View Full Version : Does the height of the bench matter?

02-25-2009, 12:31 AM
My bench has been going up really slow and I've been struggling to get a 3x5 at 185 for the last week and a half. Before that I struggled at 180 for a week and a half. So, my bench is going up much more slowly than my squats and deads.

I have added some skull crushers the last two weeks so those could be the answser to my question.

Last bench (on Friday) I did 185 for 5 reps, 4 reps, and 3 reps. And I struggled to get those.

Today, I hit 5 reps for all three sets and they were easy. Didn't struggle to get the last reps up in any of the sets. Trying to head off the "this is a dumb post because you hit 5.4.3 last week and 5,5,5 this week - big deal" response. I agree, it wouldn't be a big deal except for how easy the 3x5 went up compared to how much I struggled with all my might to get 5,4,3 last week.

Today I lifed at a 24 hour fitness. I have been lifting at home for the last 2+ months. The benches at the 24 hour fitness are at least 6 inches lower to the ground than my home bench.

My hamstring cramped up on the last couple of reps for the last two sets. However, not sure if that is a factor or not because I played basketball for an hour earlier in the day and I haven't played basketball in forever so I'm assuming the cramp was from that and the fact that I squatted just before doing the bench. However, it did make me wonder if the lower bench let me use my legs more. I kept my *** on the bench but of course arched the back as usual.

I'm 6'3" tall so I can easily get my feet flat on the floor with my taller bench at home.

Anways, that's a lot of info but just wanted to give it all in case it helps your response. I'm asking because if a lower bench is going to help this much I'll buy a lower bench for home. But I'm not sure if it was the bench height. Maybe I just had a good day. Maybe the tri work finally kicked in. Also, the bar today was thicker than my bar at home so maybe that worked.

What do you think, did the lower bench help?

Bako Lifter
02-25-2009, 12:56 AM
The hight of the bench does matter. Try putting plates under your feet at home and see if it helps.

02-25-2009, 05:44 AM
Height should be around 17"

02-25-2009, 06:07 AM
The weight of the bar or plates may be different from your house to the gym. I was the same way in high school. I could lift more there and at my friends house. I weighed the bar and plates and the bar was 36lbs and the plates were 43lbs so when I thought it was 135 it was 122. I then weighed my weights at home on the same digital scale and my bar is 46lbs and my plates are 45.5

02-25-2009, 09:22 AM
I lift at 24 hour fitness a fair bit and I noticed the same thing. It is always easier to lift there than at a real gym (powerlifting gym) or at home with weights I know are correct. I wouldn't be surprized if they intentionally use weights that are a little light just to make people feel good about themselves. Also the benches there are quite a bit lower than you would see at a competition.

02-25-2009, 10:41 AM
I'm an at home lifter as well and my bench is about 6 inches higher than competition benches. I didn't think it was a big deal until my first meet. At the meet, when I got the press command, I hit my leg drive and my butt came off the bench...red light! So I had to adjust big time.


02-25-2009, 01:25 PM
A bench at 17" is many times better than a lower one.

EDIT: If you have to use a lower one, get your feet out wider to avoid your butt coming off the bench.

02-27-2009, 11:58 AM
HA! Well, I'm a dumb***

The bar that came with my 300lb olympic weight set was suppose to be a 20lb bar according to the description. I just weighed it and it is actually 33lbs.

I guess the good thing is that I've been actually lifting 13lb heavier on everything than I thought I was. Could've been worse, could've been the other way around.

That's a wierd weight, 33lb. I'm thinking I'll just calc it as 30lb for my logs to make the math easier or would you count the full 33lb?

iForce Dave
02-27-2009, 01:53 PM
wow I had no idea the height of the bench mattered so much!

02-27-2009, 02:59 PM
I measured my bench that I use at home today and the top of the bench is 17", so probably 18" after the padding squishes down when laying on it.

I'd bet the ones at 24 hour fitness are at least 6" less. They are really, really low. I guess I'll just have to put my feet out further as KarstenDD suggested above when I need to work out at the 24 hour fitness.

05-27-2009, 10:34 PM
I measured my bench that I use at home today and the top of the bench is 17", so probably 18" after the padding squishes down when laying on it. That makes no sense man... wouldn't it be lower after it squishes down? :moon:

Rob Luyando
05-27-2009, 10:59 PM
If you are going to compete get a compition bench to train on or find a gym that has one. Competition height is the way you want to train. If you train on a bench that is to high more likely than not your ass will come off the bench at a meet and if you train on a bench that is too low your going to have dificulty getting a good set up. I would recomend a Melitia Thug bench, Forza, or Elite compititon bench. I have benched over 9 on all three so their all good and solid and the right height.

05-28-2009, 01:38 AM
wow I had no idea the height of the bench mattered so much!

Bench height is very important, but so is bench width. I have a hell of a time benching in the commercial gym we've been working out in because the benches are only 9 inches wide (instead of ~12 inches for a comp spec bench) and 16 inches high. With me laying on the pad, the benches compress to about 15 inches..... With them so narrow, I have to get a perfect handoff or else I've got a hell of a time keeping my setup. That three inches is HUGE.

If you are planning on competing, do everything you can to try to train on a competition spec bench. You'll see your bench go up if you do.