What is a Barbell Bench?

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  • Written By: Matthew F.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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A barbell bench is a tool used in weight lifting that is specially designed for, but not limited to, the use of barbells. The bench is designed so that the weightlifter may lie face up on the bench with his or her legs extended over the edge of the bench and feet resting firmly on the ground. A typical barbell bench is made of some form of metal with foam padding to support the weight lifter’s body weight comfortably while the exercise is executed. A rack, on which the barbell is safely placed while the weight lifter is resting or not using the bench, may or may not be built attached to the bench itself, depending on the manufacturer. The bench itself may either come furnished with one foam piece on which the weightlifter may lie while exercising, or the bench may be comprised of two foam pieces.

Barbell benches that are built with two foam pads are typically built so that the smaller of the two pads, which is located toward the bottom of the bench, may serve as a seat while the longer of the foam pads is specifically targeted to support the weight lifter’s back. The back pad of some benches may be elevated between a one hundred and eighty and a ninety degree angle to the bench’s seat. The bench may also be angled to degrees greater than one hundred and eighty degrees for “decline” exercises.


The purpose of barbell benches which feature an elevating bench is for the weight lifter to perform exercises at different angles, allowing the weight lifter to exercise different areas of muscle groups. The main exercises that a barbell bench may be used for are exercises which target the pectorals, or chest muscles. The exercise which the barbell bench is predominantly used for, the bench press, may be done with the bench raised at different angles, depending on which part of the pectoral muscle one wishes to exercise.

Barbell benches are not used solely for barbell exercises. The barbell bench may also be used for other exercises using other forms of free weights such as dumbbells. Dumbbells may be used on a barbell bench if the weight lifter wants to elevate the bench to a ninety degree angle in order to do shoulder presses, or lower it from there at the weight lifter’s discretion in order to exercise the biceps with curls. Latissmus, or back muscle, as well as tricep exercises may also be performed on a barbell bench. Barbell benches sometimes also feature other equipment attached to the bottom half of the bench, which make it possible for the weight lifter to perform lower body exercises.



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