When you buy any piece of home gym equipment from Bowflex you expect quality, this reputable company builds some of the best, highly rated fitness products out there and the Bowflex 5.1s Stowable Bench is no exception.
The 5.1s is made from heavy duty commercial steel, has a 600lb weight capacity, an adjustable seat and most importantly is a full FID bench (flat, incline, decline). And with a 15-year warranty it looks like Bowflex has a lot of confidence in this bench.
Bowflex 5.1s Review
In this review we’ll take a detailed look at Bowflex’s latest offering in their adjustable weight bench line.
We’ll compare the 5.1s with two similarly priced benches and hopefully, by the end of the review, you will have a good idea if this bench is the right one for you.
With such a good quality build, you would think the weight capacity would be slightly higher, some top-rated budget benches come with a 600lb weight capacity and it seems kind of strange Bowflex only offer you 600lb with their new bench.
It’s not like this bench is cheap either, it costs a ton of pennies and places itself in the upper price bracket of adjustable benches.
The only reason I can see for a low weight capacity is the introduction of the folding feature. Maybe this handy feature takes away some of the rigidity of the weight bench, but for me, in this price range, 600lb is pretty low.
Ok not all of us will ever need anything over 600lb, but remember the weight capacity includes your own body weight + what you lift. If you’re a 250lb guy and you can bench 300lb, you won’t have much room for progression.
Weight capacity isn’t a deal killer as I said most of you including myself will probably never outgrow a 600lb capacity bench. But if you’re a big guy this is something to take in mind.
This is where the 5.1s can win some brownie points back, and with a 90-degree full incline, it wins a load. So many adjustable benches stop just short of full incline, I’ve known many people who have had to buy a separate bench just for this angle. So it’s great to see full incline. The stowable bench also includes 5 other adjustment angles including flat and decline.
Thankfully the 5.1s has been designed with an adjustable seat, I recommend to avoid any adjustable bench if it doesn’t include an adjustable seat.
Adjustable seats are very important for incline presses, the last thing you need when pressing heavy is for your butt to slide off of the seat, an inclined seat will provide you with the stability you need.
Bowflex has always shined when it comes to the build quality of their products, their other two weight benches the 3.1 and 5.1 are a testament to this, all of their weight benches are built from heavy duty commercial grade steel which makes them durable and capable of taking their max capacity weight loads with ease.
The gold standard of weight benches should feel like you’re training on a tank, by this I mean stable, heavy with no wobbles. And yes this is something you can expect from this bench, with many users praising how stable this bench is in all positions.
This bench weighs close to 70lb which is great, we need some weight for stability, also the weight of the bench will provide us with a big clue to the overall quality of the bench, so the heavier the better.
Yes, lighter benches are easier to move around and store, but they’re made of cheaper steel which is far less durable and the lack of weight makes the bench unstable.
Unboxing Video 5.1s
What Makes The New 5.1s Different To The 5.1?
Essentially both of these weight benches are the same, both have adjustable seats both have 6 adjustable back pad positions both are made with heavy-duty steel and finally both share the same 600lb weight capacity, so why the need for a new bench?
I think the main reason Bowflex decided to bring out the 5.1s was for one simple reason, they saw a market for a fold-flat version of their bench, ‘folds flat to be stored up against the wall’.
This isn’t anything new, foldable benches have been around for years but it’s new for Bowflex, and if you’re tight for space in your training quarters I guess this will be one very useful feature to have.
There’s one other feature I quite like, and that’s the introduction of the adjustable height stabilizing feet, great if you have uneven floors, you can adjust any of the support legs to avoid wobble. First time I’ve seen this on a home gym weight bench. Thumbs up to Bowflex!
Heavy-duty commercial grade frame
6 adjustable back pad positions
Durable & long 15 year warranty
Easy to assemble, comes with all tools needed
Fold flat for storage, includes transport wheels
Adjustable height stabilizing feet
Low max capacity for price range
Some users complained gap was large between seat and back pad when the bench was in flat position
Alternatives & Comparison Table
Powerblock Sports Bench
The Powerblock sports bench is probably the best bench you’re going to find around the $200, it’s extremely well built and has the all-important adjustable seat.
The Powerblock has been designed with the ladder adjustment system, quicker to adjust than the lock pin type and in my opinion more sturdy.
You may have noticed from the picture there’s no decline and you’re right, this is not a full FID bench and some people might be put off by not having a decline position for decline pressing but, to be honest, weighted dips put on lower pec muscle mass a lot quicker than decline pressing, so for some not having decline shouldn’t be a big issue.
For the price, 550lb max capacity isn’t bad at all, and with the high build quality of this bench, we have no need to doubt this bench can take it. Overall a great mid-range bench from a company you can trust.
York ST Flat – Incline Bench
This is a tank of a weight bench, weighing 100lb, this thing is heavy, the York ST bench has been designed for full commercial use, which means it’s very well built and should be able to take anything you throw at it.
With this bench, you pay for build quality and not the features, all in all, it’s a very basic adjustable bench.
Again no decline with this bench, but it does have the 90-degree incline, great to see high-density foam used for the padding, this stuff will keep you stable while pressing. You don’t want a bench that’s too comfy it puts you off your lifting and causes stability issues.
This bench may be overkill for some, not all of us need or want commercial grade kit in our home gyms, but if you have been looking for a serious bench, for serious lifting, then the York ST might be worth a closer look.
To Sum Up
Bowflex has produced another excellent quality adjustable weight bench, perfect for people who lack space and are after an easy to store bench.
The Bowflex 5.1s Stowable Weight Bench has everything you need from a home gym bench, we loved seeing the 90-degree incline and were more than happy to see an adjustable seat for incline pressing.
Perhaps a little on the pricey side, but this is Bowflex and you’re paying that extra few dollars for peace of mind because there’s one thing you can be sure of, this weight bench will last you for years and years.