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Picking the right bench for your home or garage gym can be a bit confusing. It doesn’t help that there are two different types and while they are mostly the same, there are some key differences. In this article, we’ll go through the differences, pros, and cons of both fixed and adjustable benches so you can choose the right one.
Adjustable benches have a backrest that can be set to different angles while fixed benches are just flat. Both types have their pros and cons. For most home gyms, an adjustable bench is better because it allows for more exercises but in some cases, a fixed bench can be better.
Below we’ll go into the exact differences, pros, and cons of both types. We’ll also figure out which bench is best for you.
The Two Types Of Weightlifting Benches
Guess what? Not all weightlifting benches are created equal! There are two main types to choose from: fixed benches and adjustable benches.
Both of these types have their pros and cons and are suitable for different exercises. Yes, there is a lot of overlap between the two types but there are also some key differences.
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of each type so you can make an informed decision for your workouts.
Differences Between Flat and Adjustable Benches
Weightlifting benches come in different shapes and sizes, each catering to specific workout needs. When considering your options, it’s important to understand the nuances that set them apart. Let’s delve into the distinctions between flat benches and adjustable benches across various key factors:
|Type||Fixed Bench||Adjustable Bench|
|Versatility||Only for flat exercises.||Allows for fine-tuned muscle targeting.|
|Pad Gap||Single pad without gap||Large gap on cheap models, minimal on better ones.|
|Price||Affordable||More expensive for similar quality|
|Load Limit||500+ pounds, even on cheap models||300 pounds for cheap models.|
|Weight||Lighter, easier to move||Heavier because of the adjustment mechanism|
|Stability||Very stable due to lack of moving parts.||Can feel less stable, especially low-end models.|
Muscle Targeting & Versatility
Flat Benches: Flat benches primarily emphasize horizontal pressing exercises. They engage the chest, shoulders, and triceps, making them ideal for classic bench presses and other similar movements.
Adjustable Benches: The flexibility of adjustable benches allows you to fine-tune muscle targeting. With the ability to incline or decline the bench, you can isolate specific portions of muscle groups. For example; this means better upper chest engagement during incline presses and enhanced lower chest involvement during decline presses.
Fixed vs. Adjustable Bench For a Garage Gym
Now, let’s bring this battle of the benches into the context of your garage gym. Your space is precious, and you want to make the most of it, right? So, which bench should you pick?
Low-end adjustable benches can feel a bit rickety and if your budget is very limited, a flat bench will get you something that feels more stable. However, if you get a mid-range adjustable bench, it will be great for most people.
The majority of home gym owners won’t lift super heavy weights that require a flat bench. So you might as well take the extra exercise options an adjustable bench offers.
If you don’t need all the adjustability and just need a flat bench, save yourself some money and space and get a fixed bench. However, you have to be very sure you don’t want any adjustability.
Another reason could be that you need a high load capacity. If you bench very heavy (400+ lbs.), a fixed bench is going to be sturdier and more stable, especially when using the same budget.
Pros and Cons Of Fixed Benches
Pros and Cons Of Adjustable Benches
Flat Bench Exercises
The flat bench is a simple piece of equipment but it allows you to do a lot of exercises that would otherwise be impossible or difficult to do;
And that’s just a selection of the most common ones. There are more different and variations of these exercises that can also be done with a flat bench.
Adjustable Bench Exercises
An adjustable bench allows you to do all the exercises above when in the flat position. On top of that, an adjustable weight bench adds a lot of different exercise options, mainly incline (and decline if available on your bench) variations.
What’s an “FID” Bench?
You might have seen the abbreviation “FID” mentioned in the context of weight benches but what does that actually mean?
Not all adjustable benches are FID benches since some lack the decline adjustability.
A weight bench with FID capabilities can be adjusted to these three different positions, offering versatility for performing various exercises that target different muscle groups at different angles. This adjustability is particularly useful for exercises like bench presses, shoulder presses, and other movements that require different bench angles to effectively engage specific muscle groups.