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Standard Vs. Olympic Weight Bench

author image Clay McCollum
Clay McCollum began writing professionally in 2010. He was published in the 1999 "Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans." He also presented a research project entitled "EMG responses to commonly performed self-stretches" at the Physical Therapy of Georgia conference. McCollum is currently working towards a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
Standard Vs. Olympic Weight Bench
Bench pressing is a great form of exercise. Photo Credit Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images

Bench press is a common strength training exercise performed in fitness centers across the U.S. Using a weight bench to perform bench presses targets the chest muscles, and to a lesser degree, the triceps and shoulder muscles. Weight benches come in two types: standard and Olympic. Each type possesses advantages.

Weight Bench

The bench can vary in length and width. For safe exercise, the bench must be large enough to support the trunk from buttocks to head when lying flat. Also, the bench must be sturdy enough to support an individual's weight and the weight being lifted. Each bench possesses metal uprights attached that are designed to hold the barbell between lifts. The uprights may need to be designed wider if the lifter plans to perform lifts with a wide grip. Also, each bench will come with a barbell and set of weight plates. These can be used for various exercises such as squats, biceps curls and shoulder presses.

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Standard Bench Design

The standard bench is smaller than an Olympic bench. It comes with a barbell that measures 5 to 6 feet long and weighs 15 to 25 lb. This barbell boasts a much smaller diameter than that of the Olympic bench.

Olympic Bench Design

The Olympic bench is longer and wider than a standard bench. The Olympic design shows up more often in fitness centers because it can accommodate even the strongest lifters. The barbell always measures 7 feet long and weighs 45 lb. Olympic weight benches come with a specific set of weights that always weigh from 2.5 lb. to 45 lb.

Standard Bench Advantages

The smaller size and lighter weight of the standard bench prove helpful if the bench needs to be moved often. The standard bench is often adjustable to an incline or upright position. This will enable a lifter to target other areas of the chest and shoulder musculature. Last, the standard bench typically costs less than the Olympic bench.

Olympic Bench Advantages

The Olympic bench is sturdy. The bench is built to support even the largest lifters, while the uprights can hold enormous amounts of weight. If a lifter gets much stronger over the course of time, they will still never outgrow the weight capacity of the Olympic bench. Last, the Olympic barbell's heavy weight makes it less likely to tip over if the weight is unbalanced.

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