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Shopping for your home gym? Here's how to choose a bench you’ll love

What to know before investing in this home gym staple

Adjustable workout benches next to workout equipment and person working out at home indoors. Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / tiler84 / Petri Oeschger / Helin Loik-Tomson

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Dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells are essential workout equipment for strength training. But, to get the maximum effects out of your workouts, you’ll want to consider adding a weight bench to your home gym.

Gym benches can be used for a variety of weight training exercises, such as bench presses (of course), as well as single-arm rows, split squats, step-ups, and more. Though this piece of equipment is designed to be versatile, deciding if you want a flat or adjustable bench depends on the types of exercises you perform most frequently.

If you’re unsure or want to learn more before deciding, we talked to experts to get you off to a solid start.

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What is a weight bench?

A weight bench—also called a gym bench, workout bench, or exercise bench—is a narrow platform on which you may lie down, sit, kneel, or step onto so that you’re able to complete load-bearing exercises that require you to manipulate your body position to target the desired muscles.

Designed as flat or adjustable, most standard weight benches measure about 17 inches tall and 50 to 55 inches long and are covered in firm foam padding to provide a balance of comfort and stability during your lifting sessions.

Eric Potter, a certified strength and conditioning coach and performance coach for Future, a fitness app, explains, “A bench is basically a necessity for a home gym.” You can use it for both pushing and pulling exercises, he adds, allowing you to get a full-body workout.

What are the differences between a flat bench and an adjustable bench?

A flat weight bench is one long surface that can be used for basic movements where your whole body or body parts rest on a horizontal plane. An adjustable bench has a small seat and a longer backrest that can be raised and adjusted on an incline.

Many adjustable benches will give you a few incline options between zero and 90 degrees, which you can adjust to target muscle groups, such as your pecs, delts, and biceps. Some also have the ability to decline to allow for an even greater range of motion.

Though flat benches are often lighter and less expensive, many trainers recommend investing in an adjustable bench to allow for more variety during your workouts.

Jonathan Ibrahim, certified personal trainer and Tempo coach, says, “By changing the degree in which the bench can lay, you can increase the ability to hit your muscles in many directions, which will help increase strength, definition and challenge the body with new stimulation.”

How much does a weight bench cost?

Benches can range anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars. Flat benches tend to be less expensive than adjustable benches, often costing $100 or less, though you can still find adjustable benches at a reasonable price.

This might seem expensive, but it's worth the investment when you consider that you’ll use your bench during most workouts.

What should you look for in a weight bench?

One of the most important features in any weight bench is its stability. To focus on your workout and get the most out of each exercise, you’ll want a bench that doesn’t wobble or shake.

Most benches have three feet to help prevent this problem, but you can also look for ones with adjustable feet to ensure sturdiness during your lifting sessions, especially if your home gym is set up on an uneven surface, say, in a basement or garage.

You’ll also want to take the bench’s weight limit into consideration, both in terms of how much you weigh and how much weight you’ll be lifting. Many benches have limits of around 500 pounds, which is more than adequate for most lifters. Advanced athletes might want to invest in an Olympic weight bench, which can support roughly 600 pounds, to stay safe.

What weight bench should I buy?

If you still think you’d prefer a flat weight bench, this well-reviewed option from Walmart, the $40 Everyday Essentials steel frame flat weight bench is a good choice, as long as you won’t max out its weight limit of 300 pounds. That said, we think you’ll get more mileage from an adjustable bench, like one of these options beloved by fitness-minded shoppers.

Rep Fitness Adjustable Bench

On left, black adjustable fitness bench from Rep Fitness. On left person using workout bench to complete workout in gym.
Credit: Reviewed / Rep Fitness

This highly-rated adjustable bench allows you to incline and decline with ease.

A best seller on Amazon, the Rep Fitness adjustable bench has seven backrest positions ranging from 85 degrees (or nearly a right angle) to -20 degrees (a decline position) and a weight limit of 1,000 pounds for anyone whose bench press max is ultra heavy.

When laying flat, this bench measures 17½ inches tall, 54 inches long, and 11½ inches wide. It comes in three colors—black, blue, and red.

This bench has an average of 4.8 stars from nearly 700 ratings. Reviewers say it feels extremely solid and sturdy and that it holds up well over time.

$330 at Amazon

Ethos Adjustable Utility Bench

On left, black adjustable fitness bench from Ethos. On right, person laying on workout bench while lifting weights in gym.
Credit: Reviewed / Ethos

If you desire a bench that is heavy-duty and sturdy, consider the Ethos Utility Bench.

This adjustable utility weight bench from Ethos is a heavy duty steel option. Its frame is securely welded together and has two rear wheels for easy maneuvering.

The back has six inclines ranging from 0 to 90 degrees. The seat also gives you three angles to choose from so you can sit more comfortably with your back on an incline. It measures 58 inches long, 26¾ inches wide, and 50 inches tall.

This bench has an average of 4.5 stars on Dick’s Sporting Goods from more than 100 reviews. Reviewers rave about its quality construction, saying it feels secure and durable, and that the adjustable back and seat make for a comfortable workout.

$300 at Dick’s Sporting Goods

Hitosport Adjustable Weight Bench

Black and red adjustable workout bench from Hitosport.
Credit: Reviewed / Hitosport

If your workouts tend to run on the more intense side, the Hitosport bench is wear-resisting and sweat-proof.

Anyone with limited space in their home gym should consider this option from Hitosport. This adjustable bench folds up to a compact 28 inches long, 17 inches wide, and 13 inches tall to be stored vertically in a corner or even slid under a bed.

It also comes with two resistance ropes, which are great for warming up before you get into a more targeted lifting session.

The Hitosport has seven incline options ranging from zero to near 90 degrees and has a 550-pound weight capacity. It measures 49 inches long, 17 inches wide, and is 20 inches tall when flat.

The Hitosport bench has an average 4.6 stars on Amazon and more than 1,000 reviews. Reviewers say this bench is easy to assemble. They also like that the option to fold it helps their home gym feel more spacious.

$95 at Amazon

Pasyou Adjustable Weight Bench

On left, person laying on back while lifting weights. On right, On left, black adjustable fitness bench from Pasyou.
Credit: Reviewed / Pasyou

The Pasyou bench glides easily if you need to switch positions quickly during your workout.

For a bench on a budget with both incline and decline positions, try the Pasyou adjustable bench. Its back has eight positions from 127 degrees (a comfortable upright slant) to 190 degrees (that is, a decline of 10 degrees).

It measures 55 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 20 inches tall when flat, but also folds up to just 35 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 10 inches tall—a handy bonus if you’re looking to store it in a closet or next to a couch. It has a weight max of 500 pounds.

This bench has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon and more than 10,000 reviews. Satisfied customers say it’s easy to put together and feels sturdy during workouts. Many also say it’s easy to adjust the back and fold the bench for quick transitions between exercises and to put it away when you’re done.

$95 at Amazon

Flybird Adjustable Weight Bench

On left, person sitting on workout bench while lifting barbell. On right, On left, black adjustable fitness bench from Flybird.
Credit: Reviewed / Flybird

With the Flybird weight bench, you can experience professional equipment for your at-home workouts.

The Flybird bench is another great option for anyone looking for a weight bench with both incline and decline adjustments but needs the higher weight max of 800 pounds.

Its seven positions range from near-upright to a 35-degree decline, and its seat can be adjusted to three positions to accommodate any height. It measures 49 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 19 inches tall, and it folds to 30 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 9 inches tall for storage.

This bench has 4.5 stars from more than 21,000 reviews on Amazon. Reviewers say this bench is sturdy and feels stable during workouts, and is easy to adjust.

$120 at Amazon

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