The weight bench is one of the most versatile and useful fitness equipment in the gym. There are many kinds of weight benches; flat, angled, upright, or adjustable. They are a great equipment that allows you to lift heavy weights safely so that you can get ripped and the best thing about it is that you don’t need to be a pro in the gym.
One of the best things about the weight bench is the sheer amount of exercises that you can do while using it. You can use dumbbells or a barbell to work every muscle in your upper body and even some of your core and lower body, especially if the weight bench has a leg curler attached.
I personally would recommend using a weight bench that is adjustable with leg curlers. This type is the best for a beginner because it will allow you to use it for every muscle group and adjust it for your body height and fitness level. For this tutorial, we will be assuming that you are using this type of weight bench.
What You Will Need
- Adjustable weight bench with leg curlers.
- A set of dumbbells (10-25 lbs each).
- A barbell loaded with 50-100 lbs.
Step 1- Decide on Your Exercise
As I’ve already mentioned, there are many different exercises that can be done on the weight bench. When you decide which exercise to do, this will greatly change the way you set up the weight bench so that’s why this is the first step. All other steps are determined by this one.
When deciding what exercise to perform, think about what muscle group you would like to strengthen. Here is a list of exercises that you can do on a weight bench grouped by muscle group:
Barbell Bench Press
This is the single most chest strengthening workout you can do because it allows you to lift the most weight. This move is done laying flat, at an incline, and at a decline. It can be done with a wide grip, medium grip, or close grip. Each variation will work different parts of the chest along with other muscles.
This move works both the chest and the back. Unlike the bench press, this one must be done flat in order to get the full range of motion.
This move works both the lats and the deltoid muscles. To do this move you need to place your knee on the bench and row up from the side of the bench.
Chest Supported Dumbbell Row
This move requires you to face the bench and support your chin on the top of the bench. Using dumbbells, row by squeezing your shoulders together and pull the weight up, keeping your elbows in. This move works the middle and lower back.
Seated Dumbbell Hammer Curl
This move works the biceps and since the bench supports your back, you can lift heavier weights safely. Many people alternate arms but some do both arms simultaneously.
Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extension
This is done with two dumbbells laying on a flat bench. Lowering the weights behind your head and bringing them back up towards the ceiling works the back of your arms, or your triceps.
Decline bench sit ups
This move uses gravity to make your traditional sit up a little bit more challenging. Make sure to curl your legs into the foam rollers for added safety and support.
Reverse crunch on a bench
This is a challenging move but it really helps to target the lower abs and created that v-cut that is so sought after.
Step 2- Adjust Your Bench to Desired Incline
Once you have decided which exercise(s) that you will perform make sure that you have your bench adjusted to the right incline to target your desired muscle. Some exercises must be done lying flat to protect your back, while others can be done is so many different ways that you can create an entire workout just on the variations.
Once you have figured out which exercises you have chosen and at what incline you will perform them at, you need to adjust the bench and insert the safety pin to make sure that it doesn’t slip mid workout. This can result in an injury and possibly a broken weight bench.
As you can tell by this image, there are many different areas where safety pins are located. Make sure you check them all before you begin your workout.
Step 3- Adjust Your Seat to fit the Incline and Exercise
On many weight bench models, the seat can be adjusted as well as the bench. If this is true on the bench that you are using, make sure your seat is adjusted to the correct position. This can make your workout much more comfortable. Again, check for safety pins to ensure a strong support.
Step 4- Decide on Weight to Use
For each exercise that you choose, your weight lifting abilities will differ. For example, you will be able to bench press much more weight than what you could curl. You will also need to decide on whether to use a barbell or dumbbells.
Barbells allow you to lift more weight because of the stabilizing effect that it has from the bar. It also ensures that both arms are working at the exact same level.
Dumbbells make your stabilizing muscles work harder, resulting in the strengthening of these smaller muscle fibers but it can result in an imbalance of arm strength.
Step 5- Be Aware of Contact Points
When seated at the bench, there are four contact points that you need to be aware of throughout the exercise. These four contact points are the points that your body should always stay in contact with the bench.
These four points are the head, the shoulders, the hips, and the feet. The head should always be touching the bench. Lifting it off the bench can cause pain in your neck. The shoulders should always also be touching the back of the bench. Of course, there will be some moves that require different positioning, such as the different rows and sit ups that are exceptions to this rule.
The hips are also important to stay touching the back of the bench. If the head, shoulders and hips are pressed up against the back of the bench, this should create a natural arch in the lower back. This will engage the core muscles during your workout which is a goal in most moves.
Lastly, you will want to make sure that your feet stay planted on the floor. This will ensure that you don’t wiggle or fall off the bench during difficult lifts.
Step 6- Perform Exercise
Before performing any exercise, make sure that you understand the sequence and learned the perfect form. Don’t push yourself too hard until you have mastered the moves. Start out with light weight and move up from there.
A good rule of thumb is to do three sets of 10 reps of each move to start. Later you can add heavier weights and perform less reps.
This video will show you the basic things to remember when using a weight bench.
[Video] How to Properly Use a Weight Bench
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that you are pumped to get pumped using the weight bench. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below. Also, feel free to share this article with any friends that might enjoy it. Friends don’t let friends use weight equipment unsafely.
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