If you are looking for an affordable and space-efficient way to do many major lifts in your home gym, then an Olympic weight bench may be an appropriate choice for you. Many people are confused by the name “Olympic bench,” but this generally refers to a bench that comes with what is essentially a half-rack. These setups are compatible with Olympic barbells. in this review, we will discuss three Olympic weight bench setups:
- Fitness Reality X-Class Olympic weight bench
- Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Olympic workout bench
- Body Champ Olympic weight bench
What’s the Benefit of Getting an Olympic Weight Bench?
Before we look into the different models we will be reviewing, it may be helpful to include some discussion of Olympic benches in general. Below, we will go over some ways these benches can improve your fitness, what you should know before using one at home, and what you should look for when shopping for one.
How Can an Olympic Weight Bench Improve Your Fitness?
Part of the appeal of the Olympic weight bench is the fact that it can be used for a diverse collection of exercises. This is ideal for those who are setting out to create a home gym, especially if they are working with minimal space. While even a basic Olympic set will allow you to bench press, military press, and do various dumbbell exercises with the bench alone, other models will allow you to move the bench out of the way to do squats. Some models come with attachments, including preacher curl attachments and leg training attachments, which allow you to get a full-body workout on the setup.
When used correctly (and sometimes with some imagination), an Olympic weight bench can give you a similar workout to the one you would get at a commercial gym. You can also superset exercises with pushups or various plyometric exercises to get a mixed workout with some elements of cardio.
What Should You Know Before Using an Olympic Weight Bench?
While Olympic weight benches can be very helpful in improving fitness and strength levels, they can’t do too much for you if you don’t know about basic training principles. Before you start working out at home, it is important that you understand how to do the different exercises on the setup. This is especially true for compound exercises, which may carry a higher risk of injury if done incorrectly.
Ideally, those new to exercising or strength training will book a few sessions with a trainer who can show them the basics of different movements. However, if you cannot afford a trainer, there are many helpful online tutorials, and many fitness forums will help you video form checks. This is when you take a video of yourself doing an exercise, post it, and ask for critiques. This can be helpful even for experienced lifters.
While it is obviously important to understand the movements you will be doing, if you want to see results, you also will need to understand some of the basics of training protocols. Understanding the difference between training for strength and training for muscle hypertrophy is a good place to start. However, there is a huge amount of free literature available, and knowing more will likely translate into better results. Generally, it is a good idea for beginners to seek out an established workout program before doing their own programming.
What Should You Look for in Selecting an Olympic Weight Bench?
When you select an Olympic weight bench, it is very important to consider what you will be using the bench for and then make sure that the bench you are evaluating will work for those purposes. One of the most major differences between different setups is the fact that some setups have detachable benches. This is vital if you hope to use the setup to squat, as an attached bench will make this impossible. A movable bench also allows you to more precisely adjust the distance between you and the j-hooks in overhead presses and similar exercises.
Another important consideration is the spacing of holes in the setup. A closer hole spacing will allow for more precise adjustment, which is especially helpful for bench pressing, as you likely want the bar to start as close to your chest as possible.
Lastly, additional attachments are also an important consideration. If you don’t intend to do preacher curls or leg exercises on your setup, then there is no point in spending extra for these features. If you want to have as many possibilities as possible, though, you will likely want to look for an Olympic bench with multiple accessories.
Best Olympic Weight Bench Reviews
In this section, we will look at the three Olympic weight benches mentioned in the introduction. This section is designed to serve more like a basic feature overview of each than as an exhaustive review of each.
Fitness Reality X-class
This Olympic bench is very sturdily made, and it is somewhat unique in that it includes three sets of safeties so you can choose an appropriate length. The bench is attached and can adjust up to a 45-degree angle. It does come with the option of a preacher curl attachment, and it includes a leg developer. This option has a higher weight capacity than most, as it is rated for 1500 pounds. While it shines in its weight-holding ability, this model is functionally limited compared to many others, and it is also more expensive.
- Very sturdy construction
- Holds more weight than most
- Somewhat limited functionality
- More expensive than most
Gold’s Gym XRS 20
This setup is very affordable, and it has a major advantage in the form of a movable bench. This means that you can more precisely adjust the bench in relation to the j-hooks for overhead pressing and similar exercises, and it also means that you can move the bench out of the way entirely and use this setup for squats. The XRS 20 also has an advantage in terms of attachments, as it includes a preacher curl pad and a leg developer. The bench can be adjusted to incline, decline, or work as a flat bench, and the included handle makes decline crunches easier.
- The movable bench allows squatting
- Multiple attachments
- Very affordable
- Bench adjustment appears somewhat non-traditional compared to many gym benches
Body Champ Olympic bench
This bench is extremely affordable and offers a wealth of attachments, making it a good choice for those who are on a budget but still want a space-efficient tool for a full-body workout. It includes a bench that can be used in various incline, flat, and decline positions. It also includes a handle for ease of doing crunches in a decline position. This setup includes a preacher curl attachment and leg developer for full-body work. However, the bench does not detach from the setup, making squatting impossible.
- Inexpensive and good for those on a budget
- More attachments and workout options than most Olympic benches
- Lipped j-hooks for smoother unracking
- The bench is not removable, so squatting is impossible
- Height adjustments are limited
The clear winner of this particular roundup and, in our opinion, the best Olympic weight bench is the Gold’s Gym XRS 20. Although this bench is affordable, it has the highest degree of function of the Olympic benches covered. Its movable bench allows not only squatting, but also a more precise placement of the bench, and it includes several attachments for a full-body workout. Additionally, it comes from a reputable company, making its good choice for those who want to improve fitness with limited space.