Marcy doesn’t build heavy-duty gym gear. These guys specialize in building high-quality, low-cost gym equipment for home gyms. They’ve been at the top of their game for over 30 years, and if you want a decent weight bench but dont want to spend a ton of cash, Marcy are probably your safest bet.
I’ve been reviewing their gear for over a decade now, and for the most part, I’ve been impressed, especially by their weight benches.
Best in Price Bracket, But Don’t Expect Commercial Grade.
While none of the Olympic weight benches in this review are anywhere near commercial-grade, they do shine with quality for the price bracket.
There really isnt anything else out there right now that comes close to the Marcy Olympic Weight Benches for under $300.
However, If you’re a seasoned lifter? I’d probably recommend spending a couple of hundred more on the Xmark International Olympic Bench as it’s built from heavy-gauge steel, and just like the Marcy benches is a bargain for the price point, plus it’s the only heavy-duty Olympic bench you’ll find under $500.
Marcy- The Perfect Choice For Beginners & Intermediate Lifters
Still, if you’re a beginner or intermediate lifter, a Marcy Olympic Bench should suit your needs fine, and for under $300, you can’t go wrong with a Marcy bench. They provide all you need to lift heavy barbells at home.
Marcy Olympic benches are the perfect choice for beginners on a budget who want to transition from dumbbell lifting to barbell lifting.
In this review, we’re going to take a close look at the Top 3 Marcy Olympic Weight Benches, their pros, and drawbacks. If you’re in a rush, I’ve put together a quick comparison table below. Please scroll past the comparison table and read my summary for each bench if you have more time.
Best OverallMarcy MD-857
- Weight Capacity – 600lb
- Adjustable Seat – Yes
- Back Pad Positions – 6
- Spotter bars – Yes
- Preacher Curl & Leg developer
- Weight – 115lb
- Suitable 7 & 8ft barbells
Under $200Marcy MD-879
- Weight Capacity – 600lb
- Adjustable Seat – No
- Back Pad Positions – 6
- Spotter bars – No
- Preacher Curl & Leg developer
- Weight – 95lb
- Suitable 6 & 7ft barbells
1. Marcy Diamond Elite MD-857 Olympic Bench
The Marcy MD-857 Olympic bench is about as close as you’re going to get to a heavy-duty Olympic bench costing under $300. This thing weighs 115lb that’s almost twice as much as its competitors, such as the Gold Gym XRS 20 and the Body Champ Olympic Bench.
The heavier, the better when it comes to gym gear, as the weight gives us a good clue to the overall quality of the bench.
Plus, the extra weight of the Marcy MD-857 will help keep the bench planted to the floor, and thats exactly what we want. Stability is a must when pressing heavy barbells.
Includes Spotter Bars For Safty
One of my favorite features of the MD-857 Olympic bench is that it includes spotter bars, something sorely missed on many of the budget Olympic benches.
If you fail on one of those presses, the spotter bars will prevent you from getting pinned under the barbell. They are an essential safety feature. Owning a bench with spotter bars saves you from having to train with a spotting partner if you want to lift heavy on chest day.
But I think what’s most impressive about this setup is the actual bench, as it includes a few features you usually dont find on low-cost Olympic benches. First is the seat, it’s adjustable, which is a big plus.
Adjustable seats stop your butt from slipping down the bench when low incline pressing. They provide you with a stable base to press from, thus increasing your pressing power.
Another useful feature of the bench is that the back pad adjusts to a near-vertical for military presses (85 degrees). You’d be surprised how many Olympic benches fall short of near-vertical in this price bracket, only adjusting to 70 degrees which is too low to target the shoulder fully.
We want a max incline for the back pad anywhere between 80 and 85 degrees. This is high enough to hit the shoulders hard, plus it allows you to arch your back slightly, putting you in the best position to press from.
High-Density Foam Padding
The back pad also includes decline for decline presses and sit-ups, plus the preacher curl and leg developer attachments. But what’s most surprising is the bench boasts high-density foam padding.
High-density foam padding is the gold standard for weight benches and is usually found on high-end 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.
Something else worth mentioning is that you can’t use standard 6ft barbells with the Marcy MD-857 the space between the uprights is too wide. The MD-857 has been designed for Olympic barbells only.
600lb Combined Weight Capacity
You have 600lb combined capacity for the MD-857 bench and 300lb for the spotter bars and the barbell catchers.
The MD-857 is a one-piece unit (the rack is attached to the bench). This design is more stable than the two-piece units, so you can probably take it close to its max capacity without too much movement. However, it’s still a low-cost bench, so I’d stay 100lb under to be on the safe side.
If you want to make the bench even more stable, the MD-857 does come fitted with storage horns for the weight plates. We can load these up with plates evenly on each side. This will add some extra weight to the bench, and the extra weight will help keep the bench stable.
Overall the Marcy-MD-857 has more features than any other Olympic bench in this price bracket.
It is one of the only low-cost Olympic benches that allows you to train in solitude safely, thanks to Marcy, Including the spotter bars. I also love that it includes an adjustable seat, a must if you want to press heavy in incline.
A solid offering from Marcy, yes, it has a few faults, such as the squat catcher arms might be too high for a few users. The quality isnt going to be up there with the gear you might have used in your local gym, but for the price, I think the Marcy MD- 857 is unbeatable, especially when you consider how much bench you get for your money.
High quality for price point
Vesitile bench that inculdes decline and near vertical plus an adjustable seat
Adjustable spotter bars – allows you train safely
High density foam padding for the bench
Preacher curl and leg deveoper
Can use the storage horns to add extra weight to the bench, increasing stability
Most found assembly to be relatively easy
Squat rack catcher positions may be a little high for some users
Bench not suitable for serious lifters
Some users mentioned quality issues when they received the bench
2. Marcy MD-879 Olympic Bench
The big difference between the Marcy MD-879 and the MD-857 is that the MD-879 Olympic bench is a two-piece set. And while the two-piece sets aren’t as stable as the one-piece units, they come with some advantages.
Most people love the two-piece sets because you can use the bench independently from the rack, which allows for more exercises, plus you can use the barbell crutches as a walk-in squat rack.
I mentioned stability is the main problem, especially with low-cost two-piece sets, but thankfully Marcy thought to include storage pegs on the rack/crunches.
Load the storage pegs with your weight plates to add some much-needed stability to the crutches, plus the storage horns keep your plates off of the floor and closer to the barbell on the rack.
We need to remember this Olympic bench costs almost 100 less than the MD-857, so it isn’t going to come with as many features still for a budget bench; it’s impressive. Built from 14 gauge steel and weighing 50lb, the bench on its own is substantial and stable. (crutches and bench combined weight 97lb)
What I like most about the MD-879 bench is that it uses a ladder adjustment system for the back pad. Ladder adjustment systems are much faster to adjust, sturdier and can handle more weight than the pull pin type, so it was a nice surprise to see this system features on the bench.
We have 6 adjustable back pad positions, including decline and the all-important near vertical for seated shoulder presses. But sadly, there’s no adjustable seat for support when incline pressing.
The weight capacity is 600lb, which is to be expected as all the Marcy benches are built from the same 14 gauge powder-coated steel and share the same quality welds.
There are no spotter bars with the Marcy MD-879, so there is zero safety when pressing. The lack of spotter arms is something that effects all Olympic benches around the $200 mark. I’ve even reviewed Olympic benches costing over $400, and they dont include spotter’s arms. It’s disappointing but something you have to live with when buying low-cost Olympic benches.
Still, apart from the lack of spotter bars, this is an impressive two-piece set, definitely one of the better benches you’ll find in the price bracket, and thankfully we have the storage horns to give the rack the extra stability it needs.
Suitable for 6ft and 7ft barbells.
Decent build quality for price point
Two-piece set allows you to use the crutches as a walk-in squat rack
Fast to adjust ladder adjustment system for the bench
6 back pad positions – that include decline, flat, 3 inclines, and near-vertical for seated shoulder presses
Quality padding and covering
Powder coated steel frame prevents rust
Storage horns for weight plates – Loaded will help with stability
You have the choice of using 1″ standard plates and 2″ Olympic plates
Suitable for both 6 and 7ft barbells
No adjustable seat for support when low incline pressing
No adjustable spotter bars for the squat rack – Best to train with partner if you plan on lifting heavy
A few people found assemebly tricky
3. Marcy MD-389 Olympic Weight Bench
The MD-389 is Marcy’s lowest-priced one-piece Olympic weight bench. It retails at just under 200 and is a solid compact unit, so a great choice if you’re tight on space.
This bench comes with a ton of attachments that includes a leg developer preacher curl and fly arms. All can be used with standard 1″ plates, and you can use 2″ Olympic plates, but you’ll need to buy an adaptor.
This bench uses the 14 gauge powder-coated steel, so it isnt cheaply made, but it is smaller, so it weighs much less than the other two benches in this review, just 48lb which is light for an Olympic weight bench.
Still, just like the other benches, we have the storage horns fitted on either side of the uprights, so again we can load these with plates to give the bench some extra stability.
The bench its self is nothing special, but it’s not all that bad either. It includes 4 back positions, but there’s no adjustable seat. However, Marcy did include the high-density foam for the padding, which is a bonus.
Overall this is a nice compact bench for beginners. A lot of people will like this bench as you can use a standard barbell and 1″ plates so you won’t have to buy any expensive Olympic plates to use it.
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
Buying Tips Olympic Benches
Before rushing out and buying an Olympic bench, it might be worth taking a few minutes to read our buyer’s guide; here, I’ll explain all you need to know about which features you should be looking for when buying any Olympic weight bench.
How Important is The Weight of a Bench?
Many people forget to consider the weight of a bench when choosing one for their home gym.
The weight is more important than people think because the weight is a telling sign of the overall quality of the weight bench. The heavier the bench, the higher the quality.
We want to get as close to being built like a tank as possible when choosing a weight bench for home. Heavy benches stay planted to the floor. We need stability when working out on our weight bench, and a heavy bench will give you far more stability than a cheaply built light bench.
Many budget Olympic benches come with a ton of attachments. Are they an essential bit of kit for an Olympic bench? No, not really. It comes down to personal preference whether you like to use the attachments or not.
I find the attachments get in the way of foot placement when setting up for presses.
I would leave them unattached and just use an Olympic bench for pressing and squats, but many people love the attachments and get a lot of use from them, so it’s really up to you.
Weight capacity can be tricky to judge, especially with low-cost Olympic benches (under $400).
Most low-cost Olympic benches dont have the build quality to support their max capacity regularly, yes they might take it a few times, but I wouldn’t risk taking a budget Olympic bench to its max very often.
When buying any budget weight bench, I always recommend keeping at least 100lb under its max capacity to be on the safe side; even if the bench has a decent quality frame, it usually suffers from poor quality welds and adjustment systems that can’t take super heavy loads.
The Bench – Adjustable?
You’ll find quite a few Olympic benches with a back pad that doesn’t adjust and is designed only for flat pressing. This is okay if thats all you want from an Olympic bench, but to be honest, buying a large piece of equipment just for one exercise is overkill and wastes a lot of your home gym floor space.
If you’re going to buy an Olympic bench at least choose one that includes an adjustable back pad, this opens up a number of other exercises such as incline pressing and many other exercises if you have access to a set of dumbbells.
Adjustment Angles For The Back Pad
If you’ve decided to buy an Olympic bench with an adjustable back pad, it’s important to choose one that has the proper adjustment angles to make the most of your workouts.
Try to find an Olympic bench that includes decline for decline presses and sit-ups, but most importantly, you need a back pad that has a max incline of 80-to 85 degrees. Too many cheap benches only adjust to 70, which is too low to target the shoulder fully.
And some adjust to a full vertical, which is better than 70 degrees still; it’s not ideal. Why? Because full vertical (90 degrees) doesn’t allow you to arch your back, you need to look for 80-85 degrees. A near-vertical angle will allow you to arch your back, putting you in the best position to press from.
And if your budget allows, a bench with an adjustable seat is a big plus as it gives us the support we need when incline pressing. There’s nothing worse than slipping down the bench when pressing heavy in incline. An adjustable seat will provide you with the support you need.
You can find adjustable seats for under $300. The Marcy MD-857 is the most impressive Olympic bench, with an adjustable seat in the low-cost range.
One Piece Vs. Two-Piece Olympic Weight Benches
If you’re looking for a budget Olympic bench, I’d recommend you go for the one-piece units because this setup is far more stable than the two-price units. Budget two-piece units just dont have the weight in the rack to keep things stable.
However, if you like the idea of having a walk-in squat rack and using the bench independently from the rack/crutches, a two-piece set might be your best choice. Just dont go budget; look for something heavy-duty.
You need heavy-duty crutches with wide feet and a heavy gauge frame so you can use the upright crutches safely as a squat rack.
Budget benches don’t usually include spotter bars which is a shame because, without them, an Olympic weight bench offers you zero safely should you fail on one of those presses.
There are two Olympic benches on the market right now costing under $300 that include spotter arms, one is the Marcy MD-857, and the other is the Golds Gym XRS 20. If you want to train safely at home on your own, then I highly recommend you buy an Olympic bench that boasts a pair of spotter bars.
I’m happy to say most of the budget Olympic benches include the storage horns for your weight plates. Not only are these great for keeping your weight plates off of the floor and closer to the barbell on the rack, but they are also excellent for adding some extra weight to a light Olympic bench or the crutches.
Just load them evenly on each side with your pates to add some extra stability to your bench.
To Sum Up
It’s no surprise to find that Marcy leads the way in the Budget Olympic weight bench range, and they should do as they’ve specialized in low cost gym equipment now for nearly 3 decades.
I haven’t found anything that comes close to the Marcy MD-857 Olympic Weight Bench for around $300.
The MD-857 weighs a good amount which means it’s going to be stable, and it’s built well, so it should last years if looked after. I love that they included an adjustable seat, and we have the spotter bars for safety, something that is so important when training on your won.
Still, we need to remember all of these benches in this price range dont come close to something you might have used in a local gym, so dont make the mistake of expecting too much for a budget Olympic bench.
Marcy benches are excellent for the price, but they are not heavy-duty. If you want a heavy-duty Olymloic bench you’ll need to pay almost twice that of the Marcy MD-857.
As mentioned, all of the benches in this review are an excellent choice for beginners and intermediates.