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5 Weight Benches (for Serious Muscles)

5 Weight Benches (for Serious Muscles)

Are you ready to intensify your workouts to make major muscle gains? A weight bench may be one of the most useful pieces of equipment to have in your home fitness space. In this article, we will review the best weight benches and weight bench sets for home use. We’ll lay out the relevant information for you to easily decide which weight bench is best for you.

Maybe you’re tired of the same old standing bicep curls that you’ve been doing over and over. Has progress stalled with your current chest workouts? For those who want to make massive gains, they turn to weight benches, barbells and free weights. The number of exercises that are performed on weight benches is endless and if you do them, you’ll make progress like never before.

While we will break down the best weight benches in this article, skip to “The Rundown” for quick product specs if you’re looking for a condensed version of the reviews. As always, we took a look at up to date  research behind weight bench workouts so that you know they’re effective and backed by science. Once you have your home weight bench ready for use, try the weight bench workout we’ve included in this article.

Why is a weight bench beneficial to add to my home workouts?

A weight bench is a simple piece of equipment that can take your workout to new heights. For most, once they implement weight bench workouts into their routine, they never stop doing them!

Benefit #1: Increases the Range of Motion of an Exercise

In essence, a weight bench can take a standing weight lifting exercise and change the angle of the exercise. When you change the angle, you get a greater range of motion that increases the muscle activation in the workout, improving both strength and flexibility (1).

For example, think about a standing dumbbell curl exercise. Your arm curls up and then straightens down to the floor. If you perform a dumbbell curl on an inclined adjustable weight bench, your dumbbell curl just got a lot harder! As seen in this study, an incline dumbbell curl alters the range of motion you perform during the exercise. If you extend even more in a longer curl, that means more muscle activation is necessary to successfully perform the exercise. Greater muscle activation equates to a more effective workout.

Benefit #2: Weight Bench-Specific Workouts

Man Working Out Using Dumbbells And Weight BenchSome exercises require a weight bench to be effective. While a few common exercises may pop into your head, take a look at this list of exercises that require a weight bench:

  • Barbell bench press (incline, flat, decline)
  • Chest fly (flat and incline)
  • Lying bent over row
  • Decline seated bicep curls
  • Hammer bench press

If your goal is to add bulk to your arms and chest, barbell and dumbbell exercises such as these are particularly effective for activating the chest muscles (2).

Benefit #3: Diversify Your Workout

Aside from weight bench-specific workouts, there are even more workouts you can do that are very effective when done on a weight bench. Here’s a list of some weight bench workouts based on several target areas:

  • Arm, back and shoulder exercises on a weight bench: concentration curls, bicep curls, triceps dips, seated shoulder press, reverse fly, French press, single arm row, triceps kickbacks, decline pushups
  • Abdominal exercises on a weight bench: incline and decline planks, bent leg raises, straight leg raises, seated abdominal crunch, decline sit-ups, leg pull-ins, twisting reverse crunch
  • Leg and gluteal exercises on a weight bench: Bulgarian split squat, dumbbell step-up, glute bench bridge, bench hip raises, reverse hip raise, step-ups, side step-ups, single leg sit-to-stand
  • Cardio exercises on a weight bench: bench squat jump, step-ups, side step-ups, side hop over jumps, plank drive

Depending on the exercise, the workouts above can be used with bodyweight, adjustable dumbbells or whatever free weights you may have on a home weight set. If you really want to diversify your workouts, try some of these weight bench exercises using cable weights. According to a study done in 2017, strength training with cables offers several benefits including greater diversity in exercises, increases in joint angles when exercising and greater range of motion. As previously stated, a greater range of motion results in a superior workout.

Obviously, the possibilities are endless on a weight bench! Keep reading to discover “Fitnessator’s Top Picks” in weight benches and weight bench sets. With the information provided in these reviews, you can be better equipped in selecting the best weight bench for your workout needs. Then, remember to test out the sample weight bench workout!

What types of weight benches are available?  

Woman Lifting Dumbbells While Using A Weight BenchWhen doing a search for the best weight bench, you may be surprised to find several varieties of weight lifting benches. Here is a list of different types of weight benches you can purchase for your home:

  1. Olympic weight bench:

    An Olympic weight bench is a specific type of weight bench. In the weight lifting industry, there are two types of barbells and weight plates to choose from: standard and Olympic. Standard bars are about 1 inch in diameter, whereas Olympic bars are about 2 inches in diameter. Olympic weight lifting equipment can usually withstand more weight and should be considered for serious weight lifters. These Olympic weight benches hold Olympic barbells and weight plates.

  2. Flat weight bench:

    A flat weight bench is a non-adjustable weight bench that sits completely horizontal. While these are great for conventional bench presses, they lack the ability to give you incline and decline workouts.

  3. Adjustable weight bench:

    Unlike a flat weight bench, an adjustable weight bench can lie flat or it can be set to the incline or decline position. This gives you more variability in your exercises. One limitation, however, is that adjustable weight benches consist of at least 2 pads, so you won’t have one seamless pad on which to exercise.

  4. Weight bench set:

    A weight bench set is a vague term to describe a weight bench that is sold with other equipment. If you search online fitness websites, you may find weight benches with weights or weight benches that come with a weight stand. Some weight sets may have leg extensions, leg curl attachments or preacher curl stations. Regardless of which weight bench set you are looking at, be sure you find out exactly what comes with the weight bench and what items are a separate fee.

Determining the Best Weight Lifting Bench for You

Now that you’re familiar with the various types of weight benches available, you may still be uncertain which is the best choice for your unique situation. If you keep reading, we will help you identify which type of weight bench would suit your needs. As you read, keep in mind the features you’d love to have in a weight bench. What types of exercises do you want to do? What equipment do you already have in your home fitness space?

Fitnessator’s Top Pick

Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0

Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0Why We Love It

The Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0 earned the status of “Fitnessator’s Top Pick” thanks to its hefty frame and adjustable angles to accommodate more workouts and exercising positions. This Rogue adjustable weight bench can slide into existing fitness equipment or it can be used in the round.

The Research

According to the experts, equipment like the adjustable weight bench, which offers flat, incline and decline adjustments, can activate different muscles depending on the angle of the bench. As you become stronger with various inclines, you may be able to work more secondary muscles, which can increase the effectiveness and intensity of your workout.

Details
  • Price (Rogue Website): $545
  • Dimensions (when flat): 17.5in x 24.5in x 54.5in
  • Backrest is adjustable from 0 to 85 degrees
  • Includes transport wheels and rubber pads to protect your floor
  • Bench seat can be set in two adjustable positions
Things to Consider

A major thing to consider about this adjustable weight bench is the price. For some consumers, spending nearly $550 on one piece of equipment is not feasible. Along with the bench, you may need to purchase dumbbells, weight plates, barbells and weight stands to go along with this weight bench. While this is a heavy-duty weight bench, consider the cost of other items that you will need in your fitness space.

Customer Reviews

As with many other Rogue products, customers rave about the sturdy, high-quality frame of the Rogue 2.0. According to one customer, the Rogue 2.0 bench is the “highest quality bench” they have ever used.

While most of the reviews of this weight bench are positive, a few mention that the Rogue 2.0 bench may feel too narrow for some people. One customer suggested that the company create a wide version of this bench and add a few more notches for greater customizability.

Who Should Purchase This Product

All in all, this is a well-built and sturdy weight bench. Unlike other adjustable benches, the Rogue bench has a very small pad gap, which gives you stability when using the bench in the flat position. For those who are interested in serious heavy weight lifting, this bench holds a lot of weight and will last for years to come. If you are comfortable with investing in high-quality home fitness equipment, the Rogue price tag may not turn you away.

Fitnessator’s Runner Up

Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max

Fitness Reality 1000 Super MaxWhy We Love It

Well, if the Rogue 2.0 bench is out of your price range, consider the Fitnessator’s Runner Up weight bench. The Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max is a foldable weight bench that can support up to 800 lbs. At only 44 lbs, you can fold and store it away when not in use.

Details
  • Price (Fitness Reality Website): $139
  • Dimensions: 59in x 23.5in x 48.5in
  • Folded dimensions: 51in x 23.5in x 9in (may be able to slide under a bed)
  • Includes an ankle bar to anchor your feet for abdominal and back extension exercises
  • Backrest is adjustable from -20 to 80 degrees
Things to Consider

While this folding weight bench is lightweight and can withstand 800 lbs of weight, the pad itself is narrower than that of the Rogue 2.0 bench. It also has a large gap between the two pads, which may be problematic when you are trying to do flat exercises like a bench press or chest fly.

Customer Reviews

Even though the Fitness Reality folding weight bench is easily moveable, customers state that this is a solid weight bench. Also, one customer who is 5’10” claimed that this bench is long enough where his head does not hang off the edge, making for a more comfortable workout.

One the other hand, one customer states that the flat position of this bench is not truly flat. To remedy this, the customer placed wood boards under the weight bench to get it to lay at 0 degrees.

Who Should Purchase This Product

Since this Fitness Reality weight bench is cheaper than the Fitnessator Top Pick, this bench may be more cost effective for people who need to purchase other fitness equipment. Likewise, if you are really interested in doing lots of decline exercises, this bench can adjust to a -20 degree slope. For those who can get creative and adjust the bench, this lightweight foldable weight bench may be the best option for your needs.

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention

Body Champ Weight Bench Set

Body Champ Weight Bench SetWhy We Love It

Unlike the top weight benches, the Body Champ Set includes features to make your home fitness space more complete. See below for the details about what this set has to offer.

Details
  • Price (Dick’s Sporting Goods Website): $178.98
  • Dimensions: 76in x 56in x 55in
  • Includes an adjustable weight bench for decline, incline and flat exercises
  • Additional features include: leg developer, preacher curl pad, crunch handle, foam roller ankle stabilizer pads, upright Olympic barbell stand
  • This set focuses primarily on the chest, legs and abs
Things to Consider

While the Fitnessator Top Pick and Runner Up are stand-alone weight benches, the Body Champ weight bench is part of a set and cannot be removed from the upright barbell stand or the preacher curl pad. Even though this bench has features to increase the number of workouts available, these attachments may also drastically limit the amount of open space exercises you can do on this weight bench.

 Customer Reviews

According to customer reviews, this weight bench set has a sturdy frame since the weight bench is bolted to the upright barbell stand. Customers also like that the bench is adjustable to 90 degrees, which is not found with other weight benches on this list.

As you can imagine, since this is an entire weight bench set, installation and assembly take longer than the stand-alone benches on this list. Overall, customers say that installation is easy, however, some customers complain that the nuts and bolts do not align correctly for quick assembly.

Who Should Purchase This Product

Since the Body Champ weight bench cannot be removed from the barbell stand or the additional attachments, only consider this product if you want to engage in the specific workouts it offers. Between the preacher curl pad, leg developer, abdominal crunch handle and upright barbell stand, you can get a full-body workout, however, you may be unable to do other exercises.

Best Flat Weight Bench

Marcy Utility Flat Bench

Marcy Utility Flat BenchWhy We Love It

The Marcy Utility Flat Bench is great for open floor exercises and exercises with existing equipment. If you’re searching for a cheap weight bench to add to your existing home fitness space, this flat weight bench may be your best choice. While this is a simple piece, you can engage in cardio, legs, gluteal, chest, back and abdominal workouts since there are no attachments to get in your way.

Details
  • Price (Marcy Website): $74.99
  • Dimensions: 43in x 14in x 17in
  • Max capacity (user + added weight) is 600 lbs
  • Easily moveable and compact (total product weight is 20 lbs)
  • Constructed with a singular high foam pad for support and stability during exercise
Things to Consider

As you probably imagined, a cheaper weight bench does come with some pitfalls. Unlike the other weight benches on this list, the Marcy Flat Bench is not adjustable. This may prevent you from engaging in incline and decline weight lifting exercises.

Customer Reviews

According to many customers, this budget-friendly weight bench has been a great addition to their home fitness space. With quick assembly and a solid build, many people were able to start their intense strength workouts within minutes after delivery.

If you are over 6 feet tall and over 200 lbs, however, consider what one customer claimed. According to him, he felt that the Marcy Flat Bench could not withstand his weight and size when he tried doing triceps dips on the side of the bench. Perhaps, if you are over a certain weight limit, this compact flat bench may not feel as sturdy.

Who Should Purchase This Product

If you have a limited budget, limited space, or simply don’t want to spend a fortune on one piece of equipment, the Marcy Flat Bench should be your first choice. For less than $100, you can get the basic benefits of having a flat weight bench in your home. Since it can hold up to 600 lbs, you can get hardcore weight lifting out of this little bench.

Best Olympic Weight Bench Combo

Body Champ Weight Bench Combo Set

Body Champ Weight Bench Combo SetWhy We Love It

The Body Champ Combo Set has similar features to the Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention pick, however, you are able to remove the bench from the upright Olympic barbell stand. As you can imagine, mobility of the weight bench from the upright stand allows you to do weight bench exercises on the open floor.

Details
  • Price (Sears Website): $222.29
  • Dimensions: 78in x 44in x 69in
  • Includes an adjustable weight bench for decline, incline and flat exercises
  • Additional features include: leg developer, leg extension, leg curl, upright Olympic barbell stand
  • This set focuses primarily on the chest and legs
 Things to Consider

While the weight bench on this Olympic weight set is mobile, it is higher priced than the Honorable Mention pick. Furthermore, compared to the other weight set, this combo set offers less built-in exercise features.

Customer Reviews

As with any weight set, the assembly is more involved than if you were to just purchase a stand-alone weight bench. That being said, however, customers claim that the assembly for this Olympic weight bench set was clear and easy.

On the contrary, several customers complain that this set is not completely solid during use. For those who are interested in lifting over 100 lbs, this set may not be the best. Per one customer, the weight bench nearly tipped over when he placed 100 lbs on the barbell! 

Who Should Purchase This Product

If you are looking for the flexibility to remove the weight bench from the barbell stand, consider this product. This would be good for someone wanting to add more equipment to their fitness space while getting the most value for equipment versatility. The Body Champ weight bench gives you the benefits of a bench with weight stands as well as a weight bench in the round.

The Rundown on Weight Benches

This chart offers an easy way to compare and contrast the various weight benches covered in the article. With this chart in hand, you can narrow down your list of favorites and find the best weight bench for your preferences and goals. Regardless of which weight bench you decide to purchase, don’t forget to try out our weight bench workout below.

Product Less than $100 Less than $200 Adjustable Bench Additional Features
 Rogue 2.0 (Top Pick) X
 Fitness Reality (Runner Up) X X  X
Body Champ Set (Honorable Mention) X X X
Marcy Flat Bench  X X
Body Champ Combo Set X  X

 

Sample Workout: Weight Bench

Now that you can better determine which weight bench is best for your lifestyle, here’s a sample workout to try. This workout exercises various areas of your body for a comprehensive muscle burn and cardio challenge. Once you adjust to your new weight bench, follow the workout below. We created this workout to be useful for anyone, so you’ll have to choose the appropriate weight amount for each exercise.

Name of Exercise Sets Repetitions
Bench Step-Ups 2 20 (for each side)
Side Hop Over Jumps 2 10 (for each side)
Bulgarian Split Squat 3 10 (for each side)
Decline Planks 2 30 seconds
Plank Drive 3 30 seconds
Side Step-Ups 2 10
Triceps Dips 3 15
Bench Press 3 10

 

Before you Purchase

As you can see, a weight bench can be the key to amplifying your strength workout. Weight benches can fit seamlessly as a stand-alone item or as part of existing fitness equipment. Additionally, it’s important to take your fitness space layout into account. Be sure to ask yourself with what equipment your weight bench needs to complement. Also, don’t forget that barbells, weight plates, and free weights are sold separately and require additional space!

It’s always best to talk with your doctor when you plan to start a new exercise routine. After you’ve been cleared for weight bearing exercise, you can shop with confidence. Using our rundown, you can choose the best weight bench for your needs. Then, get ripped using our workout routine.

What are your favorite weight bench exercises? Let us know in the comments.

8 Comments

  • Khan says:

    I have been struggling with getting a physical physique for a while now I used to be overweight and had a lot of fat. I lost quite a bit. I’m now skinny but I still have extra body fat and have trouble building muscle. I am very devoted to it but I haven’t noticed any new results in nearly a year. Any change need? Please let me know your thoughts.

    • Amanda Kostro RD, LDN & Professional Dancer says:

      I can understand how that can be frustrating! It sounds like you are trying hard, but not getting the results you want. It also sounds like you have made progress with weight loss, which is a huge obstacle, so great job!

      As a Registered Dietitian (RD), I would suggest seeing a local RD for personalized nutrition recommendations. However in general, make sure you are getting enough protein-rich foods in your diet. Protein rich foods are things like eggs, meats, poultry, fish, beans, legumes, nuts, milk, yogurt and cheese. In general, adults need 0.8g protein per kilogram bodyweight (a little more if you are very active). Having enough protein will help you gain muscle.

      In terms of exercise, I would suggest seeing a personal trainer for some good tips. Even if you just went to a few sessions, you may get good information on how to amplify your workouts.

  • Mandy says:

    Thanks for the suggestions, I’ve been looking to get a good weight bench for home as it saves me and time squeezing workouts in at home than having to drop by a gym as the closest gym in our place is pretty far. I think I’m planning to purchase the higher tier one so long as it’s of good quality.

    • Amanda Kostro RD, LDN & Professional Dancer says:

      I can see how splitting your workouts between home and the gym can get old! Weight benches can be used for nearly any workout, so investing in a good one will be a great investment.

  • Lindsay Niles says:

    I like the versatility and mobility of the Body Champ Weight Bench Combo Set. Do you think the decreased stability calls into question the long term durability of this bench?

    • Amanda Kostro RD, LDN & Professional Dancer says:

      Yes, that would be something to consider. While it may not be the frame itself that doesn’t last long, it may be the person using that gets frustrated with the teetering and wants to buy something new. However, there are far sturdier benches in the top picks!

  • Festus says:

    I’m hearing this for the first time and it shows I would need to step-up my weightlifting program with some of these benches, but i would like to know which is better between the Olympic Weight Bench Combo and Flat Weight Bench from your own experience.

    • Amanda Kostro RD, LDN & Professional Dancer says:

      When comparing Olympic weight benches to flat weight benches, it really depends on your goals. The nice thing about Olympic weight bench combos is that they usually fit with Olympic barbells and Olympic weight plates. So, if you are looking for a weight bench, barbell rack and Olympic barbells, you have a better chance of finding a really good set. Also, Olympic weight benches may (or may not) be adjustable. In terms of which can hold more weight, it does vary, however, weight benches that are made for Olympic weight lifting in general can hold more weight than a standard bench.

      With flat benches, those typically do not adjust to a decline or incline setting. Consider getting an adjustable weight bench if you want to do lots of different chest exercises and bicep exercises.

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