How to Make a DIY Weight Bench for Your Home Gym

DIY Weight Bench

If you want to complete your home gym, then you’ll need a weight training bench.

However, they don’t come cheap.

But fear not, keep reading to find out how you can easily make your own DIY weight bench.

What is a Weight Bench and Why Is it Important for Training? 

what is weight bench

A weight training bench is very similar to a standard bench.

The main difference is that a weight training bench is designed for heavy lifting and intense exercise. To do proper weight training, you’ll need a weight training bench as it will help you take on more weight. 

Weight training benches also offer excellent support for your back when you do weightlifting. That way, the risk of injury is less. 

They can come in many different designs, and you can either buy it or build it yourself depending on the level of training you will perform. 

DIY Weight Bench vs. Store Bought

weight bench made of wood

When it comes to comparing DIY (do it yourself) weight benches vs. store-bought, the number one factor is the price. 

A retail or store-bought weight bench can cost up to USD 600 if you want good quality. However, a DIY weight bench can be built with as little as USD 50, although it won’t offer you the many features a retail-bought one will. 

DIY weight benches are also a good alternative if you already have woodworking experience and enjoy hard work and payoffs. Although, chances are most DIY weight benches won’t support heavy lifting or intense training routines. 

If you do not have the time to invest in a DIY weight bench, then a store-bought one is the better option. 

Material and Tools You will need

To build your weight bench, you’ll need wood, foam, bolts, insert nuts, leather, and internal threads. These are the specific materials you need for this project:

  • 4 feet. of 3/4 x 12 piece of plywood or solid wood
  • 3 feet. of 1 x 2 wood
  • 8 feet. of 2 x 2 wood
  • 8 feet. of 4 x 4 wood post
  • 1 x 8″ bolt and nut
  • 2 x 3″ bolt and nuts
  • 1 x 12″ bolt/screw and 4 x bolt nuts
  • 8 x nylon washers
  • 14 x flat washers
  • 4-3 inch long lag screws
  • 4 x rubber or rubberized feet
  • Some nails and wood glue
  • Wood stain and polyurethane protective sealant (optional)

Building your weight bench is not expensive if you already have the tools necessary for the job. However, if you don’t, here’s what you’ll need to get before starting your new DIY weight bench project. 

  • Circular saw
  • Miter saw (optional)
  • An electric drill with drill bits, Forstner bit, and the like (used to countersunk lag screws)
  • Wood chisel
  • Socket wrench/ pliers
  • Hammer
  • Sander or Sandpaper

How to Make a DIY Weight Bench 

When doing any woodwork, it is vital to understand the measurements and the way the tools work. Remember always to be careful while operating tools like saws or power drills. 

Here are the steps you need to follow to build your own standard-size weight training bench: 

1. Cut the Wood

Begin by cutting all the wood pieces into the proper lengths. Here’s the list of wood pieces’ measurements you’ll need: 

  • For the adjustable back support, you’ll need a wood board of 34″ x 12″ (86.36 cm x 30.48 cm).
  • For the sitting unmovable-part of the bench, you’ll need a wood board of 14″ x 12″ (35.56 cm x 30.48 cm).
  • You’ll need two 12″ x 4″ pieces (30.48 cm x 10.16 cm) for the base.
  • For the legs, you’ll need two 4″ x 4″ x 13″ pieces (10.16 cm x 10.16 cm x 33.2 cm).
  • For the body of the weight bench, you’ll need a single wood piece of 4″ x 4″ x 45″ (10.16 cm x 10.16 cm x 114.3 cm).
  • For the adjustable mechanism, you’ll need two wood pieces of 2″ x 2″ x 30″ (5.08 cm x 5.08 cm x 76.2 cm).
  • Another two pieces of 1″ x 2″ x 16″ (2.54 cm x 5.08 cm x 40.64 cm) for the adjustable mechanism.
  • Add two pieces of 2” x 2” x 10 ½” (5.08 cm x 5.08 x 26.67 cm) to support the sitting part.  

You can cut the parts yourself or order them with these specifications from your wood provider.

2. Remove the Unneeded Portions

finished weight bench

The wood pieces are now cut and ready. What next? To insert the legs into the base and body, you’ll need to remove a part of the body and base. 

  • For the body, you’ll need to remove 4″ (10.6 cm), leaving 2 ½ “(6.35 cm) of space before the edge on both sides.
  • You’ll need to remove 4″ (10.6 cm) from the middle of the base, leaving the same measure to both sides.
  1. Add the Notches

To use the five-position or flat mechanism, you’ll need to add the adjustable notches. 

  • Create the first notch at 26″ (66.04 cm) from the edge.
  • Add the second one at 18 ⅜” (47.6 cm).
  • Make the third one at 11 ⅛” (28.2 cm).
  • Next, do another one at four ¾” (12 cm).
  • The last one should be at three ⅜” (8.5 cm).

The notches should have a depth of ⅜ inches (0.9 cm).

3. Glue the Pieces

Use wood glue to join the base, legs, and body. Once done, secure it with a 3″ (7.62 cm) lag screw. Use one screw on each side. 

4. Start With the Adjustable Mechanism

Drill a hole through the 2″ x 2″ x 30″ (5.08 cm x 5.08 cm x 76.2 cm) big enough to fit the 10″ (25.4 cm) bolts. Next, do the same through the bench’s body at exactly 12 ⅞ “(32.46 cm) from the edge. 

Then join the two 2″ x 2″ x 30″ pieces to the body with the 10″ bolt. Use a nylon washer to avoid friction damage from constant use. 

5. Continue With the Swing Arm

Drill a hole through the 1″ x 2″ pieces big enough to use the 3″ bolt (7.62 cm). 

Use a 12″ (30.48 cm) bolt at the swing arm’s end to finish the adjustable mechanism. Secure it with four bolt nuts.

6. Add the Backrest and Bench Seat

Use wood glue to add the backrest to the adjustable mechanism, sand the edges before joining it. Then, use wood glue and nails to attach the bench seat to the body. 

7. Add the Finishings  

Once your weight training bench is completed, you’ll need to add rubber feet to the bases so that it won’t move when you are using it. You’ll also need to add a generous amount of wood stain and two coats of polyurethane finish.

Using wood to bench press might be challenging and uncomfortable, so we recommend adding foam and leather to the bench seat and the backrest. This way, you’ll get a more accurate weight training bench and a far more comfortable one.

Another alternative for the leather and foam is a yoga mat. It will give you the necessary cushion. It will also capture the sweat. 

Note: You should not use this bench for intense training or heavy lifting. 

Are There Alternatives to a Weight Bench?

If you don’t want to go through all the trouble of building your weight bench and you cannot afford to buy one, then there are some substitutes you can use. 

Here are some alternatives to weight benches that you can find for a better price: 

Stability Ball

one arm chest press

Stability balls are among the most common alternatives to weight-training benches. However, it won’t help you with intense weight lifting. 

Stability balls are cheaper than a store-bought weight training bench, and it is a good alternative if you don’t have the time to create your DIY weight bench. 

Classic Standard Benches Plus Yoga Mats

Classic benches and piano benches are an excellent substitute if you place a yoga mat over them to provide the necessary cushion. The most important aspect of a weight bench is that it allows for support, and classic benches can also do the job. 

Aerobic Steps

They are easy to find and not expensive at all. An aerobic step can offer you the support needed to do some mild weight lifting for benches. 

Just place them far away from any wall or other object that could interrupt your work-out session.

Conclusion

A DIY weight bench is hard work but highly satisfactory. It will be an easy time if you already have experience with woodworking and own the right tools.

However, always remember that safety comes first and be careful when using tools like drills or saws. 

Overall, weight training benches are an excellent addition to your home gym but don’t stress about buying one or building your own if you don’t have time. You can use some substitutes for this that will offer you the necessary support and mobility.

If you are new to DIY projects, follow the instructions, and don’t hesitate to ask more experienced people for help.

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