Weight benches, sometimes called weight training benches, come in a variety of forms from the simple flat weight benches that look almost like a park bench to the more sophisticated weight lifting benches that have options to incline or decline and attachments for leg curls/extensions and preacher curl attachments. They were designed to help you lift weights and perform certain exercises more efficiently and safely.
Types Of Weight Benches
It may seem a little overwhelming if you’ve just started your search for the best weight bench for you, but once you know a little more about the types of weight benches available and match the type with your needs it’s not so difficult. It is important to know exactly what you want from the weight bench before you start shopping. Once you know what you need it makes shopping easier and you’ll know what questions to ask before you actually buy a weight bench.
Flat Weight Benches – Flat benches are typically very basic, some are used more as a workout bench instead of a true weightlifting bench, but many can be used for both purposes. They are designed with a single padded bench and legs on each end to provide a stable base. Some have the ability to incline or decline the full bench, but unlike an adjustable weight bench, there is only a single flat bench so the full body inclines, not just a section of it. Some flat benches have racks to hold your weights so you can use them for free weight bench press exercises.
Adjustable Weight Benches – Adjustable benches are also called incline weight benches, decline weight benches or incline/decline benches. They are comprised of two sections, one where you sit and one where your back rests. Either one or both of these sections incline and/or decline to help you get into varying positions for different exercises. By varying your position you can work out different muscle groups. Most of them can be laid flat and used as a flat bench as well. Many adjustable weight benches also have racks to support your barbell and weights allowing you to bench press.
Olympic Weight Benches – Olympic benches are larger and sturdier because they are made to handle heavier weights making them a great option for serious weightlifters. Olympic weight benches are 48 inches wide and they were made to fit the standard 7 foot or Olympic barbell. They are the most popular type and are the ones you see in fitness centers and gyms. They come as flat benches, adjustable benches, and shoulder press benches.
Shoulder Press Weight Benches – Shoulder press benches allow you to be in a regular sitting position with the rack high enough for you to fully extend your arms to grab the barbell to start lifting. It helps you get a good workout in your shoulders and upper back. Some are offered with additional attachments to workout your legs as well.
Dumbbell Benches – A dumbbell bench is a simple bench that you can use with your dumbbells to perform a variety of exercises. The bench allows you to get into positions you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get into easy to work for different muscle groups. Some of the nicer ones have a holder on each side for your dumbbells. Dumbbell benches come as flat and adjustable models and some offer leg exercise attachments.
Abdominal Benches – Ab benches, sometimes called sit-up benches, have padded rollers on one end where you secure your feet so you can do crunches or other abdominal exercises. Sometimes these ab benches are declined so you can get a better workout, with the help of gravity, and some are adjustable allowing you to do a greater variety of exercises. They typically help workout both the abs and the back which is important for overall body strength and good posture.
Folding Weight Benches – Folding benches give you the ability to fold and move them easily, or store them temporarily if you need to. Some folding weight benches are pretty simple and basic like a flat bench without barbell racks, but others are adjustable and some have racks for barbells and/or leg extension features.
Weight Bench Additions
Leg Extension – Some weight benches have an additional attachment allowing you to work out your lower body as well. A weight bench that has an attachment for the legs allows you to lie on your back and do leg extensions or lay on your stomach and do leg curls. Having this feature allows you to get more of a full body workout.
Preacher Curl – Some weight benches have an attachment for preacher curls, or you can find a preacher curl weight bench designed specifically for this exercise. The preacher curl attachment allows you to isolate the workout to the biceps while giving support so you can’t swing the weight. This addition provides support and makes it easier to do the exercise correctly so you can get a good bicep workout.
As you can see by the descriptions weight benches are a great tool to help you get a solid workout and really tone specific muscles. Because you can do a variety of exercises on a weight bench it also keeps the workout more interesting, all while you’re working on a variety of muscle groups. They make a great start to your home gym.