The Different Types of Weight Benches

The Different Types of Weight Benches

There are two prominent families of weight benches, each offering different advantages and disadvantages.

Free-load weight bench

Here we can learn about the conventional weight bench. It can be a simple horizontal bench or a more complex device with a biceps desk, a pulley for back pulling, or even a leg extension module.

The purpose of such a bench is to function with a minimum of equipment in a variety of ways to optimize muscles. The primary purpose of a bench is to work the pectorals, so we recommend that you favor a bench with a backrest that can be raised and, if possible, reclining. This will allow you to do the bench press and its inclined and declined variants, which will be useful for drawing your pecs well.

On the practical side, these benches are often designed to be foldable, which can be an advantage if you want to install them in your bedroom, for example.

In general, by opting for a free-load bench, it will be up to you to buy all that is weights, dumbbells, and weight bars. These additional costs are therefore to be included in your budget.

Guided weight bench

Guided weight benches are machines designed for regular weight training at home in a completely safe environment. These benches are also called guided load press.

Here, it will be impossible for you to drop a weight on the ground for the simple reason that they are stacked and attached to the bench’s structure. You can increase or decrease the load to be lifted easily with a simple iron rod that fits into small cast-iron brick.

Therefore, the guided weight bench is an excellent ally for anyone wishing to have at home an evolving device according to their progress. Working the whole body, this type of heavy duty adjustable weight bench also offers the advantage of being compact and not dragging anything on the ground.

The leading working position is seated, with your back firmly pressed against the back of the bench. Then movements such as the butterfly, the neck pull, the seated press will be easy basics. On some devices, you can also work the biceps by curling or the thighs with leg curl. You will understand, in the end, the guided load also allows full bodywork if you choose the best weight bench adapted to your goals.

Over time you may become comfortable with the maximum load of the device. Be aware that some guided load benches and presses can accommodate additional weight stacks that you can later purchase at retail.

The requirements to be considered when picking a weight bank

Price is not everything when you plan to acquire a weight bench. It is essential to have quality equipment at home that will allow you to progress steadily and safely. Let’s go over the main criteria to take into account for such a purchase.

Stability and solidity

Although protection is crucial, this is an essential concern since it requires preparation. You should know that the heavier the bench, the more stable it is. The same goes for its width and footprint.

A heavy and wide-weight bench will allow you to perform a bench press without moving and to achieve clean movements and controls. On the contrary, a thin bench with a weak grip on the ground will make your movements difficult because it will tend to move during your very dangerous repetitions.

Having a strong and stable bench is, therefore, the basis of successful training. Choose solid alloys and avoid plastics that you think are too fragile.


A weight bench should not be an instrument of torture. Therefore, it must be made with comfortable padding to allow you to have a good seat and working postures that do not hurt you over time.

We spoke about it above, but the bench’s width is also an important criterion of choice for your comfort. If you choose a bench with a too-thin backrest, you will not take any pleasure, and little by little, your weight bench will turn into a coat rack! A well-padded seat and wide backrest will therefore allow you to work efficiently during each weight training session. And it is the same with each option offered by your bench: Take a good look at the thickness of the foams used for the leg extension, the thickness of the bicep desk, etc.

For the coating of the machine, a material is required which is easily cleanable and washable. Vinyl and synthetic leather are the main materials used to cover a weight bench. Impermeable to water and therefore to sweat, they are washed quickly and allow you to maintain good hygiene over time.

Frequency of use

The frequency with which you will do your weight training can direct you towards different types of benches.

Occasional use. If you just practice once or twice a week, you’re better positioned to use a plain bench with wide bands of muscle. A simple weight bench for beginners, lifting or not, will be more than enough to work the pectorals as well as the biceps and triceps. The horizontal station of the bench will also allow you to strengthen your back with many exercises.

Regular use. If you practice between 3 and 4 days a week, you need sturdy, comfortable equipment that provides a broad variety of opportunities. By doing four strength training sessions per week, you can start to target each muscle well and do dedicated sessions. So look for a versatile weight bench with a bicep stand or pulley for pulling. The legs’ work will not be excluded, and many benches include a post to the extension to strengthen them.

Intensive use. Do you train five times a week or more? This assiduous practice of weight training must be done with the best weight bench available. Here, the choice will be made according to your budget and the space open at home. Don’t be afraid to think big and grow.

If you buy a bench press with a guided load, be sure to choose a model that can work all the muscles in the body. If you opt for a workload-free, it is necessary that the bench can have all the possible and imaginable adjustments at the backrest and seat (several inclination and declination levels). He must also support heavy loads both in the bench press and the squat.

Finally, a smith machine can be an interesting compromise between free and guided loads for intensive or regular use in weight training. This machine allows safe work because you can work heavy loads in a guided way. After all, the bar will be fixed on each side to a guide in a sliding manner. So even on your max bench press rep, the bar won’t fall back on you. This weight bench allows you to work and increase your strength in the best possible way.

Maximum bench weight

To choose a weight bench worthy of the name, you have to talk about weight. Each bench has a maximum load weight which refers to the weight each element of the structure can support.

Depending on your level, it will be important to choose a bench with candles that can support your maximum weight in the squat or bench press and a future evolution of level. And it is precisely the same for the pulley, which will be used to make the pulling and all the other workstations.

For a guided load device, the manufacturers offer a basic cast iron stack which serves as a maximum reference. Note that it is possible to add sets of cast iron on some models, which will increase the maximum weight with which you can work during your bodybuilding sessions. On some models, on the contrary, this is not possible, so be sure to monitor this criterion.

Folding backrest

This selection criterion only applies to a device with free charge. A basic weight bench mainly works the pectorals while lying down. Choosing a lifting or reclining backrest will also allow you to work the top of the pecs and the shoulders by doing the inclined press and the bottom of this muscle with the declined press.

With a weight bench with a lifting backrest, you can also perform exercises targeting the biceps, shoulders, and even the trapezius muscles. Once again, if you opt for a bench with a reclining back, pay attention to its strength, which will directly impact your safety and the proper execution of your movements.

The space available at home

If you live in a studio or if you want to install a weight bench in your room, it is quite possible. Today the notion of small space is not necessarily incompatible with bodybuilding equipment.

Manufacturers have adapted to demand and today offer foldable weight benches. Visually they look like a normal bench, but once your session is over, you can fold it up so that it takes up as little space as possible. Very practical, the foldable bench exists in the freeload version only.

A guided weight bench takes up a little more space than a foldable version. It is certainly a very practical monoblock but which will be more suitable for someone with a little more space at home. What is highly appreciable in the guided load version is the total absence of weight and cast iron discs all around the machine, representing a significant space-saving and a total absence of storage once the session is over.

Finally, the traditional bench with freeloads is the one that takes up the most space. It is ideal if you want to set up a gym in your home. You can then choose a large weight bench and add other machines around it.

Tips for making your weight bench last

Having a weight bench at home is a very good thing; making it last over time is another. Cleaning the sweat on your bench during – set and at the end of a session is the easiest way to take good care of your tools. Much like in the gym, leave a small spray bottle filled with a cleaning solution near your weight bench. Your device’s coating will not suffer from the acidity of sweat and will last longer without getting damaged.

Check to ensure if everything is tightly fastened and positioned every two months or every month, whatever interval you choose. A screw that comes apart little by little does not necessarily mean but has a negative impact on the device that can permanently damage it.

A guided weight bench should receive regular maintenance. An abnormal squeaking of the device during a session should alert you. Regularly oiling the bench’s mechanisms and chains will allow you to use it much longer at home.

Finally, even if it makes sense, do not store anything on your bench’s seat so as not to damage its coating and prevent your cat from getting used to sleeping on it because it could also scratch it.


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