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When you’re throwing heavy weight around, you need to know that the gym equipment that is supporting you has got your back.
Getting the right level of support begins with selecting the right bench for the job at hand.
When you’re training at home, that means that you need a high quality adjustable weight bench.
In this mega guide, you are going to discover EVERYTHING you need to know in order to select the ideal adjustable weight training bench to meet your needs.
In addition to a ton of vital bench knowledge, we’ve tracked down the 10 best adjustable benches on the market.
Each of them is presented with an in depth review along with what’s good and what isn’t.
This guide will show you recommendations based on your preferences.
Let’s zoom in on the 5 main types of workout benches so that you can get the support you need when you need it.
A bench press station is designed exclusively for the user to perform the bench press exercise.
It features a padded bench along with a pair of uprights which the barbell sits upon.
It is very important that a bench press station be solid and secure.
It should be made of square steel framing and have a relatively low profile to keep your center of gravity low to the ground.
Bench press stations may come as either an Olympic weight bench or a standard weight bench.
Olympic benches are sturdier and have a higher weight rating.
An important factor to assess is the distance between the uprights.
If they are in line with your natural griping position on the bar, you will find that knuckles will scrape against the uprights every time that you rack the bar.
The ideal is to have the uprights a little wider than your grip width.
The weight rating of your bench is a vital factor.
The rating takes into account your bodyweight and the resistance on the bar, so you will want something approaching 800-1000 pounds for maximum safety.
A Utility Bench doesn’t feature upright supports to hold a bar, but it is adjustable to allow you to exercise at a range of angles.
This is the ideal bench from which to perform exercises like flies and the dumbbell bench press in order to hit specific parts of your pectoral muscles.
Make sure that your utility bench is not too wide in the back pad.
If it is, your range of motion on some exercises will be impeded.
The standard flat bench is simply a bench on which you perform exercises where you are sitting or lying horizontally.
It does not have the ability to adjust angles and it does not have bar uprights.
When shopping for a flat bench, consider the firmness of the pad.
You don’t want it to be too firm or too soft.
The ideal is to have a pad that will allow some give when you press your thumb onto it, but that won’t allow your thumb to go all the way down to the base of the bench.
The sit up bench is a narrow padded platform which you lie on to perform abdominal work.
It has padded foot supports that you hook your feet under to provide a secure anchor point.
The bench is set at an angle so that you are working uphill as you perform a sit up.
You can also reverse the position to perform leg raises with your hands grabbing the foot supports.
An adjustable workout bench provides you with the greatest amount of flexibility and choice.
It is a bench that has an adjustable back pad.
This allows you to change the angle of your upper body as you perform resistance exercises.
These range from a simple hook method to pin insertion and even a dial selector which allows you to get the exact angle that you want.
When you're shopping for an adjustable weight bench there are 7 key things that you need to be looking out for:
To be able to work your upper body completely you need to be able to attack it from every angle.
That means that you will need a bench that allows adjustment to a flat, incline and decline angle.
When you lower the bench into a decline position, a really good bench will also allow your butt rest to incline.
This will allow you to have a natural lying position, putting your spine in the ideal alignment.
You will also want a bench that provides you with some sort of shin support when you are lying in a decline position.
Without it, your body will tend to slide down the bench.
Again this will put you out of alignment when pressing weight, which could lead to injury.
The flat position of the bench should have nothing to get in your way at the end of the bench.
A lot of adjustable benches have a fixed leg curl until that gets in the way of your crotch area.
This can be very annoying.
For that reason, you should look for a bench that has a leg curl attachment and / or preacher curl that is removable.
This allows you to get it out of the way when you are benching.
When it comes to the incline ability of the bench, you need to find a unit that has as many incline settings as you can.
A lot of benches on the market provide you with a very limited range of angle options below 45 degrees.
However, it is through this angle range (specifically around 30 degrees) where you get the most chest activation, and the whole reason that most trainers adjust the angle of their bench is to work the chest.
Anything over 30 degrees tends to stimulate the shoulders more than the chest.
In the top position of the bench upright, you don’t want it to come all the way up to 90%. This puts your upper body in an overly rigid, unnatural position.
Having the top setting at about 87% degrees is much better.
You want a bench that has an easy to operate, quick adjustment on the bench angle. There’s nothing worse than having to muck around with fidgety pins between sets, when you are already fatigued.
As a result, the simplest system is usually the best.
The frame of your adjustable bench is what will be supporting your body plus the extra weight that you’re pushing.
It needs to be up to the task.
You will want the top and bottom base plates to be at least 2 by 2 inches, 11 gauge square steel, with the connecting piece being 3 by 3 inches, 11 gauge.
Home weight benches usually come with a weight rating.
This tells you how much resistance the bench can safely handle.
Keep in mind, however, that the weight referred to is the combination of your body weight and the amount of weight that is in your hands.
The goal of weight training is to progressively get stronger.
You need to make allowance for this in the weight rating of the bench you choose.
So, if you currently weigh 180 pounds and can bench press 200 pounds, you will want a bench that is capable of around 500 pounds.
That will provide you with an additional 120 pounds to grow into after taking into account the 380-pound current weight (180 plus 200).
Adjustable benches have a lower weight rating than flat benches.
The reason is that there are more moving parts on an adjustable bench.
These are more likely to give rise to stress points, which can, in turn, create weakness in the structure of the bench.
For that reason, its important to be aware of the weight rating of the bench you are considering for purchase.
You want to get a bench which has around 2 inches of padding.
If it is less than that you will feel the base board and framing on your back.
Any much more than two inches and your level of rigidity and stability will begin to be compromised.
To test the thickness of the pad, push your thumb into the padding.
If you can reach all the way to the base of the bench, the padding is inadequate.
On the other hand, if you can hardly make any impression on the pad, then it is too firm.
Look for that happy medium.
The pivot point sits below the butt rest and connects the movable arm to the frame.
This is the major stress point of your adjustable bench, so it is vital that it is strong.
You need a good hinging point that is tight, with no wobble.
You can turn your adjustable bench into the base of your entire home gym if it allows you to add on some handy extra pieces of equipment.
A good bench will come with a detachable leg curl / leg extension unit.
However, many of the cheaper models on the market include leg units that are very uncomfortable and that do not allow for a full range of motion.
Be sure to jump on and trial a bench’s leg curl attachment or, if buying online, check reviews on the leg attachment feature.
Other great attachments for an adjustable bench are a preacher curl and a lat pull-down.
Most benches will not come with these as standard, so check if your bench will allow you to add these on at a later date.
When you are going heavy on such exercises as the bench press or the dumbbell press, the positioning of your body is vital.
The dimensions of your bench predict what that positioning will be.
The height of the bench should be such as to allow you to set your feet firmly on the floor while also allowing for a natural 90 degree knee angle.
This puts you in the ideal positioning to push your feet through the ground as you press the bar, while also ensuring that your spine is in a neutral, safe position.
You also need to ensure that your bench is the proper width.
You do not want a bench that is too wide, otherwise the natural movement of your scapula and lats will be restricted.
A wide bench will also stop you from getting a natural, full range of motion on such exercises as chest flyes.
Purchasing an adjustable bench over a flat bench may seem like a no brainer. However, there are pros and cons. Let’s check them out:
Adjustable Bench Pros:
Adjustable Bench Cons:
Adjustable benches are always going to be more expensive than flat benches.
That’s because they have more movable parts and offer more versatility.
In the budget range of less than $150 you will have to be very discerning as a buyer.
The areas where these benches tend to compromise is when it comes to weight capacity and seat adjustment.
A budget bench may state that it offers a max weight allowance of 300 pounds.
However, that will more than likely include your own bodyweight, which doesn’t leave you with a lot of resistance to cater for.
Cheap benches area also likely not to allow you to adjust the seat portion of the bench.
This will result in poor body alignment and may even have you slipping down the bench when doing incline work.
Medium prices for an adjustable bench are between $150 and $300.
In this range you should expect at least a 600- pound weight rating, a decline angle and 4-6 angle adjustments.
Anything over $300 is considered to be in the higher end of the price bracket for a home adjustable bench.
For that sort of money, expect thicker gauge steel, optional extras and more than half a dozen angle adjustment options.
The XM 7630 is an impressively strong bench with a 1500 pound weight capacity.
It features firm Duracraft upholstery and a wide footprint for enhanced stability.
The Xmark XM 7630 is the most heavy duty home bench we have ever come across. It provides you with a huge 1,500 pound weight capacity.
The 3-way adjustable saddle provides you with plenty of customizable adjustment.
The XMark Bench is built to last with its 3″ thick duracraft padding, which is both sweat and tear resistant.
This means it'll look new, no matter how much use and abuse you put it through, it'll look exact same as you bought it from the first day.
With it's sturdy built and easy transportation, it makes it easy to move around.
The bottom is skid resistant and stabilizes quite well.
So while you may not need to max out on it's 1500lb capacity, you'll find it to be quite stable.
The Rep Fitness adjustable bench is an impressively strong bench.
You don’t get many home benches that provide you with a weight capacity of 1000 pounds, especially one that you can pick up for less than $400.
This bench provides you with a solid steel ladder mechanism for the angle adjustments, which range from 85 degrees to negative 20 degrees on the decline.
The 1000-pound weight capacity of this adjustable bench truly sets it out from the crowd.
This is a very strong bench which is made from 11-gauge steel of various thicknesses.
It provides you with 5 adjustable set positions to allow for custom body positioning.
The 11.5-inch bench width is ideal to give you just the right amount of support without restricting your movement.
The Rep Fitness Bench has a weight capacity of 1000 pounds, which is about the best you’ll get for a home gym bench.
This tells you that the framing is incredibly strong.
The bare steel back adjustment ladder will prevent the paint flaking that you often see on inferior models.
There's no reason to worry about it breaking after a few years as Rep Fitness provides a 10-year warranty on the frame and 30 days on the padding.
A leading manufacturer of home fitness equipment for 25 years, Body Solid are based just out of Chicago, Illinois.
Their product range includes multi station gyms, free weights and a full range of cardiovascular equipment.
The Body Solid SFID225 is rated to 600lb pounds of weight, making it perfect for anywhere from beginners to advanced lifters.
It has a very solid profile and an easy secure angle adjustment system.
This bench also comes with a lifetime home use warranty.
The CAP Barbell Deluxe bench is a simple flat / incline unit that is very solid.
It provides you with a three position saddle adjustment so you can customize your positioning.
The back pad provides an extra seven angle adjustments.
Simple, but heavy duty, the CAP Barbell Deluxe Utility Bench can picked up at a great price.
It has a wide base for added stability, along with multi angle seat adjustment and 7 position back pad adjustment.
However, you do not get a decline angle option with this bench
The Marcy adjustable utility bench provides you with six position adjustment of the back pad, long with three saddle angle adjustments.
A durable, powder coated steel frame in conjunction with a wide frame ensures your stability.
Made from hard wearing 14-gauge steel, the Marcy bench will provide a level of strength and stability that you wouldn’t expect at this price point.
It comes with transport wheels for ease of transport and high density foam padding.
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to get the best bang for your buck.
This adjustable bench by Fitness Reality is a sturdy bench and can hold up to 800 lbs so that means even if you’re an advanced lifter who weighs under 300lbs, you’ll safely be able to bench press 450lbs.
The leg attachment is useful to have but if you don’t want it, it is removable.
The Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 adjustable bench is a pared down version of the 5.1 bench.
The fact that it is still able to come in second to its bigger brother is a real testament to the superior design and build of the Bowflex brand.
The biggest concession between this and the 5.1 is that you get two fewer angle adjustments on this bench.
However, you can still get a full complement of adjustments options, including both incline and decline.
The decline ability of the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 takes this bench up to another level.
The Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 features the same adjustment mechanism as the 5.1.
It is, therefore, very easy to change between angles.
You also get the ability to adjust the butt seat as well as the main bench to allow you to get ideal positioning for each exercise.
High quality leather fabric covers the padding, which is set at a depth of about two inches.
This provides you with the comfort you need without being overly soft.
Considering the price point of this bench, you get a very solid framework.
Being an adjustable bench it features a number of movable parts.
However, each component is high quality and the parts go together very securely.
This bench provides you with a slightly lighter frame than the 5.1.
The max weight rating on the bench is 480 pounds.
Bowflex provide a 15-year warranty on the framing and 12 months on the upholstery.
The York Adjustable Fitness Bench is constructed from oversized 2-inch tubular steel, making for a very solid unit.
It has thick padding and also provides the unique feature of a rack to hold three dumbbells.
You get 5 adjustable back pad angle positions, from flat to 90 degrees.
It does not support any decline angles.
The max weight capacity on this bench is 440 pounds.
The one thing that makes this bench stand out is its feature the storage capacity for three dumbbells at the base of the unit.
This bench is designed to allow you to get a diverse upper body workout with 5 levels of angle adjustment from negative 20 to 90 degrees.
It uses a quick lock and load system to change the angle which gives you a secure hold.
Convenient storage is provided on the underside of the bench to store 3 pairs of dumbbells, though these dumbbells are not provided with the bench.
This bench does not come with a locking pad to keep your body secure when you are doing decline pressing work.
The two-inch thick tubular steel construction of this bench makes for a very hard wearing unit.
It will take up to a maximum load of 440 pounds, which is pretty good going for a bench that you can pick up for less than a hundred bucks.
Keep in mind, though, that that 440-pounds includes your body weight.
York Fitness provides a 10-year warranty on the frame with 30n days on the upholstery.
This company may not be familiar to you but on Amazon, it's a well known bench that offers more at a affordable price.
The Flybird bench is adjustable with 7 back positions and 3 seat positions.
It's priced very low but the catch is that the max user weight is 5'9″.
If you're taller than that then this bench shouldn't be in your wish list.
It is a sturdy bench with the standard bolt pins to secure it's positions.
The Powerline bench is a well designed piece of gym equipment with a very slim profile and minimalistic look to it.
The bench easily folds away and fit under beds with it's height just reaching 9 inches.
It has a weight capacity of 500lbs, and considering this bench only weighs 45lbs, it's fair to say it's impressively sturdy.
Finding a bench that has the same quality as commerical gym equipment is one of the biggest challenges you'll face.
But with the SteelBody bench, it makes it easy.
This commerical grade bench is well designed for training for any level, from beginners to advanced lifters.
The SteelBody weight bench has a weight capacity of 800lbs with a low price tag of just under $200.
For versatility and ease of use, it features 6 back support positions to allow for various benching positions but it doesn't have decline.
Decline positions aren't really a big deal as you can substitude it with dips or by slipping placing a plate under the front of the bench for a slight decline position.
The seat is also adjustable making your incline benching much more secure.
The height is similar to an Olympic flat bench as it is at 18 inches, where by standard it would be at 17.5
Anything higher than 22 inches will make it difficult to keep feet flat on the ground.
The Marcy bench is a 2-in-1 adjustable bench that lets you do more than just pressing exercises.
The rack can be used for squats and other exercises where the barbell would need to be held.
At the end of the bench is a curl pad where bicep curls can be done.
The bench is super sturdy, allowing for a weight capacity for up to 600lbs, including the user.
At less than $200, this is one of the best benches for value we've seen so far.
The bench can be adjusted from decline, flat and incline.
Marcy MD-879 is the perfect quality bench that comes with a squat rack, making is a near-complete home gym set up that can be used for dozens of exercises.