Marcy are the guys who specialize in low-cost gym equipment, I’ve reviewed a ton of their gear over the years, and most of the time, they’ve Impressed. Their weight benches are especially impressive compared to the competition, with higher capacities, heavier frames, and more features.
The Marcy Diamond Elite Bench is an adjustable bench very similar to an Olympic Bench, except it’s been designed for 6ft barbells and 1″ standard weight plates. Whereas most Olympic benches are designed for Olympic 7ft barbells and plates.
Don’t Expect Gym Quality When Paying Budget Prices.
The big mistake a lot of people make when buying a low-cost bench is they expect too much. You need to remember low-cost benches are nowhere near commercial-grade, and it’s not going to feel like a rock-solid heavy-duty bench you might have used in a local gym.
What the Marcy MD-389 is, is a well-built versatile bench for beginners. This thing hasn’t been designed for serious lifters.
It’s a great bit of kit for people just getting into lifting or beginners who already own a set of dumbbells but want to add some compound barbell movements into their routine.
And today, I’m going to take a close look at everything this bench has to offer, including all of its drawbacks.
First, a quick look at the Marcy Diamond Elite product specs!
Product dimensions – 60 by 52 by 47 inches
Weight – 48lb
4 position back pad includes decline
Leg developer, preacher curl and Fly arms
Folds for storage – no
Weight capacity – 600lb combined user and weight load for the bench, 300lb for the upright catchers, 100lb for the fly arms, and 100lb for leg developer and preacher curl
Suitable for 6ft barbells and 1″ standard weight plates
Frame – powder coated 14 gauge steel
Assembly – check the video at the end of the review
Why Do We Like The Marcy Diamond Elite Bench?
What you have to like most about a setup like this is how much is on offer for the price tag. A bench such as the Marcy MD-389 offers a lot more to the beginner than your typical adjustable bench.
And this is because this bench comes with some useful attachments, such the fly arms.
Fly/butterfly arms will help you build the sternal heads of your pectorals (chest). They also give the shoulders a good workout too (chest). Usually, I’d recommend you use dumbbells to perform flys, but if you haven’t got any dumbbells, a set of fly arms is the next best thing.
You have the leg developer to help build your quads and hamstrings and the preacher curl to add mass to your biceps and forearms.
But what’s best about this bench is being able to use a 6ft barbell for pressing exercises, and as the MD-389 standard bench includes three incline angles as well as flat, it allows you to work different areas of the chest.
Once you have your bench set up, you can flat and incline bench press using a barbell. This is great as it will bring barbell compound movements into your workout routine.
Compound movements increase strength, build muscle, and shed fat much faster than isolation exercises.
There’s No Adjustable Seat
When we look at the bench on its own, it really isnt too bad. We have high-density foam for the padding. This is the gold standard for weight benches. It’s not too soft to cause stability issues or too hard to be off-putting. It’s just right for our pressing needs.
So the padding is great, but then we start to find the same problems that plague many budget Olympic/standard benches.
First is the seat. It doesn’t adjust. Why do we need an adjustable seat? An adjustable seat will stop our butt from slipping down the bench in low incline angles. It provides s stable base to press from, thus increasing your pressing power.
As I said, the lack of an adjustable seat is an issue with most benches in this price bracket. Still, it probably isnt a deal-breaker for most who buy this bench, as an adjustable seat is needed more when pressing super heavyweights, but it’s something to keep in mind when your strength increases and you’re looking to upgrade from this bench in a few years.
Another drawback of the bench is that the back pad doesn’t adjust to a near-vertical for seated shoulder presses, you need an angle around 85 degrees to target the shoulders fully, and this bench doesn’t go anywhere close to it.
And lastly, the bench is slightly narrow, around 10″. This is fine for most, but larger guys may not get the support they need.
Despite the usual drawbacks, the Marcy bench is still better than most.
I was happy to see the high-density foam for the padding, and at least we have a few incline angles so you can develop your upper chest.
I know there’s no full incline for seated shoulder press, but many budget Olympic/standard benches don’t include incline at all.
Weight Capacity – 600lb Combined – Can it Take it?
A combined 600lb capacity, thats your body weight plus weight lifted, is impressive for a budget bench, and it’s pretty much the same capacity as most of Marcy’s weight benches this is because they’re all built from the same 14 gauge powder-coated steel.
I’ve always felt Marcy weight benches are a cut above the rest in the entry-level range. They just feel that bit more solid than most, thanks to the quality of the build.
But let’s not carried away. This bench still costs under $200, and I’d never recommend taking a low-cost bench to its max capacity.
It probably won’t break at max capacity but will become unstable. There just isnt enough weight in the frame of the bench to keep this thing feeling solid. So as with all budget benches, I’d recommend you stay at least 100lb under the max capacity.
The uprights of the bench support a max of 300lb. I’d advise staying slightly under on these, too, just to be safe.
Safety – Spotter bars?
Probably the most significant issue you’ll find with a bench like the Marcy MD-389 is that the bench offers zero safety when bench pressing with the barbell. There is nothing to stop you from being pinned under the bar if you fail on one of those presses.
Sadly this is something you have to live with unless you train with a friend to spot you on chest day.
Some Olympic benches are equipped with spotter bars. These give you the safety you need to train at home in solitude, and that is really what training home is all about you can lift heavy without the risk of being injured.
Still, we’re paying budget prices, so I didn’t expect to see any spotter bars on this bench. You’ll either have to be extra careful or find a friend to train with if you plan on bench pressing heavy weight loads.
Also, the benches uprights are pretty close together because the MD-389 accommodates 6ft barbells. This can cause issues when taking the bar of the catches. You’ll either have to have a very wide grip on the bar or a close grip to remove and re-rack the barbell on the catchers.
Easy To Assemble
On the positive, the Marcy Diamond Elite Bench is easy to assemble with fully illustrated instructions. Most people got the bench together in under 2 hours with some completing the build in under an hour.
Rather than me explain what needs to be done. Marcy has kindly made a build video for you to follow. Check it out below.
Good build quality for price point
High density foam padding
4 position back pad
Imporeesive amount of attchments that include preacher curl, fly bars, and leg deveoper
High capacity bench 600lb combined
Easy to assemble
Excellent value for money when you consider whats on offer
No adjustable seat for support when incline pressing
Lacks spotter bars for safefty
Bench back pad doesn’t include a near-vertical for seated shoulder presses
Body-Champ Olympic Weight Bench
The Body Champ is the best-selling budget Olympic bench its very similar to the Marcy MD-359, except the Body Champ can accommodate 6ft and 7ft barbells. So you’ll be fine either using 1″ or 2″ plates with this bench.
Both benches include the preacher curl and leg developer, but the Body Champ doesn’t include the Fly arms. Both the Marcy and Body-Champ are of similar build quality, and both boast the impressive combined 600lb capacity.
But what I like about the Body Champ is that it includes storage horns for your weight plates.
A couple of storage pegs doesn’t sound like much, but what’s great about having them built into the rack is that you can load them up with plates. Not only does this keep your plates off of the floor and closer to the barbell on the rack, but it also adds some much-needed weight to the bench, which helps a ton with stability.
Also, the back pad of the Body Champ adjusts to a near-vertical so you can perform seated shoulder presses.
It’s a tough choice between these two benches. The Marcy has a lot going for it, high-density foam padding and the fly arms, two features the Body Champ doesn’t include.
It all depends on what features appeal to you more.
To Sum Up
I think the Marcy MD-389 Diomand Elite Bench is an impressive weight bench for the money. It’s highly versatile with all the attachments included and is suitable for beginners and intermediates, with its 600lb weight capacity.
Like all benches in the Under $200, it’s missing a few features like the adjustable seat, and there are no safety bars, but this is to be expected if we want a low-cost bench.
Is it better than the competition out there? Yes, for the most part, the quality is better, its great to see a 14 gauge powder coated frame and the high-density foam padding.
It’s not a bench thats going to last a lifetime, nor is it a bench without its faults. Still, it is good value for money when you consider how many exercises you can perform using this bench, and it’s a great bench for beginners to start lifting heavy at home using a barbell. Just make sure you have a spotter.