Weight Bench Buying Guide - Residential and Commercial
Weight Bench Buying Guide - Residential and Commercial
If I’m ranking must-have pieces of gym equipment, a reliable weight bench is certainly in my top tier, along with an Olympic bar, weight plates, and a set of squat stands. With these four pieces of equipment tucked into a 10’ x 10’ space, you can transform your physique and strength to astonishing levels.
Let’s take a look first at a few differences between the two main categories of weight benches for sale: flat and adjustable.
Because of the simple design and lack of moving parts, flat weight benches are usually more affordable and lighter than adjustable weight benches. They’re also a particularly convenient apparatus for performing the barbell bench press in a power cage or squat rack because you can lay flat without having to worry about positioning yourself around any gap between the back and seat pads.
However, if you’re looking for maximum versatility, an adjustable bench is the way to go, as the ability to set the back pad to different angles will add many different exercises to your weight bench workout repertoire. With the angle set to about 45 degrees, you can do incline barbell and dumbbell presses and flies for your chest. Lie face down at this same angle to train your upper back with incline dumbbell rows and rear delt raises. Set the angle to about 75 degrees for seated barbell and dumbbell presses and lateral raises for your shoulders and seated dumbbell curls for your biceps, all with back support.
The best adjustable weight benches also have gaps of two inches or less between the back and seat pads and offer transport systems (wheels at one end and a handle at the other). When shopping for a weight bench for sale, these features will add a little to your cost but will also negate two of the biggest supposed advantages of flat weight benches.
Now that we’ve covered a few of the differences between flat and adjustable benches, let’s take a look at the main differences between residential and commercial weight benches and illustrate with a few examples from some of the best weight bench manufacturers, including Legend Fitness, TuffStuff Fitness, Body Solid, York Barbell, Muscle D Fitness, and SportsArt Fitness.
As you might imagine, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty weight bench capable of supporting your body weight plus a barbell loaded to 500 or more pounds, you’re going to want to purchase a commercial model like the Legend Fitness 3222 Three-Way Self-Adjusting Weight Bench with Spotters Platform shown above. This model is one of the best weight benches available and features a fully-welded frame (as opposed to bolt-together) constructed with 11-gauge steel tubing for much higher load capacity, stability, and structural integrity than most residential models. It’s covered in two-inch-thick rebond foam with an 8-pound per cubic foot density for maximum comfort.
Unique features of this adjustable bench that aren’t often found are the spotter’s platform and specially designed docking system rods that are compatible with the Pro Series cage docking station. The docking station ensures that the weight bench is properly aligned within the power cage and remains secured in place—no more fumbling to align your bench and then realigning it after it slides during your set. And if you want to use the 3222 outside of the power cage or power rack, the docking system rods are removable.
For the budget-conscious, the Body-Solid SFID325 ProClub Line Adjustable Bench shown above is priced almost $500 less and still offers many commercial quality features, like 2” x 3”, 11-gauge steel, a 1,000-pound capacity rating, and thick, durable padding. It also includes transport wheels and a handle for easy movement, five inclined positions, and one declined position. The ability to decline this bench will be a particularly appealing feature to those looking to add the versatility of decline bench presses, dumbbell bench presses, and flies to target their lower pectorals.
For a simple, durable flat bench, the SportsArt A992 Flat Weight Bench shown above is an excellent choice that features a welded steel frame, heavy-duty vinyl cushions, a transport system for easy relocation from your dumbbell rack to your power cage or anywhere else in your gym, and a maximum user weight rating of 500 pounds at a unit weight of only 50 pounds. For those who lack the handyman gene, this bench ships from IRON COMPANY fully constructed and in one piece.
Finally, though they lack the versatility of other models discussed so far, many people prefer a dedicated Olympic bench designed only for flat bench pressing, the most basic weight training exercise for developing overall chest strength, size, shape, and explosive power. The TuffStuff Fitness Evolution Series Olympic Flat Bench with Safety Spotters shown above features adjustable safety spotters that can be positioned at different heights for safety while benching alone or for use during partial repetition training and triple gun rack J-hooks for multiple racking height options for lifters with different arm lengths. Don’t be fooled by the “light commercial” designation either, as this bench has a weight rating of 800 pounds, including user weight, that most of us will never come close to maxing out.
You have several factors to consider when shopping for a weight bench. Above all else, it must fit within your available space and be robust enough to handle the poundages you’re planning to use. The best weight bench for your budget should also afford you the ability to perform all of the exercises you’d like to include in your weight bench workout. For my money, an adjustable weight bench with a small gap between the back and seat pads and a transport system is a hard investment to beat in terms of the exercise versatility it offers.
If you need help choosing between the excellent options highlighted here or any of the other flat and adjustable weight benches IRON COMPANY offers, a sales rep will be happy to help further educate you on the best options available based on your fitness goals, budget, space constraints, and other considerations. Contact Us today for all your strength equipment needs.
Chuck Miller has been immersed in the pursuit of strength and the art and science of physical transformation as a coach, athlete, and writer for over thirty years. He is the author of Inside the Mind of an Iron Icon: on strength training and bodybuilding and is a monthly columnist for HARDGAINER 2.0 Visit CORE Strength and Conditioning to learn more about his background or to book a consultation.