So you’ve decided that you want to build muscle at home. Do you need a weight bench? If you’re a beginner, you may be unsure of the perks that a bench can bring to your training. But that’s fine. Because I’ll be sharing 11 great benefits of a weight bench!
When I started training 10 years ago, I mistakingly overlooked the value of a weight bench.
That’s why I want to share my research and personal insights with you.
Let’s not “weight” around, and crack on (first and last bad joke of the post I promise!)
|Sturdy elevated base||Safe way to lift weights with a free range of motion.|
|Versatile platform||Use it to build muscle, increase strength, burn fat, and tone.|
|Adjustable angles||Emphasize different regions of the same muscle group.|
|High Weight capacity||Build more muscle at home through the safe lifting of heavy weights.|
|Heavier bench pressing||Increased rate of chest development.|
|Incline bench pressing||Improved overall chest volume.|
|Heavier shoulder pressing||Increased rate of shoulder development.|
|Decline sit-ups||Deficit position maximizes abdominal activation.|
|Incline bicep curls||Deficit position maximizes biceps activation.|
|Support for unilateral leg exercises||Build more leg muscle with less weight.|
|High-intensity bodyweight exercises||Burn more fat from circuit training.|
- 1) A Weight Bench Serves As A Base To Improve Your Physique.
- 2) Weight Benches Help Build Muscle, Strength, And Burn Fat.
- 3) Maximise Dumbbell And Barbell Return On Investment.
- 4) Lift Heavy Weights More Safely With A Weight Bench.
- 5) Increase Your Bench Press By Up To 10% Using A Bench.
- 6) Fix A Skinny Chest With The Incline Bench Press.
- 7) Increase Your Shoulder Press Strength By 7% On A Bench.
- 8) A Weight Bench Will Help Define Your Abs.
- 9) Fix Skinny Biceps Using A Weight Bench.
- 10) Use A Bench To Define Your Legs With Limited Weight.
- 11) Burn More Fat With Weight Bench Circuits.
- Which Is The Best Weight Bench?
- What I Pair With A Weight Bench
1) A Weight Bench Serves As A Base To Improve Your Physique.
There’s a good reason why weight benches are always occupied in a gym.
That’s because they can take a normal weight workout, and turn it into a great one.
They do this by serving as a stable, comfortable, and safe elevated base for you to lift your weights.
“The humble weight bench can effectively build muscle, help you tone up and increase strength by isolating key muscles.”Mirafit
How a weight bench benefits overall physique:
First and foremost, a weight bench is the safest way to lift heavy weights from a sitting/lying position.
Indeed, many popular exercises like the bench press, their variations, and seated shoulder press, all require a weight bench to perform safely.
Secondly, the elevation of a bench gives your arms a free range of motion.
Unlike laying on a bench, laying on the floor will physically restrict your arms from moving below the torso.
Not only is this annoying, but you’ll also lose out on a lot of muscle activation.
Thirdly many weight benches allow you to incline and decline.
And as you’ll see later, this is essential for building certain muscles such as the upper chest.
Ultimately, a weight bench benefits as a basic (but essential) platform to build a great physique.
2) Weight Benches Help Build Muscle, Strength, And Burn Fat.
There are many reasons why people train. And these are referred to as training goals.
The most popular training goals are:
- Build muscle.
- Increase strength.
- Burn fat.
- Become leaner.
- Tone muscle.
- Cardiovascular improvement.
The best thing about a weight bench is that it can be used to help you reach all of these goals.
In other words, a weight bench is an extremely versatile piece of kit!
Why a weight bench benefits training goals:
|Training Goal||Benefits From Using A Weight Bench|
|Build muscle||Incline/decline angles can isolate different muscles, a stable base allows heavier weights to be lifted.|
|Increase strength||A stable base allows for a safer bench press and shoulder press using heavy loads.|
|Burn fat and get lean||Provides a platform to do bodyweight circuits, an elevated surface also increases exercise intensity.|
|Tone Muscle and CV||Provides a platform to do HIIT bodyweight training.|
Most people use a weight bench to help increase muscle size and strength.
That’s because a bench provides a sturdy base to lift heavy weights and target different muscles.
But that’s not their only use.
You can also use them for bodyweight exercises too (more on that later).
And when you combine multiple bodyweight exercises into a circuit, it’s a great way to burn fat, get lean, and tone muscle.
3) Maximise Dumbbell And Barbell Return On Investment.
There’s no doubt that free weights are a great investment for any home gym.
But using free weights alone is not the best way to take full advantage of them.
Instead, you can buy an adjustable bench for as cheap as 100 bucks.
And this will unlock the full potential of your home dumbbell/barbell training.
Why a weight bench benefits dumbbell/barbell training:
An adjustable bench allows you to lay and sit at different angles.
These angles are referred to as flat, incline, and decline (FID).
The best thing about FID angles is that they allow you to do a variety of exercises that you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do.
Popular FID exercises include:
- Flat bench press.
- Incline bench press.
- Decline bench press.
- Dumbbell flyes.
- Incline dumbbell flyes.
- Decline dumbbell flyes.
- Dumbbell pull over.
- Seated shoulder press.
- Decline weighted sit-ups.
- Bench dips.
- Elevated hip-thrust.
By including these exercises in your training, you’ll capitalize on the full potential of your dumbbells and barbell.
And this will help you reach your training goals faster.
4) Lift Heavy Weights More Safely With A Weight Bench.
It’s well known that lifting heavy is the best way to build bigger and more defined muscles.
So if your goal is to build a bigger physique, then it makes sense to use equipment designed to handle heavy loads.
And that’s what a weight bench is.
It’s a solid base that’s been designed to take on heavy poundages.
Why a weight bench benefits heavy lifting:
Each bench is purposely designed to accommodate heavy poundages, and its weight capacity should always be stated by the manufacturer.
The weight capacity of a bench allows you to SAFELY lift heavy weights at home.
And I stress the word “safely”.
Whilst you can use DIY weight bench alternatives, these will never be as safe as a proper weight bench.
By using a proper weight bench to help you lift heavy, you’ll minimize injury risk and also set yourself up for a good foundation to build more muscle!
If you prefer to experiment with a homemade bench before buying a proper bench, you can check out my other article for homemade incline bench alternatives.
5) Increase Your Bench Press By Up To 10% Using A Bench.
Any experienced gym-goer knows that a weight bench is a staple piece of kit for the chest.
It’s used in different exercises like the dumbbell/barbell bench press, dumbbell flyes, and pull-over.
And if you want to transform skinny pecs into a killer chest, you’ll have to lift heavy on these exercises.
Generally speaking, the heavier you lift, the more muscle you’ll build.
Why a weight bench benefits a heavy bench press:
A proper weight bench is more stable and comfortable than laying on the floor or using a makeshift bench.
And this alone will help you to lift heavier on your chest exercises.
For example, take a look at the weight comparison between a dumbbell press with and without a bench:
|Bodyweight||Dumbbell Bench Press |
With Bench (1RM)
|Dumbbell Bench Press |
Without Bench (1RM)
|% Weight Increase|
Note: 1RM means “1 rep max”. This is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for 1 repetition.
You can see that by dumbbell pressing on a weight bench, you can increase the weight by up to 10%.
And a heavier bench press translates into a bigger chest!
6) Fix A Skinny Chest With The Incline Bench Press.
A stubborn chest is a common issue many beginners have.
And if it’s something you suffer from, then chances are you may not be training the pectorals with the right variety of exercises.
Building a killer chest requires you to perform a variety of pressing and flying movements at different angles.
That’s because the pectorals span a large area across your chest.
And each region can only be isolated by hitting the chest at different angles.
Why a weight bench benefits chest-building:
This 2020 study showed exactly which angles are the best for activating the different chest regions during a bench press.
Here, the authors showed that a:
- 30° incline is best for upper-pectoral activation.
- 0° (flat) is best for mid- and lower-pectoral activation
And do you know how you can achieve these angles?
That’s right- by using an adjustable bench!
For not a lot of money, an adjustable bench will provide a wealth of opportunities to build a bigger chest.
If you’re still unsure about buying a bench, you can check out my other article to find out if you need a weight bench for a home gym.
7) Increase Your Shoulder Press Strength By 7% On A Bench.
A strong shoulder press can usually be the difference between someone with broad shoulders and someone with skinny arms.
If you belong to the latter group, and you want bigger arms, then it’s a good idea to increase your shoulder press strength.
An easy way is to switch from a standing shoulder press to a seated shoulder press.
This will help you drive shoulder growth.
Why a weight bench benefits shoulder press strength:
This 2013 study found that the seated shoulder press allows you to press around 7% more weight, compared to the standing shoulder press.
And as you know, heavier weights correspond to more muscle.
Additionally, an adjustable bench can incline the backrest into a 90° vertical position.
When you’re sat in this position, the backrest prevents your arm from moving backward.
And this will help improve your form, as well as reduce stress on the shoulders.
Together, this means a weight bench can help you shoulder press heavier weights more safely!
8) A Weight Bench Will Help Define Your Abs.
Sit-ups are arguably THE most popular ab exercise.
Different variations will affect the difficulty and also emphasize different regions of the abdominals.
Decline-sit ups are an effective variation that emphasizes all regions of the abs (including the notoriously hard-to-build lower abs).
They are particularly effective because you’re sat in a deficit position.
This makes it more difficult to bring your chest to your knees.
And to do decline sit-ups, you’ll need an adjustable weight bench!
“Decline Weighted Sit-Ups are one of the best ways to develop the line that runs down the center of your abs.”Big Red, Bodybuilder.
Why a weight bench benefits the decline sit-up:
The only safe and effective way to do decline sit-ups is on a weight bench.
Furthermore, the bench should be able to decline and also have a foot anchor.
A declining backrest allows you to put yourself at the optimal -30°, whilst the foot anchor allows you to hook your feet for stability.
Without the anchor, you’ll find yourself slipping and sliding.
This makes a decent bench essential for the decline sit-up.
The padding on the weight bench will also make the exercise more comfortable.
And this allows you to more easily hold a dumbbell as you perform the decline sit-up.
As a result, a weight bench allows you to maximize abdominal activation and help you to build ripped abs!
If you’re struggling to build a strong physique, you can check out my complete guide to gaining your first 10 pounds of muscle!
9) Fix Skinny Biceps Using A Weight Bench.
Many guys struggle to build bigger biceps.
If you’ve been in this predicament before, you’ll know that bicep curls alone won’t do the job.
That’s because the bicep is a complex muscle.
It’s actually composed of 2 separate muscles – the biceps brachii and brachialis.
And the biceps brachii is further composed of the long and short head.
This means that different exercises and angles are required to engage all the biceps muscles with maximum efficiency.
And an adjustable bench will help you do just that.
“The incline bicep curl isolates the long head of your bicep, stretches it and pushes you to apply more force while contracting.”Ramiz Shah, Squatwolf
Why a weight bench benefits bicep growth:
An adjustable weight bench allows you to perform the incline bicep curl.
This requires you to sit in an incline position whilst you perform the curl.
Consequently, you’re put into a deficit position and this leads to a greater stretch on all the biceps muscles.
Greater bicep activation and growth!
Additionally, incline curls also emphasize the long head of the biceps brachii.
This is the largest of the biceps muscles.
So if you want to transform your skinny arms into powerful ones, a bench could benefit you greatly!
10) Use A Bench To Define Your Legs With Limited Weight.
By now, you should already know why heavy poundages are essential to sculpt bigger and more defined legs.
But the problem is most people have a limited amount of weight at home (unless you have a barbell and rack).
So how can you work the legs with the weight required to drive growth?
One solution is to do unilateral leg exercises like the pistol squat.
These act on one leg, and this effectively doubles any weight you’re holding.
But it’s hard to squat on one leg.
It requires a lot of balance and technique.
That’s where a bench could help.
Why a weight bench benefits unilateral leg exercises:
A weight bench allows you to do half-pistol squats (and do them much easier).
This is basically the same as a full pistol squat, but the bench prevents your buttocks from getting so low that you can’t get back up.
You can also use a bench weight bench to do the split-squat.
This uses the bench as a platform to rest the non-working leg as you go through the squatting motion with the working leg.
Ultimately, a weight bench helps you to increase the effectiveness of your leg workouts if you don’t have a barbell and rack.
Obviously, you’ll also need a good set of dumbbells to get the most from these exercises. You can find out my recommendation for a great value heavy adjustable dumbbell here.
11) Burn More Fat With Weight Bench Circuits.
Bodyweight circuits are one of the most effective ways to burn fat.
When you cycle between different muscle groups in a circuit and hit each muscle intensely, you’re effectively doing a full-body HIIT.
It’s a great way to ramp up the heart rate and burn more calories.
Why a weight bench benefits bodyweight circuits:
A weight bench isn’t just good as a base to push heavy weights from.
You can also use them to do bodyweight exercises.
My favorite bodyweight bench exercises include:
- Hop overs.
- Box jumps.
- Box shuffle.
- Step up.
- Decline push-up.
- Decline plank.
Since all of these exercises involve an elevated surface, they are more difficult to perform compared to many of the floor exercises.
This makes a weight bench great for those trying to lose belly fat, or aspiring bodybuilders going on a cut.
Which Is The Best Weight Bench?
I’ve been using the Flybird FB149 adjustable weight bench for over a year and can’t recommend it enough.
It doesn’t offer the same build quality as a commercial gym bench. But it allows you to do exercises like the bench press and fly at home without having to spend hundreds of dollars.
Having tested other models in the past, I can say that the Flybird offers the best value for money.
It’s extremely affordable but also provides a wealth of flat/incline/decline settings.
It’s also durable, stable up to 700-lbs of weight capacity, and comfortable for people between 5’7″ and 6’0″.
If you fall outside of this height range, then I’d instead recommend the Fitness Reality adjustable weight bench.
The footrest isn’t as comfortable as the Flybird, but its dimensions are ideal for people who are very short/tall.
You can check out my other article to find out the differences between the Flybird benches and which one is the best!
What I Pair With A Weight Bench
A weight bench’s full potential is unlocked when used with other resistance training equipment.
Here’s what I would recommend pairing a weight bench with:
1) Heavy adjustable dumbbells.
Heavy dumbbells make an awesome pairing with a weight bench.
In fact, these two pieces of equipment alone are enough to effectively build muscle and/or lose fat at home.
I personally use the Powerblock Elites.
Having researched and compared over 15 different models, they are the best value for money 90-lb selectorized dumbbells you can buy.
You’ll need the stage 2 and stage 3 addon kits though.
The Powerblocks offer good value for money, are easy to use, durable, and come with the famous Powerblock brand name (you get a 5-year warranty with these dumbbells).
The best thing about selectorized dumbbells is their space-saving design- one pair replaces up to 28 different pairs of fixed-weight dumbbells.
But if you don’t have $300+ to spend on selectorized dumbbells, then the Yes4All spinlock dumbbells are the next best thing.
2) Heavy resistance bands.
If dumbbells are too bulky or expensive for your home setup, then I would recommend resistance bands instead.
Bands are a cheap way to get a good workout at home.
One of their best features is their space-effectiveness and convenience.
They can literally be stored and used anywhere.
If I’m at home, then I can use my bands and bench for a whole-body workout.
But I can also take the bands to the park if the sun’s out.
I personally use the Undersun Fitness band.
They’re a bit more expensive than their budget competitors, but you get a lifetime warranty and superior build quality (I’ve had 2 sets of cheap bands snap on me in the past).
I’d also advise getting gloves.
These will protect your hands from friction burns which can happen quite easily with bands that have a good grip.
You don’t need expensive ones.
All they need to do is form a barrier between your hand and the rubber.
I use and recommend the Ihuan ventilated neoprene gym gloves.
That’s 11 great benefits of a weight bench for building muscle at home.
The main advantages primarily revolve around the provision of a stable base to safely lift heavy weights from.
And this is essential for building maximum muscle size and strength.
But benches are very versatile and they can also be used for other purposes such as bodyweight training and fat burning.
Furthermore, adjustable weight benches unlock a wealth of incline/decline exercises that will help you to reach your training goal.
Do you think you’d benefit from a weight bench?
Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions! You can find my details on the “contact us” page.
You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition (with printable worksheets) I used to go from skinny to ripped!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)