Even the most dedicated cyclist will normally cut back on their mileage during the winter. Most of us use our extra “free time” engaging in some other athletic endeavor—usually we turn to weight lifting to help develop core strength. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I used to workout on weight machines, then turned to resistance bands before finally settling on free weights. If your workout centers around the use of dumbbells then you need a good weight bench. A few weeks ago I switched from an old flat bench to the Universal Five-Position Weight Bench.
The Universal Five-Position Weight Bench can be adjusted for use as a flat bench, incline bench or decline bench and has five bench-back settings (-10°, 0°, 15°, 30°, and 45°). Unfortunately, this bench does not offer a 90° angle (I would like it for the seated dumbbell shoulder press). This bench has two 8″ foam rollers to hold your feet in place when needed. The padding on the bench is adequate for the job—it is thick enough to prevent pain, but thin enough to not get in the way.
This bench comes unassembled, but it only took about 30 minutes to put together. If comes with a pair of really cheap, disposable wrenches that you can use when you put the bench together. However, you will save yourself a lot of aggravation if you just grab two adjustable wrenches from your garage and use them instead.
The Universal Five-Position Weight Bench is fairly compact (51″ L x 17.5″ W x 25″ H) and doesn’t take up much room—when not in use I stand my bench up in a corner of the family room. This bench has a maximum user weight of 250 pounds. A sticker on the bottom of the bench warns that the combined weight of user and equipment should not exceed 430 pounds.
The only complaint I have with this bench is that it is going to be too small for some people. I am 5’10” and this bench barely fits me—I think anyone over 6′ tall should look for another bench. Though not a deal breaker, the gap between the seat and the adjustable back piece is larger than it needs to be.
The Universal Five-Position Weight Bench has a retail price of $170. I bought mine from Amazon.com for $99 and got free shipping (it arrived just three days after I ordered it). Walmart.com sells this product for $99 as well, and you can have it sent to your local Walmart for in-store pickup. If you enjoy burning money you can also buy it from Sears.com for $214 (shipping starts at only $55). By the way, Universal is a brand owned by Nautilus, Inc. (they also own the Bowflex, CoreBody Reformer, Schwinn Fitness, and Peak Fit System brand names).