How to Use an Adjustable Bench: 7 Best Adjustable Bench Exercises You Can Do Using This Machine

Best adjustable bench exercises to do. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Ivan Samkov)
Best adjustable bench exercises to do. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Ivan Samkov)

Do you know the best adjustable bench exercises? An adjustable bench is a piece of equipment available at every gym. It’s used for a variety of exercises and can alone be enough to work on almost every body part.

An adjustable bench can be used with dumbbells, barbells and a cable pulley machine. However, before you begin using it, you should know what it is.

What is an adjustable bench?

These benches come with an adjustable seat and adjustable back support. You can turn it into an incline bench, straight bench, and decline bench. Moreover, you can adjust the seat as well to suit your comfort level and angle.


These benches are usually used for compound movements, but you can use them for certain isolation movements as well.

7 best adjustable bench exercises

As mentioned, there are several adjustable bench exercises. Let’s take a look at some of them for each body part.

1) Barbell/Dumbbell bench press (chest)

You can do an incline, flat and decline bench press with an adjustable bench. It is a type of compound movement that works the chest muscle as well as the triceps.

To exercise, you need to adjust the backrest based on the type of exercise you want to do. If you want to do a barbell chest press, you need to position the bench near the squat rack or smith machine, depending on what you want to do.


2) Chest supported dumbbell row (lats)

One of the best adjustable bench exercises for lats are rows.

To do this, adjust the backrest to two slots above the flat bench. Lie down with your chest on the backrest and your arms hanging from the side. Next, take the dumbbells or the barbell and proceed to the back rows.

However, to maintain pressure on your lats, keep your neck straight and don’t let your biceps completely take over the exercise. Nevertheless, since it’s a compound movement, there will be some stress on your biceps.


3) Spider curls (biceps)

This is definitely the best adjustable bench exercise for biceps. Keeping the backrest one or two slots above the flat position, place your upper body on the bench and allow your arms to hang from the top. Next, take the dumbbells or the barbell and proceed to do bicep curls.

Since the arms are without any back support or feet support, you’ll need to exert more pressure on the biceps to do the curls.

4) Skullcrushers (triceps)

You can use a straight bar or an EZ-bar for this exercise. Lie down flat on the bench, take the bar and extend it upwards.

Bend from your elbows to bring the bar towards your forehead. Keep your elbows as stable as possible, and keep a strong muscle-mind connection with your triceps when you push the bar back to the starting position.

5) Dumbbell overhead press (shoulders)

Place the back rest to 90-degrees and adjust the seat to a height where your feet are firmly on the ground. Next, take a pair of dumbbells and place them on your knees. Once you’re ready, boost the dumbbells over your shoulders and begin overhead presses.

Use the backrest as support while keeping your core engaged for better stability and balance. This is one of the best adjustable bench exercises to improve overall arm strength.

6) Hip thrust (glutes and hamstrings)

Regarding your lower body, you can use the adjustable bench to work on both hamstrings and quads.

To do hip thrusts, place your back against the side of the backrest after keeping the backrest completely flat. Next, keep your legs bent from the knees and place the barbell/dumbbell on your pelvic joint and begin pushing the weight upwards with your hips.

The more range of motion you acquire, the better your hamstrings get worked upon.


7) Bulgarian split squat (quadriceps)

If you are focusing on legs, one of the best adjustable bench exercises you can do is the Bulgarian split squat. This exercise works on your quads, but one leg at a time.

To exercise, place one foot on the bench from the ankle and place the other foot at a distance from the bench. Proceed to do lunges while one foot stays on the bench. However, ensure you push with the heels of the foot which is firmly on the floor.

Next time you are at the gym, make sure to give some of these best adjustable bench exercises a whirl!

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Edited by Nicolaas Ackermann
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