young man doing shoulder press with dumbbells and weight bench

More often than not, the simplest pieces of gym equipment are the most beneficial. And weight benches definitely fall into this category.

However, it's so common to see them being used for bench pressing but rarely anything else.

But the more you use them, the more you'll see what practical applications weight benches can have and how much they can help you build muscle.

Why use a weight bench?

Walking into the gym, you see a range of resistance machines. And it's clear what muscle each one works.

However, using the machines is great for giving you an idea as to how to target specific muscles, but they can also be very restrictive. They're not bespoke so they don't fit in with your natural way of moving, as well as body type. They don't encourage control and many of them don't allow you to isolate each side so you can't address areas of weakness.

The weight bench allows you to perform the sorts of exercises you would normally do using the resistance machines. But the difference is, a weight bench allows you to follow your body's natural way of moving, as well as isolate each side.

Some of the other benefits of a weight bench include:

  • Fewer limitations – resistance machines are made for a range abilities so there's only so far that you can progress with them. By getting a weight bench with a high maximum load, you can take your training to a much more advanced level.
  • They guide – with a strong, flat back, the weight bench guides your movements without restricting your joints. This means you can maintain a controlled position that still follows your natural movements.
  • They support – weight benches can be angled to suit your exercise as well as body type. This way you can target specific muscles while the bench helps to keep your spine straight and your weight load supported throughout your training regime.
  • They can be used for a range of exercises – as you'll see below, weight benches can be used for a wide range of exercises. Not just bench pressing but to work your core, back, shoulders, arms, chest and posterior chain. You can also get a great cardio workout using just a weight bench.
  • They're for all abilities – an essential piece of kit regardless of whether you're a novice or an experience lifter. They're also great for both women and men so if you're sharing your home gym, they're definitely a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to improve their fitness.
  • Space saving – when setting up your garage gym, you'll be looking to save on space and weight benches do exactly that. With so much versatility, they're an essential piece for any home gym.
  • Optimise your workout – target specific muscles and work your chest with full extension to get the most out of your workout. Doing this targets the full muscle so you can get stronger and build more muscle.
  • A wide range of uses – not just for exercising on, weight benches are a really useful tool for helping you develop your strength. A support for box squats and Bulgarian split squats; a stand for anyone learning to do pull ups; a base for decline work such as decline pushups and decline jack planks; and ideal for core exercises such as Russian twists as they allow you to increase your range of motion.

Ready to get started? Check out the six exercises you should be doing on a weight bench to improve strength and build muscle:

1) Concentration curls

How to do them: Sit on the side of the weight bench and sit with your knees apart. Bring your elbow down to your knee joint and position it so it sits securely on the side of your patella. With your wrist fixed, straight and facing outward towards your opposite leg, curl your forearm all the way up and back down, in a controlled manner.

What muscles they target: Biceps.

How a weight bench helps: By locking your arm into place using your knees, you optimise your bicep curls so they're much more concise. A weight bench is a solid, flat surface for you to work out on.

young man doing concentration curls on mirafit weight bench

2) Reverse flies

How to do them: Set your adjustable weight bench at a 45 degree angle. With your feet either side of the bench, raise your arms while squeezing your back muscles tight and maintaining a straight spine. Your arms should be slightly bent and you should be pushing them back as far as you can before you release.

What muscles they target: Upper back and shoulders including the posterior deltoids, rhomboids and middle trapezius.

How a weight bench helps: By having the weight bench at an angle, you can target your upper back muscles easily while allowing your body to move naturally. The slimline bench means you can fully extend your back muscles, optimising your workout. And by using the hex dumbbells, you can isolate each side, avoiding any bias.

young man doing reverse flies with mirafit hex dumbbelland weight bench

3) Dumbbell bench press

How to do them: Lie on your back with the bench flat. Hold the dumbbells out above you with your wrists straight, shoulders down and your elbows at a 45 degree angle to your body. Push up and slightly back – unlike exercises such as squats, the bar path isn't completely straight. Make sure the weights finish around your eye level. And then bring them back down towards your shoulders. Keep your back arched for full chest extension and lock your body into a secure position by grounding your feet flat on the floor either side of the bench.

What muscles they target: Pecs, anterior deltoids, triceps, lats.

How a weight bench helps: A solid base for you to work from, the weight bench is specifically designed to help you reach full extension while you work out. The slimline base allows you to drop your elbows and curve your spine for an elevated chest. This full extension means you work the whole of your chest muscles and not just part of them. Using dumbbells as opposed to a barbell also helps with this and eliminates bias from either side.

young man doing a bench press with mirafit hex dumbbells and weight bench

4) Shoulder press

How to do them: With the bench in an upright position, sit with your back firmly pressed into the weight bench. Ground your feet firmly into the ground and bring your arms up so your elbows are at right angles, and your shoulders are in line with your back. With a smooth, controlled motion, push the dumbbells up and in so that they meet when your arms are straight. Lower back down and take back into your starting position.

What muscles they target: Deltoids, supraspinatus, triceps, trapezius, pecs.

How a weight bench helps: The weight bench stops your arms from moving out of line so you can be much more precise when you work out. However, by allowing you to move naturally, the weight bench isn't as constrictive as a resistance machine.

young man doing shoulder press with dumbbells and weight bench

5) Skull crushers (lying triceps extensions)

How to do them: With the bench in a flat position, lie back as you would for a bench press. Take the dumbbell so it's positioned above your head. Hex weights are great for this exercise as you can hold on to the rubber weight securely. Ensure your elbows are tucked in so you can target your triceps. Then, keeping your arms bent, lift the weight up and over until your elbows meet

What muscles they target: Triceps.

How a weight bench helps: Provides a solid, flat base for you to train from.

young man doing skull crushers with mirafit hex dumbbells and weight bench

6) Bent over row

How to do them: Stand to the side of the weight bench with the closest knee to the bench resting on the seat. Bend over and support your weight with the arm that's closest to the bench, keeping it straight. With your outside arm, bring the weight up so you thumb meets your armpit. Squeeze your back muscles as you reach the top, then lower back down.

What muscles they target: Lats, rhomboids, rear deltoids and trapezius.

How a weight bench helps: Provides a solid, flat base for you to train from supporting your weight while you isolate and focus each side in turn.

young man doing a bent over row with mirafit hex dumbbell and weight bench

As you can see, weight benches are much more than just something to sit or lie on. They provide a solid, slimline base for you to train from. Adjust the angle to suit your training style and focus. And use to guide your movements – especially with dumbbells – when you need to focus on control.

Any questions? Find us on Instagram and Facebook @MirafitOfficial.