There’s more to do at the gym than just standing exercises. Benches give you a solid foundation for sitting and laying workouts. While they’re plenty of options to consider, the right bench can be a big difference-maker for comfort. In this piece, we’ll cover the best weight benches out there for your unique workout style.
Why Buy a Weight Bench?
- Less unnecessary muscle strain. When you’re banging out a set of overhead presses, the last thing you want to worry about is a strain in your feet, right? For exercises that can be done sitting or standing, benches take the strain out so you can focus 100% of your effort on the muscles you want to work.
- More exercises at your fingertips. Some exercises just benefit from a bench, while others need a bench. Benches unlock a whole new world of lifts, both sitting and standing. These include classic bench presses, flys, pullovers, skull crushers, and much more.
- Form control. Having a hard, straight surface against your back helps keep your form straight. Standing hammer curls may cause the body to arch back or lean forward, but seated curls keep your back and elbows in line. This support can go a long way in keeping your workouts efficient and safe.
Types of Weight Benches
Your basic, static-position flat bench: among the most common and most affordable types. These are designed with laying exercises in mind like bench presses and skull crushers. They can also be used for sitting exercises like seated bicep curls but offer no back support. Flat benches support exercises like push-ups that use the bench as a leverage point.
Benches that feature adjustable backs and/or bottoms. Adjustable features allow you to perform exercises with an incline or decline and use other equipment like power racks. These exercises make it easy to focus on specific areas of major muscle groups. For example, an incline bench press places more emphasis on your upper pecs than a flat bench press. The end result is more control over your workout.
Olympic benches are built for Olympic-level lifts and weight sets. They feature a wider and longer design for increased support of more body types. This beefier design commands more space, which is why it’s less common in home gyms than in clubs. Olympic benches often connect to compatible equipment like barbell racks, squat cages, and weight plates.
Specialist benches are designed for specific exercises like ab crunches or preacher curls. They do this by offering greater support in areas these exercises use the most. A good fit for bodybuilders looking to work on a specific area, specialist benches may not be for everyday use.
Top Weight Bench Brands
CAP Barbell is one of the top equipment companies with models found in any typical commercial gym. Their mantra is endurance, and it shows through their products. Founded in Compton, CA in 1982, they produce high-quality benches like the Deluxe Utility.
Ever wonder why Bowflex shows up on so many of our top brand lists for equipment like home gyms? Their quality and reputation speak for themselves. Founded in 1986 in Vancouver, WA, they’ve put out a solid bench line with winners like the Bowflex Weight Bench.
Body Solid is focused on full-body training, and their product line reflects a value on strength, cardio, and cross-training. They’ve put out great benches like the GFID225 since their founding in Forest Park, IL in 1988.
Fitness Reality, founded in 2007 in California, is a true all-around fitness company. They cater to all fitness enthusiasts from cyclists to bodybuilders. This well-roundedness is reflected in their products like the 1000 Super Max Bench.
Weight Bench Pricing
From budget models to commercial-quality benches, you can find a great bench at any price. Pricing generally depends on both adjustability and overall weight capacity.
- $100 and under: Most models in this range are flat, home-oriented, and not adjustable. Their weight capacities are generally around 800 pounds or less. Stitching, padding, and thin frames are all common.
- $100-$200: Flat home benches with better build quality, heavier frames, and more padding. Some in this range include racks for weights, barbells, and other equipment.
- $200-$300: A mix of home and commercial benches. This range is where adjustability becomes common with another step in quality. Weight capacities go up as well with limits in the 1000-pound neighborhood.
- $300 and above: Mostly commercial models here with professional-grade builds and even higher weight maximums. Some benches in this range are actually kits that come with weights and bars to use.
This is the part that affects the feel of your bench. Comfortable and semi-grippy materials are crucial here to keep you supported while working out. Flat benches typically use a single surface material, while adjustable benches use different materials sectioned off by breaks or seams.
Bench padding is a preference that usually varies from person to person. Ideally, it should be soft enough to stay comfortable but not too cushy or easy to sink into. You never want to feel the frame underneath the padding anywhere on the bench surface. Since wants and needs can vary, try out different padding levels if you can to see what you like.
Normally, additional accessories aren’t things that come to mind with a workout bench. However, certain models come with extras that help smooth out your workout. This is most common in Olympic and specialist benches. Accessories can include racks, plate pegs, or extra support pieces and can make your sitting/standing workouts more convenient.
- Adjustability: Consider whether an adjustable bench would be beneficial to you. Are you looking to do incline or decline exercises? Are sitting exercises important to your routine? If so, consider going with an adjustable bench over a flat one. The adjustable features can help you target specific areas more effectively.
- Height and width: You don’t want your bench limiting your freedom of movement. The height and width of the bench are a factor in certain exercises. For example, a bench that’s too tall can inhibit exercises like pullovers. Certain benches are narrower for full arm mobility, which can be important for exercises like curls. As a general rule of thumb, your bench should allow your feet to lie flat on the floor as well.
- Skill level: As with most exercise equipment, different benches are best for certain skill levels. Someone trying out weightlifting for the first time may appreciate the affordability of a flat bench or the freedom of a simple adjustable bench. Professionals may appreciate the quality of an Olympic or specialist bench. Again – it all depends on you.
- Safety: First and foremost, make sure the bench can handle the weight of you and your plates. Not staying within the bench’s weight limit can pose a major safety hazard. Additionally, ample padding can protect your back and shoulders from the strain, fatigue, and harm. Make sure the bench offers plenty of comfort and stability.
Best Weight Bench Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall/Best Adjustable Weight Bench: Bowflex 5.1 Weight Bench
- The Bowflex 5.1 Adjustable Bench is an outstanding...
- Transform any space into a personal free weight fitness...
- Adjusts to six different positions, 17-degree decline...
- Comes with a removable leg hold-down brace for added...
- Corrects posture and stabilizes positioning for a safe,...
One of the most dominant names in fitness makes the best bench on our list. The 5.1 is the ultimate home bench and provides full incline and decline capabilities. It comes loaded with stabilizing levelers, a fully-adjustable seat pan, and transport wheels built into the frame.
The 5.1 is compatible with over 30 exercises, including leg extensions and curls with its foothold attachment. It also comes with a class-leading thirty-year warranty on its frame and an additional year on all of the upholstery. Its durability is high thanks to the commercial-quality steel frame and padded surfaces.
A disadvantage of this bench is its low load capacity, rated for only 480 pounds. This is something to note if you want to lift high amounts of heavy weights. It also doesn’t have good stability features, unlike other Bowflex benches.
Best Flat Weight Bench: POWERBLOCK Travel Weight Bench
- Travel workout bench with 2-by-3-inch, 14-gauge steel...
- Removable detainer pins let you fold legs into travel...
- Built in handle for easy transport to and from car
- Ideal for dumbbell chest presses and other flat bench...
One of the best perks of flat benches is their portability. This bench offers portability in spades. On top of some great features, it uses 14-gauge steel tubing and a sturdy black vinyl cover. Its size doesn’t buckle down on the weight capacity either with a rating of up to 550 pounds.
The Travel Bench’s sturdy, reclining legs fold into its body, and a built-in shoulder strap makes transportation a breeze. It’s known as one of the easiest to clean and maintain on the market thanks to a strong frame and cleaning-friendly surfaces.
While its size is a perk, it can also be a disadvantage. Some users have complained that it feels a few inches too short for typical workouts. The packaging also seems to arrive consistently scuffed-up or damaged.
Best Olympic Weight Bench: Valor Fitness BF-7
- HEAVY DUTY- Constructed of 12-gauge solid steel with...
- DUAL LAYERED BENCH PAD- 3” thick, high-density,...
- STRIKER PLATE- Dual position solid steel striker plate...
- SPOTTER STAND- Reinforced, sturdy, steel spotter plate...
- ADDITIONAL- Measures 18” from floor to the top of the...
The BF-7 offers everything you could want from an Olympic bench. Two barbell racks hang above the top of the unit, offering easy re-racks and great storage. The steel spotter plate allows a partner to be in the optimal position. Uniquely, a tapered surface keeps the range of the shoulders and arms free.
This surface stays narrow at the top but widens out at the bottom for maximum comfort and stability. A 12-gauge steel frame keeps things secure as well. Rubber base caps along all of the frame’s feet can keep you in place and save your floors from wear and tear.
A downside to this bench is the natural lack of adjustability that comes with most Olympic benches. It also has a low weight capacity at 450 pounds. Overall though, it’s our top pick for the perfect Olympic bench that offers more than the competition.
Best Specialist Weight Bench: Deltech Fitness Pro Preacher Curl Bench
- Adjustable Arm Rest and Seat
- Made of heavy gauge steel tubing with a tough...
- Unit Size: 37" x 41-1/2" x 33"
- Weight Capacity- 500 lbs.
- Weights and Bar not included
Preacher curl benches support some of the best arm-shredding workouts out there. This bench has an adjustable armrest and seat, letting you find the optimal position. The steel tubing and tough powder coat make this a durable pick too.
It comes with a weight capacity of 500 pounds, a high limit for this type of bench. Its high-density foam-padded surfaces work with the sweat-resistant vinyl to create a clean, comfortable, supported lift.
The biggest tradeoff of this machine is its lack of an included bar and weights. Extra equipment can come with a built-in cost that can increase the final price quickly. Take some time to budget for these extras if this bench is on your radar.
Best Weight Bench for the Money: GYMENIST Exercise Bench
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This value pick gives you a high-end bench at a price that dips below the triple-digit range. It includes an attached lower back pillow for extra support. Its load capacity is also far ahead of its price point, rated for up to 600 pounds.
This bench comes with a fully-adjustable back (six positions) and seat (three positions). Additionally, the bench features a sleek and athletic profile that makes it pop visually in your exercise space.
Tradeoffs for this machine include an average build quality and a slight wobble when in an inclined position. It also lacks wheels, which can make it hard to transport even though the model does fold.
Weight Bench Honorable Mention: CAP Barbell Deluxe Bench
- Full size utility bench; Assembled specifications are...
- Use weight bench alone or with dumbbells or resistance...
- Weight Bench features all steel construction
- For home use only
Looking for an adjustable bench without a high-end cost? The CAP Barbell Deluxe Utility Bench is a good alternative to many of the high-end weight benches available. Offering enough adjustability to open up a wide variety of lifts and exercises, this bench is good for first-timers and experienced lifters alike.
This bench is all about versatility. The two segments support seven different positions in the back and three positions in the seat. Together, you can incline the upright seat to increase the difficulty of lifts. The all-steel frame has mounting points for resistance bands to change up the resistance as well.
While the bench does have transport wheels and a handle, it isn’t the most portable option available. Coming in at 46 pounds, the frame is nearly twice the weight of other home benches. Its rugged look also hides a lack of stability at certain angles. The back can wobble a bit in the reclined position during heavy lifts.
Weight Bench Tips
- Make sure there’s nothing in the path of your rep. Bench workout ranges can get wide, especially with barbells, so be cautious. Give yourself plenty of space to keep both you and those around you safe.
- For certain workouts, starting on a bench and then graduating to a standing position can better your form and control. Focus on a form without the added strain of standing to make your overall performance in both positions better.
- Always do bench and overhead presses with a spotter. Spotters won’t only protect you in case of a failed rep, but also make sure your form stays solid. They can even help you get that last rep done if you’re running low on energy.
- Experiment with bench angles for certain lifts on adjustable benches. For example, on an incline, play around with sharper (closer to 90 degrees) and duller (closer to 180 degrees) angles. This can help you find the best positions.
- Keep your back and feet flat against the bench/floor. This will help prevent strains or even spinal injuries long-term. Slouching will also make your form slip, so be sure to keep everything flat and supported.
Weight Bench FAQs
Q: Can I do leg lifts with a weight bench?
A: Some benches come with footholds to secure the legs, giving you more stability for curls or leg lifts. Check to see if the bench you want is compatible with the exercises you want to do. Doing exercises your bench isn’t made for can be a safety hazard.
Q: How do I clean the pad?
A: Ideally, you’ll want to wipe the pad down with either soap and water or disinfectant after every workout. This won’t only keep your bench clean and get rid of bacteria, but it’ll also increase the longevity of the pad.
Q: Can I put a weight bench on a hardwood floor?
A: Usually, yes! Most benches are equipped with rubber feet. They help increase traction on slippery hardwood floors. The feet also help protect your floor from wear and damage.
Q: When do I need an Olympic bench?
A: Olympic benches are geared more toward professional lifters than home users. They’re built for specific types of Olympic lifts and usually feature extra padding on the top. Keep in mind that Olympic benches are generally not adjustable.
Q: Can I travel with a weight bench?
A: Some benches are more geared towards travel than others. Check to see if your bench is equipped with portability features like wheels, a foldable frame, and stowaway capabilities. There are benches made for practically every lifestyle.
Benches are an important part of any home gym. Getting the right features can make the difference between an efficient and sloppy workout.
What types of benches do you use? What are your favorite exercises to do on them? Like what we’ve found? Sound off down below!