Adjustable weight bench

An adjustable bench has a backrest that can, as the name suggests, be adjusted to several different angles. This increases the versatility of the bench and allows you to perform a range of additional exercises, which in turn allows you to better target specific muscle groups. Depending on the model of the bench, you can go anywhere from a decline angle of 30 degrees, up to an incline of around 90 degrees.

Flat weight bench

A flat bench is just that – flat. The seat/padding is a single piece that does not move and cannot incline or decline. They are generally lighter and cheaper than an adjustable bench due to their solid one-piece construction. They are a good option if you are not looking to perform any incline exercises. Given space is often at a premium in a home gym, we would suggest going for an adjustable bench due to the added versatility. Once you have decided what type of bench you are going to buy, it is time to look at some of the key features that make a quality bench.

You can get away with a lighter flat bench as they have fewer moving parts than an adjustable bench. We would generally recommend a flat bench that is at least 15KG – again this will depend on how much you are going to be lifting. The VULCAN Commercial Flat bench weighs 26KG.

One factor that many people tend to ignore is how they will use their bench in their gym. While a heavier bench will generally mean a sturdier construction, it will also make it harder to move around, even if it comes with a handle and wheels! If you move your bench frequently in and out of your squat rack during workouts, it might be easier to go for a bench around 30kg, rather than an overbuilt 50kg bench!

b) Gap between the backrest and seat. Adjustable benches will have a gap between the seat and the backrest, which is necessary to allow the backrest to move into an incline position. This gap is most noticeable when in a flat position. Some poor-quality benches have a large gap which can make it uncomfortable to perform flat bench exercises. We generally think this issue is overblown unless you are looking at an extremely poorly designed bench. You can get a no-gap adjustable bench, but a good quality one will often set you back $800-$1,000.

c) Adjusting mechanism. There are generally two types of mechanisms, a pin-locking mechanism, and a ladder mechanism. Personally, I think both are equally good options, but some people prefer one style over another. The ladder mechanism is generally considered quicker to change adjustment angles.