The 10 Best Workout Benches

Updated May 04, 2018 by Tina Morna Freitas

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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whatever your preferred fitness routine, a great exercise bench should be a priority. Having the right equipment for your workout, from weights to machines to clothing, is essential for a safe and comfortable experience. Our top picks include static models perfect for the casual user, as wells as units that incline and decline and are sturdy enough for competition lifters. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best workout bench on Amazon.

10. Marcy SB-670

The Marcy SB-670 has a comfortable seat made with high density foam and attractive black and white upholstery. The back offers six angles, but it takes a bit of work to adjust, so it is probably not ideal for people who want to use multiple positions on a daily basis.
  • built-in wheels for easy moving
  • powder-coated steel frame
  • still too large to store when folded
Brand Marcy
Model SB670
Weight 55 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Stamina Pro

The versatile Stamina Pro is designed to support a wide variety of core exercises, but still offers a flat bench position to work your arms with dumbbells. The thickly padded, adjustable thigh support accommodates a variety of heights for an intense ab workout.
  • easy to clean upholstery
  • pivoting foam rollers
  • too short for tall users
Brand Stamina
Model 20-2021
Weight 42.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Ironmaster Super

Rated up to 1,000 pounds, there is no doubt that the Ironmaster Super is a heavy-duty model that can stand up to the most intense workouts of the strongest bodybuilders. Users can quickly and easily adjust through 11 angle settings from incline to decline.
  • includes a tapered seat pad
  • feels stable in all positions
  • too high for flat exercises
Brand Ironmaster
Model IMSB
Weight 73 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Cap Barbell Strength

The budget-friendly Cap Barbell Strength is a basic, but reliable, unit that is perfect for the casual home workout enthusiast. If you care about style, its rich blend of brown and black colors make it more handsome than many similar options.
  • compact and good for apartments
  • foam-covered hand grips
  • best for smaller users
Brand CAP Barbell
Model FM-504
Weight 30.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Body Solid GFID225

Not only does the Body Solid GFID225 offer adjustable workout positions, it also folds flat for convenient storage under a bed or even in a closet. It's the ideal choice for somebody who doesn't have space for a dedicated home gym.
  • arrives fully assembled
  • integrated transport wheels
  • backrest too narrow for large users
Model GFID225
Weight 61 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Marcy Utility

The Marcy Utility is as simple as they come, but that also means no moving parts or attachments to break or pinch you. It can be used with all sorts of free weights or for various calisthenics, and will feel comfortable and stable the whole time.
  • high-density foam padding
  • weight capacity of 600 lbs
  • no angle adjustments
Brand Marcy
Model SB-315
Weight 21.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Bowflex SelectTech 5.1

The Bowflex SelectTech 5.1 comes with a removable leg brace for extra support when lifting in the decline position. The fitness center-quality construction stands up to daily use, making it perfect for the home gym of a dedicated weightlifter.
  • 17 to 90 degree decline
  • rounded seat front
  • assembly difficult for one person
Brand Bowflex
Model 140004
Weight 63 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Nautilus Universal

The Nautilus Universal is a solid, sturdy bench that comes in at a reasonable price. It might not be suitable for competition lifters, but it is more than sufficient for the average home user who is looking to pack on a few pounds of muscle.
  • foam covered leg brace
  • adjustable floor stabilizers
  • provides even weight distribution
Brand Universal by Nautilus
Model 003-9069
Weight 40.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Body Champ Combo

The Body Champ Combo is an Olympic-style bench that comes with a dual-action leg developer, allowing you to get a near full-body workout from one piece of equipment. It has locking hooks and a non-pinch grip for safe use even during solo sessions.
  • durable tubular steel frame
  • wide leg stance
  • contour-wrapped cushions
Brand Body Champ
Model BCB3780
Weight 75.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. XMark Fitness FID

The XMark Fitness FID allows you to lift in a flat, incline, or decline position, so you can hit every part of your pecs and lats. It can be used with standard dumbbells and has built-in wheels to slide easily under power cages or cable machines.
  • supports up to 1500 pounds
  • seven ladder positions
  • tear-resistant padding
Brand XMark Fitness
Model XM-7630-White
Weight 77 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

How Does a Workout Bench Work?

Most workout benches serve three functions. The first is to provide a cushioned, off-the-ground support for the majority of barbell exercises. You can do an arm curl, a bench press, or a leg lift with differing degrees of precision based on how comprehensively a workout bench is set up.

The second function is an ability to adjust your position, thereby placing increased emphasis on different muscle groups. It's easier to achieve a six-pack, for example, if you're adjusting the incline to stimulate your lower abs, in addition to your upper ones. The same can be said for dumbbell presses and targeting different muscle groups with a similar exercise. The only variation between a chest press and a shoulder press is the angle at which you place your back.

The third function is versatility. The more complete a workout bench is, the more accessories it can accommodate. Certain benches come equipped with metal hooks for facilitating resistance equipment, while others come with built-in squat racks, and extensions for developing the legs. Technically speaking, a complete bench will allow you to either build muscle by way of contraction, or sculpt muscle, by way of anaerobic endurance.

What Do I Need to Know About a Workout Bench Before I Buy?

The two most important things to know are how much weight the bench can hold, and what type of exercises you plan on doing. In terms of exercises, you need to have some idea of whether you'll be working out with free weights, resistance bands, or some combination of both.

If you're using free weights, be sure to confirm the bench has some or all of the following: an overhead bar, a squat rack, a leg lift bar, and open space on either side for doing curls or arm lifts. If you plan on resistance training, check to make sure the bench is compatible with elastic bands. In addition, check to see if there's a chest pad and arm grips for doing manual ab exercises. Also look to see whether the back cushion or seat adjust so you can focus on different areas.

The more strength training you do, the more important it becomes to know a bench's weight capacity. Certain benches are designed for ham-and-eggers, and they'll start to wobble the second you redistribute any major weight. If you're working out with barbells, you'll want a bench that has a minimum 300-lb. capacity (this figure generally does not include a person's individual weight).

You'd be surprised how many online customer reviews include horror stories about having a bench collapse with a barbell full of weight in the air. Every product description should include a maximum weight capacity along with a list of any safety features. Certain workout benches are designed wide and bottom-heavy, so they can handle any sudden redistribution of weight. Other benches are built with narrow legs that are prone to teeter.

No matter which type of strength training your choose, the important thing is to do it regularly. Studies have proven that both forms are equally effective if practiced in a consistent regimen.

A Brief History of the Workout Bench in America

The first workout bench was more than likely made of iron or stone. The concept arose as a way of reversing what had become the go-to means of strength training. That is, pushing one's self up against a flat surface (AKA doing a "push-up"). There were problems with this approach, chief among them the fact that most floors had zero give, and the only real way to continue building muscle was to start hanging static weights around one's neck. Lying on one's back made it possible to increase the weight without putting stress on other parts of the body. Scientifically speaking, the use of weighted bars could oppose the force generated by muscles through what is known as contraction. This way, specific muscle groups got bigger without the body breaking down (or following suit).

Free weights have been a part of strength training since Ancient Greece. Over the centuries athletes have experimented with increasingly precise ways to achieve a chiseled physique. A major shift occurred during the 1960s, as exercise machines began to compliment the free weight. These machines were especially popular because they could manipulate the way that certain muscles would contract.

In the 1970s a major fitness craze took hold, ushered in by the movie Pumping Iron, along with the popularity of Muscle Beach and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In the eighties and nineties people got hooked on television fitness programs and aerobics. There was an emphasis on isometric resistance training. Neighborhood gyms began to pop up on every corner. Soon after, the U.S. saw the rise of in-house fitness rooms, revolutionizing the workout bench as an economic way to keep an all-purpose piece of equipment in the home.

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Last updated on May 04, 2018 by Tina Morna Freitas

Tina Morna Freitas is a writer who lives in Chicago with her family and two cats. She enjoys making and sipping margaritas and aspires to be a crazy cat lady once all the children are grown.

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