Weight benches – the compact muscle trainer
Weight benches for strength training at home
They are indispensable for ambitious strength training: weight benches. These home workout stations also make it possible to work efficiently on building different muscle groups, even in your own home. In addition to the use of barbells, weights and dumbbell sets, the weight bench is also ideal for strength exercises such as sit ups and, with the right equipment, they can be expanded to create a complete strength system.
Structure and function of a weight bench
As a single unit or as the heart of a complex strength system: A weight bench must above all be stable. A high-quality steel frame design ensures this. The classic weight bench (also called the flat bench or incline bench) stands on two metal feet, which are wider than the bench itself for stability. In most cases, it features a two-part padded bench surface: the smaller part is intended as a seat and is ideally adjustable in height, the longer part forms the backrest, which has an individually-adjustable incline angle. Often, storage space for barbells is attached at the head of the bench. In addition, many modern models provide padded footrests, which help facilitate exercises like crunches.
Before use, the incline bench should first be adjusted to the size of the user. The height should be adjusted so that the seat is approximately level with the knees. Then the backrest should be moved into the appropriate position for the intended exercise. After these small adjustments, nothing stands in the way of a comprehensive, intense training session.
Fields of application and exercises for the weight bench
Weight benches were among the most important components of classic strength training. For building and developing the biceps or ab muscles, or for strengthening the back muscles: with a comfortable fitness device, both functional and isolated strength training are possible. Lying flat on the back, the weighted barbell is pushed upwards. This exercise can also be performed with the back rest inclined upwards – the “incline bench press” is particularly suitable for building up the upper chest muscles. Inclining the back rest downwards is only recommended for real professionals – the “negative” incline bench press. With the back rest raised, you can perform a variety of exercises with dumbbells while seated, for example the popular biceps curls. With one leg kneeling on the bench, very effective dumbbell exercises can be performed – especially to strengthen the shoulder and back muscles. And in a supine position, an incline bench is ideal for challenging sit-up exercises. This does require a weight bench with an integrated foot support.
When using a weight bench for strengthening barbell training, a suitable rack for the barbell is also important. Many modern weight benches come ready-equipped with an integrated rack at the head end. In general, beginners in particular should still have a spotter for the bench press: a
training partner who can coach the user and make sure that they do not get injured during exercises with heavy barbells.
Important factors when buying a weight bench
There are some issues that fitness enthusiasts should consider when purchasing a weight bench. The obvious first point is that you must have enough space to set up your training equipment. In contrast to smaller devices such as vibration trainers, weight benches are not very flexible – so the storage space should ideally be reserved entirely for the fitness bench. When measuring, it is important to consider not just the length and width of the weight bench itself, but also the space for a rack when training with barbells.
Space is one important consideration when buying a weight bench. Other factors to consider include the maximum permissible weight, the adjustability of the individual components, the length and width of the backrest, and the outer material and the padding of the
bench. Adjustability options: a bench should ideally be adjustable in height and have an adjustable backrest. This is called an incline bench.
An incline bench can then be adjusted to either lie completely flat, be inclined, or lifted into a seat position with the back in a vertical position. A flat, stable support surface is important for the bench press. The incline is used for exercises such as sit-ups. The sitting position is employed when working with dumbbell sets. The maximum permissible total weight is given for every weight bench – and includes the body weight of the athlete plus the total mass of the training weights. As even beginners can manage weights of over 50 kilos for the bench press, it is important to ensure that the equipment has a high enough weight capacity.