Basic home gym bench press recommendation

I read through the forum posts for recommendation for home gym equipment. I haven't been to a gym for over 6 years, my arms and back muscles have become very weak due to my posture and lack of exercise. I am mid 40s IT worker and for last 2 years now permanently WFH. I have large space at home. My goal is to just build enough upper body strength. I have been to physio who suggested dumb bells and bar bells.

Anyway I want to start doing some simple home gym with weights up to 20-30 KG only to start with. Looking for some basic level bench press and rack type equipment within $500 + weights. Any recommendations. Kmart and Kogan have some cheap ones like (sold out though)


  • +5

    One huge problem with all of the ones you've linked to is none of them have safety bars. I'm assuming you'll likely train alone so IMO it's critical you have safety bars. Other than that, unless you're very tiny and somewhat weak, even 30kg is unlikely to be enough weight for bench press.

    I can't recommend anything within a $500 budget other than to say look at gumtree etc for used. Another few weeks is when people will start giving up on new years resolutions and the few months after that they'll start looking to sell the stuff they bought.

    EDIT: maybe look at a calisthenics program? Body weight training is very effective.

    • Sorry 30 KG was for free weight dumb bells. Maybe instead of bench press, I just buy a basic adjustable bench and start with with some dumb bells and bar bell?

      • +1

        Honestly, I'd say just look at calisthenics until you decide it's something you're going to stick with. Add a jump rope and a kettlebell if you want, maybe around 12 - 16kg and a pair of 5 - 8kg dumb bells and you can do a lot with just that at home.

  • +1

    Push ups. Kettlebell and some dumb bells to get you started. Just do bodyweight workout stuff until you need the kettlebell. Then when you get use to the kettlebell, barbells.

    Bench press rack will just become an expensive bulky clothesline unless you do the work to build up to it. Just my 2c.

    • -1

      Im a convert to bands. So much for so little space.

  • I'd be going with something like the middle bench, used to have a bench with the leg extention / curl and fly attachments and ended up removing them because they weren't usable. Considering you're not looking to lift heavy a set like that will probably be fine, but just FYI those barbells top out at around 100kg.

    At your age it's probably worth arranging a couple of sessions with a PT who can take you through a few exercises and teach you good form, us over 40's don't heal as quickly as we used to ;)

  • +1


  • +1

    I would recommend a bench without the barbell rack and use dumbbells only. Every barbell exercise has an equivalent dumbbell variation and they are generally considered safer for your shoulders. Plus dumbbells are more practical for other exercises such as lateral raises, lunges, dumbbells snatches, rows, etc.

    Perhaps one of the following models. Incline bench has some small advantages but you need to pay much more money for a sturdy one.

    Spend your remaining funds on rubber coated hex dumbbells. Up to 15kg should be sufficient until you get stronger. If you want to save money you could go with the adjustable spinlock variety, but I like the comfort of knowing that I'm not going to get hit by a falling plate.

    Also, with dumbbells you don't need safety bars you just drop the rubber coated ones on the floor. Avoid the leg extension add-ons because they are crap. Just do lunges or dumbbell goblet squats to strengthen your legs.

    • Amen re the leg extensions. That part of the basic home gym bench press sets are total garbage

      • Yes. I good way to ruin your knees. Just stick to squats.

  • +1

    Agree with Snoozer. Just get a flat bench and Hex dumbbells in a variety of weights. Changing plates on spinlock dumbbells gets old fast.

    I use this at home and its perfectly fine:

  • I would recommend you work on your core strength as priority. Then all other body parts will follow. Your upper and lower body will always remain weak if you don't have a strong core. You don't need any equipment for this. Also if you do insist on buying equipment I would get a squat rack.

  • I agree with some other comments. Forget the bench press, and get just an inclining flat bench (cheaper too) + some dumbbells. You can do all the same activities but safer. You can also do other exercises like Curls, Farmer Carry, Dumbbell Rows, Incline Press, Dumbbell Pullover, Dumbbell Front Raises. I had to google all these names because i don't know what they were called haha

    The other thing you can fairly cheaply, if you have the place in the house to install it, is a pull up bar. I don't have one currently, but i used to have one installed into the brickwork above my laundry doorway. It was essentially invisible because it was in the smallest room of the house and away from any lines of sight. I'm guessing you maybe a way off that yet, no offence!

    I say this as a person who is not in the best shape, genetically I'm never going to be a big guy, but have always enjoyed going to the gym on and off (usually the Off was due to work travel commitments); although its awesome to work on all the legs/core/etc etc, for me the best motivation was being able to see the progress in the mirror. Biceps and triceps in particular, and I guess its the same for most people haha. Shallow I know, but any guy who says otherwise is likely full of crap. Then once you're enjoying yourself, work on the other stuff too. Whereas comparatively, pushups, calisthenics, exercise bikes are all kinda…not that fun. And unless you're enjoying yourself you won't do it. Plus cardio takes up time. I used to have a 30kg curl bar in my room when i was younger (hence my comment about gym being on/off), and I would just bust out a set of 10 curls while I was watching TV or listening to music, then wait 5min or so, do another set. Without even trying I was making some pretty good progress, then you feel inspired to keep going.

  • yeah op, dont axe yourself attempting to lift. Safety bars save lives.

  • Bro! You can’t skip leg day!

  • buy used and get a bargain, theres 100s who buy new and use it 2 times and sell it 3yrs later.

  • I was in a similar situation as you 2 years and have gone through similar things. None of these linked can really achieve the bench press goal, to be honest. It is better to go to the gym for proper bench press with proper weights.

    As others have said, one alternative is to get a flat bench and some dumbbells. They will be good enough to be used as a kick start or maintaining during the lock down period. You will never get enough weights for them. You may think at first to get lighter ones but eventually you will want to get to much heavier if you start building up muscles and want to get more.

    Going to the gym is still a better option, unless you can try to at least a half rack, flat bench, bar bell, dumbbells at home. But then $500 budget is not enough. I would say to properly set up a starter home gym, you would be looking at spending at least 3 to 4 grands to basically cover upper body exercise and a few lower body exercise (e.g. weighted squat).

    Keeping some dumbbells at home are good for some rainy days which I dont want to get up and go to the gym.

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