The bench press is one of the most popular exercises in the gym. It’s a great exercise and many people want to build a big and strong chest. What are the best multi-station home gyms for this purpose?
Here are the three multi-gyms with the highest bench press resistance.
- Bowflex Blaze/Xtreme 2SE: 410 lbs.
- BodyCraft Xpress Pro: 400 lbs.
- Body Solid F500/3: 310 lbs.
Those three machines also have very high leg press resistances if that is necessary.
Why are those the best options and what are some multi gyms that help you build a great chest? Keep reading to find out.
Need to bench press more than 410 lbs? Free weights are your solution. Check out my Ebook! It’ll show you exactly how to create a great home gym with free weights.
Multi-gyms with highest bench press resistance
Building a big and strong chest requires a bit of resistance. Pressing 150 lbs. isn’t really going to make you look like Arnold. While you can adjust the number of repetitions and sets to get the most out of lighter weights, at some point you’ll want to have a heavier weight to keep progressing.
Regularly adding weight to your workouts is a main driver of becoming stronger and growing muscle mass. Many people want to build a big impressive chest and they need a lot of resistance for this purpose.
So which all-in-one home gym can give you the heaviest chest workout?
Here is the top 3 of home gyms with the highest resistance.
I didn’t specify the model because there are multiple options that all have the same maximum resistance.
Mainly the Blaze and Xtreme 2SE models. There are a few differences between those two but the resistance is the same. The Xtreme 2SE is amazing value for money and you’ll be hard pressed to find something that allows you to do the same amount of exercises for the price. While it’s not exactly cheap, try finding a home gym that does the same and has the same quality that even comes close in price. Check the current price for the Bowflex Blaze on Amazon.
As standard, the Bowflex home gyms come with 210 lbs. resistance rods. However, it’s quite easy to upgrade them to 310 or some even to 410 lbs. That means it’s the heaviest resistance you can get for your bench press in a multi gym. If you want to go heavier, you’re better off with a separate machine that can be plate loaded or a barbell.
The fact that uses Bowflex rods means that the resistance is much more linear than with a weight stack which means that it feels actually a bit heavier than the traditional home gym.
2. BodyCraft Xpress Pro
Just behind the Bowflex machines is the BodyCraft Xpress Pro. This machine has a kind of multiplier option that doubles the resistance for the leg press and the bench press. So while the standard machine comes with a 150 lbs. weight stack, you can upgrade this to 200 lbs. which is doubled to 400 lbs. of resistance for the bench press and leg press.
This machine is one of the best you can get. It’s very sturdy, a lot of exercise options and adjustability to fit you perfectly. Plenty of add-ons available including a leg press which also offers 400 lbs. of resistance.
3. Body Solid F500/3
While not exactly going as far as the Bowflex machines even with the heaviest weight stack, it’s still a great multi-gym. The Fusion 500 has a 310 lbs. weight stack which is enough resistance for the vast majority of people.
While you can probably lift a bit more weight on a machine than with a barbell, 310 lbs. is still a very respectable bench press. As you can see below, it will be plenty for the vast majority of people.
Also, there is a leg press add-on available for this machine. That leg press extension has a double up option for the resistance so for just the leg press the resistance actually goes up to 620 lbs.
How much resistance is enough for a machine bench press?
You might be wondering how much resistance you actually need? Since upgrading machines is quite a bit more complicated than just buying extra weight plates, it’s good to buy the right one from the beginning.
How much is enough? That depends completely on you and your goals.
- How strong do you want to get?
- How big are you?
- What’s your gender?
- What’s your age?
The first question might be a bit difficult to answer. Take a look at Strenghtlevel.com to see what you can expect.
Want to bench press with free weights? Click here to find out exactly what you need.
On strengthlevel you can choose your exercise, age, weight and gender. From there you can see what the averages are of people in similar situations. They divide the weights into different levels. From beginner to elite. Most are pretty self-explanatory. Beginners are people that have never done anything like this exercise. Elite are the top 0.01% of weightlifters. Intermediate is achievable after maybe 2 years of consistent training.
Let’s take a look at a few different examples to see how much resistance you need.
I’ve taken the weights from the chest press since that more closely resembles the exercise you do on a multi-gym.
As you can see, the vast majority of people don’t need more than about 200 lbs. of resistance. Keep in mind, reaching intermediate already requires a few years of serious training. Look up your own numbers for your weight and age and see how much weigh you can expect to push.
If you’re a big guy, there is a big chance you can push more than 200 lbs. In that case it’s important to look at the maximum resistance a multi gym can provide. For most other people, 200 lbs. will be enough.
For women about 100 lbs. is likely enough.
Multi-station home gym vs. barbell bench press
While many manufacturers will use the term bench press as an exercise option for their multi gyms. But anyone who has ever done a barbell bench press will quickly notice that anything a multi gym has to offer doesn’t look similar.
Can you call the exercise you do on a multi gym a bench press? The movement pattern is very similar (but not exactly the same) and you target the same muscles. However, you don’t use a flat bench and a barbell. So technically the term chest press would be more accurate however, most people know ‘bench press’ but are not exactly sure what a chest press is. So you could see it as a marketing term but it’s also more effective use of language. So, no it’s not a bench press but for practical purposes it’s OK to use the term although not entirely accurate.
That doesn’t mean it’s bad, both multi gyms and barbells have their place and can be effective.
There are pros and cons to both ways of doing it and it depends on your goals and situation what’s best. Most of the pros and cons are the same as for other exercises where you would compare machine exercises with free weights.
Multi-gym chest press pros
- Less technical. You need less practice to do it right
- Upright sitting position is more comfortable and easier to use.
Barbell bench press pros
- Complete freedom in choosing weight
- Uses more stabilizing muscles means using more muscle mass
- Translates a little better into real world strength because of stronger stabilizing muscle.
Bench press movement pattern
One of the biggest differences between a multi gym and a barbell bench press (or other free weights), is the movement pattern.
A machine has a set movement pattern while a barbell or dumbbell can move anywhere. Because of the free movement with free weights, you have to use more muscle mass to keep the weight from moving somewhere you don’t want.
Because you have to use more stabilizing muscles with free weights, you use more muscle mass in total. Over time this will make a difference in muscle mass and strength. It also helps with real world strength. In the real world the weight will move freely most of the time.
On the other hand, free weights can also be dangerous if not used correctly. Just Google: Gym fails and you’ll see plenty of examples of people getting hurt by free weights. Machines take almost all the risk out of the exercise which makes it suitable for many more people.
Is a bench press enough to build a big chest? Yes, the bench press is a very good mass and strength builder for the chest and arms. You can use other exercises to support the growth but the bench press is one of the most efficient ways because you use a lot of muscle mass in a single movement.