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Published Dec 24, 2021 10:15 AM

There is no way that you’ve been to a gym without seeing a weight bench, let alone used one. Even Planet Fitness has weight benches from what I hear (I’ve never personally stepped inside of one). If you don’t regularly incorporate one into your workout, you’re missing out on some great benefits, some of which I wasn’t even aware of when I was younger.

In high school, I worked out using barbells and cable machines. I didn’t get serious workouts with a weight bench until I joined the military. So I remember quite vividly my first chest workout after a four-hour vehicle patrol in the middle of the night. A more senior Marine and I did almost every variation of chest presses we could with dumbbells. I was sore for days. 

A weight bench is integral to weightlifting workouts and bodybuilding routines because they allow you to put different stresses on the muscles. Essentially, they allow you to manipulate gravity to increase your gains. Bruh. We’re talking about game-changing variations that can help you build muscle or burn fat. But how do you know which one to buy for your home gym? Let’s take a look at how these benches stack up.

When you’re looking to buy a weight bench it is important to consider what you want that bench to do for you. This full-body workout bench by Marcy offers you the ability to target every major muscle group in your routines. Made from high-strength steel and rugged foam and vinyl, you’ll be able to trust this bench to withstand your workouts for many years. Because of the materials and design, this bench offers a 600-pound maximum capacity, that’s including user weight. The bar catches can only hold 300 pounds though, but that should still be enough for most lifters.

Overall the bench is not very big, but the singular design isn’t ideal for space-restricted areas. The bench features two inclines, one flat, and one decline position for benching variety. A preacher’s curl pad and leg developer are incorporated into the end of the bench, so you can work out your hamstring and quadricep muscles. On the backside of the bench are a set of bar catches that can be used for squat variations. There are even two posts for storing your plates when not in use on the backside to keep them out of the way.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Marcy
  • Weight capacity: 600 pounds
  • Dimensions: 83 x 47 x 61 inches
PROS

High weight capacity

Includes attachments

Adjustable bench

CONS

Bench is attached to the frame

Too bulky for small spaces

Oftentimes the simple designs are the best, especially when you’re putting a gym together on a budget. Fancy accessories and additional features can also be a distraction too. Having a simple bench can save you cash and allow you to focus on the hard work that’ll get you results. Body Champ offers just that with this two-piece bench set. What I really like about this bench is that it’s not attached to the racking, which allows you to move it for dumbbell/accessory work and to utilize the racking for squats. Taller lifters may struggle to squat with this rack though as it only goes up to 51 inches.

The set is constructed from 60mm by 60mm square tubing that sports fixed bar catches for the bench press and decline pressing heights. The frame and bench are rated at 300 pounds for the user and 300 pounds for the weights. While that may seem low, it’s a great starting point for new lifters. This is really a minimalist set at a bargain price.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Body Champ
  • Weight capacity: 600 pounds
  • Dimensions: 52 x 42 x 60 inches
PROS

Simple design

Budget-friendly

Two pieces for versatility

CONS

No plate storage

Fixed bar catches

Editor’s Choice

Children have jungle gyms and lifters have power cages and racks. With a power cage, there is hardly any limit to what you can do to build strength, endurance, or mass. If you read my article on barbells then it should come as no surprise that this is my pick. Having a bench is nice, but having a bench and a cage is even nicer. Standing 85-inches high, 44-inches wide, and 52-inches deep is this RitFit bench and cage that will amplify your home workouts.

For starters, the bench itself has an 800-pound rating! For anyone who weighs more than 200 pounds, that should be music to your ears. It also has six adjustment positions; four inclined, one flat, and one declined. At the end, it has a set of cushions for your legs when you’re lifting or doing ab work. The cage is rated for 1,000 pounds, which just offers you all the options for strength training. The bar catches and squatter’s safety bar are adjustable to fit your desires and needs.

Also, on one side is a set of dip bars and on the other sports a landmine. In the back is a lat pulldown and rowing cable set up that uses plates. When you’re done, the plates can be stored on the side posts. In the front of the cage is a pull-up bar that offers wide and semi-neutral grips.

Product Specs
  • Brand: RitFit
  • Weight capacity: 800 pounds (bench), 1,000 pounds (cage)
  • Dimensions: 44 x 52 x 85 inches
PROS

Insanely high weight capacity

Can workout full body

Plate storage

Bench is separate from cage

CONS

High price point

Takes up a lot of space

Best Flat Weight Bench

A standard flat bench is a simple way to transform your workouts. It can be added to a squat rack to give you bench options or used as a stand-alone tool for dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, or even bodyweight workouts. As long as you’re not sitting on it exercising your thumbs (aka tweeting, texting, or gramming) you should see some major improvements from using a flat bench.

This is another Marcy bench that sports a 600-pound rating, this includes user weight. Its size is standard and can be easily stored in even small spaces, even though it doesn’t fold up. The steel tubing frame is what offers you increased stability during your workouts. While the foam and boxed upholstery add comfort and style to the mix.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Marcy
  • Weight capacity: 600 pounds
  • Dimensions: 43 x 14 x 17 inches
PROS

Compact size ideal for small spaces

High weight capacity

Ideal for dumbbell and bodyweight workouts

CONS

Does not adjust

Does not fold up

Best Adjustable Weight Bench

Strength training and using weights is all about having increased resistance on your muscles and adjustable benches allow you to target specific muscle groups easily. SuperMax’s adjustable bench gives you options when it comes to targeting muscle groups. For starters, the backrest has six positions (four incline, one flat, one decline) and the seat itself has two. But the front leg also adjusts with two positions, which means that the backrest has 12 positions and the seat has four. Math nerds are probably excited at the number of options that provides. The backrest is also a little longer than other benches so that it can easily support your head.

Then of course the bench is constructed from tubular steel sporting a corrosion-resistant powder coating. That frame has an 800-pound rating thanks to the triangular design that uses physics to increase the bench’s strength. On the front leg is a detachable leg hold-down that can be placed in three positions to best keep you stable during workouts. To top it off, the bench folds flat for ease of storage.

Product Specs
  • Brand: SuperMax
  • Weight capacity: 800 pounds
  • Dimensions: 59 x 23.5 x 48.5 inches
PROS

Backrest has six settings

Seat has two settings

Higher weight capacity than competitors

Reasonably priced

CONS

Is larger than a flat bench

Heavy base weight

Best Olympic Weight Bench

While the term “Olympic” technically applies to the size of the bar and weights used, this bench by Valor Fitness is what comes to my mind. It is sized appropriately to fit Olympic-styled barbells and plates, there are two storage posts on the backside of the rack. The uprights can be adjusted up to 16 inches so that you can get the right height when benching inclined. While the 400-pound capacity seems low, it’s plenty high enough for the average lifter. One thing I don’t like about this bar is that the bar catches for benching are integrated into the frame. If you’re not used to this, it could cause some issues with your lifts or racking the bar.

This system really is a chest-centric bench, but the end of the bench features a tubular receiver for two different Valor Fitness accessories (sold separately) that would allow you to work legs and biceps. That will come in handy and pair well with the seat’s 650-pound capacity. The backrest has two inclines, one flat, and one decline position and the seat has five different positions. You’ll be able to blast those pecs from every direction with all the possible angles. When you’re not actively using your plates, they’ll easily stow away on the two posts behind the bench.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Valor Fitness
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds (uprights), 650 pounds (seat/frame)
  • Dimensions: 52 x 46 x 56 inches
PROS

Adjustable bench and seat

Accessories available

Plate storage posts

CONS

Bench fixed to the frame

Multiple bar catches could get in the way

Best Folding Weight Bench

Those looking to add a bench to their already crowded gym or apartment need something that will pack away easily. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with a weight bench as additional seating for the company. Those that don’t agree with me will want to check out this Flybird adjustable bench. When it is all set up the bench is 15.7 x 49.2 x 44.5 inches, a standard size, but it folds down into a 15.7 x 30.3 x 9-inch incognito size. This impressive transformation surprisingly doesn’t affect the overall weight limit, which is 700 pounds thanks to the steel tube construction.

For your workouts, this bench offers seven backrest positions (four inclines, one flat, two declines) and three seat positions. This will allow you to adjust it to the support you need on top of the two-inch-thick foam. These positions are secure with the spring-loaded auto-locking pin that sports a large, easy-to-grab knob. Rounding out the bench’s capabilities is the dual position capable footpegs for added stability.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Flybird
  • Weight capacity: 700 pounds
  • Dimensions: 15.7 x 49.2 x 44.5 inches
PROS

Folds away for easy storage

Seven backrest positions, three-seat positions

Thick foam padding

High weight limit

CONS

High price point

Heavy base weight

Best Abdominal Weight Bench

There are few things as dreadful as working abs, which is exactly why we need to train them. While there are tons of ways to work these muscles, having a bench dedicated to abs and back will transform your workout routines.

This bench by Finer Form offers an excellent variety of positions to isolate the abdominals and lower back. The backrest has one flat and two declined positions, the padded leg hold downs have four adjustable positions, and the hip pad has eight total positions. So you can easily customize this bench to fit the exercise you need and feel stable with the triangular-shaped frame.

Constructed from durable high-strength steel, this bench sports a static weight limit of 660 pounds and a dynamic weight limit of 400 pounds. If you’re a larger framed person like myself you know how great that high weight limit is. Even though this bench is designed for abs, you can easily use dumbbells for extra intensity.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Finer Form
  • Weight capacity: 660 pounds
  • Dimensions: 60 x 23 x 30 inches
PROS

Isolates abs and back

High weight capacity

CONS

Specialty bench may not be compatible with cages/racks

High price point

Best Preacher Curl Bench

All too often gym bros get hyper-focused on their arms and forget leg day, which has created a counterculture of hyper-focused leg trainers. Finding that perfect balance is tricky, but adding a preacher’s curl bench to your gym can help you remember that all muscle groups need love.

This is a simply designed specialty bench for isolating the biceps. The bench features thick padding for comfort and support, which includes the multi-position adjustable seat. Bar catches sit in just the right position for you to be able to grab the bar easily while setting up your curls. It is no-nonsense so you can focus on praying to the Iron Gods.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Body-Solid
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Dimensions: 37 x 33 x 36 inches
PROS

Isolates biceps

Bar catches for safety

Adjustable seat

CONS

Specialty bench

Heavy base weight

No knee braces

The more a weight bench can do for you, the more it raises its value. The Free-Weight Leverage Gym is a prime example as it boasts a total of being capable of 40 exercises. Not only does it give you variation, but it is also strong enough to handle it with a weight limit of 600 pounds per section. That’s because of the 10- and 11-gauge steel tubing that makes up the frame.

The seats and pads sport two-inch and three-inch-thick DuraFirm padding to make training just a tad easier. Each exercise station can adjust to your specific body’s needs. This gym measures 107x104x83 inches and weighs 630 pounds by itself when fully assembled. The plate posts are designed for use with Olympic-sized plates, which do not come with the gym. If money isn’t a question for you, this is a solid selection for full-body workouts.

Product Specs
  • Brand: Body-Solid
  • Weight capacity: 600 pounds
  • Dimensions: 107 x 104 x 83 inches
PROS

Capable of many exercises

High weight capacity

Ideal for consolidating equipment

CONS

Expensive

Doesn’t give you the same benefits as barbells

Why you should trust us

For more than 20 years, physical fitness has been vitally important to me. I’ve participated in organized sports, served in the military, and competed as an amateur strongman, so my understanding of exercise is a bit more advanced than the average joe. I’ve allowed my experiences and the opinions of fitness experts to shape how I work out and the gear I use. Therefore, I’m sharing with you what I’ve found to be the best information available. 

Types of weight benches

Buying a weight bench for your gym is an investment in your workouts and fitness, so it’s important to put some thought into the decision. With thousands of styles and accessories out there it can be overwhelming to find what you need though. That’s why we’ve broken some details down for you here. 

This is not meant to be an in-depth, down to micro details style buying guide. Instead, I’m going to give you the basics so that you can have a base of knowledge for selecting the right bench for your needs. 

Flat

Flat benches are stand-alones that do not have adjustable angles. Typically these have high weight capacities. Generally, the length is set so that an average person can lay on their back and be fully supported from the hips to shoulders. Whether you use dumbbells, body weight, or other weights, you can use a flat bench to work out every muscle group. If you already have a power rack or cage this could allow you to add benching to your workouts without interfering with the rack’s other capabilities.

Adjustable

One of the best ways to prevent hitting or breaking free from a plateau is to add new stressors to your muscles. That can be done by simply changing the angles at which you work them, which is where adjustable benches come into play. 

These are designed to offer a flat working surface as well as inclines and declines by adjusting the backrest position. Many also allow you to adjust the seat position for maximum comfort. Because of the different angles offered, these benches typically have longer backrests so that your head is fully supported as well.  

Specialty/fixed

This category of weight benches is the niche category for any bench designed for one or two specific exercises. Examples are the preacher’s curl bench, abdominal bench, or even a bench fixed at 90 degrees for shoulder and arm dumbbell workouts. I would even argue that folding benches designed to save you space fit this category. Your gym and body will benefit from selecting any of these, but space and function must be considered. If you’re short on space it may be more prudent to select an adjustable or fixed bench, but if you’ve got the space or need that niche there’s no reason not to get one. 

Key features 

Bench

Arguably the single most important feature of any bench is the bench itself. The whole point is to support your body into one or many positions that allow you to work your muscles. What you’ll want to look at is the size of the bench to ensure it will fit you properly. 

If comfort is important to you then you’ll want to look at the type of padding and how thick it is. Anyone with sensory issues will want to check out the upholstery on the bench, it is a comfort thing. Some benches feature an extra piece of fabric that is sewn on to allow you to tuck a workout towel into it. This neat little feature is ideal for folks who sweat a lot during workouts so that their head is resting on a towel while lifting. 

Rack 

If you’re looking to add barbell training to your workouts then you’re going to need a rack system. Not all racks have the same dimensions, so you’ll want to check out the width to ensure the barbell you choose will fit safely on the rack. 

A good rack will have bar catches (fixed or adjustable) for every variation of bench press it is to be used for. Ideally, you want a rack that has plate storage posts so you can safely stow your weights when not in use. 

Additionally, some racks can double as a squat rack. If you’re looking at one of these you’ll want to check how high the bar catches can go. The last thing you want to be doing is having to squat super low to just get under the bar, that’s an injury waiting to happen. 

Lastly, you may want to find a rack that has squat safety bar stops if you’re working out alone. These are large bars that jut out at about hip level to catch the barbell in the event you get stuck at the bottom of a lift. 

Accessories

Some benches offer accessories or the ability to add accessories. These are components that allow you to work different parts of the body. Examples are leg developers, preacher’s curling benches, chest fly bars, and more. 

Adding accessories could interfere with the primary purpose of the bench, so you’ll want to look at how feasible it would be to use the bench in every capacity. Also, you need to ensure that the area you plan to place the bench will have plenty of room for all the functions of the bench. 

Benefits of weight benches

Strength

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the whole point of lifting weights is to develop strength. When you use dumbbells and weight benches the goal is the same, but adding the sub-goals of looking great. When you work out on a weight bench you are using angles to get the most stress from gravity on your muscles. It will help you build strength, which can help with developing mass and looking great naked. 

Variety

You already know that I’m a fan of the barbell and you can easily use a barbell by itself in many ways, but there is a limit. Adding a bench will give you the ability to add more variety to your workouts no matter what type of weight you choose to use. 

If you’ve ever hit a plateau then you know how changing up the exercises you do can help you breakthrough and start seeing results again. Strength trainers will benefit from this as it staves off the mobility issues by keeping you in tune with how your body functions outside of the Big Four (squat, deadlift, bench press, and shoulder press).

Options

Believe it or not, there is a difference between variety and options. Options refer to not only how you can work your muscles, but what type of workout routines you can do. A good bench will allow you to focus on strength, calisthenics, bodybuilding, mobility, and so much more. We all go through phases and selecting the right bench will give you options in every phase. This is about the philosophy around how and why you work out instead of the way you work out. 

Pricing considerations of weight benches

Budget

Most think of bargains as a high discount only offered during a holiday, but it’s when you get something that performs the same as more expensive options. In the weight bench world, any bench under $100 is a bargain price, as long as the performance is par with other options. What you need to look out for are benches that are priced low because they are made from subpar materials. 

Mid-range

A reasonable price is one that you don’t think needs to be bartered. That’s anything between $100 to $300 when it comes to weight benches. These are benches with features and materials that justify spending the money. It is really easy to find reasonably priced benches, which is what we focused on in this article. 

Premium

The more features a bench has or the higher quality material it is made of almost always increases the price. Anything over $300 can be considered expensive, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the money. If you’re looking to build a home gym and want to get the best, this may be the category for you. 

How we chose our top picks

Picking weight benches for this article boiled down to offering you the best selection available for whatever your home gym needs may be. We avoided unnecessarily expensively priced benches, products with unrealistic claims, and benches that wouldn’t be user-friendly. We focused on benches that had useful weight capacities, would be easy to use, and would be functional additions to your gym.

FAQs on weight benches

You’ve got questions, Task & Purpose has answers. 

Q. How do I adjust the weight bench?

A: Each bench will be operated differently. Many use spring-loaded pins to secure the bench and seat into position, while some use a notch and bar for convenience. Make sure to read the owner’s manual to learn how your bench operates.

Q. What muscles/exercises can I work on using a weight bench?

A; You can work your full body with any weight bench. I strongly encourage finding credible sources or coaches to help you learn how to use a bench to the maximum. 

Q. Does the bench’s weight capacity include my body weight?

A; Yes! It is important to remember this when picking a bench. If your bench has a maximum capacity of 600 pounds and you weigh 200 pounds, the maximum weight you could safely lift would be 400 pounds. Lifting more than the weight capacity could have dire consequences. 

Q. Can I do bench presses on the weight bench?

A: Yes, this is one of the primary purposes of a weight bench. Note of warning: ensure you have a proper racking system if you plan to use a barbell. Otherwise, you should stick to bands or dumbbells. 

Q. Can I do decline bench press on the weight bench?

A: Yes, if your bench has a decline setting.

Q. Should I buy a flat bench or an adjustable one?

A: This comes down to personal preference. Flat benches are great options, but adjustable benches give you more variety of exercises you can do.  

Q. What is a foldable weight bench?

A: This is a bench that can fold up for convenient storage. 

Q. How padded should my bench be?

A; Your bench should have enough padding that you don’t feel the metal frame pressing into you. Avoid overly plush or soft benches as they won’t offer you a stable platform for lifting. 

Q. Why use a weight bench?

A: Bodyweight workouts can only get you so far. Eventually, you’ll need equipment or weights to achieve results. Using a weight bench allows you to increase your volume, intensity, and variations for your workouts. 

Q. How much should I bench for my weight?

A: How much someone benches will vary drastically depending on the person’s body style, metabolism, gender, and even fitness goals. A solid goal for novice lifters would be to be able to lift the same as their body weight. 

Q. How to improve bench press weight?

A: One of my favorite programs is the 5/3/1 progressive program as it darn near guarantees results. That being said, there are tons of programs out there for the bench press that could help you blast through plateaus and PRs.

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Scott Whisler is a Marine Corps veteran and family man. He’s an avid student of philosophy who strives for self-growth and challenge, both found in his outdoor adventures.  As a new Okie, his focus is on exploring the South Central region. His lifetime goal is to have excursions in all of the National Parks.

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