Confused with weight benches? One of the most critical items you need for a good home gym will be a weights bench.
You’ve probably seen many types such as; the all-in-one bench press combining the barbell support bar, independent flat benches and independent adjustable. FID or flat, incline, decline benches are also another term for an adjustable weights bench.
But Which Adjustable Bench is The Best One for You?
It is not as straight forward as it seems to just buy a cheap bench that may look like it will do the job. Many customers have told us of their experience in buying a cheap weights bench, which has resulted in an unsafe and unpleasant workout during their exercise routine.
We’ll focus on adjustable weight benches in this article, as we believe this type is versatile, safe and offers the excellent value if you are looking to set up a proper home gym. Sure, flat benches, decline benches and bench presses all offer something, but we have found the adjustable bench provides our customers savings in space, cost and lets you do a great overall work out.
One thing many people overlook is that a weights bench is something that will be with you during for many years. In a growing family, those needs change quickly, and for any individual that wants to focus on strength training will likely change things up. So you want to ensure you get a weights bench that will be solid, easy to move around and versatile. Otherwise you may not be able to perform your current exercise goals or be ready for those exercises you never know you may need or want to do in future.
What to Look For in a Great Adjustable Bench.
Do you want a GOOD weights bench or a GREAT weights bench?
There are all sorts of adjustable benches; it mostly will come down to how much you are prepared to spend and the quality you choose.
Ask yourself if the weight bench you are considering includes:
- Solid structure and materials; does it wobble, how thick is the steel tubing?
- The back support and seat support; is it made from strong plywood, is it thick enough to prevent cracking, does it taper for a good fit or do you prefer a rectangular shape, is it wide or too wide?
- The positions; what angles can you achieve with the back support, does it decline, how sturdy does it lock in and what type of locking mechanism is it, does the seat also adjust giving more variation for your exercises?
- The overall size and weight. Generally the weight of the bench itself can indicate the quality of the materials. e.g a light bench may not be good for stability. The size of the bench will also be important especially for taller people.
- The padded support may only cover your body so much, leaving your neck or lower back exposed. Without extra support it can be dangerous.
How much weight capacity does the manufacturer state, will this be enough for now and future?
- What is upholstery made from and will it be hard to maintain, or will it easily get damaged, is the padding hard or soft?
- Are there any additional features such as wheels, handles for easy movement?
- Comfort factor. Probably the most overlooked area due to buying online, because the photos look great does not mean it may feel great. We encourage customers to sit and feel a weight bench in person.
- Product reputation. Is there warranty or what is parts availability like if anything goes wrong? Typically exercise equipment stores tend to have a stronger reputation rather than online places that do not specialize with gym equipment.
If you are wondering about accessories such as leg extension or arm curl attachments, and even lat pull down attachments. These accessories have some benefit; but in our experience we rather recommend equipment that doesn’t focus on many moving parts as it becomes very busy and complicated. The reason for this is that when buying a great weights bench, the primary use is an addition to other quality gym equipment, such as a squat rack, power cage or dumbbell training.
So if you are looking for cheap bench presses like they have at some retails stores or online, perhaps we should have mentioned that this article doesn’t cover that stuff…sorry!
Why you Should Invest in a Quality Adjustable Bench
Let us leave you with a common example of when someone buys a cheap adjustable bench. Each instance unique of course. Sadly it happens, so hopefully this information you’ve read can help you avoid making a mistake when choosing an adjustable bench.
A few months ago, a middle aged man came in to our store and wanted the cheapest bench he could get his hands on. We found out, he was roughly 85kgs – out of shape but was able to bench around 120kgs in his prime and more recently, his last bench press was around his body weight. His goal was to teach his kids how to train, and also get to around 140kgs in a single bench press.
So that is over 200kgs of total weight the bench needed to support if he reaches his goal, or at least 170kgs if he was to train the way he does now. We advised him on what he needed but it was out of his budget and he decided to go online and get one cheaper or second hand.
Just the other day he returned to get some exercise bands, he mentioned he had bought a bench online for around $80 because he didn’t want to spend an extra $300-400 at the time he saw us. He set it up, and could just fit on the bench. He noted the back support was a bit flimsy but persisted. He used it for weeks, and continued to gain strength until one day he decided to try to break his personal best on his bench press.
Unfortunately he ruptured a disc in his lower spine, and is now undergoing significant physiotherapy, takes a lot of time off work, can’t sleep properly and has other issues linking to the injury. He said it was 100% resulting from the lift, as the board in the bench cracked significantly sending his body toppling off to the side. Also injuring his top chest as the bar and weight crashed on him.
Unfortunately this is quite common in other similar circumstances, which can be avoided when buying a bench. We always advise on spending a little extra on a quality adjustable bench as risks like these can be quite life changing.
As you can see, there may be a lot of considerations when buying an adjustable bench. Cheap is not good and good is not cheap as they say, so take the time to look around and speak to your local exercise equipment supplier. Otherwise feel free to reach out to us and will be only too happy to help you.