Best Weight Bench Reviews: Flat and Adjustable Benches
In hurry? Here are our top picks:
- Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 Adjustable Bench
- Ironmaster Super Bench
- Body Solid Folding Adjustable Weight Bench
- York Barbell Adjustable Fitness Bench
- Soozier Ten-Position Adjustable Weight Bench
Lifting weight isn’t child’s play. Whenever you’re hoisting a substantial resistance, you risk injury. That makes it absolutely crucial that the equipment that you’re using is up to the task. In a commercial gym setting, you can feel pretty confident that the gear is going to handle anything you can throw at it.
When it comes to working out at home; that’s a whole different story. There’s a whole lot of home exercise equipment out there that can only be described as cheap and nasty. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to that most basic home gym requirement – the weight bench. Yet, getting the best weight bench will not only make your workouts more effective, it will provide you with a stable, and sturdy platform from which to confidently hit some heavy iron.
Weight Bench Basics
When it comes to home weight benches, there are three options:
(1) Bench Station – this is a bench that has two uprights to support a bench press bar.
(2) Utility Benches – these benches adjust for a flat, incline or decline surface.
(3) Standard Flat Bench – this does not adjust to give a variety of bench angles; it is simply a flat bench.
Bench stations are often quite wieldy. Many also have extra exercise options attached, such as leg extensions and leg curls. In this article we will not be including bench stations.
What To Look For
Regardless of the type of bench that you’re after; the first and prime consideration must be, what is the weight rating? Benches are rated in according with the maximum load that they can handle.
It’s important to know that maximum load also takes into account your body weight. So, if you weigh 200 pounds and you can bench press your body weight, then you need a bench that can handle a maximum weight of at least 400 pounds. When you consider that the whole point of training is to get stronger, you really need something that is about 100 pounds heavier than that.
Cheaper utility benches are not rated very highly, mainly because they contain a lot of moving parts. This creates a number of stress points which limits the maximum weight the device can handle. A higher bench rating can only be achieved through quality construction, including strong welds and minimum moving parts.
Bench height is another crucial factor when buying a bench. If a bench is too high, you are going to struggle to get your feet on the floor, limiting your ability to push through the floor as you bench. This will also prevent you from achieving a proper lower back arch.
Benches that are too low, on the other hand, will not allow you to sit in the ideal position to exert maximum force when pressing overhead.
The firmness of the bench pad is important to getting the bench that will work best for you. Use the following rule of thumb to see if the bench you’re considering is solid; if you can press your thumb into the middle of the pad and touch the wooden base of the bench, the pad is too soft.
The width of your weight bench is another factor that can affect your exercise performance. A bench that is too wide may restrict the movement of the lats, preventing the exerciser from fully extending the resistance as the elbows travel below the line of the body. This will limit the weight you can lift, as well as the range of motion you can achieve. The correct width of a bench should allow your lats to extend over the side of the bench.
Should You Buy a Utility Bench?
Utility benches allow you the versatility of adjusting the angle of the bench to be able to perform inclines, decline and flat bench work, so you’d think that opting for one would be a no brainer. There are, however, pros and cons to getting a utility bench over a standard flat bench . . .
- The bench allows you to adjust to fully upright for shoulder pressing work
- You are able to adjust the bench to a range of incline and decline angles to work the chest from different angles
- Many benches feature a leg support to hold you firmly in place when doing decline work. Often this attachment will double as a leg extension / leg curl unit.
- Utility benches cost substantially more than standard flat benches
- Utility benches are generally not as sturdy as flat benches due to the number of moving parts
- Utility benches are often higher off the ground than flat benches to allow for the mechanism under the bench
Clearly, there is a price to pay for the luxury of being able to adjust your bench angle. For those with a flat bench, however, angled work can be achieved simply by placing the bench end on a raised platform.
Regardless of the type of bench you select, you will have a versatile piece of equipment that will allow you to perform a large range of exercises. Your bench will allow you to do the following exercises for the various parts of your body:
- Flat, incline or decline barbell bench press (ideal inclines angle to target the pectorals is 25-30 degrees).
- Flat, incline or decline dumbbell bench press
- Flat, incline or decline flyes
- Seated Barbell Military Press
- Seated Dumbbell Press
- Seated Lateral Raises
- Prone Reverse Flyes
- Incline Dumbbell Rows
- Decline Dumbbell Rows
- One Arm Row
- Lying Triceps Extension
- Overhead Triceps Extension
- Triceps Kickbacks
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Seated Dumbbell Curl
- Seated Concentration Curl
- Wrist Curl
- Bulgarian Split Squat
- Decline Leg Curl
- Seated Calf Raise
Bowflex Select Tech 5.1 Adjustable Bench
The BowFlex Select Tech is adjustable to six different bench angles ranging between 17 and 90 degrees. This offers a whole lot of variations in your workouts. The seat is extremely easy to adjust without having to fit knobs into holes. You simply lift and slide.
The bench comes with an adjustable leg holding brace for when you’re doing decline work. This allows you to maintain a correct posture, while stabilizing muscle positioning while exercising.
The BowFlex bench is extremely sturdy and provides a decent sized platform to rest your head without restricting the movement of your arms when pressing and doing flyes.
The bench will take around thirty minutes to assemble. Make sure that you securely tighten the base nuts that connect the seat to the base as this area will take the bulk of the strain. It comes in a stylish red and black design and comes with wheels for easy transport around your workout area.
Bow flex offers a 3- year warranty on the frame and a one year warranty on the upholstery. This is a top of the line bench that delivers everything that you need in a versatile adjustable bench.
Ironmaster Super Bench Adjustable Weight-Lifting Bench
As with all of their other products, the Ironmaster Super Bench is extremely sturdy and well built. The bench uses a revolutionary circular adjustment bar design to offer an amazing 11 different bench angles. The adjustment is made by pushing down on a foot lever. The detachable seat has three different levels that it can be set at. However, the highest setting will still not be high enough for guys who are over 6 foot tall. This will take their thighs beyond a parallel position when using the bench at a 90-degree angle, which may slightly compromise their form on movements like the shoulder press. Of course, when you tilt the bench back to make the inclines less acute, this problem diminishes.
The bench is quite heavy, weighing in a 58 pounds. That means that it will take a bit of effort to move around your training area. And, unlike the Bowflex 5.1, it does not come with wheels. Of course, that is the price for a bench that is as sturdy and well built as this one.
For a sturdy, versatile bench the Ironmaster Super Bench is hard to beat. If you’re a tall guy or you need the security of a leg brace when doing decline work, however, then this may not be the best option for you.
Body Solid GFID225 Folding Adjustable Weight Bench
The Body Solid GFID225 is a folding bench that allows you to store the bench away for ease of storage. Unlike most other foldable benches, the GFD225 offers more than a basic angle offering. With this bench you get 7 different setting options – and it features a heavy-duty design and construction. It is constructed of 2 inches by 3-inch oval tubing that gives you confidence when you’re under the heavy iron.
This bench comes with wheels for ease of mobility. It comes fully assembled so you don’t have the hassle of having to put it together. It also features a leg brace to keep you safe and secure when you’re doing decline work.
Body Solid offers a lifetime in home use warranty on this bench. That talks of supreme confidence in their product, an impressive thing when we’re talking about the folding bench market. So, if you’re after a solid, dependable bench that can be slid under your bed when you’re not using it, this one is well worth a look.
York Barbell Adjustable Fitness Bench
The York Adjustable fitness bench is a reliable, solidly constructed (2 inch over-size tubular steel construction) bench from one of the oldest and most respected players in the business. It offers extra thick cushioning for maximum comfort when training. This bench offers an extra unique feature in the way of a rack along the base that holds 3 pairs of York dumbbells.
This York adjustable bench has a quick and simple mechanism to adjust then bench. It provides 5 angles ranging from 90 degrees upright to a steep decline. However, it does not allow for seat adjustment and this fixed seat position means that it is difficult to attain a comfortable position on some exercises, especially those that require a decline angle. There is also no leg brace for decline stability.
The York adjustable is a solid bench with a range of angle options and ease of adjustment. It’s lack of seat adjustability, and absence of leg brace are drawbacks but if you’re after a solid performer for your flat and incline heavy pressing work then the York adjustable is definitely fit for purpose.
Soozier Ten-Position Adjustable Home Fitness Weight Bench
At first glance the Soozier ten-position adjustable bench looks like a piece of commercial gym equipment. That’s because of the cube-like steel construction which makes this one sturdy piece of equipment. It is a very heavy and solid bench. Even though the bench adjusts to six different incline positions, it does not allow you to put the bench into a decline position, creating a major limiting factor. There are also four different seat positions, allowing you to get your thighs parallel to the floor when doing 90-degree presses not matter how tall you are.
The bench features a simple yet effective angle locking mechanism. It also has wheels for ease of movement. Floor protectors on the bottom of the feet also prevent skidding when you’re under the heavyweight. The pad cushioning is thicker and softer than many adjustable benches offer, giving you more comfort while you sweat.
The Soozier is the most solid of all the adjustable benches we have reviewed. With its adjustable seating and range of incline options, it’s a great choice for fat and decline work. The lack of decline capability is its major drawback.
Weider Pro 255L Incline Weight Bench
When it comes to weight benches, you’d expect the most respected name in the industry to deliver the good when it comes to an incline adjustable bench. With the Weider Pro 255L they have done just that. The bench features a four-roll leg lockdown which keeps your lower body firmly in place when you’re lifting.
The adjustable back pad allows you to change the angle of the bench to fit just what you need for the exercise you’re doing. The increments are evenly spaced and the adjustment mechanism is quick and easy to operate. The handle adjustment options include a deep decline to allow you to thoroughly work your abs in a decline position.
The appearance of this bench may give the impression that it is not very sturdy. However, this is definitely a case where looks are deceiving. That’s because it features a cleverly designed distribution of weight and a sturdy tubular steel construction. That adds up to a safe, stable workout every time.
This Weider bench offers a stable, versatile lifting platform at a price you can afford.
Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0
The Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0 is a no-frills weightlifting bench that does the business. It offers just four angle positions, ranging from flat to 90 degrees. This means that you just get incline press angles, which advanced trainers may find quite limiting. The seat is also adjustable, having the ability to tilt to allow for correct body alignment when on an incline.
Constructed from two by three-inch tubular steel, this bench is as sturdy as they come. This makes the bench pretty heavy, but it does come with wheels for ease of transport (and a handle on the bench). Rubber coverings over the feet ensure that your bench won’t slide under your weight. The padding on the bench is thick and comfortable and the overall finish is sleek and stylish.
The Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0 is one of the more expensive home adjustable benches on the market. If your prime concern is stability and basic options, though, this is the one for you.
Wrapping It Up
Hopefully, this article has provided you with the information you will need when it comes time get a weight bench for your garage gym. At the end of the day a bench is a bench, so get what you can afford now if money is tight or hustle up a little extra cash and get a quality bench that will stand the test of time.