How To Use An Adjustable Weight Bench

CAP Barbell Deluxe Utility Weight Bench

The adjustable weight bench!! Maybe you have never been to the gym, completed weight training or never ventured into the weights area? Perhaps you can’t get past the cardio area without spending your whole hour session in there? If so, you are probably unsure of how to use an adjustable weight bench. You may have been lifting weights at your local gym but because you are unsure, never stopped to work out how that bench that people use for other exercises works, for fear of looking stupid trying to adjust the thing. Some who have seen an adjustable weight bench may not even have the slightest idea that it actually adjusts!

Weight benches are not just there to fill the gym floor. They are actually a useful piece of equipment to complete a variety of different exercises to train your arms, core, and legs! There are 2 main types of workbench:

  • Non-adjustable weight benches made to be flat or set in a 90-degree chair-based position
  • Adjustable weight benches created to give variation to the training position

This article is here to educate you on how to use the adjustable weight bench to your benefit.

So if you are wondering how to adjust the weight bench before you walk in and give it a go yourself, then here it is!

There a variety of different models of adjustable weight benches. Overall they all work to do the same thing – change the position to increase or decrease the angle of the back. There are a hand full to almost a dozen positions you can utilize on an adjustable weight bench.

How To Adjust A Gym Bench (Step By Step):

  1. Step up to the long side of the adjustable weight bench
  2. Find the adjustable knob located under the flattened backrest and place your hand at the top of the short end of the bench
  3. Pull out the adjustable knob and pull the short edge of the bench up lightly
  4. There should be slots for you to place the adjustable knob back into at points such as 30, 45, 90 degrees to create an incline or decline position.
  5. Once you have found the right angle for you to work from, let go of the adjustable knob to secure the position
  6. Sit on the bench with your dumbbells or barbell in hand or on the ground next to you in the position you intend to begin your weighted exercise
  7. Once you have completed your exercise, return the adjustable weight bench back to the flattened position ready for the next user

Tips On Executing Exercises On A Weight Bench:


​Try placing the adjustable weight bench in a variety of different positions.  This will help you target different parts of a certain muscle or a different muscle all-together. For example, in the dumbbell chest press, placing the bench at an incline by a few degrees allows you to target your upper chest muscle fiber. Do not increase the angle too much as this can increase shoulder joint injury. Placing the bench at a decline will emphasize targeting the muscle fibers of your lower chest. So, experiment with the bench angles!


​Use the adjustable bench as a method of support if you are completing heavy overhead lifts. Adjust the bench so that the backrest is upright like a chair and you are able to sit comfortably against it. By placing yourself in this position you will support your back. This prevents you from rocking back and forth using momentum to lift the dumbbell. You will have to rely on the strength and power of the muscle you are actually trying to train! Just ensure you brace your core muscles. Don’t arch your back as you lift off the bench, as this can cause injury.


​Keep your feet flat on the floor or on the flat surface of the adjustable bench (choose which is more comfortable for you), do not lift them up and wiggle them in the air, particularly if you are a beginner. By lifting your feet off the floor or bench you place yourself in an unstable position where you place yourself at risk of injury. Plus, you look like a silly cat wanting a belly rub so keep them down.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Do You Adjust A Life Fitness Bench?
How Do You Adjust A Hammer Strength Bench?

Both these products are made by the same manufacturer (Life Fitness owns the Hammer Strength brand).

Check out the user manual here.

How Do You Adjust A Matrix Bench?

Have a look at this YouTube video, demonstrating the various adjustments.

Next Steps

Now you know how to use the adjustable weight bench, get out there into the weights room and test it out for yourself and reap the benefits an adjustable weight bench can offer you!