Choosing a weight bench is not rocket science, but there are a few things you should consider in order to make the most of this essential piece of home gym equipment.
What exercises can you do on a weight bench?
The first exercise that comes to mind is the tried-and-true bench press - a favourite in every chest workout. But that doesn’t begin to cover what an exercise bench can do for your weightlifting routine. Some of the best back exercises are performed on a weight bench, like the Single-Arm Dumbbell Row (also known as Bent-Over Dumbbell Row).
A lesser-known but very effective back exercise is the Pullover, which can be performed with a barbell or, for those who prefer a neutral grip, a Swiss bar. You can even use a single dumbbell. This is a great option for training your lats without recruiting the biceps too much. You’ll also feel a great pump on your chest and triceps.
You might be asking yourself, “can I do any biceps or triceps exercise on a weight bench”. Sure you can! Set your adjustable bench to a 45-60 degree angle and you can perform one of the most popular exercises among bodybuilders: the Incline Dumbbell Curl. And for your triceps, a great mass builder is the lying triceps extension using a barbell. The sky is the limit!
What type of weight bench do I need?
When buying a workout bench, the main thing to keep in mind is: how much are you lifting? All exercise benches have a maximum capacity and that includes not only your weight sets, but your actual body weight as well.
If a weight bench has a maximum capacity of 150kg, you have to consider your body weight, the weight of the barbell (usually 20kg for an 7ft Olympic Barbell) and the total of weight plates. So, that 150kg capacity exercise bench supports a 70kg person bench pressing 30kg on each side, plus the barbell. And that’s a pretty strong chest workout to try at home!
Do I really need an adjustable weight bench?
Nowadays, most workout benches are also adjustable benches, meaning you’ll get various degrees of inline. But the reality is: most people will only use three levels: flat, somewhere around 45-60 degrees and an upright position (anything between 75-85 degrees). If you’re on a budget, take that into consideration before spending those extra bucks on options you won’t use.
Workout benches with decline angles are also available (albeit less common) but you can get the same results by adding an aerobic step underneath the front legs of your weight bench.
What is a good weight bench for a beginner
Beginners won’t need an exercise bench with a massive load capacity, and even home gym weight benches can handle a good amount of weight. Regarding incline levels, those starting their weightlifting journey won’t need more than 5 levels.
But one thing to consider is a getting a barbell and weights set to go with your weight bench. Make sure to get a 7ft barbell or a 6ft barbell if you want to start lighter, or if you’ve limited space.
Also, get a good range of weights plates that you allow you to perform exercises with different loads and will keep up with your progress. Don’t forget about the dumbbells. You can get a dumbbell pack or even an adjustable dumbbell, which are handy for a home gym due to their space saving attributes. And finally, maybe sure to check out some gym flooring to protect your floor and equipment.
How To Know Which Weight Bench Is For You
The weight bench may not seem like an essential part of your workout routine, but there is much more thought needed than you may think when purchasing one. There are four different categories that benches fall into; we’ll bring you through each one to give you a better understanding.