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View Full Version : Some Basic Questions about Benches



kennethdwelch
10-29-2010, 01:40 PM
hi guys, i'm new here and just getting into this stuff. i'm benching below 200lbs right now and have a Marcy bench set (yea, the one from walmart - lol) with a 1" bar. i have two questions...

1. how much weight can a typicall 1" (10 lb) bar support? (this isn't listen on the packages or online) it's a 3 piece bar with a hollow center and the ends (solid) bolted in about 2 inches. the cheapest of the cheap!

with the interests of a college student with little to no $$, i'm looking to wait as long as possible (in terms of max lbs supported for benching) before shelling out for new equipment.

2. why do even name brand benches (like Gold's for example) not list max supported weights? i know i won't be putting a significant load on them just yet, but still.

no need to laugh, i know i'm a noob.

thanks

Wildtim
10-29-2010, 01:57 PM
I don't have any exact answers for you. My advice is to start watching Craigslist now and be ready to jump when a good deal pops up on the stuff you really need.

My best guess for number one is..........very little. Cheap but solid Olympic bars have been known to bend with as little as 300 pounds on them and solid 1" standard bars five feet long often bend with around 300#'s. How long a hollow bar will last is anyone's guess. I would predict less than six months if you get on a good program Like Mark Rippetoes "Starting Strength" from the book of the same name and eat like you actually mean it.

The reason for number 2 is quite simple, they do not want you to know. I used to have a Marcy bench and Squat stand that I was able to find max weights for. The bench could support 600#'s which sounds like a lot until you realize that has to include the user as well and even at well under that stated weight things got pretty shaky. My stands were rated to 300#'s which for a decent squat simply isn't enough.

Just as an aside: Marcy used to make decent equipment, Gold's never has, so Marcy would actualy be the "name brand".


In comparison my current equipment purchased used but of good manufacture claims over a thousand pounds on the bench and my power rack boasts a rating of over a thousand pounds as well. These ratings were quite easy to find and so is the companies lifetime gaurantee. Even new this quality equipment would have cost less than double what my old cheap junk did.

While the above is informative it misses the point a bit though. Since you currently have no safe way to squat, and probably not enough weight for it to be useful if you did (100 pound set right?), you need different equipment to do any reputable training program. For the best budget option I suggest checking out the gym at school.

JJ-
10-29-2010, 04:55 PM
Even as much as I love home gyms, I would suggest you take advantage of your school gym for now. It's probably free and you can save your money for other stuff college throws at you. Just my 2 cents

kennethdwelch
10-29-2010, 06:30 PM
thanks guys for the quick replies and comments.

I did find the 600 lbs thing on the Marcy set, but it doesn't concern me for now. My thing is with the bar. Some people say they've put upwards of 300 lbs on it with a little bending, but that's not in my near future (as much as I'd like it to be).

As to using the school gym, I'm going to a community college and they don't have one. My weights total up around 320lbs, divided among the barbell, two dumbells, and curling dohicky (technical term) on the bench set... plus some spares.

It's only hollow on the centerpiece that joins the two ends. As long as it's not gonna snap on me with say... 250, I'm good.

thanks again for the input. I'll look at some used stuff, but there's not much out where I live.

Trevy-trev
10-29-2010, 07:12 PM
It's only hollow on the centerpiece that joins the two ends. As long as it's not gonna snap on me with say... 250, I'm good.

thanks again for the input. I'll look at some used stuff, but there's not much out where I live.

I wouldn't trust the bar even up to that weight and wouldn't want to be under 250lbs when the bar snaps.

kennethdwelch
10-29-2010, 08:05 PM
here's a picture of said bar.

the hex bolts you see are about an inch and a half in from the ends. and the middle piece is hollow. the end pieces are solid, and go in about 2 1/2 inches.

a problem with the Marcy set i'm using is that you can really only position your hands for a mid grip (in this case, that'll be outside the cradles). you can see the smaller 5 pounders on the inside of the 25s... that's just to space them out so they don't hit my forearms coming down.

good news though, if it snaps, the weights will fall to the outside!

Accutron
10-29-2010, 08:28 PM
I don't have any exact answers for you. My advice is to start watching Craigslist now and be ready to jump when a good deal pops up on the stuff you really need.

My best guess for number one is..........very little. Cheap but solid Olympic bars have been known to bend with as little as 300 pounds on them and solid 1" standard bars five feet long often bend with around 300#'s. How long a hollow bar will last is anyone's guess. I would predict less than six months if you get on a good program Like Mark Rippetoes "Starting Strength" from the book of the same name and eat like you actually mean it.

The reason for number 2 is quite simple, they do not want you to know. I used to have a Marcy bench and Squat stand that I was able to find max weights for. The bench could support 600#'s which sounds like a lot until you realize that has to include the user as well and even at well under that stated weight things got pretty shaky. My stands were rated to 300#'s which for a decent squat simply isn't enough.

Just as an aside: Marcy used to make decent equipment, Gold's never has, so Marcy would actualy be the "name brand".


In comparison my current equipment purchased used but of good manufacture claims over a thousand pounds on the bench and my power rack boasts a rating of over a thousand pounds as well. These ratings were quite easy to find and so is the companies lifetime gaurantee. Even new this quality equipment would have cost less than double what my old cheap junk did.

While the above is informative it misses the point a bit though. Since you currently have no safe way to squat, and probably not enough weight for it to be useful if you did (100 pound set right?), you need different equipment to do any reputable training program. For the best budget option I suggest checking out the gym at school.

Hi WT,
Thats a really good reply, its good you always help people like that, we all appreciate it!

dumb.bell
10-29-2010, 08:30 PM
Is the center really hollow, or is it just a hollow sleeve over a solid bar?

VoxExMachina
10-29-2010, 08:50 PM
here's a picture of said bar.

the hex bolts you see are about an inch and a half in from the ends. and the middle piece is hollow. the end pieces are solid, and go in about 2 1/2 inches.

a problem with the Marcy set i'm using is that you can really only position your hands for a mid grip (in this case, that'll be outside the cradles). you can see the smaller 5 pounders on the inside of the 25s... that's just to space them out so they don't hit my forearms coming down.

good news though, if it snaps, the weights will fall to the outside!

That's a pretty questionable bar. IMO. I wouldn't trust it with much.

Even a cheap one-piece olympic bar that comes with 300 lb. weight sets would be far better than that, and you could probably find one on CL for $20.

Wildtim
10-29-2010, 08:52 PM
thanks guys for the quick replies and comments.

I did find the 600 lbs thing on the Marcy set, but it doesn't concern me for now. My thing is with the bar. Some people say they've put upwards of 300 lbs on it with a little bending, but that's not in my near future (as much as I'd like it to be).

As to using the school gym, I'm going to a community college and they don't have one. My weights total up around 320lbs, divided among the barbell, two dumbells, and curling dohicky (technical term) on the bench set... plus some spares.

It's only hollow on the centerpiece that joins the two ends. As long as it's not gonna snap on me with say... 250, I'm good.

thanks again for the input. I'll look at some used stuff, but there's not much out where I live.

So in other words you wanted us to re-assure you that your cheap junk was OK and when we didn't you choose to ignore us completely.

Well.........Whatever, its your face.

kennethdwelch
10-29-2010, 09:08 PM
So in other words you wanted us to re-assure you that your cheap junk was OK and when we didn't you choose to ignore us completely.

Well.........Whatever, its your face.

haha no, i'm already looking for a new bar. my question was to better understand how urgent i need to make this quest (in the sense of replacing before i get to X weight). i know the bar is a POS and i'm not gonna take it up and see how high it can go.

my biggest beef is that (before i knew any better), i spent a lot in 1" weights. for some reason i have four 2" 10lbs but that's not gonna do me any good by itself. so obviously i'm gonna have to buy weights again too. not looking forward to spending $$... but i'm looking.

4MEandThem
10-29-2010, 09:15 PM
You can get a brand new 300lb set with a bar for about 150.00 at sports authority when on sale.This is the time of year when they have the biggest sales starting.

dumb.bell
10-29-2010, 10:11 PM
What is the distance between the uprights on that bench? If they are too narrow, won't that cause the bar to tip when loading weights on an Olympic bar?

Wildtim
10-29-2010, 10:24 PM
haha no, i'm already looking for a new bar. my question was to better understand how urgent i need to make this quest (in the sense of replacing before i get to X weight). i know the bar is a POS and i'm not gonna take it up and see how high it can go.

my biggest beef is that (before i knew any better), i spent a lot in 1" weights. for some reason i have four 2" 10lbs but that's not gonna do me any good by itself. so obviously i'm gonna have to buy weights again too. not looking forward to spending $$... but i'm looking.

I've got over 400#'s in 1" plates. They still get used on my lat/low row machine and they make up my dumbbells. This is the best size for Dumbbells, the Olympic ones are cumbersome. I also have a couple of five foot bars that I set-up for lower weight exercises. There are things like barbell complexes that these are ideal for, its also nice to be able to set up an entire circuit and be able to run it without changing a plate. They will still have a use.

As soon as you get an Olympic set you won't want to use them for your main barbell exercises any more. The size of the Olympic bar and the ease of using the plates really does make it worth while.

kennethdwelch
10-30-2010, 07:17 AM
yea, i'll be able to use the dumbells. they're good quality. i just don't have enough stuff to spread all that spare weight around on.

any specific brands or things to look for in an olympic barbell?