When it comes to abdominal exercises, what first comes to mind?
That’s right: the sit-up. The undisputed king of getting your core strong, allowing your six-pack to be revealed (with a solid diet, of course).
So, what makes a sit-up even better? Altering the angles so that your muscles contract more throughout the movement.
That’s where sit-up benches come into play.
Best Sit-up Benches
- Fitness Reality Bench
- XMark Fitness Ergonomic Ab Bench
- Vanswe Adjustable Weight Bench
- Merax Deluxe Foldable Ab Bench
- Body Solid Pro-Style Ab Board
Sit-up benches are what you see in any and all gyms across the world, usually sloping down to the ground. They kill your abs and get you that much closer to your ultimate physique.
In this article, we’ll go over everything sit-up benches. We’ll explain in full detail what they are, what the benefits are, the different exercises you can perform on the benches, and what you want to have when selecting your very own sit-up bench.
Lastly, we’ll go over the best sit-up benches you can add to your home gym and what they bring to your workouts.
Without further ado, let’s get to it!
What’s a Sit-up Bench?
Great question. The funny thing is, there isn’t just one type of sit-up bench. The most popular, well-known kind of sit-up bench is the one that has a slight decline and two padded attachments to put your legs in.
This is to help anchor your lower body, as if a buddy was holding your legs down while you’re doing sit-ups.
Other sit-up benches (differ from ab machines) can double as a back extension bench; these benches only cover your buttocks, securing your legs in the stirrups.
This leaves your entire upper body free to go as far down as you want. The additional range of motion is a nice perk for some people.
In short, a sit-up bench is a specially designed bench made to assist you in getting quality sit-up reps. However, these benches also give you a plethora of exercise possibilities (which we’ll cover in a later section).
Benefits of a Sit-up Bench
Don’t assume that the only thing a sit-up bench can do is help you do sit-ups. There are many more advantages to owning a sit-up bench, including:
- Decreased risk of injury: The bench has padded supports throughout, which can keep your back comfortable and injury-free. This allows you to perform numerous sit-ups (and other exercises) without your back seizing up or compressing your spine. Also, on the eccentric motion of a sit-up (i.e., when you’re coming back down), you can fully lengthen your back, which provides for a more fluid, flexible movement.
- Improved sit-up posture: To piggyback off of the decreased injury benefit, this bench was made to give you a positive sit-up experience. So, it only makes sense that it provides a healthier way to perform sit-ups. Your posture is vastly improved from the bottom of the movement to the top. Also, you can utilize weights and oblique sit-ups (more on these later), which will help with progressive overload.
- Adjustability/versatility: Most of these benches can be moved to alter the degree in which you perform your sit-ups or other exercises. By adjusting the incline, you can change the degree of difficulty, another great way to express progressive overload. Plus, the increased range of motion ties in beautifully with the lower risk of injury.
- Multiple exercise possibilities: Continuing the versatility, sit-up benches are built for more than just sit-ups…and more for just abdominal movements, for that matter. There’s a plethora of exercises you can perform on a sit-up bench, resulting in a better physique overall.
- Burn fat and reveal your six-pack: Now, with all of this talk about progressive overload and being able to get stronger on these movements–all thanks to the sit-up bench–what does this mean for you? Well, getting stronger = bigger, better muscle. Bigger muscle = a higher metabolism, which leads to lower body fat. If you keep up with your training routine (and eat at a caloric deficit), a sit-up bench will help you finally expose your hard-earned abs, definition and all.
As you can see, sit-up benches are impressive pieces of equipment. They do all of these things for you, including helping you with your sit-up form. But the question still remains…
Is a Sit-up Bench Effective?
Or, even a better question: Is a sit-up bench effective enough for the cost?
In order to be effective, it needs to aid you in performing an exercise to maximize results.
A sit-up bench is designed to improve your sit-up posture, movement, and progression.
You are protected from injury, on top of which you can alter the exercise in a safe way to continue to get stronger in all things sit-up related. This, by definition, makes a sit-up bench effective.
Not only is it effective, it’s efficient, too. You can do so much with this singular bench, working out your entire body. A sit-up bench is almost like a Power Tower, except it’s inexpensive and requires less space in your garage or workout room.
Sit-up Bench Exercises
Don’t let the name fool you. The sit-up bench can do much, much more than give you a solid surface for sit-ups (though it does that very well).
Here are all of the movements you can do with a sit-up bench:
- Sit-ups (duh): Can also be weighted, side-to-side, crunches at the top or bottom, etc.
- Leg raises: Hold the top of the bench with your hands, raising and lowering your legs toward the ground.
- Back extensions: Flip yourself over from a sit-up and raise your upper body, flexing your lower back.
- Incline/decline bench press: This improves your bench by securing your legs, making it all about your upper body (a.k.a. no more flailing legs).
- Russian twists: Great for the obliques. For an even better workout, hold a medicine ball while repping these out.
- Bench-assisted rows: With your chest against the bench and dumbbells, perform rows without the assistance of you swinging the weights. This helps with strict form. (You can also do )
- Bench-assisted dumbbell curls: Position yourself just like the rows, but instead do curls. Again, this is to help with strict form.
- Tricep kickbacks: With one hand and one knee on the bench, perform kickbacks with your other arm.
- Incline/decline push-ups: Works on this bench, kinda like every other bench.
- Heel touches: You can do this on the ground, but the bench will make you engage your abdominal’s throughout the entire workout, increasing time under tension.
Phew! That’s a lot of different exercises. That’s what’s so cool about sit-up benches: You can do a full-body workout with only this bench and a handful of dumbbells.
This makes the acquisition of a sit-up bench definitely worth the cost.
Considerations Before Buying
Now, don’t go out and buy the first sit-up bench that catches your eye on Amazon. Choosing a bench requires careful deliberation and consideration of your own fitness routine and goals. Here are some things to look for when selecting your very own sit-up bench:
We hope this goes without saying, but you’ll want a bench that can withstand your bodyweight, and then some.
This is because you might end up doing weighted sit-ups–you beast of a human being, you–and you don’t want to tip your bench over…with you attached to it. Make sure the bench you want can sustain 250-300 pounds comfortably.
You’ll want your sit-up bench to stand the test of time. (Or, at the very least, you don’t want it to break week one.) Durability is a huge factor for your sit-up bench.
This will be determined by the materials used to construct the bench, the weight rating, the company that made the bench, and overall strength of the equipment.
How big or small your sit-up bench is will be a matter of preference. Like we said earlier, some benches cover the expanse of your body, allowing your head to rest against the bench at the bottom of a sit-up.
Other benches merely suspend your upper body in the air, anchoring your rear end and legs only. Therefore, consider your height and which kind of bench you’d want for your fitness regimen.
Top Sit-up Benches Reviewed
1. Fitness Reality Bench
First up on our list is a multipurpose bench made by the bros over at Fitness Reality.
This bench has everything you could ever ask for. It comes equipped with one flat and three decline adjustments, along with 14 different height adjustments for the thigh support cushions.
The vinyl bench covering is double stitched, as well as sweat and moisture resistant.
And with a weight capacity of 650 pounds and a user height range of five foot to 6’4”, this bench is made for anyone and everyone.
Plus, it has transportation wheels for moving in and out of your workout space and push-up/dip handle bars that are non-slip and soft.
If you want a sit-up bench that thinks of everything, you can’t do much better than the Fitness Reality X-Class Multi-Workout Bench.
2. XMark Fitness Ergonomic Ab Bench
Next up is a sit-up bench dedicated to keeping your posture perfect throughout your workout. This is the Ergonomic Ab Bench from XMark Fitness.
The Ergonomic Ab Bench is the definition of adjust-ability, with 12 different vertical height positions, carefully positioned leg rollers to reduce back strain, and a support handle for easy mount and dismount.
The mainframe is made out of 14-gauge steel with a scratch resistant powder coat finish, while the bench is made of 2.5-inch extra thick high-density cushion and double stitched, tear resistant Duragaurd vinyl.
It comes in both grey and white, plus you can have someone come and install if for you if you want.
If you enjoy having as many options as possible in terms of positioning, then the XMark Fitness Ergonomic Ab Bench is the one for you.
3. Vanswe Adjustable Weight Bench
This sit-up bench–manufactured by the company Vanswe–might look familiar to you if you’ve spent any time in a gym.
The Adjustable Weight Bench can go flat, incline, and decline, looking like a traditional bench with leg supports attached. It’s super strong and stable, with an 800-pound weight rating and made out of heavy duty steel and 2-inch thick padding.
The bench also has seven different ladder positions (up to 85 degrees) and three various seat positions (to adjust for the incline).
That way, you can go from a full decline all the way to a traditional military press (an additional feature not found on other common sit-up benches). With over 49 inches of bench and wheels for easy transport, this is one super bench.
If you want to utilize your sit-up bench for more things, including weighted lifts, definitely go with the Vanswe Adjustable Weight Bench.
4. Merax Deluxe Foldable Ab Bench
Another quality sit-up bench that deserves a spot on our list is the Deluxe Fold-able Ab Bench from Merax.
The vinyl on this bad boy will cover the bench forever and ever, formulated for easy maintenance and water resistant.
The 800-pound weight capacity makes it one of the toughest benches on our list, and it gives you support in the right areas, no matter what lift you’re doing.
The ladder adjusts for six different angles, ranging from flat to incline and decline, along with various seat angles.
On top of all this, it has dense foam padding to keep your body comfortable and safe throughout the workout. You can also adjust the leg supports, so you can always get the best lift possible.
A maverick in the workout bench industry, Merax doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the Deluxe Fold-able Ab Bench. Give it a try and see why they’ve been trusted time after time.
5. Body Solid Pro-Style Ab Board
Last (but not least) is a pro-style commercial ab board from Body Solid, which cuts out all the unnecessary bells and whistles and gets down to business.
The mainframe of this sit-up bench is covered with thick, durable, double stitched DuraFirm padding. It comes with 12 adjustable positions, making it simple to construct diverse, efficient workout routines, centered around this bench.
The over-sized eight-inch foam rollers help keep your knees and ankles comfortable during exercises, and the frame is built to last, complete with a 10-year warranty.
Add on wheels for easy transportation, and you’ve got a sit-up bench with zero fluff and the right stuff.
For a solid, no-nonsense bench that can give you everything you need in a workout, you’ve got to go with the Body Solid Pro-Style Ab Board for your home gym.
Congratulations! You now know everything you need to know about sit-up benches. Consider yourself a professional on the subject.
Take a look again at the top benches available to you and find one that matches your training style and fitness needs.
Make sure you factor in the benefits of each bench, the weight rating, durability, and overall size of the bench before selecting your number one. Then, start doing all of the exercises to get your dream physique.
May your six-pack be revealed!