Do you plan on adding weight lifting to your fitness plan, and don’t know where to start? That’s not really surprising with all the options available. The biggest thing to remember when looking for a weight bench is that your needs are going to change as you get stronger. I know how tempting that $100 bench at Wal-Mart looks when you’re just starting out. But if you plan on continuing, you’re probably going to outgrow its usefulness. The Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Olympic Weight Bench is a nice middle ground between price and growth potential.
A Quick Overview
Is it a versatile bench? Very much so.
Can I get a full body workout? Absolutely.
Will it hold up? It’s sturdy enough for the beginner to intermediate lifter. The weights that advanced lifters would subject it to would destroy this bench.
Is it expensive? It’s not the cheapest bench out there, but the versatility makes it worth the investment. The reason it costs more than the typical “starter bench” is that it’s actually two pieces. One piece is the bench with the attached preacher curl and leg station. The second piece is a separate rack (the part the barbell goes on for bench pressing). Each piece usually sells for around $130 on Amazon. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and find the two packaged for as little as $220.
How Versatile Is This Bench?
Well, the bench and the rack being two separate pieces makes it a very versatile bench.
If you want to work with dumbbells for your bench press, you can pull the bench away from the rack so you don’t scrape your knuckles on the lift (Don’t laugh, it really happens).
The preacher curl station allows for a very concentrated bicep workout.
The leg curl/extension option allows targeting of the quads and hamstring (front and back of the thigh, respectively). The hamstring, especially, is very hard to target, especially for the novice lifter. This takes the challenge out of that target zone.
One of the greatest things about this bench set is that the rack is not attached to the bench. You in essence have what is known as a “half-rack”. These are used for setting up for squats when you don’t want to (or can’t) lift the barbell from the floor to the proper starting position.
The rack can also be used to set up for overhead presses, or for shrugs.
A Full Body Workout Is A Breeze With This Bench
As mentioned above, this bench is very capable of a full body workout. The only muscle group that this bench is designed to target is the lats. However, if you are looking to target the lats, and have a bench, you probably have a barbell, right? You can easily target your lats with bent-over rows.
And with that you have a complete, full-body workout. All on a bench set that costs around $260 and doesn’t look like it belongs in a commercial gym.
Will It Actually Hold Up?
Unless your bench pressing or squatting over 250 pounds, it is more than sturdy enough to meet your needs. And if you were benching or squatting 250-plus, you wouldn’t be reading a review on a weight bench. When lifting weights in that range, you’d need to be looking at a full rack.
But for the beginner or intermediate lifter, yes, the Gold’s Gym XRS 20 is perfected suited to your needs.
The bench is adjustable from a slight decline to nearly upright (which is good if you need the back support for overhead press). The rack is adjustable from low enough for a decline bench press, to high enough for a 6-foot plus lifter to comfortably set-up for a squat.
$260 Still Sounds Like A Lot
I realize $260 isn’t cheap. And I’m not saying that you absolutely need this bench set. You can certainly start off with a $120 bench off the shelf from Wal-Mart. It will suit your needs as a first time lifter. Or if you only want to lift light weights to aid in weight loss or maintaining a basic level of fitness, the cheaper bench is fine.
However, if you think you might want to continue lifting, and eventually work up to a strength-training routine, this bench set will allow you to make that transition. It’s rugged enough to support a heavier load. The bench and rack are separate so you virtually have an entire gym worth of equipment in your living room.
Remember, this is just a review. It’s not a sales pitch. I’ll be just as happy to know you bought a cheaper bench, just as long as you find what you need to reach the level of fitness you are after. That is my goal, after all.
The XRS 20 Really Is The Best Deal For The Money
For a bench that accommodates the first time lifter’s needs, and looks to the future when that first timer reaches intermediate levels, the price can’t be beat.
It’s put out by Gold’s Gym, and they stand behind their product. They aren’t the “top-of-the-line” equipment provider, but they certainly don’t put out junk.
I still have this bench in my home gym. I got it for Christmas shortly after I bought my first house. I lifted heavy enough that I strained it a little, but it held up. And now my kids are able to use it while I’m lifting heavier weights on my power rack.
Again, I strongly recommend this bench for anyone who intends to continue and grow as a lifter. You can find the Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Weight Bench on Amazon. You won’t regret buying this bench.
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As always, I hope the best for you on your fitness journey,
P.S. Remember, if you ever have questions, or need help, or just a little encouragement, feel free to reach out. You can leave a comment, or send me an e-mail, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.