Choosing a Workout Bench

One of the most basic pieces of gym equipment is the workout bench, but that doesn’t mean that just any option will do. You need one that will fit with the types of workouts you intend to do. Your bench also has to be sturdy, not only in terms of weight-bearing capacity, but in its ability to resist wobble. You may also want it to be portable.

Capabilities and Add-Ons

These are the most obvious differences between makes and models of benches. Some have adjustable leg sections, come with barbell racks, or are sold with other equipment of this nature. Others come as just the plain bench.

Is one type better than the other? Not necessarily. If you already have a barbell rack, for instance, you probably don’t need to get another. On the other hand, the option is great if you’re just starting to assemble your home setup.


This is essential for all furniture, but it’s even more important for a workout bench. When you order one, remember that it not only has to hold you up, but also any weight you choose to lift. Get one that is rated above that combined amount – it’s always good to have a buffer. Plus, you may lift more in the future, and you won’t want to have to buy a new bench as soon as you make serious gains.

The ability to resist side-to-side wobble is also important. Look for features like crossbars between the legs or more than four legs pointing down. While it is possible to build wobble-free furniture without these features, they are common on pieces meant to hold a lot of weight.


Make sure to remember a couple of basics as you select your workout bench. The first of these is the amount of padding present. You don’t want so much that it feels like trying to lift from a bed, but it’s important to have enough to provide some cushion. Otherwise, your back could start to hurt.

The other one is height. Make sure to choose a bench that is the right height to work with any stationary equipment you want to pair it with. Also, make sure the height is comfortable for you.

Finally, it can be worthwhile to give a nod to appearance. While workout benches aren’t supposed to be fashion statements, one that has standard colors and looks well-made will be more motivating than one that looks garish or cheap.

With these things in mind, it’ll be easy to pick the right workout bench. Soon, you’ll be breaking it in with your favorite routine.

Ellen Cone