What are some bench press sets that work well for a home gym? Here’s what you want to know.
The most efficient way to bench press in a home gym is with a power cage and an adjustable bench. Dedicated bench press benches can work but are less multifunctional and not always as sturdy as a power cage. A barbell and weight plates are always needed.
Find out more about exactly what you need and what’s best for your situation below.
What Do You Need To Bench Press?
The bench press is just one of those exercises that is so popular, pretty much everyone knows it, even people that don’t work out. Almost any gym in the world will have at least one bench press setup but most of them have more than one.
If you want to bench press at home, what do you need exactly? There are a few ways you can go about it, some are more space efficient than others.
To do a bench press, you’ll need a few items;
- Barbell: A full sized barbell is the best option. Some weight benches can fit a 6’ barbell but those are difficult to use on any other equipment. If you are buying a separate barbell just for bench pressing, one that fits your bench is fine, otherwise a full sized men’s or women’s barbell is better and more usable all round.
- Weight plates: You’ll need a set of weight plates as well. Of course you’ll need as much weight as you can lift but preferably a bit more so you’ve got room to grow. Make sure to get the right basic set of plates so you can follow a linear progression without having to make huge steps.
- Bench: The bench press is performed laying down. It can be flat or incline but laying down nonetheless. You also want your elbows to be able to go further down than your body to perform a bench press with full range of motion. A bench of some sorts is the best solution.
- Something to hold the barbell at the correct height: You want the barbell to be suspended above your chest when laying down. Lifting a full bar from the floor and then laying down, lifting and putting it back is no good.
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The barbell and weight plates are necessary no matter what other equipment you buy. However, the bench and what holds the barbell can be different. Let’s look at the three best options below;
1. Fixed Bench Press Bench
The simplest way to bench press is with an integrated weight bench. That means the same type of bench press set you see at commercial gyms. The bench and barbell holder is one piece of equipment and specifically made for bench pressing and that alone.
Suggested: How much does a bench press bench cost?
If you’ve got enough space in your home gym and the bench press is important, this is the way to go. These benches are also made for higher load limits so if you want to lift more than 300 lbs., these integrated benches are the best.
However, there are some drawbacks to these benches as well;
- Only suitable for a single exercise
- No adjustable backrest, only for flat benching
- Takes up a good amount of space.
- No safety pins to catch a barbell when dropped
If you’re looking for a bench like this, the Ader bench is the best option. It’s super sturdy with a 1500 lbs. weight limit and is built like a rock. It’s pretty affordable to boot.
- For flat bench pressing
- 1500 lbs. load limit
- 2 square tubing from 12 guage steel
- Comfortable back rest
2. Adjustable Bench Pressing Bench
If you’ve got more space and already have a power rack, an adjustable weight bench is a good option. This is one piece of equipment with built in barbell holder and an adjustable backrest. This way you have a dedicated piece of equipment where you can do flat and incline bench presses.
There are quite a few choices in this category but some are definitely better than others. The load limit of these benches is often relatively low. So don’t expect to bench press more than 300 lbs. on one of these and for it to stay stable. However, for people that bench press less than 300 lbs. these are a good choice.
Many of these also offer some extra functionality like a leg builder. This often means you can attach a part that allows you to do leg extensions and leg curls. That’s a nice benefit since this is actually a bit difficult to get in a home gym otherwise.
These benches usually work with a 6’ barbell. So you can also save some money and space by going for a shorter bar. Double check that this is the case for the specific model you’re going to buy though.
- For flat or incline bench press
- 600 lbs. total weight limit
- Includes leg developer
- Works with 6 or longer barbells
- Height adjustable barbell cups
3. Power Rack/Squat Stands and Adjustable Bench
Space and money is often a limiting factor in home gyms. So the equipment you buy ideally serves more than one function. A simple weight bench that’s just used for bench pressing can’t be used for much else. A barbell and weight plates can be used for almost countless exercises as long as you’ve got the right supporting equipment. So getting the right supporting equipment that can be used for bench pressing as well as other lifts is the most space and money efficient option.
In a home gym that’s accomplished by getting a;
- Power rack or squat stands
- Adjustable bench
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Combine that with a barbell and weight plates and you have yourself a setup that is great for pretty much all barbell exercises. You can perform bench presses but also squats, overhead presses, deadlifts, curls, etc.
A power rack is preferable in my opinion. Because it’s a cage you can lift inside, it’s safer if something were to go wrong. Power racks are also more stable and can handle more weight than squat stands. On the flipside, squat stands are much cheaper, smaller and easier to move around.
Suggested: Squat stands vs. power rack
To lie down, you’ll need a weightlifting bench. In this case a bench that doesn’t hold a barbell is fine but it’s a good idea to get an adjustable bench. This means the backrest is adjustable in angle. This allows for flat bench pressing but also incline bench pressing as well as a whole host of other barbell and dumbbell exercises.
That flexibility is why this should be the first choice for most home gym builders.