A Guide to Buying the Best Weight Bench
The number of Americans with gym memberships has practically doubled in the past 20 years (approximately 32.8 million Americans had gym memberships in 2000, compared to 64.2 million in 2019). People are more and more health-conscious and know the benefits of a well-toned body. But, if committing to a gym membership is difficult, or if you prefer to exercise in the privacy of your own home (or office), a weight bench will greatly expand the options for the types of exercises that you can do.
Instead of only being able to lift barbells or dumbbells while standing or lying on your back, a weight bench can allow you to do exercises that concentrate on particular muscle groups. And if you buy an adjustable weight bench, where you can set the angle of your seat or back, you can increase the level of challenge as you condition your body. A weight bench can also make standard, routine exercises, such as push-ups or sit-ups, much more challenging!
We’ll look at some of the weight benches available, and point out some of the features of the best models. You’ll be amazed at how much you can do, with such a simple piece of equipment!
Types of Weight Benches
We can distinguish between the two main types of weight benches: a flat bench, and an adjustable bench:
Flat weight bench: These types of benches allow you to lie flat on your back for bench-pressing or for working with dumbbells. You can also team up a weight bench with other equipment, such as a Smith machine, a power cage, or a power rack. An example is the Doeplex Flat Weight Bench, with a weight capacity of 1200 lbs. The foam padding is 3” thick, with a durable textured vinyl cover.
Doeplex Flat Weight Bench
Adjustable weight bench: These weight benches allow you to adjust the angle of the seat and back. An example is the Flybird Adjustable Strength Training Bench. The backrest can be set at 7 different angles (95°, 129°, 143°, 157°, 180°–perfectly flat, 190°, and 215°), and the seat can be set at three different angles. They are also known as FID (= Flat-Incline-Decline) benches, to indicate the various positions that the bench can assume.
Flybird Adjustable Strength Training Bench
What reviewers say
Here’s what customers say about their choice of weight bench:
Construction: Many benches require that you construct the device. Some customers noticed that a trained professional can probably assemble the bench in less than 30 minutes. A novice will take noticeably longer, and only if they follow the instructions precisely.
Height limit: Pay attention to the suggested height limit of the bench, as well as the weight limit. The Escape Fitness Deck V2.0 is a nice combination of workout platform (to be used as an aerobic stepper as well) and weight bench. But, it shouldn’t be used by someone taller than 5’ 9” for bench-pressing and other exercises while lying on your back. A customer who is 5’ 11” noticed that it didn’t offer adequate support for his neck, which can be dangerous.
Escape Fitness Deck V2.0
Here are some features of the best weight benches, which may help you decide on one model over another:
Weight capacity: Weight benches will differ in the maximum weight that they can be expected to support without the steel buckling. You may want to start out with a simpler bench with a weight capacity as low as 385 lbs., as in the Adidas Performance Utility Bench, and work up as you develop muscle and need more of a challenge. On the other hand, the XMark 7604 Adjustable Weight Bench has a weight capacity of 1500 lbs! (The difference in weight capacity is reflected in the price: the XMark bench is around twice the price of the Adidas model!)
Durability: From the pictures below, you can see that the ladder back on the XMark provides more support than the design of the Addidas. Also, although the adjustable weight benches give you more options, the various moving parts run the risk of wear and tear. For this reason, some may prefer the simple flat weight bench, since it might last longer.
The XMark 7604 Adjustable Weight Bench (top) vs. the Adidas Utility Bench (bottom)
Exercise ideas: One nice advantage that comes with a purchase of the Adidas Utility Bench is their “Scan to Train” app. You scan a code on your Adidas utility bench, and you get a selection of exercises from which to choose. (Their website also has a small taste of what you can do.)
Padding and comfort: Note the thickness of the padding on the weight bench that you want to purchase. The padding will vary from 2” to 3” thick. Also, look for padding covers that are easy to clean. There are sweat-resistant and tear-resistant options available.
Portable: Another great feature about many of these benches is that they’re easy to fold up and pack away when they’re not in use. Some can be packed up so small that they’ll fit in your car trunk! Also, many also include wheels for easy transport from one room to another.
We looked at some of the features of the best weight benches available. You have two main types to choose from, but there will be many variations, depending on how adjustable the device can be. You can rest assured that whether you want to use this as part of a weight set, or just stand-alone, a weight bench will help you be able to increase your body strength and cardio workout options considerably!