I DON’T USUALLY spent a lot of time thinking about the weight benches I use for strength training. When I’m at the gym, I worry more about grabbing whatever station is open amidst the hustle and bustle of the weight room floor. When I train at home, I’m just thankful that I have a stable platform for my pressing, rowing, and Bulgarian split squats instead of hunched over a couch or folding chair, which I used to do before I upgraded my setup to several years ago to include a basic adjustable bench.
I wasn’t expecting a huge improvement in my strength training when I received my Life Fitness Multi-Adjustable Bench review unit to try out, assuming my experience would remain unchanged. The bench didn’t push me to change my routine I’ve been using it now for the better part of two months, for everything from flat and incline bench presses to Bulgarian split squats and barbell hip thrusts but it’s helped me realize how much Well a top-tier piece of equipment can make a workout.
The Life Fitness Multi-Adjustable Bench Specs
The first thing that struck me about the Multi-Adjustable Bench was how large it was. When you’re planning your home gym, you may be looking for something compact. If you’re working with a limited floor plan, this might not be your best bet. But if you don’t have to worry about space, this kind of heft will only help for your training. Officially, the measurements are 58 x 29 x 17 (147 x 73 x 43 cm), making it more than long enough at nearly five feet for even tall lifters to get into position for prone pressing. I noticed that the Multi-Adjustable Bench was a bit shorter than what I used when I put it inside the rack for bench presses, but it wasn’t a big problem. I just adjusted the height of my bar catches and worked out.
The weight of the unit itself is noticeable compared to other banks. The Multi-Adjustable Bench weighs 110 pounds, so it’s not something you’ll be able to pick up without effort when you need to get it off the floor. I had to help the delivery man carry the unit from my cramped apartment to the rail to my back yard, and it was a challenge to navigate the space. Once you’ve got it on the ground, however, the rear end wheels allow for smooth maneuvering. I had no problem pulling it around my yard, even if it was an uneven, rocky surface. There are a couple of pegs in the front that you can take out to make this easier.
Controlling the angle of the bench is simple, with a pair of tabs under the seat and back pad that lock in and out with a tight pull. I’ve had moments when using other benches where switching between settings is a pain, either too easily (and therefore risking losing the desired setting when you put your back on the pad) or having of a mechanism that takes multiple steps to switch between settings. That is not the case here. There are seven angles for the back pad (a dip at -10, then flat 0, and inclines of 15, 30, 45, 60, and 70) and three for the seat (0, 15, 30).
I did most of my work either on the flat or on 45-60 inclines, and was pleased with how stable the bench was as I pumped through the reps, whether I was on the pad for presses or doing flips on my chest for rows. There was no vibration at all, which has been a problem for me with less premium banks. This thing is built like a tank.
What It’s Like to Use the Bench
The leather-like pads of the bench aren’t very stiff, but they don’t have much give either. That would be a big issue if there was too much cushion when it came time to lock my shoulder blades for a press, for example. It’s also great for leg-focused movements, like Bulgarian split squats and stepups. I have done the same exercises several times with the bench and have had no issues with the pads being unstable. They also stayed clean, even though the bench was not intended (or designed) for outdoor use. It’s even with my sweat and outdoor use and storage too (I keep the bench under a tarp, but it stays outside). I’ve had it for two months now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s exactly the same five years from now.
Many exercises are not perfect in need the stability provided by the Multi-Adjustable Bench utilitarian flat benches you find in CrossFit gyms can do the job for most of your movements, and a basic adjustable bench will allow you to add the incline portion of your training but I experienced one exercise that really made my test unit weight shine: the barbell hip thrust. I work out in my yard and set up to do the transition with a basic Rogue flat bench. The moment that I put my shoulders against the pad, the bench shifted backwards. It is too light to handle this kind of movement. That won’t work, unless I devote more time and energy to setting up counterweights.
Once I pulled the Multi-Adjustable Bench from its spot on my rack and into position, there was no such issue. The bench is stable enough that I can load a lot of weight on the bar (225 pounds, in this case) and push off without the platform moving. This shows that it is a more complete piece of equipment, because I can rely on it for the whole range of exercises where I will use a bench.
I have no doubt that I can do more with this premium bench than with a more basic unit. That’s how you should look at it if you are also interested in using it. This is a commercial-grade, high-level equipment for upscale fitness clubs and the most luxuriously kitted-out home training setups. There’s no price currently listed on the Life Fitness site (you’ll need to request a consultation if you’re interested in getting one yourself), but reps told me it runs for $1549. That’s more expensive than many standard benches but it’s not a common piece of equipment. If you’re getting this kind of thing, you’re looking for a high-end experience. From my testing, that’s exactly what you get.
Brett Williams, a senior editor at Men’s Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter. You can find his work elsewhere on Mashable, Thrillist, and other outlets.
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