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Mark's cousin is an ex-professional boxer, since giving up the sport he has kept himself fit by spending seemingly limitless amounts of money on home gym equipment - only to now be working as a trainer and therefore with a fully equipped specialised boxing gym at his disposal. Over the Lent period I mentioned that I was giving up chocolate in a bid to lose weight and become healthier, at the perfect time as he was getting rid of a lot of his exercise equipment - having the pick of what he had, most of it was much too advanced for a complete exercise hater such as myself but in the end he talked me into taking this Marcy weights bench as well as some (too heavy) dumbbells.
It's a very basic flat bench for use with dumbbells or bar weights, it's non-adjustable but is low enough to accommodate me and just over five feet and Mark at just under six so I'd say it's versatile. You use the bench by lying flat on your back with your feet on the floor, lifting the dumbbells in the air above or to the sides of your body - the fact that you're lying down ensures you're working different muscles to when you're in standing position, and also I feel it makes me work harder with each set of repetitions.
There's no weight bar support so if using it to bench press you'd really need a fellow exerciser to help you take up and put down the heavy bar. Even using heavy dumbbells can be a bit awkward as picking them up when you're lying eighteen inches off the floor isn't the easiest thing to master! At least putting (dropping!) the down is a more straightforward task, as long as you don't mind the crashing sound and haven't got a dentable floor!
As far as weight benches go, this is a fairly comfortable one. It feels extremely narrow compared to the bench on Mark's old multi-gym, but I'm told it's twelve inch width is pretty average for this type of bench in this price range. You soon get used to the dimensions and after a few sessions will be comfortable enough to complete your exercise without worrying too much about toppling off each time you move your arms. The bench is perfectly padded; firm enough to provide support for your prone body while exercising, but not so hard that it makes you uncomfortable. The padding is covered in a subtly textured material which is similar in feel and appearance to leather, this is obviously 'to a point' as regardless of the texture it remains a plasticky finish but doesn't make you sweat as you're working out. This covering is (probably) sweat proof, to be completely honest I never work out to the point of sweat pouring off me but I can confirm that the day we brought it home it was left outside in drizzly rain for a couple of hours and all it needed was a quick wipe-over when Mark eventually pulled it into the house.
Despite the fact that this is a fairly compact bench, you need a little more room than you'd think as you obviously will need space to use your arms in whatever position you need to for your exercises. We have ours pulled out around four feet from the wall and really could do with a little more room around it, unfortunately the shape of the room makes this impossible but at least with this one you do have more leeway for fitting it into tight spaces compared to if you purchased one of the bulkier benches available. It's not as heavy as you'd think as, although reinforced, the legs and frame are hollow - the bench itself weighs just a little over 13kg but the length means it's easier to move if there are two of you so you can each grab an end. The maximum capacity is 270kg, which includes the person and any weights they might be using - this equates to around forty stone so I can't imagine that many people will be excluded from using this particular Marcy bench on upper weight grounds!
Ours was given to us, but if you're looking for a basic weights bench then I absolutely recommend this one for the reasonable price of £70 from such places as GymWorld and other fitness product stockists. We've bought this type of gym equipment in the past as Mark has fits and starts of using weights, I'm impressed by this price as recall our previous weights bench cost nearly £200 with the only added extra being a weights bar support at the head end of the bench. It does require an amount of self assembly if bought new, but looking at ours I can see that would literally be a case of ensuring the frame and bench itself are securely bolted together - this would be a fast and straightforward job and not really require any special skills.
"The classic flat bench for a dumbbell workout. Very comfortable and built to last."