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Your home gym just got so much more versatile.
If you’re trying to save money on a gym membership, make movement more accessible on busy days, or simply live too far from an exercise facility to schlep there regularly, odds are you’ve got a home gym. But is your gym set-up as beefy as it could be? Probably not. Sure, resistance bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, sliders, jump ropes, and yoga mats are great staples to a home gym. But there’s one surprisingly versatile piece of equipment that you’d be remiss not to add to invest in: The weight bench.
Sometimes known as a workout bench, a weight bench is a padded board with stable feet that exercisers can sit on, lie down on, kneel on, and in some cases even step up onto. “Weight benches can be utilized for a wide variety of exercises in order to help you target every muscle in your body,” says certified strength and conditioning coach Jake Harcoff, C.S.C.S. head coach and owner of AIM Athletic. To name a few: decline push-ups, chest presses, shoulder presses, bent-over-rows, seated bicep curls, skull-crushers, split squats, box (or bench) squats, step-ups, and hip bridges.
While all weight benches can be used for a lot of different exercises, the exact weight bench you should purchase is going to depend on your budget, available space, and fitness goals. After all, different weight benches have different features, abilities, and degrees of adjustability. Ahead, the best weight benches, each of which has been reviewed and approved by our in-house team of fitness experts.
Best Weight Bench Overall: Ativafit Upgraded Multi-purpose Home Workout Bench
Why We Like It: Affordable, adjustable, and stable, the Ativafit is a multi-purpose bench that will please anyone on the market for a weight bench.
It's Worth Noting: The bench has a foldable design, which helps you save space.
The Ativafit Upgraded Multi-purpose Home Workout Bench is as multi-purpose as a weight bench comes. It boasts seven backrest pad positions and three seat angles, so you can customize it for every lift and exercise. To list just a few: sit-ups to dumbbell rows to band chest presses.
The stable base, which is made from steel, can support an impressive 800 pounds. Meanwhile, the seat is made from a non-slip material that keeps you safe on even the sweatiest of days
Price at time of publish: $140
Type: Adjustable | Adjustability: 7 | Incline or Decline: Incline | Height: 37” | Length: 43.5” | Weight Capacity: 800lb
Best Budget Weight Bench: Weider Platinum Adjustable Bench
Why We Like It: This wallet-friendly bench has 16 (!) different adjustment levels, making it ideal for people looking for a do-it-all option.
It's Worth Noting: You’re going to have to put this weight bench together yourself.
The Weider Platinum Adjustable Bench earns its name! It can easily adjust to an incline, decline, or flat bench — offering various ways to achieve a full-body workout. Heck, even the seat has a few different adjustment options, so you can really customize this bench to fit your particular body and exercise needs.
The seat and back have high-density foam inserts that make the bench comfortable when you're sitting or lying. The insert is coated with a tear-resistant vinyl, that you can easily wipe clean after each sweat session. Bonus: Even if you don't know your way around gym equipment, this bench comes with step-by-step instructions on how to target different muscles with various moves, so you won't feel overwhelmed.
One heads up, this is a DIY weight bench in terms of putting it together. While it’s easy to do, just be prepared to play Bob The Builder if you order.
Price at time of publish: $74
Type: Adjustable | Adjustability: 16 | Incline or Decline: Incline | Height: 50” | Length: 48.5” | Weight Capacity: 410lb
Best Adjustable: FLYBIRD Adjustable Bench
Why We Like It: This adjustable bench features 6 different incline positions, as well as 4 different seat positions.
It's Worth Noting: This bench is lower to the ground than other benches, making it suboptimal for taller exercisers.
The Flybird Adjustable Weight Bench is designed to offer six back positions and four different seat positions so that you can get in a ful- body workout. To adjust the bench, simply pull on the support bar, and lower or raise the bench to your desired spot, and you’re set.
The bench is just 16 inches tall, which makes it more accessible for short athletes. For instance, when you’re doing a split squat you want to use an anchor platform that is knee-height or lower, which the Flybird Adjustable Weight Bench will be for shorter folks. Similarly, when you bench press you want to be able to grind your feet into the floor, which will be possible for shorter athletes with this short-height option.
Excitingly, this bench is also foldable. It can be folded up to save 70% of space when not in use. You can even put it under the bed!
Price at time of publish: $185
Type: Adjustable | Adjustability: 6 | Incline or Decline: Incline | Height: 16.5” | Length: 42.3” | Weight Capacity: 600lb
Best Flat Bench: Rogue Fitness Flat Utility Bench 2.0
Why We Like It: This no-nonsense flat bench is as sturdy and stable as benches get.
It's Worth Noting: The 18-inch height might make it hard for people under 5’2” to press their feet onto the floor for greater stability.
The Rogue Flat Utility Bench 2.0 is the flat bench most globo gyms, powerlifting gyms, and CrossFit boxes alike have on hand. For good reason: The base and legs are made from durable steel, while the seat is made from highly engineered polyurethane foam that can withstand wear and tear, sweat, and other bodily fluids. Good news for people who wouldn’t describe themselves as handy: This bench arrives fully assembled.
Price at time of publish: $195
Type: Flat | Adjustability: 0 | Incline or Decline: Neither | Height: 18” | Length: 47” | Weight Capacity: 1,000 lb
Best for Heavy Lifting: Rogue Fitness Monster Lite Competition Bench
Why We Like It: This competition bench is for people who have aspirations of competing in the field of powerlifting.
It's Worth Noting: The bench is attached to the barbell stand to make up this stand-alone bench press station.
Serious lifters require a serious lifting station, and that’s exactly what you get with the Rogue Monster Lite Competition Bench. The flat bench itself is attached to a full-sized weight rack, making it optimal for bench pressing. The rack itself can be customized with safety racks, J-hooks, and a variety of other gadgets, depending on your particular needs. When you purchase the bench from the Rogue website, you’ll see these add-ons available in the purchase area.
There is no downside to this bench, per se. However, it may be overkill for someone simply looking for a simple bench to add to their home gym. As it goes, this station isn’t small-space friendly.
Price at time of publish: $670
Type: Flat | Adjustability: number of positions | Incline or Decline: N | Height: 57.75” | Station Length: 53.5” | Weight Capacity: 1,000lb
Related: Best At-Home Gym Subscriptions
Best For Beginners: Marcy Flat Utility 600 lbs Capacity Weight Bench
Why We Like It: This tried-and-true simple, flat bench is a great option for people putting together a home gym set-up on a budget:
It's Worth Noting: This bench is slightly slimmer and lighter in construction than others, so if you’re a bigger person keep that in mind.
If you are just starting the process of putting together a home gym, the Marcy Flat Utility Weight Bench is for you. Ringing up for just $75, this affordable flat bench gives you exactly the bench you need to complete most weight bench exercises.
Don’t read it wrong, however. This bench may be cheap, but it’s high quality. Despite racking up over 5,000 reviews, this workout bench has still managed to secure a 4.7 rating among Amazon shoppers — and for good reason. Its construction is sturdy enough to support a maximum weight capacity of 600 pounds (due to the heavy-duty steel frame), and at the same time, it has high-density foam to keep you comfortable as you exercise.
Plus, you'll never have to worry about rust or corrosion, since the bench is reinforced with powder coating to resist wear and tear.
Price at time of publish: $75
Type: Flat | Adjustability: 0 | Incline or Decline: N/A | Height: 16.5” | Length: 41” | Weight Capacity: 600lb
Most Sturdy: Power Systems Fitness Deck
Why We Like It: This two-in-one product is a weight bench and plyometric box all in one.
It's Worth Noting: Because the seat and back of this product double as a step platform, they are not padded. So, it’s less comfy than some other options.
If you’re a sucker for two-in-one products, you’ll be amazed by the innovation of the Power Systems Fitness Deck. Believe it or not, this unassuming workout bench has over a dozen configurations — really. It can transition from an adjustable weight bench to an inclined or declined stepping platform in a few seconds. This versatility makes it a great option for people who want to incorporate movements like the step-up and box jump into their full-body routine.
Best part? The surface is coated in an anti-slip rubber! In practice, this means that you’ll feel stable even when you (and your platform) are drenched with sweat. Oh, and there are little anatomic hot spots guide designs on the surface that tell you where to position your hands and feet for the most effective workout. Also nice: There's an integrated storage bin in which you can store your smaller accessories, like resistance bands and weights.
Price at time of publish: $201
Type: Adjustable | Adjustability: 3 | Incline or Decline: Both | Height: 13” | Length: 48” | Weight Capacity: 330lb
Best Stretching Bench: Stamina InLine Back Stretch Bench
Why We Like It: This weight bench doubles as an inversion table alternative, making it a great option for folks who want to improve strength and mobility at once.
It's Worth Noting: This weight bench is low to the ground, which means you won’t be able to access the same range of motion during certain movements.
The Stamina InLine Back Stretch Bench is an incredibly space-friendly option. The low-to-the-ground design and wheels make it portable and easy to store when not in use.
Notably, this bench has a legless design. In practice, this means the only thing you need to use is a little space. However, because it doesn’t have legs, the flat back pad is just 11 inches off the ground, which means you won’t be able to use this bench for movements that require a higher platform like Bulgarian split squats and hip thrusts.
While you won’t be able to use the Stamina InLine Back Stretch Bench for some of the traditional best weight bench exercises, you will be able to use it to stretch. Thanks to its built-in arm and ankle supports, you can use this bench as you would an inversion table: To stretch and strengthen your shoulders, back, hips, and knees.
Price at time of publish: $169
Type: Adjustable | Adjustability: Adjustable arm supports with 3 width options | Incline or Decline: Neither | Height: 11” | Length: 72” | Weight Capacity: 250lb
Best Ab Bench: ProForm Ab Trax
Why We Like It: This versatile platform can be used to help you target your entire midline, as well as an anchor for weighted exercises.
It's Worth Noting: There is a bit of a steeper learning curve for this tool than other weight benches.
If you’re reading this weight bench round-up and realizing that your fitness goals would be better served by an ab machine than a classic weight bench, look no further! The ProForm Ab Trax has a unique design that allows it to function as an ab blaster *and* an anchor for certain weighted exercises. The tool, which looks like the love-child of an incline bench and rowing machine, has three different levels and can help you target lower, mid, and upper abdominal muscles.
Even though the construction is especially *great* for abs, it's still a versatile tool that can be used for upper body and arm workouts, too. For instance, you can kneel on the pad to do exercises like bent-over dumbbell rows. Bonus: When your session is over, the bench simply collapses and folds down to be stored out of sight in a closet or under your bed.
Price at time of publish: $180
Type: Adjustable | Adjustability: 3 | Incline or Decline: Neither | Height: 50” | Length: 37.25” | Weight Capacity: N/A
Best for Home Gym: Technogym Skillbench
Why We Like It: This unique bench comes with five sets of dumbbells, resistance bands, and a mat, making it ideal for people just starting a home gym.
It's Worth Noting: The “bench” part of this tool is not adjustable nor padded.
The Technogym Skillbench is more than a workout bench — it's a functional training station. The “bench” doubles as a storage container, which is filled with five pairs of dumbbells (that sit in their holders, designed to avoid finger smashing), three different resistance bands, and a training mat to offer comfort and stability during a sweat session.
The Skillbench has everything you need to get in at-home workouts, making it optimal for someone who doesn’t currently have any equipment at home. Because the “bench” itself is so sleek, you can easily place it in your living room, basement, or office without worrying about it being an eyesore.
The main downside of this bench is that it is flat, and cannot be adjusted.
Price at time of publish: $1850
Type: Flat | Adjustability: N/A | Incline or Decline: N/A | Height: 17.9” | Length: 44.5” | Weight Capacity: 265lb
Best With Equipment: Cap Strength Standard Bench With 100lb Weight Set
Why We Like It: With one click, you get everything you could possibly need to bench press!
It's Worth Noting: The product only comes with 100 pounds of weight plates, which may not be enough for experienced lifters.
Bench pressing may be a great exercise, but you need a lot of equipment — a bench, barbell, weight plates, a squat stand — to make it happen. Well, the Cap Strength Standard Bench gives you all of this prerequisite equipment for under $200 bucks! Indeed, in addition to a bench, this purchase comes with a barbell, a 100-pound weight set, spring collars, and a barbell.
The solid frame will support you through reps and the foam padded seat and back deliver comfort while you train. It can be used flat or at an incline (so you can isolate your upper body muscles), and you can take advantage of the leg developer (perfect for targeting your quads and hamstrings).
Price at time of publish: $167
Type: Adjustable | Adjustability:Yes | Incline or Decline: Incline | Stand Height: 48” | Length: 59” | Weight Capacity: 300
How We Selected
There are more weight benches on the market than there are exercises to do with them. Meaning, many. So we started by rounding up the most popular weight benches, according to online retailers. Then, we spent some (read: a lot!) of time combing through the reviews, to figure out whether or not the bench was adjustable, its weight capacity, and its stability.
Afterward, we narrowed down our recommendations to the 13 items above, which won their spots for their quality, versatility, and/or stability. Then, to close out the process we considered what types of exercises and exercisers each product was best for and awarded it a superlative based on that.
What To Know About Weight Benches
Be warned: As you start your weight bench search you’ll be surprised by just how different weight benches can be from each other! As it goes, weight benches vary based on factors like adjustability, angle, weight capacity, and stability.
Flat vs. Adjustable
Some benches have absolutely zero adjustability. These benches — known as flat benches — are usually the types of benches you’ll see in the bench press station at your local globo gym. Other benches, however, have adjustable seats and/or backs. The backs of these benches can be configured into an incline bench or a decline bench, depending on their particular adjustment settings.
“An adjustable bench simply allows for a greater variety of exercises to be completed, than a flat bench,” says Harcoff. For instance, rather than being able to just do flat chest press, you can also do incline and decline chest press, he says.
From a muscle development standpoint, this is huge. “The angle of the bench impacts the muscles that you are primarily working when you are doing an exercise,” he says. “This versatility enables users to hit their muscles from various angles, which is key to well-rounded muscle development and avoiding plateaus.”
Angle & Adjustability
Most weight benches that are incline or decline allow you to edit the angle of the incline or decline. The greater the number of angle options there are, the greater the number of exercises you can use the bench for, says online performance and nutrition coach Seamus Sullivan, C.S.C.S.
“Working your muscles from different angles is key for maximizing the strength-building benefits,” he says. When one is focusing on building specific movement patterns or course-correctly muscular weaknesses, this is key.
If an individual has particularly weak deltoids, for example, a bench that can be adjusted to a variety of angles enables you to do a wide range of exercises that improve deltoid strength like: seated overhead, incline rear delt raises, lateral delt raises, he says.
“Plus, if one is limited in space in their home gym, a bench that has a lot of angle options is really a great investment that saves their wallet.”
Point blank: if you’re planning on chest pressing 200+ pounds and you weigh 150 pounds, you need a weight bench that can safely handle at least 350 pounds of weight! Meanwhile, if you are only planning to use the bench for bodyweight exercises like decline push-ups, incline push-ups, bodyweight Bulgarian split squats, and bench air squats, the bench only needs to tolerate your body weight.
Before you invest in a bench, be sure to take some time to find out what the weight capacity is. After all, it would be a bummer to invest in a bench that can’t handle as much weight as your muscles can!
If you're hoping to find a weight bench that doubles as a plyometric box, this subsection is for you.
All of the Shape-approved benches we listed above are stable enough to handle your body, plus some additional weights. However, only a few are sturdy enough for you to step or jump onto like a platform.
If you are hoping to increase your explosivity or power output — and don’t already own a plyometric box — it makes sense to invest in a bench that doubles as a deck.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I use a weight bench?
Introducing any new type of equipment into your routine can feel intimidating — but as far as fitness tools go, the weight bench is one of the most accessible. After all, all you have to do to use it is sit or lay on it! Or, if the specific bench can accommodate the weight and force, step up onto it.
If you have a squat rack at home, you can also use it for more traditional exercises like the bench press or chest press.
What are the best exercises for a weight bench?
Once more for the people in the back: There are so many different ways to use a weight bench! “The weight bench is a very versatile tool that can accommodate many movements,” says Sullivan.
Here is a list of some of the best weight bench exercises, according to Sullivan and Harcoff.
Bulgarian split squat
Chest supported rows
Prone rear delt flys
Incline lateral raises
How do I clean a weight bench?
Great question! Simply wipe down with a disinfectant wipe (like Wipex Gym & Fitness Wipes) or spray with a disinfectant solution like (Lysol Spray or Vapor Fresh). Then, dry them with a microfiber towel. After all, a wet weight bench is a safety risk — anchoring yourself on a slippery surface is dangerous when holding weights is capital-d Dangerous.
Why can't you just use the floor or a couch?
In some instances, you can use a floor or couch instead of a weight bench. Though, in most instances, these are suboptimal replacements. However, while a floor is a suboptimal replacement for certain exercises because it (usually) leads to a reduced range of motion compared to bench variations, the couch is suboptimal because it increases your risk for injury. More ahead.
To be clear: you *can* use a floor for certain exercises if you don’t have a weight bench. For instance, the floor press is a suitable substitute for the bench press or chest press. And regular split squats are a fine replacement for Bulgarian split squats if you don’t have a bench to leverage your foot.
In these examples, however, the floor variation does not work your muscles through the same exaggerated range of motion as the bench variation. During the floor press, you can only lower the weight to chest height because the floor physically barricades your elbows from going lower. During the bench press, your elbows are able to drop lower than your torso, which works your chest muscles through a greater range of motion. Generally speaking, the greater the range of motion, the greater the strength gains. So, long term you’ll see more strength gains if you press from a bench than the floor.
A couch, on the other hand, is an okay substitute for a bench during movements like a tricep dip, a decline push-up, and a step-up. However, you should not do seated or lying down weighted movements on a couch. Why? Because a couch is much less stable and sturdy than a bench which can increase your risk for injury. Plus, the fact that a couch is squishy increases the risk that your back will be put into a suboptimal position.
Are weight benches easy to store?
Eh, some are, some are not. Foldable weight benches are pretty easy to store — simply fold the legs down and slide the bench into whatever nook and cranny you want. Other weight benches aren’t going to be quite as space-efficient.
That said, measuring about 4 feet long by 2 feet high, these benches are much smaller than things like a treadmill, rower, and plyometric box. Ultimately, if you have a small(er) home gym space, your goals are going to have to dictate which types of equipment you dedicate space to.
Why Trust Shape
Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a freelance fitness journalist with nearly a decade of experience writing about CrossFit, strength training more broadly, and exercise equipment. In addition to Shape, her work has appeared in publications such as Health, SELF, Women's Health, Men’s Health, Greatist, Bustle, and more.
She is also a CF-L1 certified CrossFit trainer who coaches at her local affiliate and a regionally competitive CrossFit athlete who is always looking for gizmos and gadgets to make her lifting sessions more comfortable. She’s also an absolute bro at heart and will tack a bench pressing session onto as many training days as her coach will allow, so reviewing weight benches for this piece gave her great JOY.
For this article, she used her decade-plus of strength training experience, chatted with strength and conditioning coaches, and read online product reviews to put together this list of the best weight benches for all types of exercisers.
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Read the original article on Shape.