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Weight Bench Types And What You Need To Know!

A Beginners Guide Weight Bench Types And What You Need To Know 

There is a world of weight benches out there, and if you’re new to fitness, this article will help you. It defines weight bench types and what you need to know. You may be choosing for your home gym or want to know more detail about the different benches at the gym. This article will cover the six main bench types and what they do. 

What is a weight bench? 

Simply put, it is a strong frame, typically padded, with a specific set of features to aid your weight training. They are traditionally made from steel and are powder coated to avoid rust. The pads are normally high-grade Polyurethane or similar, using high-density padding for comfort. There are different qualities of weight bench, so carefully read the specifications when purchasing or using them. Most commercial and regular home gym benches will be suitable for everyday use. If you lift heavy, then look at the maximum load recommendations. 

What’s essential when using a bench?

It is essential to focus on technique, so we recommend watching others, considering youtube from reputable sources to help you check techniques and possible exercises. It is best to rely on more than just one source. Always check fixings and ensure that you’re safe before commencing the exercise. Never assume that a bench has been left safe or fixed correctly, even if it’s your own. If you need help, consider a personal trainer to show you the ropes, they are worth their money and can help create a workout plan for you. 

What are the six types of weight benches? 

There are six core types of weight benches, and they are as follows: 

  • Flat Bench.
  • Adjustable Weight Bench.
  • Olympic Weight Bench.
  • Folding Weight Bench.
  • Abdominal Bench.
  • Preacher Curl Bench.

How are each of the weight benches used, and why? 

  1. Flat Bench

Like a table, the flat bench is a rectangular share with two legs, one on each end, the feet splay for stability, and the pads are normally 2in thick. They are typically used in a few ways: 

  • One as a bench to press dumbbells while lying flat.
  • Two as a bench to sit on while curling dumbbells. 
  • Three as a bench to use within a half rack

2. Adjustable Weight Bench

The most popular and recognisable type of bench, the adjustable bench, has a raise and lower back support. This can use a pin or, in commercial grade benches, locking notches that cup an arm to raise or lower the bench back. They are popular because they can fit into racks and allow for flat exercises and inclined press workouts as well. This is a multifunction bench. You sit on the small pad and adjust the larger rear pad to the height that you require. 

  • Ideal for use with half racks in home and commercial gyms depending on spec.

3. Olympic Weight Bench

The Olympic weight benches are generally wider in design and are expected to hold greater weight and look more robust. The J-cup bar holders are larger. Some more notably include storage for weight plates on the back. Some features include spotters on the rack so that you are safe should you choose to workout alone or at home.  

  • Ideal for smaller heavier lifters, commercial and garage gyms

4. Folding Weight Bench

More focused on the home user, the folding bench is your traditional home gym bench, where you would need to fold it up and out of the way for storage. It is more like the type you might expect from Argos or entry-level fitness suppliers. They are great benches for small spaces such as bedrooms where it is crucial to optimise space and clear things away. Less is required if you have a dedicated space, such as a spare room, garage gym, conservatory etc. These benches are like the adjustable bench but are lighter use. 

  • Ideal for smaller home gym spaces

5. Abdominal Bench

Designed to help focus on the abdominal muscles, this bench can be identified by its shape. Usually the bench is lower than a regular bench and longer. Most designs include two foam round pads and look longer like an ironing board. The two roller-shaped pads are there to allow the isolation of the core stomach muscles. They can also be used to strengthen the lower back if you lie face down. The slope makes it more challenging to raise your chest and arms to sit up. To really add difficulty, extend your arms above your head. 

  • Can be great for home users, more popular commercial gyms and PT spaces

6. Preacher Curl Bench

So named because of the seated, almost prayer position, the preacher curl bench is designed to isolate the bicep and tricep muscles as you curl by fixing your arms at 45º. You sit on the seat and place your arms on the table, barbell in hand. You can use a single dumbbell if preferred, but commonly a barbell is used to improve efficiency.  

  • Can be used in commercial or home gyms. This is a specific bench for bicep curls. 

Bench Recommendations 

If you are considering a bench, speak with friends, go to forums and consult with others. Consider consulting with a personal trainer like me for their recommendations; watch youtube videos that show the type of workouts you can do; this will help you to find the right kind of bench for your training goals.

If you get pain while training, consider reading this blog, do not let it 

  • Speak with others
  • Consider your training goals
  • Think about space
  • Look at the costs
  • Think about outgrowing your bench

For our gym, we’ve just got another flat bench and an adjustable bench from Mirafit. We’ve used them for years, so we know what to expect, and for a gym, that’s helpful. 

Article Summary

Follow our recommendations to look at videos and get opinions from forums and even website review sections. You will get honest feedback on the bench that you are considering. It’s a good idea to go mid-range so that your bench is suitable as you use heavier weights and exercise more. Obviously, it depends on the exercises you choose and which specific type you buy. This article has helped clarify the types of benches and their primary features. 

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Owner of Personal Trainer, Father and fitness copy writer. Working hard making the world fitter and healthier!

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