If you are serious about lifting weights in your home gym, then you are going to need a weight bench. A weight bench allows you to do a greater combination of exercises than you then are able to do in a standing or static position. It also provides a larger range of motion in lying positions. In short, you can perform a much larger variety of exercises in an organized and safe manner.
Sure, the best workout bench can be a significant investment, but it is going to pay off in dividends when it comes to your health and overall fitness.
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On this page, I want to introduce you to the main types of exercise or workout benches for your home. I also want to show you a few of the best home workout benches available on the market.
Just remember, a weight bench is staple of exercise equipment and a perfect addition to any home gym.
#1 Flat Workout Benches
A flat weight bench is the most common exercise bench available largely due to the fact that they typically don’t cost much yet you can still perform a variety of exercises on them.
Flat benches are nothing more than a bench you can lay down on (or step onto) and can be used in both upper body and lower body exercises. That said, there are no adjustments possible which does somewhat limit you in terms of exercise selection. For example, you will not be able to do an incline or decline bench press or incline row with a flat bench. However, they are simple, affordable, (generally) padded and sturdy, and make an excellent piece of beginner equipment. Usually made with a solid steel frame, a quality flat bench with give years of use, is affordable, and does not take up a lot of space
In short, a flat bench – while having limitations – is the perfect type of ‘starter bench’ especially for those on a tight budget.
#2 Adjustable Workout Benches
If you need a bit more variety to your exercise regimen, then you may want to opt for an adjustable weight bench. On these, you get the benefit of a flat bench while still being able to adjust the position of the bench (usually, both incline and decline). This pre-defined adjustability allows you to target more muscle groups and add in exercise progressions by changing the angle at which you lift weights. Some additional features to kind in mind is how many positions or angles are available, the max weight limit, and the ease of adjustability. Some benches in this category also have wheels, rubberized feet (great for protecting floors), and allow for some simple attachments such as a leg extension.
Sure, an adjustable bench is a bit more expensive than your typical flat bench, but it offers a lot more in the way of versatility and features.
#3 Olympic Workout Benches
If you are building a home gym, then you are probably not going to be aiming for Olympic weight benches right off the bat. These weight benches are larger in dimensions, heavier, and less maneuverable than any of the previous options.
For starters; the bench is often going to be a whole lot wider and longer than your typical flat bench. In addition, an Olympic weight bench can come with a whole load of wonderful attachments. This can include squat racks, leg extension, leg curls, etc.
If you have the space in your home and you have the budget available to you, then an Olympic home weight bench is a fantastic place to start as they do offer a lot of versatility. As you progress as a lifter or athlete, that versatility will help you progress and keep your exercise regimen “fresh.”
For a majority of people just starting out, though, they are more than necessary. However, if you have the space and desire future flexibility, they are an excellent option.
#4 Folding Workout Benches
Folding benches are for those who do not have a lot of space. These are ideal if you live in an apartment or otherwise tight quarters as being able to pack or store away your bench when not in use is fantastic. In terms of features, they tend to be pretty close to your standard flat bench but may include rubberized feet and some other small enhancements like a handle for carrying or moving the bench.
Bear in mind that because you can fold them up, they are unlikely to be as durable or strong as other options.
So, unless space is a major concern, you shouldn’t go for foldable weight benches. If you need a folding bench, then
#5 Abdominal Benches
These benches are made specifically for working the abdomen. They generally have foot rollers on the end and can incline or decline however you see fit. However, you can just buy an adjustable bench, set it to a decline, and do similar ab exercises. I typically would not recommend them for a home workout gym.
#5 Preacher Curl Benches
A preacher curl bench is very specific type of bench that is built specifically for preacher curls. So, they are only really great for working on your biceps and not that much more. You most likely will see this in a commercial gym; they are overkill for almost all home gyms due to space limitation, cost, and lack of exercise flexibility.
Now, let’s discuss some of some of the best weight benches that I have come across, especially for the price.
Marcy Pro PM-507 Bench
If you need an affordable, flat weight bench that can fold up with ease, then look no further than the Marcy PM-507.
Despite the low price, this flat weight bench is incredibly heavy-duty, and it is very comfortable to lay down on too.
One of the reasons why I have included it on my list is down to the fact that it is very portable. While you can’t tell from the picture of it, there are some wheels on the base.
So, if you have a particularly large (or small, for that matter) home gym, then you should be able to find that you can move it from position to position with relative ease.
Since it doesn’t cost much, it does have some limitations such as lower comfort. It is not brimming with features either but it is a durable, solid, and affordable option. For somebody that is just getting started with their home gym, I honestly can’t think of anything better than this.
- Comes almost fully assembled (you only need to install the leg braces and footholds)
- It folds up nicely for storage purpose
- The bench is lightweight which makes it easy to transport around
- Solid and sturdy built
- The back pad is not that thick and soft so it’s not exactly the most comfortable option out there
- Basic; not adjustable
UBOWAY Foldable Adjustable Bench
If you are regularly working with dumbbells, and I have no doubt that you are since you are reading this website, then you may find that the UBOWAY adjustable bench is going to be right up your alley.
This workout bench can be moved into a seven different positions, which is great as you are able to target muscles differently based on your position. It also supports a max combined weight of 300 lbs. which is good for a beginner or a smaller person but is not enough for a larger or strength athlete.
Despite the low price, this relatively heavy-duty weight bench comes complete with high-density foam, which means that each time you sit on it you are going to be comfortable.
If that wasn’t enough, if you order this UBOWAY adjustable bench, you will be able to have it delivered to your home AND it will be fully assembled when it gets there. This means that you can get started in your new home gym as quickly as possible.
The downside is that it is quite a lightweight (i.e. not the most sturdy) and smaller bench, which means that you are going to need to take a little bit of care when you use it. If you a taller or larger person, you should look elsewhere.
- Easy to set up
- Easy to convert to different positions while you change your exercises
- Lightweight and easy to move around
- Affordably priced
- Not so great option for someone of larger or taller size
- Max weight is only 300 lbs.
- The padding is on the thinner side
Gymenist Exercise Foldable Bench
If you need a weight bench that is highly portable and can be moved wherever you need just by folding it up and carrying it under your arm, then look no further than this.
This is an adjustable weight bench with six preset positions (both incline and decline) to ensure that you are targeting the muscle groups that you want to target.
One of the presets allows for the bench to sit straight up at 90 degrees which is great for shoulder exercises like military press.
One of my favorite features of this bench is the inclusion of the adjustable cushion on the back. You can move this up and down to ensure that you are always getting the maximum amount of support during your workouts.
The bench is also quite durable and strong and supports a max weight of 550 lbs. While a bit more expensive than the prior options it is very well reviewed (4.6 stars) on Amazon and is my recommendation when accounting for all factors.
- Strong and durable; supports 550 lbs. max
- Decent padding for comfort
- Easy to fold and lightweight which make it great for transporting it around
- Comes fully assembled
- The locking pin system for adjusting can get annoying at times
Marcy Utility Upright Bench
Despite the name ‘upright’, you can easily adjust this workout bench however you see fit. This means that you should have no issues targeting the muscles that you want to target.
One of my favorite features of the Marcy Exercise Bench is the high-density foam rollers that it comes complete with.
These are some of the softest around. Not only do they provide wonderful support and protection when you are using the quality bench, but you can also be sure that it will help to reduce muscle fatigue.
This means that you can work out for longer periods, and at a far harder rate.
There are very few things wrong with this utility bench. I think the only issue that people highlight with the Marcy Exercise Utility Upright Bench is the fact that it can be a little bit uncomfortable to use if you are over 6 feet in size.
- Sturdy and solid built, great for all the basic exercises
- The padded rollers add comfort when doing sit-ups
- Not such a great option for the ones who use very heavyweights
Just like it is with adjustable dumbbells, Bowflex is the way to go when it comes to adjustable benches. They make some of the best products on the market.
With the 5.1 adjustable bench you have more adjustment than any most benches (this has 6 positions, as opposed to your standard 3), you have a higher amount of durability, and you have a greater level of comfort.
Honestly, I don’t think I have seen somebody say a bad word about the Bowflex range of adjustable bench. Since this is a quality bench from a top brand, you should expect to pay a premium for it. If the bench is out of your price range, they also have a more affordable 3.1 and 4.1 bench.
However, I promise you, this is an adjustable bench which is going to last you years and years. It is worth paying that premium.
- Stable and sturdy frame
- 6 position adjustments
- Max 600 lbs. weight limit
- Quite easy to assemble
- Easy to move around as it’s lightweight and can be folded
- Easy to adjust while changing exercises
The Final Verdict
If you have a home gym, then you need to have the best weight bench in it. Without one, you are limiting yourself when it comes to exercise.
While I highly recommend that you go for the Bowflex benches if you can afford them, I genuinely feel that any of the best weight benches on this list is going to be fantastic for any home gym.
How much do weight benches typically cost?
The prices start from $50 and go up to a couple of hundreds. The average price is around $100, but you can get a pretty decent bench also for around $70 to start with.
If you are looking for something more advanced then be ready to pay $150 to $250 (or more) for premium quality and features.
What features should I look for in an adjustable bench?
Most people buy a weight bench as their first piece of equipment in their home gym and later on the rest of the equipment to match the bench. Therefore you should consider buying the best weight bench to go for, to not regret your choice later on.
We have put down a couple of things to have in mind when making your decision.
As I wrote in the previous part, there are fixed flat benches and there are adjustable benches. Both of them can be a great option, depending on what you’re looking for so the first thing you need to do is to assess your needs.
The best adjustable bench will offer you more versatility in terms of the incline/ decline and the number of exercises you can perform on it.
A flat bench offers you fewer options for exercises, but at the same time it comes in at a cheaper price. If you compare the price of a simple adjustable bench with a high-end flat bench, you will notice that the latter comes in at the same or even at a better price.
When it comes to comfort you should check if the backrest is big enough to let you do your exercises comfortably and correctly. Also, check if the seat looks decent and comfortable.
If you decide to go for an adjustable bench, make sure that the process of adjusting is comfortable and can be done easily. You don’t want to be wasting time on something else than your exercises when doing your work out.
All in all, flat workout benches tend to be more durable as they don’t include hinges and other moving components that adjustable benches normally include. More mechanics and moving parts can also mean more need for maintenance.
However, if you opt for one of the more expensive adjustable benches by a decent company, you should have no problems with that.
If you have enough space for your equipment to lay there at all times and you are not planning to travel around with your bench, then skip this part.
However, if you do want to be moving your bench around then consider that flat benches weigh (a lot) less than the adjustable benches. Think if you actually need to perform so many exercises to opt for the adjustable bench or you’re just fine with a lightweight flat bench to start with.
Another thing to consider is if the bench is foldable. Some of the benches out there can be folded down and stored under your bed or in the trunk of your car. Have it in mind if you are tight on space or want to exercise when you are traveling around.
Maximum Weight Capacity
When making your decision, you should also consider if the bench matches your strength, weight, and height. Check the maximum weight capacity that the bench supports (as well as the maximum load of the bar rest).
Some of the cheaper benches only support up to 300lbs which is not a great (nor a safe) option for someone of a higher weight or larger size. However, there are options for literally everyone out there as some of the high-end benches have a weight capacity of over 1,500lbs.
How to Use a Weight Bench?
Choose Your Exercises
Depending on the bench you have chosen you will be able to perform certain exercises. Make sure you choose the right exercises for each muscle group and consider the features of the bench.
Bear in mind that you will be able to perform fewer exercises on a fixed flat bench than on an adjustable bench.
If you’re dealing with an adjustable bench, then adjust the bench accordingly for each exercise. First, adjust the incline to match your exercises. If you have that, then move on to adjusting the seat to fit the incline and make sure you feel comfortable to perform the exercise correctly.
Choose Your Weights
You have to choose the weights for each exercise. Firstly decide if you will use the barbells or dumbbells and then move on to assessing the correct weight for a particular exercise. You may want to use dumbbells for some exercises and barbless for other exercises.
We encourage you to use dumbbells especially for training your arms. The benefit of using dumbbells is that you will make sure that you are giving both of your arms a decent and equal workout.
Most of the people out there have a dominant arm and if you use a barbell then the dominant arm will be taking a lot of that weight which will result in your weaker arm working out less which in return will continue to make that armless strong.
Some Other Tips
Make sure you keep your feet flat on the floor while you perform the exercises. This is important to make sure you are safe and don’t slide off the bench.
Make sure you keep your head in contact with the bench to avoid injuries and pain in your neck.
Your hips should be touching the back of the bench.
Breathe in on the descent or easy part of the exercise and breathe out while lifting the weight back to it’s original position. Do not hold your breathe.
Following the tips above should create a natural arch in your back which in turn helps you engage all the core muscles while performing the exercises.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are weight benches worth the money?
It’s only natural to wonder whether a workout bench is actually worth the money. After all, there are a lot of different fitness products out there on the market, so it can sometimes be hard to discern what things you need and what things you don’t need.
With that in mind, a weight bench is perhaps one of the most important things you can buy for your fitness. Weight benches are incredibly versatile. They can be used for all sorts of different moves, from bench presses to seated presses.
You can even use them for things like bent-over rows. They’re an essential tool for any strength training regime.
How many sets of bench press should I do?
Well, the answer to this question can largely depend on the person that’s doing the bench press. It can depend on the person’s experience level as well as how much they’re bench pressing.
For instance, if you are bench pressing a larger amount of weight, you may want to do fewer sets and reps. If you are looking to build your muscles though, you should try to get around 6 to 12 reps in of a lower weight.
You can do this for around 3-5 sets, depending on what you prefer. This should give you some good results.
What can I use instead of a bench?
If you don’t currently have access to a bench, you can use something else as a temporary substitute for a while instead. Typically, you best choice is a very strong and sturdy chair or table.
Before using it though, always double check that it’s nice and sturdy – you don’t want to end up injuring yourself or breaking your furniture. In addition, make sure that the surface has been pushed up to the wall (if possible) so you have some extra support.
Should I widen or tighten my bench grip?
This depends on the what part of your muscles that you want to target. For example, if you take a wider grip you are going to have less range of motion and will use more of your pectorals (and less shoulders and triceps) when lifting. Tightening your grip will increase focus on your triceps (and less on pecs). Widening or tightening your grip is great idea for occasional variety from your typical grip. In my opinion, it’s always best to occasionally work on weaknesses while still catering to your own personal strengths.
How many times a week should I do bench press?
It’s always important to make sure that your workout routine allows you to target all of your key muscle groups throughout the course of the week. For this reason, you need to make sure that you do the right amount of each move.
For the average lifter, you should be trying to bench press around twice a week. Doing so gives ample recover time while still allowing you to make your bench press stronger over time. You can also introduce variety in how you train those days. For instance, you could spend one of the days trying to improve the weight you are lifting, and you can spend the other one focusing on the number of reps that you do.
What do Other Reviewers Recommend?
Review Tube has favorited CAP Strength Standard Combo Bench with Weight Set bringing out its compact frame design, angled 4-position back pad, and solid padded backrest and seat.
They think it’s a perfect fit for beginners as well as more experienced gym sharks. Another great advantage is that it comes in with a weight bundle set that consists of 4 20-pound plates, 2 10-pound plates, 2 spring collars, and a standard 1-piece barbell.
Review Madness loves Fitness Reality 2000 the most. The reasons lie in the great features of the bench like 2” thick foam seat and backrest, 37” extended backrest support, and it’s great adjustability.
The angle can be adjusted at 0, 8 and 15 degrees, and the backrest can be adjusted to a whopping 7 different angles which makes it a great bench for a variety of exercises.
It is also quite compact when you fold it so you can store it easily in your home.
Ezvid Wiki has also reviewed a bunch of weight benches and recommend XMark Commercial 9022 as the best option. They love that it can support a whopping 1500 pounds of weight. They were also amazed by the 7 ladder positions that the bench boasts with.
Another great feature that they brought out in their review was that the bench has built-in wheels for moving it around under a power cage or for storage.
The Beast Reviews consider GYMENIST Exercise Bench as the best weight bench. What they loved the most about the bench were its powder-coated steel frame and foldable design making it easy to store or why not travel around with.
They also liked the fact that it comes pre-assembled making it easy to use for literally anyone. The adjustable padded seat and backrest make it a perfect fit for most exercises.
The New York Magazine has favorited Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Bench for its sturdiness and stability. They have collected opinions of some gym sharks saying that the built and engineering of the bench are of premium quality and the looks of it add a wow factor.
The Fitness Rocks have chosen Rep Fitness Adjustable Bench – AB-3000 FID as their favorite bench. What they loved most about this model was the solid frame and sturdiness. They were also pleasantly surprised about the adjustment options that the bench offers (7 different adjustments).
The downsides of the bench were the higher than average price and the fact that it’s not foldable which makes it not so great an option for the ones tight on money or space.
As I mentioned before, most people out there will buy a weight bench as their first piece of equipment to build their home gym.
But what comes after that you may be asking? A floor mat and a set of dumbbells, of course!
When it comes to buying a decent floor mat, I would either go for rubber tiles or rubber roll. Both of them may be a bit pricier than alternatives like foam tiles and carpet tiles, but if you are really after protecting your floor then these are the way to go.
Rubber tiles are one of the most popular options when it comes to home gym flooring. If you are tight on space at home, they are the best option as you can just unclip them once you are done with your exercises.
Another thing that I love about the rubber tiles is that the shock absorption is just incredible. I am used to working out with quite heavy weights so I need something durable and the rubber tiles never fail to protect my floor.
I have used and have been happy with the Sivan Fitness Exercise Rubber Tiles.
If the rubber tiles price goes over your budget then you have a lower cost option which is rubber rolls. The shock absorption that the rubber rolls offer is almost the same as one of the rubber tiles. They are also durable which means that this investment is for a longer time, however, there is one downside.
They are quite heavy and harder to install than rubber tiles, so you may go for this option if you have a designated place for your home gym with all the equipment staying there at all times.
If you need to clear up space every time after you’re done with the exercises, then you are probably going to regret buying them. If that’s the case, then try to save some cash and go for the rubber tiles.
However, if you have that nice room just for your home gym and you want to opt for the rubber rolls, then I’d recommend you go for the IncStores rubber flooring. As a bonus, you can say that you are environmentally conscious when buying this flooring as it’s made of recycled rubber.
Now as you have your bench and your floor it’s time to get the best set of dumbbells to level up your fitness game. All you need to do is to get a set of these BowFlex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells and you’re good to go.
The reason why I love them is that they can replace a total of 15 dumbbells in your home gym. How come? It’s easy. You can adjust them from 5 to 52.lbs. That means you are going to save a ton of space in your home gym.
They might seem a bit pricey when you see them at first, but when you consider what you get, you’ll soon realize they’re worth every penny. It is a one-time investment for something that is durable and is going to last you years and years.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org