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How to Choose a Weight Bench
Getting a weight bench for your home gym is a big decision. It means that you’re not only committing your time but a good amount of money as well! Naturally, you’d want to pick the best one right?
You’re here, which means you’re probably asking yourself how to choose a weight bench.
As with most things in life, what is “best” varies from person to person. However, there are some ground rules that you can follow when thinking about how to choose a weight bench which can help guide you along the treacherous path towards picking out the correct weight bench for you!
Before discussing how to choose a weight bench, let us first touch base on why you’d want a weight bench in your home in the first place, ergo, let us ask a simple question “What value are you deriving from it?”.
First of all, a weight bench at home is going to save you money spent on fuel consumed when you drive to your local gym. Not only are you saving fuel but saving the most important resource of all – time. That means more time spent on hobbies, friends and family and if you so desire…sleep!
Second, a weight bench at home is going to be flexible according to your needs. You see, your local gym is a business. That means it’s going to position itself in a manner that allows it to cater to as many customers as possible. And you just happen to be on the shorter or longer side of that “safe range of motion” that the weight bench supports? Sorry, not sorry. It’s a harsh reality but with a weight bench at home – you get to decide what type you want and save yourself from smelling other people’s sweat!
Now that we’ve explored the benefits of owning your own weight bench, let’s talk about what factors you should consider when purchasing one.
1. Range of motion
Generally speaking, when considering how to choose a weight bench there are two main types of weight benches to consider: flat and adjustable.
A flat weight bench is going to be slightly more difficult to work with if you’re looking to do some cyclical range exercises. An adjustable weight bench is going to allow you to do those exercises but then reduces the amount of weight you can lift (in the upright position only).
For example, you can work on your lower pecs with the help of a flat weight bench but to effectively work on your upper pecs, an adjustable weight bench is more suitable.
While floor clearance isn’t going to be a problem for most people, if you’re extraordinarily tall (or on the shorter side of the spectrum) you want to make sure that you’ll be to lye down comfortably.
2. Weight Capacity
A good quality weight bench is going to support a good amount of weight and still be as sturdy as a rock. If you’re of a larger stature then you want to make sure that the weight bench can handle all those heavy weights you pick up!
Another factor to consider is how stable the bench is when you’re lifting weights. If it starts slipping, that’s a big no-no. When you’re pushing yourself, the last thing you want on your mind is whether you’re going to slip and crush your trachea.
Take the scenario where you’re switching your grip – say a narrow grip – generally preceded by picking a lighter weight. However, if you’re going to be using a regular grip then more weight is going to be part of the equation. You’re working different muscles with different positions but the /underlying structure/ is the same. Which is why it is so important to ensure that it can handle that load.
You’re directly exposing your skin to the material that pads the underlying structure. You don’t want that to be of a questionable quality right?
You don’t have to search for Egyptian quality cotton here – but the pad width should be comfortable enough that you don’t develop rashes or can’t tell the difference when lying down whether you’re on the floor or on a weight bench!
There’s also the question of the material used to construct the bench itself. Make sure that it doesn’t dent easily and does not have any noticeable warps anywhere. Also check to see if any noticeable rusting has occurred and whether that is going to be a problem long term (a little maintenance from time to time is inevitable but doing so every month is eyebrow raising).
4. Cost and Warranty
If you’re going to be committing a significant amount of resources towards the purchase of a weight bench then you want to make sure you’re protected. See a $1000+ weight bench with no warranty? Run, my friend. Far and fast.
On the other hand, don’t compromise for a $50 weight bench at a yard sale if you’re looking for something that you’ll be using for a couple of years. Investing in your health is something you shouldn’t be too cheap about!
If you’re living in a tight space, then an adjustable weight bench is going to be more beneficial. Unpack, exercise, wrap up and repeat ya’ll!
On the other hand, a flat weight bench is going to require some dedicated space. Sure, you can move it around but there’s gotta be somewhere to move it around /to/.
Weight benches are a great way to take your workouts to the next level, especially if you’re looking to beef your chest up or build some biceps. Like always, keep a spotter nearby to mitigate any risk of muscle burnout mishaps.
Today, we’ve discussed the guidelines that you need to consider when purchasing one of the descendants of the original weight bench. Equipped with this knowledge, you are now ready to make a very personal decision.
Before we bid each other farewell, do you think George Hackenschmidt (invented the weight bench back in 1899) knew that the weight bench would proliferate around the world so quickly? And would your workout routine make him proud?
That second question is something that only you can answer, amigo!
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Hey I’m Patrick!
I built my first home gym in 2012, when I decided I was tired of waiting in line for the squat rack and I started GGC in 2020 to help people find the info they need to improve their fitness and their lives.
I’m passionate about fitness, especially when it comes to working out at home. I’ve learned a lot over the years about what to do and what not to do, and my mission is to share that knowledge with the world!