Exercise enthusiasts use them for a variety of strength training moves as well as cardio workouts. You can target your whole body with this one piece of equipment. A workout bench might be the center of a home gym or a supporting feature, but just as there are countless types of workouts for the dedicated athlete, there are a variety of workout benches on the market. Take a look at these top workout benches for whatever type of gym session gets your heart pumping.
Why buy a workout bench?
The workout bench is a versatile piece of gym equipment. While it’s most commonly sat or laid on for strength training with dumbbells or barbells, some models accommodate movements for abdominal training, leg development lifts, and cardio exercises like box jumps. When athletes are looking to put together a home gym, a workout bench is a great piece to consider because of its multipurpose functionality.
What features should you consider when purchasing a workout bench?
First, consider what workouts you do now or what your fitness goals are. After that, you’ll be able to decide which features make the most impact on your ability to succeed in your home gym. You’ll typically want the following features:
- Adjustability: While many benches on the market adjust, some models adjust more than others. The more it can adjust, the greater it can be customized for comfort and for hitting specific muscle groups in your training. You also have to decide whether you want flat, incline, decline, or all of the above.
- Portability: The size and setup of your home gym will determine which workout bench will fit the best. If your gym has a permanent dedicated space for a bench, you won’t have to be concerned with how portable the bench is. If it’s something you will need to move, buying one that is easier to maneuver will make more sense in the long run.
- Versatility: If your workout bench is strictly for weight training, you won’t have to be concerned with the width for jumping or step-ups. Athletes who want their bench to double as a box for power training may want to pay more attention to the width of the bench.
How much can you expect to spend on a workout bench?
The price for a workout bench will vary depending on its size, quality, brand, and features. Budget-friendly benches will be around $100. The average cost for a quality workout bench will be around $150-$300, and higher-end models with more features and sturdier builds will be around $400 all the way up to $1,000.
Flybird Foldable Bench
An affordable, adjustable, and sturdy workout bench that fits most people's needs.
Pros: This workout bench is a very reasonable price for all its versatility in the gym. The seat adjusts to three positions, and the backrest has seven adjustments (including decline positions), making it compatible with just about any exercise an athlete could want from a bench. From dumbbell or barbell exercises to bodyweight and cardio movements, you can use this bench for a full-body workout. The foot anchors are helpful for athletes keeping good form without a spotter and for using in a decline position. Its steel frame supports a max weight of 700 pounds (one of the heaviest on the market), and the leather pad is cushioned for comfort. Another great feature is that it folds, saving space when you’re not using it.
Cons: This bench is 21 inches off the ground, about 3 inches more than others, which may be uncomfortable or unnerving for novice users.
Bottom Line: The Flybird Adjustable Bench is an affordable and versatile option for beginner and seasoned athletes who want to use it for several different exercises. Made with quality materials, it should stand up to daily use, providing users with a reliable component to help them achieve their fitness goals.
Marcy Flat Utility Bench
A flat and sturdy bench that an athlete doesn't need to fuss with during workouts.
Pros: This is a super affordable piece of gym equipment and great for someone who is building their home gym on a budget. It’s easy to assemble—done in a few minutes. The vinyl upholstery and powder-coated finish make it easy to maintain over several years of sweat sessions. This bench is made from alloy steel and has a sturdy surface that’s wide enough for cardio movements like box jumps and strength training staples like bench presses or dumbbell rows. The nonslip rubber caps on the legs will keep it in place during workouts. The bench is lightweight and easy to pick up, so athletes can move it out of the way when it’s not in use.
Cons: This bench only has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, which experienced or heavy lifters may find too light for their weight loads. Since this no-frills bench does not adjust for seated support, incline, or decline variations, athletes are more limited with the amount of strength training they can do.
Bottom Line: The Marcy Flat Utility Bench will allow users to do several different bodyweight and strength training workouts in addition to cardio movements while still being sturdy and safe. However, this wouldn’t be the best choice for a more experienced athlete who wants incline or decline training options. It is an excellent option for those on a tight budget.
Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Bench Series 5.1
This is a solid bench that will make you feel like you're in your favorite gym facility.
Pros: This is the top-of-the-line Bowflex weight bench with six adjustable positions, including declining options. The alloy steel build is sturdy and built to last, with a weight capacity of 600 pounds. This model touts an easy-to-use button that allows the bench to be stowed upright for space-saving options in a home gym. Another thoughtful feature is that the feet on the bench can be adjusted to compensate for an uneven floor.
Cons: While it has the upright, space-saving option for storage, when the bench is in use, it’s quite large in a home gym setting. It’s best to assemble it in the room they want to keep it in so as not to have difficulty fitting it through a doorway once it’s fully assembled.
Bottom Line: The Bowflex bench resembles the sturdiness and setup that you would find in a commercial gym. Athletes can find a variety of ways to use this piece of equipment to meet their goals, but the size of the bench may limit which home gyms can accommodate it.
Marcy Adjustable Weight Bench
Athletes can fit this bench in a small space but still get a great workout.
Pros: Marcy is on the list again, but this time for their adjustable bench because it has wheels and a carrying handle, making it the best option for people who may have to move their weight bench around often. Like other adjustable weight benches, the versatile positions allow athletes to train in several different ways for both strength and cardio workouts. This workout bench also comes with a leg developer with the function to add weight, making it even more multipurpose. Made with high-density foam and alloy steel, this bench is comfortable, supportive, and built to last.
Cons: Assembling the bench requires more attention as the instructions are only diagrams. A bad assembly of the bench can affect the overall effectiveness and safety of the equipment thereafter. In the decline position for ab workouts, the leg extension doesn’t lock in place on its own. There is also hardware that protrudes by the knee during leg developer exercises that many users have had to get creative with to fix in order to use it comfortably. When the backrest is flat, there is a 4-inch gap between the seat and backrest, potentially uncomfortable for some users.
Bottom Line: The Marcy Adjustable Utility Bench is an attractive buy for athletes who want an affordable multifunctional workout bench, especially one that includes leg developer training options. This bench is thoughtful with portability features but might be better suited for a seasoned athlete who is comfortable adjusting its features to make it work for them.
Fitness Reality 2000 Super Max
This is the bench to get for maxing out on weights and reps to make heavy gains.
Pros: This weight bench is best suited for the seasoned, serious athlete. With the highest weight capacity on this list of 850 pounds, the athlete who owns this bench has a lot of lifting potential. In addition to an adjustable backrest (seven positions) and seat (three positions), the front roller has three adjustable positions as well, making it completely customizable for safety and comfort. The leg developer can also be detached for unobstructed workouts. No matter how the bench is adjusted, there is no seat gap. It is also able to fold when not in use, saving space in your home gym.
Cons: The width of the bench is narrower than others, making it unnerving for some athletes if they are worried about stability during their lifts. The narrow width would also limit specific cardio movements like jumps for safety reasons. Since this bench is made to accommodate a lot of weight, it’s also long, possibly too long for some people. This sturdy bench, while it can fold, is not easy to move.
Bottom Line: This Fitness Reality bench is an excellent choice for athletes who are versed in manipulating weight benches for each type of lift they want to do. Its narrow width means it would not be a top choice for those looking to use it for step-ups or jumps, but it absolutely will serve the needs of athletes working to make gains on their strength training.
Building a home gym is an exciting endeavor with lots of potential. The workout bench can serve as the center of your workouts or as an additional piece to add variety. Upon reflection of your personal workout style and goals, there are several choices out there within a comfortable budget that can accommodate nearly any athlete. These picks can be great investments in your home gym and health.