Whether you’re new to lifting or an experienced athlete, sometimes you’ll run across a term you’ve never heard before. That’s why we’ve put together the Bench Dictionary, featuring all the terms you’ll hear when shopping for and using a bench.
ADJUSTABLE WEIGHT BENCH (FLAT-INCLINE OR FLAT-INCLINE-DECLINE [FID])
An adjustable weight bench is just what it sounds like: The pads can adjust into a flat, incline, and sometimes decline position. All adjustable benches are not the same. You'll find benches with different adjustment systems; adjustment angles; standard or wide pads; various weight capacities and storage options.SHOP NOW
A flat bench encompasses a single pad that is flat and parallel to the floor, and that pad does not adjust into an incline or decline position. You'll find flat benches with different legs; wide pads or standard; various weight capacities and storage options. Flat benches are also more affordable than most adjustable benches.SHOP NOW
A ladder is a mechanism on an adjustable bench that looks like (you guessed it) a ladder, with multiple grooves cut into the steel on the frame. A ladder is quick and easy to adjust.
A closed ladder system on an adjustable bench is like a ladder, except the design keeps the ladder securely in place when adjusting the bench and prevents you from lifting the ladder out when adjusting angles. It is also required for the vertical storage of a ladder-style bench.
A pin-style bench features a knob-like pop-pin underneath the back (or seat) pad. These benches typically have a curved spine lined with holes corresponding to different degrees. To adjust, pull the pin out of its current hole, move the pad to the desired angle, and let go of the pop-pin so it locks into the new hole. The term “pop-pin” refers to the pin being spring-loaded.
This is the typical bench pad: 11-12” wide. Standard pads fall within the International Powerlifting Association’s competition standards and tend to start at a lower price point.
This is a wider bench pad: about 14” wide. A wide pad is ideal for larger lifters with broad shoulders and people who want more shoulder support or have shoulder restrictions. A wide pad can simulate a floor press, without having to go on the floor.
There are two main types of bench pad material. The standard, grippy vinyl is the most common covering you’ll see on benches, especially the older models. Then there’s the CleanGrip material, a newer, grippier, denser option.
This refers to the space between the seat pad and back pad on an adjustable bench. The pad gap varies between adjustable benches and can be fully eliminated with a ZeroGap bench.
This is the angle of incline or decline on an adjustable bench. Both seat pads and back pads can be adjusted to different angles, depending on the bench.
A bench with a tripod design has three points of contact with the floor: a longer support at the top of the bench with two grippy endcaps and a narrow, single leg at the other end, so the lifter has ample space for foot placement.
WIDE FOOT DESIGN
This bench leg design is symmetrical, with two long, wide feet on each end of the bench. This provides maximum stability.
Some benches are designed to be stored vertically, up on one end, to take up minimal floor space when not in use.
INTERNATIONAL POWERLIFTING FEDERATION (IPF) STANDARDS
A bench that complies with the International Powerlifting Federation adheres to the sizes and specifications the federation uses in competition: length no less than 1.22 meters; and width 29-32cm; and height 42-45cm.
The frame is the steel part of the bench that the pad sits on. It determines the bench’s weight capacity and can have various designs.
The guide rails are the part of an adjustable bench that mark the angle and keep the bench pad in line as you move it. Think of them as the skeleton of the ladder.
A fixed post is a supportive post on an adjustable bench (at the top/head) that does not move out of the way, so the back pad cannot move into a decline position.
This is an adjustable bench’s support post that can be moved out of the way to allow the back pad to move into a decline position.
This patent-pending adjustment system combines the ease of a ladder system with the security of a pop-pin. Lift the seat pad to adjust it upward; the pin is angled in a way that you don’t have to pull the pin out to raise it (ladder style). To move the seat down, pull out the pop-pin and lower.