Are you looking to upgrade a commercial gym or set up a home gym for yourself? If so, having the right gym equipment is crucial. And one of the most significant pieces of workout equipment you can invest in is a weight bench.
However, should you go for a flat bench or an adjustable bench? We’ve made a quick comparison to help you decide.
Flat Bench Vs. Adjustable Bench – A Professional Guide to Choosing the Right Gym Bench For You
Flat Utility Bench
A flat bench is a home gym equipment that resembles a typical bench. It is a regular, firm, and stable training partner for various exercises.
You can use a flat weight workout bench in many strength workouts. It allows you to sit, stand, or lie properly to perform different movements. Bench presses are a good example. Shoulder presses and weight flyers are also suitable for a flat bench.
A flat utility bench is a good choice if you only use the weight bench for workouts, like incline presses and bench presses, or you mainly train your shoulders, chest, and arms. Some flat benches come with a leg roller, or you can combine them with weight bars or weights.
You’ll usually find this bench in the dumbbell area or a power rack in a commercial gym.
Potential advantages of a flat bench
- A flat weight bench weighs less than adjustable benches, making it easier to move around and store.
- It is safe for home use.
- Flat benches feel more stable because of their lack of adjustability.
- It may be more comfortable if you’re a lifter because there’s no gap between the seat and the bench.
- It helps you increase efficiency and speed by maintaining the correct posture every time you lift weights. In the same way, a flat bench ensures that you focus on your weight without losing your balance. There’s also less discomfort because most flat benches come in soft cushions.
- It is less expensive than an adjustable bench.
Why are flat benches less expensive than adjustable benches?
Flat weight benches are generally less expensive than adjustable benches because it requires less raw materials, complex components, and engineering. Most flat benches are sold at around $160 to $220, while adjustable weight benches come in at around $200 to $500. Still, exact prices vary by model and brand.
Adjustable Weight Bench
An adjustable weight bench is a training tool designed to support heavy loads. It offers a reliable and safe base on which to train.
A high-quality adjustable bench is usually made with a durable steel frame with foam pads (a back pad and a seat pad), providing optimal comfort and support. This bench allows you to get the most out of your workout.
It often has a more extended bench pad than a flat bench, which is better for tall people. Yet, even those with regular height will find it an advantage because they will feel more comfortable and secure on the bench.
When in the flat position, the adjustable weight bench has extra support at the head of the equipment.
Potential advantages of an adjustable bench
- It is versatile with three adjustable back angles (flat, drop, and tilt). You can place it in different positions and do more than just lift weights.
- It provides concrete support for movements so you can maintain a consistent gesture.
- It provides a variety of workout combinations and offers full-body workouts.
- It efficiently isolates several muscle groups to focus your effort on particular body areas.
Whether you prefer a flat or an adjustable weight bench, learning the proper form to keep your body safe and prevent injury is essential. It can also maximize the time you spend working out.
If you’re serious about weight lifting, you need a spotter to ensure safety. Moreover, don’t arch your back using an adjustable weight bench.
Additionally, you should avoid making these common mistakes:
- Lack of support to re-rack the bar
- Bench press without a spotter. (You can, but we wouldn’t recommend it.)
- Uneven grip
- Lifting most weight with your dominant side. Doing so means you’re probably at a tilt.
Regardless of the bench press you do on a flat or adjustable bench. It’s essential to warm up your shoulders and chest properly by stretching or using resistance bands. If you’re flat benching, ensure scapular stability and full shoulder mobility to lessen the potential for injury.
Choose an adjustable bench if you’re recovering from a back injury
Let’s discuss the gray area in this Flat Bench vs. Adjustable Bench comparison. That is when you’re recovering from a back injury.
Your back will bear the most weight of your body and the additional weights you carry if you use a flat bench after a back injury. Contrastingly, you can focus solely on your arms and not harm your back if you use an adjustable bench.
Related: Exercises to Do On a Weight Bench
Both Flat and Adjustable Weight Benches Can Be Used for Bodyweight and Dumbbell Exercises
A common benefit of flat and adjustable weight benches is that they allow a full range of motion in bodyweight and dumbbell workouts that would have been difficult in a standing position.
You can use any of the two benches to support bodyweight workouts, like incline pushups, triceps dips, step-ups, and spit squats.
Other Types Of Benches
While flat and adjustable weight benches are the most popular types, they’re not the only options you have in the market. Some types of benches you may run into are the following:
- Folding weight bench
This weight bench is foldable for easy storage. The downside, though, is it typically has a lighter weight capacity than your average weight bench. Nevertheless, investing in this type of bench remains excellent on many levels.
A folding weight bench allows you to strengthen your muscles every workout, but its adaptability makes the gym equipment an essential item among fitness enthusiasts. It may even come with extras, like internal storage compartments, latches, leg hold-down bars, weight holders, and barbell holders.
- Olympic weight bench
This type of weight bench generally comes with a rack. It is a little wider than standard free-standing weight benches.
The main benefit of using this weight bench is that you can do heavy weights. Furthermore, it can help you work on your entire body. You can do leg extensions, barbell chest presses, decline chest presses, bicep curls, and leg curls.
People Also Ask: Weight Benches FAQs
Is a flat bench or an adjustable bench better?
A flat bench is better than an adjustable bench. If you don’t see yourself doing incline press, just go with the flat bench. The flat bench is cheaper.
Should I buy an incline bench or a flat bench?
Buy an incline bench if you enjoy exercise versatility. However, opt for a flat bench if you want a more stable and secure workout bench. Some incline or adjustable benches may wobble. A flat bench, on the other hand, has no moving parts. So, it’s excellent.
Do you need an adjustable workout bench?
If you plan on taking workouts longer than a couple of months and take workouts seriously, it’s wiser to invest in an adjustable workout bench. With it, you can safely perform exercises flat on an incline, flat and decline and in a seated position.
There are also backrest positions at different increments from zero to 85 degrees, so workouts are more challenging or easier, depending on your choice.
What’s the difference between a standard and an Olympic weight bench?
A standard weight bench is designed for beginners and casual users. Moreover, the material is often thin tubing made from a composite alloy or aluminum. It is also equipped with a standard weight bar and light padding.
Meanwhile, an Olympic weight bench is competition-grade gym equipment. It is usually made of higher quality materials than the standard weight bench. It’s also meant to support a higher amount of weight. This type of workout bench is rare in home gyms unless the owner is a competitive weightlifter.
In short, a standard bench is meant for people who want a general level of fitness doing weight training, while the Olympic bench targets those who do advanced weight training.
The Verdict: Which One Should You Buy?
Flat benches are often enough for most home workout fans. They are reliable, more affordable and will likely last for a few years. So, if you want to lift heavy in a few workouts, like chest press and bench press, you’ll be fine with just a flat bench.
However, if you want to maximize your results in workouts, invest in an adjustable bench. This bench allows you to do more workouts and hit some muscles slightly differently. With an adjustable bench, you can incorporate other exercises, like incline chest press, incline bench press, incline bicep curls, barbell bench press, and shoulder press.
Meanwhile, an adjustable bench is best for people who want a blend of both versatility and comfort.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer as to which weight bench is better. It all comes down to preference, what you’re trying to achieve, and your personal goals.
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Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.