Gear Education

How to Choose a Weight Bench: Flat or Adjustable?

So, you’re ready to invest in a gym bench, but you’re totally conflicted on which one to choose?

Fear not, young Padawan.

It might seem like a difficult decision, but it really just boils down to what you value in a gym bench and how you like to train.

Let’s dive in, so you can choose the right weight bench, right from the start!

What can I use for a weight bench?

To put it simply, there are two types of weight benches: flat or adjustable.

Flat Bench

bells of steel mighty grip flat bench

The most basic option for a weight bench in your home gym is a flat gym bench.

Typically, a flat weight bench will cost you about $200-300 for the budget version. 

It’s fairly standard nowadays for a budget flat bench to have a decent pad, sturdy steel construction, and built-in wheels for easier transport.

But even though you’re only shelling out a couple hundred dollars, it doesn’t mean that your gym bench should skimp on its weight capacity.

We wouldn’t trust a bench with anything less than a 500 lb weight capacity and neither should you.

Think about it: if a 200 pound lifter is bench pressing 225 pounds, this means they’re already over 80% of the bench’s total weight capacity — yikes!

The bench press exercise puts a loaded barbell over your throat, so unless you have an extremely reliable safety system to catch the bar if you fail, you’re (potentially) risking your life.

But unless you’re training with record world record weights regularly, or you absolutely love having overbuilt equipment in your home gym (no judgment here), you’ll be fine with just the budget version.

Adjustable Bench

bells of steel flat incline decline bench

If you value versatility, then an adjustable bench is definitely the way to go.

The reason is: an adjustable gym bench can do everything a flat bench can do, but it can also adjust to a bunch of other angles.

So whether you love to hit multiple bench press angles, do chest supported rows, like skull crushers or appreciate the seated shoulder press, an adjustable weight bench can do it all.

Most of them can adjust to 1-2 decline angles, one perfectly flat angle, and 5-10 incline positions until the back pad is completely vertical.

For a budget option, which will run you anywhere from $300-500, we’d recommend something similar to the flat bench specs we listed earlier.

Make sure it’s made with solid steel, has wheels, and no less than a 500 lb capacity — oh, and it should have at least 5 adjustable angles.

Commercial Flat or Adjustable Bench

It’s worthwhile to mention that both of these bench types tend to also offer a commercial version with some premium upgrades.

Whether it’s the thicker steel, heavier weight, better padding or the wider base, some people just appreciate that their bench is practically unshakable. 

That said, this also comes at a higher price tag. Most commercial benches cost between $500-700.

The commercial-grade flat bench will be on the lower end of that range, with the commercial-grade adjustable bench closer to the upper end.

bells of steel buzz saw bench

All of this comes together to produce a bench that is more stable, more comfortable and has a higher weight capacity — because it can be hard to put a price on comfort and peace of mind.

Should I get a weight bench?

Now that we’ve covered the gym bench types with their budget and premium options, here’s how to decide which one you should choose.

What’s your training style?

When deciding whether you should get a weight bench, the first thing you should consider is your training style.

For instance, are you into powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting? Do you love to cross-train or do you stick to bodyweight training only? 

If the training style you love doesn’t incorporate the regular use of a bench — like Olympic weightlifting or bodyweight training — then purchasing doesn’t make much sense.

On the other hand, it would be completely foolish NOT to buy a gym bench if you train for powerlifting since the bench press is one of the three exercises you are tested on in the sport.

Or, if you’re into bodybuilding then you might deeply appreciate the bench press, overhead press, and row variations that you can do using an adjustable bench.

Final Thoughts on How to Choose a Weight Bench

Finally, it would be silly not to factor in your budget here.

For some, a commercial-grade bench with the extra little touches just isn’t something they care about. 

If that sounds like you, then going with a more budget-friendly flat bench or adjustable bench would be the better choice.

On the other hand, if you’re someone who loves to splurge on over-built or heavy-duty alternatives, then a commercial weight bench might be the right pick for you.

Bells of Steel USA Contact

Bells of Steel USA Showroom
6002 Corporate Way,
Indianapolis, IN 46278,
United States
Phone: 1 317-981-5586

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