Weight benches dont take up much room. They are easy to get hold of and give you access to more upper body exercises than any other piece of gym equipment. They are an awesome bit of kit that can help you increase muscle mass, strength, and endurance.
What Will I Need For My Weight Bench Workout?
You’ll need a solid bench as we want to prevent any movement while working out. Cheap, lightweight benches can be unstable, which is dangerous and off-putting. Make sure your bench feels stable and the back pad has no sideways movement.
And lastly, it’s essential to choose a weight bench with an adjustable back pad as this lets you perform flat, incline, and decline workouts.
Full FID benches (flat, Incline, Decline) can cost as little as $150 for a decent one, so if you’re thinking of making the transition from the gym to home, it can easily be done on a tight budget.
Our Highest-Rated Bench Exercises are all dumbbell movements, so you dont have to worry about having access to a barbell. All exercises can be performed at home or at a gym with dumbbells.
Ultimate Weight Bench Workout With Dumbbells – Top 7 Exercises
1. Flat- Dumbbell Bench Press
Although the bench press is one of the easier exercises to perform, lifting those extra few plates can lead to mistakes.
If you dont know what you are doing and try to press large amounts of weight with poor form, it can lead to serious shoulder injures, which take an age to heal.
Take your time learning proper technique using a low weight load. Because when the bench press is performed properly, you will protect your shoulders, and your chest will start growing bigger and stronger.
Purpose of Exercise: To develop the mass and strength of the middle and out pectoral muscles.
1. Adjust your bench to a flat position. Lie on it with feet flat on the bench or floor. Take a dumbbell in each hand and hold the weights straight up overhead. Turn the dumbbells so that your palms facing forward.
2. Lower the weights toward your outer chest, concentrating on keeping them fully balanced and under control. Lower them as far as you can, feeling a complete stretch in the pectoral muscles. Press the weights back up and lock your arms straight overhead. (squeeze 10 seconds)
2. Seated Dumbbell Press
The dumbbell press offers some impressive benefits, such as building bigger delts and, best of all, wider shoulders.
Since this exercise uses dumbbells, we can hold and maneuver the weights more freely than with a barbell thus we hit the lateral deltoids harder. The result is a better developed outer deltoid head, and if you like that classic V taper look ‘wide shoulder and a slim waist? The Seated dumbbell press is one of the best exercises to help you achieve it.
Purpose of exercises: To train the front and side deltoids
1. Adjust your weight bench to a near-vertical or vertical position. Anywhere between 80-90 degrees is fine. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at shoulders height, elbows out to the sides, palms facing forward.
2. Lift the dumbbells straight up until they touch at the top, then lower them again as far as possible.
3. Incline Bicep Curl
There’s many serious weight trainers out there that prefer the seated bicep curl to the standing. Why? The main reason is that it allows for a greater range of motion, and by this, I mean it gives the long head of the bicep more of a stretch than a standing curl, pushing you to apply more force while contracting.
It’s one of the best exercises to help give the bicep that desirable peak look. You’ll need to adjust your bench to incline position for this exercise.
Purpose of exercise: To Stretch the biceps and for the overall development of the bicep
1. Adjust your weight bench back pad to about 55-60 degrees. Sit back on the incline holding a dumbbell in each hand. Using a palms-up grip curl the weights forward up to shoulder level.
2. Slowly lower the weight under control back to the starting position.
4. Dumbbell Flys on A Flat Bench
Dumbbell flys are an excellent exercise that targets all areas of the chest, but in particular, dumbbell flys target that difficult to train area that creates the desired separation look. Some believe that this movement is better than flat presses for stimulating chest fibers across the spectrum.
Purpose of exercise: To develop the mass of the pectorals.
1. Adjust your bench to the flat position and lie on it, holding dumbbells at arm’s length above you, palms facing each other.
2. Lower the weights out and down to either side in a wide arc as far as you can, feeling the pectoral muscles stretch to their maximum. The palms should stay facing each other throughout the moment. Bend the arms slightly as you do the movement to reduce the stress on the elbows.
3. Bring the weights to a complete stop at a point in line with the bench, your pectorals stretched as much as possible, then lift them back up along the same wide arc as giving someone a bear hug. Bring the weights back to the starting position and then contract the pectorals further, giving a little extra flex to make the muscles work that much harder.
5. Tricep Kickbacks
The tricep kickback is one of the best exercises you can choose to work all three heads of the tricep. This exercise will help you improve the overall strength of the muscle.
Not many people realize that the tricep is a much larger muscle than the bicep, so if you want great-looking arms performing the right tricep exercises is essential.
Purpose of exercise: To develop the triceps, especially the upper area.
1. With your bench in the flat position, place one knee, shin, and foot on the bench. Put one hand on the bench, and with a dumbbell in the opposite hand, bend your arm and raise your elbow back and up to about shoulder height, elbow close to your side, and letting the dumbbell hang straight down below it.
2. Keeping your elbow stationary, Straighten your arm backward until it is parallel to the floor. Contract your triceps at that top portion of the lift. Slowly lower until your arm is back at the 90° angle
6. Incline Bench Press
The incline bench press is very similar to the bench press as we are working many of the same muscles that the flat bench press targets. Still, because we have the bench in an incline position (around 45 degrees), the angle of the press shifts most of the work onto the upper chest and front of the shoulders.
The more you increase the angle of the back pad, the more work the shoulders will take on, so it’s best to keep the bench at an incline no higher than 45 degrees if we want to hit the upper pecs hard.
Purpose of exercise: To develop the middle and upper pectoral muscles.
1. Take a dumbbell in each hand and lie back on an incline bench. Clean the dumbbells and hold them at shoulders height, palms facing forward.
2. Brace your core and press both dumbbells straight up over your chest as you exhale, then lower them back to the starting position. As you lower the dumbbells, your elbows should come down at roughly a 45-degree angle to your torso
7. Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows
The dumbbell row is one of the most popular exercises for developing your back muscles, an age-old movement thats remains as popular now as it was 70 years ago.
An excellent exercise for building your lat’s rear deltoids, forearms, biceps, and even the core.
It’s a unilateral movement meaning. We train one side of the body at a time. Single arm moves help to even out muscular imbalances and burn a ton more calories over time because we are essentially doubling up our workloads.
It’s one of those exercises that should always feature in your workout schedule.
Purpose of exercise: To independently work each side of the back.
1. Taking a dumbbell in each hand, bend forward from the waist until your upper body is nearly parallel to the floor. Place your free hand on the bench for support. Begin with the weight hanging down at arm’s length, feeling the fullest possible stretch. Turn your hand so that the Palm faces towards your body.
2. Keeping your body steady, lift the weight up to your side, concentrating on doing the work with the back rather than the arms. Lower the weight, keeping it under control. Finish your repetitions with this arm, then repeat with the other arm.
Choosing The Right Bench For your Workouts At Home
I haven’t trained in a commercial gym for over ten years, and I’ve found I save a ton of time and money working out at home. If you’re thinking of making that transition and need a few tips on buying the right bench, I’ve put together a quick guide below.
1. Weight of the bench
The weight of a bench gives us a good clue to the overall quality of materials used for the build. We want to try and get hold of a heavy-duty bench, something that weighs more than 40lb. The heavier, the better, depending on your budget.
The extra weight of a heavy-duty bench will also help keep it planted to the floor. Heavy = stability
2. Versatility – Back & Seat
When buying a weight bench for home, it’s best to choose one with adjustable back pas that way, you won’t need separate benches for flat and incline workouts.
Most adjustable benches have a minimum of 3 adjustable positions for the back pad, flat, incline, and near-vertical for seated presses.
Again depending on your budget, look for a bench with as many adjustable positions as possible. Some benches under $100 are equipped with 5 angles for the back pad, so you should have no trouble finding a weight bench with enough adjustable back pad positions.
Still, it’s the angles of the back pad positions that are important. Many adjustable benches do not adjust to a near-vertical for seated shoulder presses. This is an important angle, so make sure your bench states it adjust to a near-vertical or vertical.
Plus, if you want to perform decline sits ups or press, you’ll need a bench that includes a decline angle for these exercises. Not hard to find even on low-cost benches.
I always recommend choosing a weight bench with an adjustable seat. Yes, it might cost you a few more bucks, but you will not have any support when incline pressing without an adjustable seat.
An adjustable seat stops your butt from slipping down the bench and provides you a stable base to press from.
Not 100% vital if you’re just starting out but something you’ll need if you want to incline press heavy weights safely.
Heavy-duty benches built like tanks will have the highest weight capacities. Hover even low-die priced benches can boast weight capacities of 500lb+. Remember the weight capacity of a bench includes your own body weight.
Look for heavy-duty frames and quality welds. This will ensure your bench can handle heavy loads and be wary of cheap benches boasting high weight capacity as they dont have the frame or the welds to handle that type of weight. Look for benches that include realistic weight capacities for the price.
A $300 bench with 800lb capacity is realistic
A $150 with 500lb capacity is realistic
An $80 with 900lb capacity is dangerous and should be avoided (there’s a lot of these benches on the market right now, especially foldable ones)
High-density foam padding is the gold standard for home weight benches. This stuff isn’t too soft to unstable or too hard to be uncomfortable. It’s just right for our pressing needs and can thankfully be found even on a few good low-cost benches, such as the Marcy SB-670 and the Finer Form-5-1 benches.
2″ padding is ideal. Anything more is overkill
And lastly, the height of the weight bench when it’s in flat is important because if it’s too high, you won’t be able to place your feet firmly on the floor when bench pressing.
17.5″ is the ideal height of a flat bench, but unless you pay for a high-end adjustable bench, it is hard to find an adjustable bench that has this height in a flat.
Still, anywhere around 18-19″ is acceptable for an adjustable bench when in flat, especially if you dont want to pay over $150.
Avoid benches over 20″ in height from the floor to the top of the pad. The extra height makes them unstable, and if you’re not a tall person, you’ll have to add plates or plywood under the bench so you can place your feet flat on the floor, which is a hassle.