A well-equipped home gym can give a serious boost to achieving your long-term fitness goals. We all have our personal preferences when it comes to working out. Not everyone feels completely comfortable sweating it out in the company of others at a public gym.
Many can’t afford the time to visit a gym in their busy schedules. In all these cases, a home gym could be an excellent investment. And with some careful research, you can build one without breaking the bank.
Versatility is a key attribute when it comes to choosing home gym equipment. After a good set of free-weights, an adjustable workout bench is probably the most important piece of equipment for your upper body exercises.
They come in all sizes and budgets and can focus on up to a dozen different muscle groups. You can focus on your biceps, triceps, deltoids, laterals, glutes, abs and more an adjustable bench. With that kind of versatility, these benches will probably be your go-to piece of equipment in any gym.
Here are the top adjustable workout benches available, arranged in no particular order:
- Rep Adjustable Bench – FID, 1000lb Capacity (Best Overall)
- Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 Adjustable Bench
- Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max Weight Bench (Cheapest Option)
- Universal 5 Position Weight Bench
- PowerBlock Sport Bench (Best Value)
Functions of an Adjustable Weight Bench
An adjustable exercise bench is not a standalone piece of equipment. Consider it more as a versatile workout surface that you can use to perform exercises in a wide variety of angles and positions. A weight bench can be used with free weights like dumbbells, as well as cages, or racks to perform a broad range of exercises.
A regular adjustable workout bench is different from a flat bench. The latter comes as a flat, solid surface with no significant moving parts, and is commonly used for flat bench presses. Though more robust than their adjustable counterparts, flat benches are somewhat limited in their functions.
Adjustable benches have the bench at an angle and usually consist of a backrest and seat configuration for use when at an incline. The angle of the incline can be adjusted using a built-in mechanism. They are versatile and allow for many different positions and exercises, but also have more moving parts and require a bit more maintenance.
Though they don’t have a built-in racking system like in Olympic weight benches, adjustable benches can be used in conjunction with cages, smith machines, and racks. Many models come with slots and holes to add these features.
These benches are useful for doing exercises like split squats, inclined bench presses, step-ups, flyes, military presses, and much more that are part of the intermediate to advanced workout playbook.
Points to Consider While Choosing an Adjustable Weight Bench
Price: Commercial grade benches will obviously cost a lot, but will also be able to handle heavier weights. But if you are a beginner, or don’t plan to use the equipment frequently, a cheaper model may be a better choice. Benches are available for as little as $75, and can cost as high as a couple of thousand dollars.. Ideally, you should avoid the ones at rock bottom prices, since they may not have the durability and safety of better-priced products.
Weight Rating: You should never exceed the weight rating of a bench for obvious safety reasons. So always choose a model depending on your lifting capabilities and goals. For instance, if you weigh 200 lbs and want to lift heavy weights, you can’t rely on a 300lbs weight bench. On the other hand, if you plan to use the bench only for lighter activities like split squats or dumbbell presses, why bother doling out the cash for a 1500lbs rated bench? Pick a weight rating that is slightly above your maximum requirements for optimal long term use.
Bench Size: If you are above 6 feet in height, take special care while choosing a workout bench. Taller people tend to have more trouble finding a bench that fits their frame. Also, check out the width of the bench surface. The wider benches will have more stability and will hold your torso better.
Angles and Positions: If you are a beginner, you may not need a top of the line bench that can be used to do more than a dozen different exercises. Depending on your skill level and experience, you could probably make do with an adjustable workout bench that can be set to a few different incline angles. Not all benches offer a decline option. If you plan to focus only on your upper body/torso, or don’t want to do decline presses, you may be able to save some money by opting for an incline-only weight bench.
Compactness and Mobility: If space is at a premium at your home, you can opt for compact, folding models. If space is not an issue, always opt for a solidly built, good-sized weight bench for optimum safety and durability. Like all comparably sized fitness equipment, adjustable workout benches are quite heavy. If you plan to move your bench around regularly, look for models that come with small wheels at the base for better mobility.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Adjustable Weight Benches
These are no such thing as “the best kind of weight bench” for your fitness and muscle building. Seasoned lifters can extract maximum benefits from both flat benches as well as inclined and declined workout benches. That being said, inclined benches may be safer than flat benches for beginners since they cause less chance of injury in the shoulder area, according to some experts. But at the end of the day, the optimal way to avoid injury is to learn proper form and technique, and avoid making common beginner’s mistakes as explained in this handy video:
The greatest benefit from these kinds of benches is due to the impact of multiple workout angles. There is no single best exercise angle. By mixing and matching presses and lifts from different angles, you can positively work your muscles in a variety of ways. When you do a lift from the flat position and then an inclined angle, different areas of your muscles are affected, leading to better overall muscle growth.
The single biggest con with these benches is their weakness when it comes to handling heavier weights. Keep in mind that this is strictly relative, in comparison to flat and Olympic weight benches. Home gym models are intended for light to medium lifts and simply cannot handle the heavier barbells. If you want to use your bench for heavy lifting, an adjustable bench is not what you should be looking at. But as long as you use the equipment within its prescribed weight limits, you have no cause for concern.
Best Adjustable Weight Bench Reviews
Rep Adjustable Bench – FID, 1000lb Capacity
Manufactured and sold by Colorado-based Rep Fitness, this is one of the higher-spec models on our list, with an option for Flat, Incline and Decline angles. The 1000lb rated machine can handle light to moderate lifts and presses. The bench can go from a -20-degree decline angle all the way up to 85 degrees in incline, and that encompasses seven different ladder positions along with four-seat position adjustments. At 85lbs in weight, this is a robust and well-made bench that can take some punishment.
- It includes decline as well as incline angles, with great variety and versatility on offer.
- Sturdy build quality, with a firm and thick padding for comfortable use.
- Can handle medium weights as well.
- The manufacturer promises a ten-year warranty on the product.
- The 1000lbs rating may be a bit of an overkill if you are just a beginner planning to use this for light lifting.
- May not be suitable for shorter individuals below 5’6″.
- The price is on the higher side when compared to the rest of the competition.
Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 Adjustable Bench
This is a compact adjustable workout bench ideal for home use, with support for multiple angles. Along with four incline levels, you also get a solitary decline angle for added versatility. The bench is rated at a maximum of 480lbs and can handle individual weighing a maximum of 300lbs. Bowflex is a very reputed fitness company whose technology has even found its way to the International Space Station, and that level of refinement does show in this simple yet elegant weight bench.
- The four positions offer a fair degree of versatility, with the ability to handle at least 30 different workouts.
- It comes with a 15-year manufacturer warranty on the frame.
- Compact design is ideal for space-starved home gyms.
- The bench maintains a balance between quality, features, and affordability.
- The bench misses out on two critical incline angles: 60 degrees and 30 degrees.
- The seat position is not adjustable, and this can cause discomfort to some users.
- A relatively lower weight rating means that this is not suitable for heavier weights.
Fitness Reality 1000 Super Max Weight Bench
With an option to fold and store it away, this bench is a top pick for those who looking for an ultra-compact option. And rated at 800lbs, it can handle even heavier guys and light to medium weights. The bench also doesn’t miss out on versatility, with its decline, flat, and incline capabilities. It has a 12 position adjustable backrest along with added two positions for front leg adjustment.
- 12 position backrest offers a great degree of freedom to do various workouts safely.
- The bench is ideal for a bigger and taller individual with its high weight rating and longer dimensions.
- Compact with the ability to fold for easier storage.
- Excellent value for money at a low price point.
- The padding is on the slimmer side and not as comfortable as other benches.
- The flat position is not perfectly aligned and can cause minor discomfort.
- It is slightly less stable when compared to some other benches.
Universal 5 Position Weight Bench
With a contoured padding and foam rollers, this bench offers more comfort during lifts and presses. And as mentioned in the name, it has five positions, including one decline, flat and three incline options. Though the incline angles do not rise above 45 degrees, the bench still has enough support for dozens of exercises. It is a bit lightweight weighing in at just 41lbs, with a stated weight rating of 430lbs.
- Lightweight and easy to use and move around.
- Ideal for beginners and those who require a bench for light lifting using dumbbells.
- The extra padding and contours offer excellent comfort.
- It includes a handy decline position as well.
- The lack of angles above 45 degrees means that you don’t get an exactly vertical position.
- The gap between seat and backrest is noticeable and may cause slight discomfort.
- Not suitable for taller users since the dimensions are a little on the shorter side.
PowerBlock Sport Bench
Fabricated from heavy gauge steel and rated at over 550lbs, this is a solid middleweight bench from PowerBlock. The vinyl padding is quite generous and easy to wipe and clean. Though there is no decline option, the flat, 30, 45, and 60 degree positions are more than enough for a standard set of presses and lifts. The addition of wheels makes this a very portable option for those who need to move things around a lot at their home gym.
- The five positions available offer the ability to do a variety of exercises.
- The bench has wheels for easy transportation.
- The 550lbs rating is enough for dumbbell based exercises.
- There is a particular setting for military presses.
- There is no option for a decline setting.
- It has some wobbling issues and is less stable when compared to other benches in this list.
- Not suitable for hardcore lifting.
There is no dearth of quality options in the weight bench market for home gym owners. Affordability is a major concern, and most manufacturers have addressed this by pricing their models competitively while providing sturdy build quality and numerous features. All the contenders in our shortlist have their own redeeming features that make them suitable for the average customer. We have already discussed those in the reviews.
In our opinion, the best workout bench is the Rep Adjustable Bench. Though the Bowflex SelectTech 3.1 offers stiff competition at a lower price point, the Rep Adjustable is a sturdier option with a higher weight rating, more incline positions, and excellent build quality. Granted, the 1000lbs rating maybe a tad unnecessary for light exercises, but if you plan to improve your lifting over the long term, this is the one bench in the list that can stand the upgrade in weights. If you want a strong bench packed with features for long term use, the Rep Adjustable model is probably the best in the business.