Choosing a Weight Bench
There is a ton of weightlifting equipment out there and the bench is one of the most important pieces.
As with all purchases, you should do your due diligence. Of course if you are ordering a weight bench or browsing the stores, you will want to do your initial research into product quality, customer reviews, and the amount of time the weight bench manufacturer has been in business.
After that, you should examine and try out each bench before you make your decision. Listed below are some common criteria for selecting a bench that will make you happy and keep you safe.
Choosing a Weight Bench
You want to choose a bench that:
- has adequate padding – press your thumb into the bench and if you can feel wood or metal, choose a different bench. Hard benches can cause T4 syndrome, which is a misalignment of the throacic spine. This is a condition that affects the nerves in your arm, which causes muscle weakness.
- allows your feet to rest flat on the floor while in the standard bench condition – keeping your feet flat on the floor increases your stability, which allows you to drive through your hips when pressing. Being able to lie flat also decreases the chance of spinal injury and muscle strains caused by rounding the lower back.
- can lay flat or at an incline so you can train at varying angles
- has barbell hooks that are horizontally 30-36 inches apart to allow for wide grip benching and provides a wider base for stabilization – if you can’t comfortably rack and unrack the bar at your widest hand position, choose a different bench
- has at least two or better yet three hooks – in case you can’t complete a rep you may need to rack the bar on a lower hook. Also, you will need a higher hook for incline benching than you will for flat benching.
- includes leg extension / hamstring curl equipment that is easy to add and remove – one leg hamstring curls are great for the hammies, and while not nearly as useful as hamstring curls, leg extensions are often used by bodybuilders to build and shape the structure of their quads.
Even if you are just looking to get a non-adjustable flat bench without any leg equipment, you should still worry about the bench padding, the amount of horizontal space between the racks, and the height of the bench such that your feet can touch the floor. These three main concerns will help you to have a stronger bench and decrease the risk of injury.