Choosing The Best Weight Bench For A Home Gym
An essential part of any gym set up, the bench (occasionally referred to as the bench press) is one of the most versatile and useful pieces of kit you can own.
It can be used on its own to perform a range of exercises, but it also combines with a wide range of equipment which allows you to add a ton of different lifts to your workout.
Combining it with barbells and dumbbells allows you to perform a huge range of weight training exercises. Add a power rack, squat stands or a smith machine and you have everything you need to train the entire body effectively.
Using a bench and training with free weights offers a more complete workout than training with isolation machines at the gym, and are the perfect approach to building size and strength.
How to Choose a Bench
Your bench is one of the most important pieces of workout equipment that you will ever own. So, it only makes sense that a good amount of thought needs to take place before deciding upon which bench is the best choice. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most important factors that you will need to consider.
The Weight Itself
How much weight are you planning to lift? In general, there are two types of benches that are available. A standard bench will accommodate smaller weights (bars and plates that generally support lighter amounts). An Olympic-style model is meant for heavier lifters, as the bar and the supports are generally more robust.
You may be looking for a “bare-bones” model that only accommodates regular and incline bench pressing. However, others will include a leg extension apparatus and even a lat pull-down machine behind the rack. Once again, these “one-size-fits-all” models will generally support less overall weight and are best if you are just beginning to exercise.
As a rule of thumb (and many exercise enthusiasts will attribute to this fact), avoid benches that have welded connections. Why is this so important? Welds can crack over time due to constant stress. In some cases, a complete failure can occur that could present a massive safety risk. It is better to opt for a bench that has nut-and-bolt connections. The likelihood of a failure is vastly reduced and the bench itself will offer more flexibility than a completely static model.
The width of the rack is a final important consideration not to be overlooked. Wider racks are considered to offer more balance and the chances of the bench tipping to one side or another are virtually eliminated. Also, narrower grips can be an issue if you are even slightly claustrophobic. If you use heavy weights, a narrow grip can cause the main bar to deform over time; placing greater strain upon your wrists. So, a wide rack is normally the better choice for most bench press needs.
These are all critical features that should be taken into account. While your safety is always the main concern, levels of comfort will also affect the results that you can expect to enjoy. Thankfully, there are innumerable makes and models on the market that will be able to accommodate your unique needs.
Choosing the Right Bench for Your Home Gym
A weights bench, also referred to as a workout bench, is an item of equipment that features a padded surface that can be adjusted to allow you to exercise in both an inclined and declined position. They are commonly used to do exercises such as decline sit-ups, dumbbell bench presses and leg raises. It is an essential piece of kit for any home gym, as it will allow you to comfortably and safely work a range of muscle groups. With so many different types on the market, it can be tough to know what one to choose. This article provides some simple tips that will help you to choose the best one for your home gym.
As you will be placing a lot of your body weight onto the bench, you will want to ensure that it is both supportive and comfortable. It should have soft pads and be covered in an easy to clean material. If possible, test it out first-hand to see if it feels right for your body type. If you are ordering online then check that it has the right padding.
The size that you choose should depend on the amount of space that you have available in your home gym, as well as your body mass. Folding benches allow you to get the most out of the space in your home gym.
It is important that you choose high-quality equipment that has been designed and manufactured well. You can choose to purchase it from a reputable retailer that has great reviews and ratings, so that you know you are buying a durable weight press which has been built to last.
Finally, you will need to take the cost of the bench press into consideration. You may want to compare several makes and models to see what is available on the market. Remember, never go for just the cheapest option, instead weigh up the features of each product to find the perfect one that fits in with your requirements and your budget.
Follow the above tips and you should be well on your way to choosing the best weight press for your home gym in no time.
What Exercises Can I Do?
When many people think about the equipment they automatically assume that the only exercise you can do is a bench press. In reality, there are several extremely beneficial exercises that can be done with a bench, that can enable you to put together a solid workout session using just this one piece of equipment and some accompanying weights. Adjustable weight benches that offer incline and decline settings further increase the options available. This makes the purchase excellent value, as it allows you to carry out different exercises rather than only allowing you to do one!
The king of chest training and a workout staple, the bench press is one of the most popular lifts there is. With a decent bench, barbell and a power rack or stands you can have a great chest, shoulder and triceps workout.
Dumbbell flies are an isolated weight exercise which allow you to really focus on strengthening your chest muscles. You start with one dumbbell for each arm and then lie down on the bench. You start with the weights at each side and then use your strength to bring them up over your chest. The movement occurs entirely from the shoulder joint and should never come from the arm.
Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows
Your bench is the perfect aid for carrying out this exercise. With one hand and one leg balanced on the top, you use the other arm to pull the weight all the way up until it is approximately level with your ribs. This exercise is highly effective for strengthening your back.
This exercise is done without any extra equipment. You and the bench is all that is needed! The first step is to lie down and hold on firmly to the top of the bench. The next step is to slowly lift your legs up as high as you can and then lower them until they are a couple of inches above the bench. Try to keep your legs together the whole way through and avoid bending your knees at any time during the motion.
This is performed by standing approximately one foot in front of the bench and then doing a short squat jump from the ground up onto the bench. This is a tremendous exercise for improving leg strength. Be careful when jumping that you are landing firmly on the middle of the bench as you don’t want to slip and get injured.
The bench press is one of the most powerful exercises for bodybuilders and, as a result, has become synonymous with the equipment. However, beyond bench presses, there are many other exercises you can carry out.
How Much Room do I need?
Working out at home has many benefits including the freedom to exercise whenever you want, more privacy, and convenience. The only drawback is the available space for the workout equipment. However, you don’t need a big gym to exercise at home; some dumbbells and an exercise bench will be enough to get you started.
A good choice for your home-workout gym is a multi-adjustable bench that comes with separate pads. The handles allow you to adjust the bench to the desired position and the large version is approximately 52 by 22 inches tall. There is also the non-adjustable option, which is 50 inches long and takes up slightly less space.
If your room does not have adequate space for your gym equipment, consider a folding bench. Although this is more expensive than the other counterparts, you can easily fold it up whenever you are not working out. Folding benches are typically around 15 to 20 inches tall and collapse to half of their original height, thus allowing you to put them up against a closet, wall, or bed.
As not all your workout routines will be done on the bench, you need to also consider adding an extra 4 to 5 feet for lunges and squats. The minimum amount of space for your exercise area while using an adjustable or non-adjustable bench with dumbbells comes out about 12 feet by 12 feet. If you don’t have this much room, you will have to opt for the folding bench instead.
Aside from a bench, you will also need dumbbells, a barbell, plates, and power rack which require even more space, so allow a further 10 square feet for these accessories. Some retailers now offer dumbbell racks that are arranged vertically rather than horizontally, thus taking up less space.
Before buying your home gym equipment, measure the dimensions of the room you plan to keep the bench and its accessories in. If you only have a small workout area, go with simpler benches and make sure you check their stability and material. Find out how much weight the bench is capable of handling and whether you can adjust its height so that the rest of your family members can also use it. Think about the structure of your bench as some are adjusted to provide space for push-ups, sit-ups, and crunches. You can stock the accessories in storage racks in order to maximise your workout space.
What Kind Should I Get?
The bench is easily one of the most important pieces of equipment in any gym. Without it, you can’t do the bench press – a core exercise in any workout (and one of the three core exercises in powerlifting). It also doubles up as a general workout bench, allowing you to do everything from dumbbell-presses/flys to seated rows and arm curls. This handy guide will help you buy the right equipment for your needs.
What are your requirements?
Not all benches are the same. Some are built for casual workouts and can handle only a limited amount of weight. More expensive models are built for accommodating heavy weights. If you plan to lift just 50kgs or so, you don’t need to invest in expensive Olympic-lifting grade equipment. Similarly, a heavy lifter preparing for a powerlifting competition shouldn’t compromise with a cheap, wobbly one.
What is your gym configuration?
If you’re building a home gym, you might not need separate equipment for incline/decline and flat bench press. You can usually get the same results with an adjustable weight bench.
If you already have a power rack, you can also forego getting one with upright weight supports. Instead, you can use the power rack to rest the weight and save yourself a few hundred pounds.
While we’re on the subject of gym configuration, take some time to measure total available floor space in your gym. Ideally, you should have around three feet of extra space around the bench for loading/unloading weights.
Types of Benches
There are five different types, depending on the incline:
• Flat: The flat bench is ideal for the bench press, rows, curls, and a host of other exercises. This is a must for every gym.
• Incline: Incline benches are used for incline bench press. Depending on the bench, you might be able to adjust the incline angle as well.
• Decline: This can used for decline bench press. Can also be used to do sit-ups. Unless you include a lot of decline bench presses in your workout routine, you don’t really need this bench.
• Upright: This bench has a nearly upright back. It is used for military/shoulder presses, arm curls, etc. While not necessary, it is a useful piece of equipment to have.
• Adjustable: Adjustable benches have a lever that you can push to adjust the angle of the incline. You can go from flat to incline to decline in seconds. Most adjustable benches don’t have upright weight supports, however.
Besides these, you also have the option to buy them with or without weight supports (also called ‘weight crutches’). If you don’t have a power rack, weight supports are a must if you plan on doing any barbell presses. In case you already have a power rack, you can skip the weight support and rest the weight on the power rack itself. You can also skip weight supports if you plan on doing only dumbbell exercises.
The weight bench forms the core of any gym. Take some time to research your own requirements before plopping down cash for a new one. Never compromise on the quality. A wobbly, weak bench is a disaster waiting to happen. Always insist on getting sturdy equipment that can accommodate 250 kgs of weight or more.
Should I Get a Flat Weight Bench or an Adjustable Bench?
If you are attempting to start a home-based weight training regimen, the bench is one of the essential purchases. Having access to one at home opens up a whole range of different strength training exercises, which would otherwise be difficult or impossible to perform. In addition, they can help to control posture and prevent injury; especially amongst beginners.
However, after deciding to purchase a bench, you also have to consider which type is best for you – a flat bench or an adjustable one. To answer this question, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration, including your budget, your level of experience and your intended uses for the bench.
A flat bench is the most basic option of the two and can assist you in performing a range of different arm, chest and leg workouts, including the flat barbell bench press. Basic flat benches are extremely affordable and the more expensive ones tend to highly durable. In addition, many flat benches come complete with a barbell rack.
Although the price of basic flat benches is appealing, especially to those with simple needs, the price of top-of-the-range models can actually be very high. Moreover, the range of exercises that can be performed is limited in comparison to an adjustable bench and some flat benches can be obstructive when it comes to dumbbell workouts.
In terms of the range of exercises that can be performed and the potential results, an adjustable bench is a more astute buy. The ability to perform exercises on an incline or decline allows you to target different muscle groups and achieve a more comprehensive workout. Adjustable benches also offer more scope for dumbbell-based exercises.
One potential disadvantage of adjustable benches is the increased chances of injury if they are used incorrectly. Therefore, it is important to ensure you have a good understanding of the required technique for each exercise. Moreover, if you have very basic requirements, you may find the price of some adjustable benches to be off-putting.
For absolute beginners and those with basic requirements, a flat weight bench is a perfectly adequate piece of home gym equipment, allowing for a number of key weight training exercises to be performed, with minimal risk of injury.
However, for more experienced lifters, or for those who wish to achieve a far more comprehensive workout, an adjustable bench is an essential purchase. Adjustable benches open up a huge range of additional exercises, targeting just about every muscle group in the body and allowing for far more complete results.
Choosing a Bench for Powerlifting
With so many gyms, health and nutrition plans, iPhone apps, and whatever else trying to convince you they know exactly what’s best for your body, it’s hard to know what way to go with training.
Working out at home is quickly becoming a cheaper and simpler way to get the results you want. Without having to get out and go to the gym, training at home can save countless time and money. If you are looking into training at home, you need to start looking at equipment for your home ‘gym’. If you’re opting for training with heavy weights you’ll need equipment that is up to the job, and there are a few aspects to consider when looking for weightlifting benches for powerlifting training.
The key components of a home powerlifting gym are a barbell and plates, squat stands or a power rack and a bench. You need to spend some time researching what the best ones are for your needs (especially if you’re planning on hitting high numbers in the future), but most gym equipment for powerlifting will set you back a lot less than the average yearly gym membership, and will last you years and years.
There are many workout benches on the market available for powerlifting, but the main thing when choosing is to make sure it has a strong frame. Check the weight limit on the bench and work out how long it could last you if you hit the intermediate/advanced levels for bench (check out strstd.com for help on this).
While shopping around for the best weightlifting benches to suit your needs, you do need to be mindful that you get what you pay for. If you are making an investment in a ‘home gym’, it may be worth paying the price for a good quality bench for powerlifting, as it will last you a lot longer, and save you having to succumb to gym membership when you outgrow or break lower quality equipment.
While doing research and shopping around, it can be easy to put off by prices of home gym equipment, but it really is something that will work out more beneficial in the long run if you complete your set up carefully and correctly.