How Tall Should A Weight Bench Be? Avoid The Mistake I Made Buying My First Bench!

How tall should a weight bench be?

An important factor to consider when buying a weight bench is its height. This is something many beginners fail to think about until the bench is already being used. And by that point, it’s too late! So how tall should a weight bench be?

A weight bench should ideally be between 17 to 18 inches tall. This is the IPF-recommended height for the bench press. It’s low enough to provide adequate barbell clearance space and tall enough for weight lifters to comfortably plant their feet into the ground.

I still vividly remember buying my first weight bench.

It was the Flybird FB149 which stood at 20 inches tall.

I started bench pressing, only to find my short legs tiptoeing precariously like a kid reaching for the cookie jar!

That’s a buying mistake I definitely learned from!

Let’s explain how you can avoid the same mistake.

Why it's important to choose a weight bench thats not too tall for you.
This is why you shouldn’t buy a weight bench that’s too tall for you!

Note: I’m 5’5″ so the Flybird FB149 (click here to see the user-reviews) 20″ height was a bit too tall for me. But it’s an awesome bench for people between 5’6″ and 6’0″. If you fall outside this height range, then the Fitness Reality weight bench (click here to see the reviews) stands 18″ from the floor which is more comfortable for your dimensions.

In A Hurry? Best-Value Benches For Your Height

A Good Weight Bench Is 17″ to 18″ Tall.

A good weight bench should fall within (or at least close to) the range of 17 to 18 inches

In support of this, the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) bench specifications are:

  • Length: 122cm (48″).
  • Width: 29-32cm (11.5-12.5″).
  • Height: 42-45cm (16.5-17.5″).

Note: just to save on any confusion, the height should be measured directly from the floor to the top surface of the weight bench.

The length and width of a weight bench can vary greatly depending on the exact bench model.

However, you should always aim for a height between 17 to 18 inches.

Next, I’ll reveal the typical dimensions in flat, adjustable, and Olympic weight benches.

Flat weight bench dimensions.

Typical flat weight bench dimensions.

A flat bench is the simplest form of a bench.

It’s basically a flat surface that is supported on 2-4 legs.

Typical flat weight bench dimensions are:

  • Length: 114cm (45″).
  • Width: 30cm (12″).
  • Height: 43cm (17″).

Flat benches often have a lower ground clearance compared to adjustable benches.

That’s because, unlike adjustable benches, they don’t have any flat/incline/decline (FID) mechanisms that add to the height.

Here are some examples of flat benches and their dimensions:

Flat Bench ExampleLengthWidthHeight
Rogue boltogether utility bench47.5″13″18″
Marcy flat weight bench41″14″16.5″
Rep Fitness FB500048″12″17″

Adjustable weight bench dimensions.

Typical adjustable weight bench dimensions.

An adjustable bench is also known as an FID bench.

It features a backrest that can be adjusted to flat, incline, and decline angles.

Typical adjustable weight bench dimensions are:

  • Length: 132cm (52″).
  • Width: 33cm (13″).
  • Height: 46cm (18″).

Adjustable weight benches are often taller than flat benches because they need some ground clearance for the adjustment mechanism.

Additionally, cheap adjustable benches are even taller and wider compared to expensive adjustable benches.

This is because cheap benches are often made from light-duty steel, whereas expensive adjustable benches are constructed from heavy-duty steel.

As a result, cheap adjustable benches need a wider base to provide sufficient support.

Here are some example adjustable benches and their dimensions:

Adjustable Bench ExampleLengthWidthHeight
Rogue AB252″12″18″
REP Fitness AB310049.5″11.75″17″
Flybird adjustable bench36″16″20″

Incline benches, like those above, are essential to turn skinny pecs into a full chest. Combining an incline bench with heavy adjustable dumbbells like the Powerblock Elites is one of the most affordable ways for beginners to do this at home.

Olympic weight bench dimensions.

Typical Olympic weight bench dimensions.

An Olympic weight bench is a heavy-duty bench that often has a built-in barbell rack.

As a result, they are wider and lengthier than regular flat and adjustable benches.

But the height remains similar.

Typical Olympic weight bench dimensions are:

  • Length: 165cm (65″).
  • Width: 127cm (50″).
  • Height: 43cm (17″).

Here are some examples of Olympic benches and their dimensions:

Olympic Bench ExampleLengthWidthHeight
Proform Olympic bench66″ 40″ 17″
Bodymax BE27563″52″17″
TKO Olympic bench64″65″17″

To find out more about weight bench specifications, you can check out my other article which reveals the average weight bench dimensions of 12 popular weight benches.

Why A Weight Bench Should Be At Least 17″.

You’re probably wondering why a weight bench is usually made to be at least 17 inches tall.

There are 2 reasons why a bench shouldn’t be too short.

1) A low bench makes it difficult to reach the barbell during a bench press.

The first reason is rack compatibility.

If a bench has a height of fewer than 17 inches, many people would find it difficult to reach the barbell during a bench press.

That’s because most bench press racks hold a barbell at a height of around 45 inches from the floor.

Furthermore, the average human arm is around 25 inches.

If the bench is 17 inches tall and your arm is 25 inches long, then the combined height is 42 inches.

And that’s tall enough to reach the barbell (obviously you would adjust the barbell height accordingly using the rack notches).

This issue doesn’t apply for the dumbbell bench press. If you’re interested in dumbbell training, you can check out my other article to find out what to look for when buying adjustable dumbbells!

2) A low bench makes it difficult for tall people to plant their feet.

The second reason relates to your ability to keep your feet planted whilst you lay/sit on the bench.

This is important for stability and power generation in exercises like the flat bench press and seated shoulder press.

If the bench is too low, then tall people can find it difficult and uncomfortable to keep their feet planted on the ground.

That’s because a low ground clearance means your knees would sit above the hips as you lay flat.

And this is not ideal for stability and power generation.

If you’re on the fence about buying a weight bench, you may be interested in learning more about the benefits of using a weight bench, here.

Why A Weight Bench Should Not Exceed 18″.

You’re probably also wondering why many weight benches don’t exceed 18 inches tall.

Again, there are 2 reasons why a bench shouldn’t be too tall.

1) A tall bench makes it difficult to un-rack a barbell during a bench press.

If your weight bench is too tall, then your torso becomes too close to the barbell.

When the barbell is too close to your chest, it makes it hard to generate the initial leverage and power required to un-rack a heavy barbell (just like how it becomes difficult to push someone when they are too close to you).

Therefore a weight bench cannot be too tall, otherwise, it becomes difficult to set up a bench press.

Read my other article to find out how much a weight bench should cost!

2) A tall bench makes it difficult for short people to plant their feet.

If a weight bench is too tall, then people with short legs will find it difficult to maintain a solid connection between the feet and ground.

Instead, the feet will dangle precariously above the ground.

Again, this reduces stability and power generation in the bench press and seated shoulder press.

This problem becomes compounded further when the adjustable bench is set with an inclined seat.

At an incline, the seat further increases the height between your feet and the ground.

And this makes it even harder to maintain a solid ground connection

How To Choose A Weight Bench For Your Height.

There are many different weight bench models out there.

Additionally, they all have different dimensions.

So here’s a quick guide for how to choose a weight bench height according to your personal height.

How to Perform Bench Press - Tutorial & Proper Form
Choose the right gym bench height to do the barbell bench press properly!

Short people under 5 ft 7 should get a 17-18″ bench or less

If you’re a short person, then the best bench height is 17-18″ or less.

This is particularly important when choosing an adjustable weight bench for short legs because incline settings will add further height to the weight bench (because your body leans backward).

By following these guidelines, people with shorter legs and arms will still have enough height to reach a racked barbell, but the bench will also be low enough so that the feet can be firmly planted onto the ground.

The Fitness Reality bench is a great bench for short people. You can find the cheapest price here.

Taller people over 6 ft should get a 17-18″ bench or more

If you’re a tall person, the best bench height is 18″ or more.

By choosing an 18″ tall bench, people with longer legs and arms will have enough barbell clearance to un-rack, and also have enough ground clearance to comfortably plant the feet onto the ground.

Use a bench with dumbbells to build chest muscle

The Flybird FB149 is a great bench for tall people. You can find the cheapest price here.

Check out my other article to find out if you even need a workout bench for your home workouts!


I’ve explained how tall your weight bench should be.

Most weight benches are in the region of 17 to 18 inches tall.

This provides the optimal height for barbell clearance and foot planting, which are both essential for generating maximum power in the bench press.

All premium benches are made to this recommended height.

But many budget/mid-range benches are often taller or shorter.

A bench that is too tall or short is not a complete disaster. But it just won’t be ideal for bench pressing.

So make sure you do your own diligent research by reading user reviews to see if other people have experienced height issues with said bench!

What height bench will you be getting?

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!

Peace Out,


(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)


I'm Kal (B.S, M.S)- a health & fitness writer and owner of Kalibre Fitness. I love to nerd out on weight training and nutrition. My primary interests are in muscle hypertrophy mechanisms and strength development. You can connect with me in the "Contact Us" section below!

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