Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Welcome to our large workout bench test 2022. Here we present all the workout benches we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best workout benches for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy workout benches.




Summary

  • The workout bench belongs as basic equipment in every gym, as there is no real alternative to this piece of equipment. If you want to bench press, you can’t get around the bench.
  • Due to its versatility, almost every muscle can be trained on the weight bench.
  • Some workout benches have additional functions that enable training that goes beyond the normal workout bench.

The Best Workout Bench: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a workout bench

What do I need an workout bench for?

A workout bench is mainly used for training with barbells and dumbbells. You will find them in every gym without exception, and most home gyms also have at least one workout bench. They are versatile and in most cases adjustable.

Through intensive abdominal training you strengthen your spine, as the back muscles have to work as antagonists during abdominal training. It is also suitable for muscle building. Due to its versatile application possibilities and its high load capacity, nothing stands in the way.

It is also suitable for burning fat, because building muscle also means losing fat. Since the actual fat burning takes place in the muscle cell itself, the more muscle mass you build, the more fat you burn. In addition, you can also do HIIT and endurance sessions on it, which also contribute to fat loss.

The workout bench is very versatile and is particularly suitable for the basic bench press exercise. (Photo: Frame Kings / pexels.com)

It is therefore the perfect training partner for intensive and extensive strength training at home or in the gym. It offers a balance to hours of sitting in the office and strengthens the muscles that are neglected there.

How much does an workout bench cost?

The prices for workout benches vary greatly, as there are many different models. A simple workout bench without additional functions costs between 30 and 90 euros.

Benches with adjustable backrests are a bit more expensive. Depending on the quality and brand, they cost between 90 euros and 400 to 500 euros. Both types can be found second-hand for around 50 euros.

The most expensive are the so-called multifunctional benches. These have additional functions. As a rule, the price here also depends on the quality and brand, but also on the number of additional functions. The price range is therefore very wide and ranges from around 200 to 900 euros.

Which muscles can you train on the workout bench?

Since the bench is very versatile, it is not possible to give a general list of all the muscles that can be trained. Depending on the equipment, the chest and back muscles are trained most often. You can do different variations of bench presses with barbells or dumbbells.

Did you know that the function of the chest muscle is adduction, anteversion and internal rotation of the extended arm?

In other words, it pulls the arm towards the body, moves it forward and rotates it inwards. Along the way, the pectoral muscle helps with breathing and stabilises the trunk.

You can also train your back with various rowing exercises. The abdominal muscles are not neglected either. Leg lifts, dragon flags or simply sit-ups from a negative position make the abdominals burn. Since there are usually no limits to creativity when it comes to finding exercises, it is possible to train almost any muscle with the help of the bench.

Here are some examples:

Exercise Muscles used
Bench press and flys and variations Complete chest muscles (M. pectoralis major/minor)
Dumbbell rowing and reverse flys and variations Complete upper back muscles (M. latissimus dorsi, M. trapezius pars ascendens/ descendens/ transversa) and many more.
SitUps and leg lifts Straight abdominal muscle (M. rectus abdominis), pyramidal muscle (M. pyramidalis)
StepUps Front thigh muscle (M. quadrizeps femoris), gluteus maximus (M. gluteus maximus)

Are there alternatives to the workout bench?

Unfortunately, there is no direct alternative to the workout bench. Especially for those who want to do bench presses or similar exercises, there is no way around the bench. At most, you can do certain alternative exercises. For many exercises, however, the equipment itself cannot be replaced or can only be replaced to a limited extent.

So if you don’t want to buy a workout bench for your home, you should look for a gym for these exercises. Another option, for craftsmen and tinkerers, would be to build a bench yourself. More on this in the “Trivia” section. You can also save quite a bit of money here.

What accessories do I need for an workout bench?

Since the bench alone can’t do much, you need additional accessories for your workout. Depending on the exercises you want to do and what your bench is equipped with, you will definitely need a good dumbbell set.

If you only have a simple incline bench, a barbell rack is necessary to be able to do bench presses with the barbell. A barbell bar with a rack and a dumbbell set are sufficient for the beginning, but for a versatile and extensive workout.

Buy the barbell rack separately and not as an attachment to the bench. Otherwise you cannot use it for other purposes, such as squats.

Decision: What types of workout benches are there and which one is right for you?

There are many different designs and variations of workout benches, we basically distinguish between three types:

  • Flat bench
  • Incline bench
  • Multifunctional bench

Since there is no one right bench, we will go into the advantages and disadvantages of each workout bench in the following sections. Depending on your possibilities, needs and goals, you can then decide which workout bench suits you best.

What are the characteristics of a flat bench and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A flat bench is a workout bench without any additional functions. It is horizontal and has a continuous surface, i.e. it is not divided into a seat and back section. With some models, you can adjust the overall height, i.e. the lying surface, up or down. A big advantage here is that it takes up very little space.

The advantage of this workout bench is its simple construction. There are no dumbbell rests or leg supports that get in the way during training. This means that you can also perform certain HIIT or endurance exercises without the increased risk of injuring yourself on protruding supports or the like.

Advantages
  • Very space-saving
  • No movement restrictions due to applications
  • Also suitable for endurance units with fast movements
Disadvantages
  • Very simple
  • No conversion into sit-up or incline bench

A disadvantage of this bench is also the construction. Due to the lack of additional functions, other exercises cannot be performed.

In addition, most flat benches are quite short, which is a disadvantage especially for tall people. So it clearly depends on which exercises you want to do and which you can do without.

What are the features of an incline bench and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Compared to the flat bench, the incline bench is divided into a seat and a backrest, both of which are usually adjustable. This makes the bench incredibly versatile. For example, you can use it as a flat bench, as an incline bench, for curling on the backrest, as a negative sit-up bench and much more.

This bench also offers an efficient and varied workout through many different application possibilities. A big advantage is the small space this bench takes up, because many models are foldable and can be stored in a small corner in no time.

Advantages
  • Adjustable seat and back
  • Space-saving
  • Very versatile
Disadvantages
  • Relatively expensive

The disadvantage of this bench is its price. Especially if you want an incline bench in studio quality, you have to invest a lot of money. The quality of the workmanship often suffers with inexpensive models, but of course there are always exceptions.

What distinguishes a multifunctional bench and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The multifunctional bench is characterised by the fact that many additional applications are attached to it. The advantage here is that you have many devices in one. For example, cable pulls, curl trays or leg curl and extension machines can be attached to the bench.

Advantages
  • Several machines in one
  • Very versatile
Disadvantages
  • Very space-consuming
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Severe restriction of movement

However, these benches are very bulky and take up a lot of space. They are also more expensive than the flat bench or incline bench. Furthermore, the many applications severely limit the range of movement and can increase the risk of injury enormously.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate workout benches

This section is about how you can avoid making a bad purchase and which things you should check before you buy a workout bench. Here are the most important criteria:

  • Stability
  • Material & workmanship
  • Load limit
  • Adjustment possibilities
  • Additional functions

The following sections go into more detail about each criterion and explain what to look for in particular when making a purchase.

Stability

Among other things, stability is the most important aspect of a good workout bench. No one can train properly if the bench wobbles with every movement and threatens to tip over. The legs should therefore be wide enough and particularly heavy. A rubber coating also prevents the bench from slipping and protects the floor.

Also make sure that the connections of the individual parts hold properly. Welded joints are best, but benches are rarely delivered to your home in one piece. Therefore, you should always check beforehand whether the joints can be properly fastened together.

Material & workmanship

In addition to stability, the most important thing about a workout bench is its robust construction. The bench must not only hold the exerciser but also the additional weight that the exerciser uses during the workout. Ideally, the main frame should be made of sturdy and resilient tubular steel.

The padding should be thick enough so that it does not give way too much under higher loads and you lie on the hard bench. In addition, a water-repellent, smooth surface of the bench is recommended, as it can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. Rough, absorbent or fabric-covered cushions are therefore not recommended.

Load limit

The workout bench has to withstand a lot and every bench has a certain load limit. This should not be exceeded because otherwise safety is no longer 100 percent guaranteed. You should add at least 100 kilograms to your body weight. This is the minimum that the bench should be able to withstand, in the best case even more.

Also consider that over time you will not only be able to lift more, but also build up muscles and thus your body weight will increase. In addition, a high load limit is usually an indicator of quality, as it implies a sturdy construction.

Most flat benches are 1.2 metres long. You should be able to lie on it completely from head to buttocks. If you are particularly tall or have a long upper body, you may want to look for a longer bench.

Adjustment options

The adjustment options are important for a comprehensive workout on the incline bench. The backrest should have as many settings as possible so that it can be individually adjusted for each exercise. It is important that the backrest can be adjusted to 90 degrees as well as completely horizontal.

Did you know that the greater the angle of the workout bench, the more you use your shoulders and less your chest?

At 80° to 90° you can optimally perform shoulder presses, while an angle of 0° is best suited for flat bench presses and trains the chest in isolation.

If you want to train your abdomen and lower chest, the backrest should also be able to be adjusted to the negative, i.e. lower than horizontal. For incline bench presses, the seat should be adjustable so that you do not slide forward during the exercise.

Additional functions

Depending on the exercises you want to do on the bench, certain additional functions can be advantageous. Especially multifunctional benches have many applications. There is no good or bad here, you have to choose the applications according to your needs.

When choosing accessories, make sure that they do not interfere with the rest of your workout on the bench. For example, leg supports for sit-ups and hyperextensions are recommended. Lat pulls and curl rests, on the other hand, can be more of a nuisance and should perhaps be purchased as an extra piece of equipment.

Useful information on the subject of workout benches

Can I build a flat bench myself?

The answer to the question whether you can build a flat bench yourself is definitely “yes”. The flat bench is the simplest type of workout bench and is therefore quite easy to build. If you are a bit handy, you can save quite a bit of money here. Please note, however, that safety should always come first.

If you are unsure when building, or if you have the feeling that the bench is not as stable as you had hoped, then you should not take any risks by subjecting it to high loads anyway. This can lead to accidents and injuries.

Bench press records (as of spring 2019)

In general, records are differentiated by the equipment of the bench press user, because carrying it helps to mobilise the strength and lift even more weights.

year record holder weight equipment
2016 Siamand Rahman 310 kg None
2015 Kirill Sarychev 335 kg wrist wraps
2013 Tiny Meeker 500 kg bench press shirt

Image source: unsplash.com / Jesper Aggergaard

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