to clean; just give it a quick wipe after use. It only weighs 33 pounds, so its sturdiness is a welcome surprise.
Users were happy with the quality of the Universal 5-position weight bench although some complained about the foam rollers on the leg braces constantly falling off; an issue we didn’t encounter during our review. Also, you are unable to perform standard shoulder presses using this bench. Nonetheless, for less than $100, you get a durable value for money weight bench with a 2-year warranty for the frame and a 30-day warranty for the padding.
3 – XMark Commercial XM-7630 Weight Bench
This weight bench probably seems a little pricey, but for a weight bench that is near the top end of the spectrum regarding quality, it is a bargain. It is very much a product for individuals that take their weightlifting seriously as it has a maximum weight capacity of 1,500 pounds. It offers 7 back adjustments (ranging from a 20-degree decline to 85-degree incline) and includes an ergonomic seat design which is also adjustable. The strong steel construction means you can rely on this product to remain solid while you train.
The seat cushions and backrest are made from double stitched Duraguard vinyl, so there is little or no chance of you tearing it. The padding is 3 inches thick so as well as offering you extreme comfort, the upholstery should last you a lifetime. There is also a bar attached at the bottom to hold your feet, and the built-in transport wheels mean you can move the weight bench quickly and easily.
It has received great reviews on Amazon.com as serious trainees have praised the durability and portability of the XMark bench. It isn’t easy to assemble, but you can have it assembled for a fee. Regarding quality, durability, features, design and strength, there are few weight benches on the market that match the XMark.
How To Choose A Weight Bench
The point of a weight bench is to increase exercise variety and ensure you get to train in the comfort of your home. It is an excellent piece of fitness equipment because it allows you to maintain your posture and ensure you perform each exercise with good technique. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a weight bench for the home:
You should leave no stone unturned in your quest to find a high-quality weight bench. Always look for a product capable of carrying several times your weight. Remember, it needs to support your body and the weight you’re lifting easily. Only buy benches made from steel and heavy gauge tubing. Bear in mind that some benches have a maximum capacity of 1,000 pounds!
Aim to find a bench with at least 2 inches of padding to cushion the body from the steel frame.
You will get better value for money if you buy an adjustable bench because it allows you to perform multiple exercises such as incline dumbbell press and the shoulder press.
While you can get benches designed to screw into the floor, most users are better off purchasing one that can be moved around at will.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a small fortune on a weight bench. Analyze your requirements before making a purchasing decision. Let’s face it; there is no point spending $500 on a bench you only use a handful of times a month. Likewise, it makes no sense to cut corners if you plan to lift heavy weights on it several times a week.
Don’t purchase any piece of fitness equipment if it doesn’t have a decent warranty.
Types of Weight Benches
There are several different weight bench types, and we analyze a few below.
Flat Weight Bench
This is the most common type of bench and consists of a flat surface with no attachments. It is simple to handle and doesn’t take up much space. You can perform basic exercises such as bench press, dips, and bicep curls. These benches are comfortable, but the number of exercises you can do is limited.
Adjustable Weight Bench
This is the best choice for trainees at home because it enables you to perform more exercises by adjusting the equipment as you wish. You can change the angle of chest exercises, back exercises and crucially, adjustable benches enable you to perform seated shoulder exercises.
Olympic Weight Bench
An Olympic bench is an advanced model capable of holding extremely large amounts of weight. Also, it typically has add-ons such as a squat rack, rod, weight plates and more. It is a complete workout machine but is also extremely expensive.
Pros of Weight Benches
Target Different Angles
With an adjustable weight bench, you can alter the setting to quickly change exercises to target all angles of the muscles. Bodybuilders in particular favor this approach for a complete workout.
You can perform dozens of exercises with a weights bench and a pair of dumbbells, so there is no need to go to a commercial gym. With the equipment at your fingertips, perhaps you’ll use it more often and get in great shape. All you need is some extra fitness tools, and you’ll be capable of a full body workout that is as good as anything you could do in the gym.
Ideal for Beginners
If you’re new to resistance training, a weight bench will help you overcome difficulties with breathing, posture, and technique. It keeps your chest or back flat on the surface so you can focus on working the muscle.
As long as you choose a sturdy weight bench and are sensible with the amount of weight you use in each exercise, this piece of equipment enables you to exercise safely and securely.
Weight benches take up very little space, and there are even versions that fold up.
Cons of Weight Benches
There is no real downside to purchasing a weight bench; the cons listed below mainly relate to free weights in general.
Free weight exercises might seem complex to the newcomer so if you want to get acquainted with resistance training, a gym’s weight machines could be a good place to start.
If you attempt a heavy bench press and don’t have a safety catch, you’ll need a spotter to avoid getting pinned. However, you can avoid this issue by sticking with dumbbells as you can simply lower them to the ground once you can lower longer lift them.
Unsupervised newcomers can injure themselves if they lift weights on a bench while experienced lifters can also fall victim to injury by trying to lift more than they can safely handle. If you don’t choose a sturdy bench, it could collapse while you train which could result in a serious injury.
Remember, a weight bench is an important tool in your quest to gain strength, lose fat and increase stamina. Do thorough research not only to find one that suits your specific needs but also to purchase a safe piece of equipment.