A barbell and bench are the bread and butter of a top-quality home gym.
Along with a power rack, they are probably the most important home gym components you will buy. Virtually every workout and fitness plan you can think of will require a barbell or a bench.
Barbells and benches are often sold as packages. These are what we will be checking out today. There are tons of different packages, and they vary significantly in price, quality, and features.
This article will review the best barbell and bench packages available in the UK and what to look out for when buying a barbell and bench set.
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BodyMax CF475 Strength Package 2
The BodyMax CF475 is an excellent alternative to the Primal Strength package if you are a trainee who wants a rack, bench, and weights at a more budget-friendly price point.
It comes with a full power rack, adjustable bench with leg extension, pulley attachment and 100kg of cast iron tri-grip weights. These inclusions make it an excellent package that includes almost everything you would need in a home gym.
It is suitable for beginner to advanced trainees. Because it comes with an olympic bar, buying more weights separately at a later date is easy.
Something we haven’t seen in a package so far is a pulley attachment. Most of you probably enjoy using this piece of equipment in commercial gyms.
It allows you to perform exercises like lat pulldowns, tricep extensions and bicep curls. An included pulley is a great feature and adds dozens of extra exercises to your home gym repertoire.
The BodyMax CF475 is an excellent rack for the money and a valuable addition to your home gym.
It comes with a full rack, which lets you perform big compound moves like squats in the safest way possible. Set the bar catchers to your desired height and know that you can safely avoid injury and damage to your flooring if you fail a lift.
A knurled pullup bar is included and stops you from having to buy a separate pullup bar that could potentially damage your door frames or take up unnecessary space.
The 100kg of cast iron weights included in this set will be enough for most trainees. Whilst cast iron plates are not as desirable as bumper plates, the full rack with bar catchers largely removes the risk of you dropping cast-iron weights on your gym floor.
A tip that can significantly improve a cast-iron weight set-up is to buy two 20-25kg bumper plates separately and load them first before your cast iron plates. This will give you many of the advantages of bumper plates without buying a complete set.
There are very few drawbacks to this package. It packs in so many high-quality features at a great price. The only disadvantage is that some lifters may find 100kg of weight insufficient for their needs. This can easily be solved by buying additional olympic weight second hand or new.
- 100Kg cast iron weight plates (2 x 15kg, 2 x10kg, 4x 5kg, 4 x 2.5kg)
- Heavy duty weight bench with decline option
- Heavy power rack
- Lat pulley attachment
- Olympic spring collars
- Very sturdy and great quality materials used
- Good brand that has been around for long time
- Can easily do adjustments
- Lat pulley attachments allow you to do a variety of extra cable exercises
- 100kg weight plates may be insufficient for some peoples’ needs.
Mirafit M1 Weight Lifting Starter Set
The Mirafit M1 is the perfect barbell and bench package for beginner lifters starting their weight training journey. It features 100kg of tri-grip 1’ weight plates, a 5ft barbell, 4ft EZ-curl bar, two dumbbell handles and an adjustable bench with bar rack.
If you want an all-in-one solution and don’t want a full power rack, then the M1 is a great option.
An adjustable bench, bar rack and 100kg of cast iron weights are more than enough for most fitness enthusiasts. Bar racks are essential because they allow you to lift heavier weights than you would with a bench alone.
An adjustable bench lets you workout at multiple angles, a valuable feature that will help you achieve a well-balanced physique. 100kg of cast iron weight is more than enough for beginner, intermediate and even some advanced lifters.
You will be able to load each dumbbell to 50kg or put 100kg on a single barbell.
A variety of different bars is a big plus because it gives you more options when working out. Having dumbbells, a barbell, and an EZ-curl puts every free weight exercise within your reach.
The EZ-curl bar is an excellent perk of this package. EZ curl bars are often overlooked and are ideal for working biceps and triceps without wrist pain. We love that this bench can be folded vertically to save space when not in use.
This makes the Mirafit M1 a sure bet for trainees with limited space.
The bar rack gives you the advantage of doing big compound lifts like the bench press. You won’t have to bend down to the floor to pick up the bar every time because you can re-rack it when you finish your set.
Bear in mind that this type of rack will be narrower than what you are used to in a commercial gym. Just be aware that most people will have to grip the bar outside of the hooks. There is no disadvantage to this.
Experienced trainees may want to look for a barbell and bench package with a sturdier bench and heavier weights. Advanced lifters probably already own 2’ olympic plates, which are not compatible with the Mirafit M1.
Heavier weights than the 100kg included will require a more robust bench or a power rack. Always exercise caution when lifting heavy weights alone without bar catchers.
- Folding bench with dip station
- Standard 5ft standard 1″ barbell
- 2 x 14″ dumbbell bars
- 4ft EZ curl bar
- 100kg cast iron weights (4 x 10kg, 8 x 5kg, 8 x 2.5kg)
- Compact bench takes up less room
- Metal, not plastic materials, means better quality
- 100kg limit is great for beginners, but medium and advanced lifters may bench more.
Primal Strength Half Rack Package
The Primal Strength half-rack package is a top of the line piece of strength training equipment. A package like this is great for all levels of experience and perfect for intermediate to advanced trainees.
It comes with a Primal Strength half-rack, 170kg of black bumper plates, 7ft olympic barbell, V2 adjustable bench and olympic bar collars. This package is nothing short of commercial quality, and you can expect it to last a long time.
Bumper plates can be expensive. The inclusion of 170kg within the package is a massive benefit. In our opinion, bumper plates are the best choice of free weight for a home gym.
They are much less likely to cause damage to flooring and allow a loaded barbell to be dropped from a height. 170kg of plates will be more than enough for virtually all users. You will be able to progress your big lifts like the squat and deadlift without buying new plates every few months.
A half rack gives you the power to perform lifts like the squat and bench press in the safest possible manner.
Unlike cheaper racks or benches, they come with adjustable bar catchers that will safely catch the bar should you fail a lift. Bar catchers are also crucial for protecting the floor of your home gym.
Dropping cast-iron weights from any distance will quickly erode or crack a concrete floor over time. This half-rack comes with weight racks on each side to easily store your 170kg of bumper plates.
A pullup bar and band pegs are also included and give you endless options for potential workouts.
The Primal Strength V2 bench is a big step up from cheaper benches. Cheap benches tend to be narrow, have limited padding, and don’t always feel solid. The V2 offers you a wide and well-built bench with plenty of padding. A solid, secure and comfortable bench is essential for lifting heavy weights.
The only real downside to this bench is the price. Many trainees’ budgets cannot accommodate a piece of equipment like this. If this is you, don’t fret. Other packages can give you some of the benefits offered by this one at a lower cost.
But, if you want an exceptionally well made, commercial-grade package that includes a real olympic bar and bumper plates, the Primal Strength half-rack package is the one you should go for.
- 170kg of weight plates (2 x 25kg, 2 x 20kg, 2 x 15kg, 2 x 10kg and 2 x 5kg)
- Needle steel olympic bar
- Adjustable bench
- Half rack setup
- Bar catchers
- Installation available if necessary
- Half rack setup allows you to perform all power lifts
- 170kg weight plates enough for most lifters
- Commercial-gym like quality
- Because it is the ‘full’ package, (not just barbell and bench), the price is far higher
Gorilla Sports Weight Bench Set
Gorilla Sports has put together a decent weight set for beginner to intermediate trainees that doesn’t require much space.
It includes an adjustable bench with bar stand, 100kg vinyl weight plates, 5ft spinlock barbell, EZ-curl bar and dumbbell bars. A set like this is ideal for complete beginners, novices, or people looking at taking the first steps towards a home gym.
This set will give you the means to perform a vast array of exercises. Beginner to intermediate lifters will find this set more than adequate for progressing and making gains.
The bench and bar stand gives you the means of bench pressing at home. A word of caution regarding this type of bar stand, never attempt to bench press very heavy weights by yourself. The lack of bar catchers means that you will be at risk of an accident if you cannot finish the lift.
Dumbell and EZ-curl bars are a nice feature because they let you perform single-arm exercises as well as EZ bar curls. The standout feature of this set is that it can be folded away after use.
If you are stuck for space, then a set like this is a great compromise. On the flip side, if you don’t intend to ever fold the set away, you would likely benefit more from buying a set that includes either a half-rack or full rack.
This is the only set in our lineup which includes vinyl weights. They are typically filled with material like sand or cement and are wrapped in plastic/vinyl. The good thing about these is that they are less likely to scratch surfaces due to the plastic coating.
The downside is that they take a lot of space on the bar due to being less dense than cast iron. This means that when using heavier weights, you often run out of bar space.
This is a good option if you are looking for a beginner set-up or something you can use instead of going to the gym if you are too busy.
Trainees looking to set up a top-notch home gym or looking for an all in one home workout solution may want to look elsewhere to some of the other packages in our roundup.
- 100 kg weight plates (2 x 15kg, 2 x 10kg, 2 x 5kg, 4 x 2.5kg, 4 x 1.25kg)
- 10kg barbell
- EZ curl bar
- 2 x dumbbell bar
- 8x spinlock star collars
- Foldable bench
- Compact when folded, allowing for easy storage
- Dip handles on back pillars allow dips to utilised
- Good quality weight plates and bars for price
- Spinlock star collars can take time to undo and redo
- 100kg weight may not be enough for intermediate or advanced lifters
Barbell and Bench Package Buyers Guide
We have prepared a buyers guide that you should read before buying a barbell and bench package. Take a quick look at each section, and it will give you a much better idea of which package is right for you.
What are Your Fitness Goals?
What do you want from your package? Are you a beginner or advanced lifter? If you are a beginner or have a little bit of experience, a package like the Gorilla Sports or Mirafit M1 will be a good choice.
Advanced lifters or people who want a comprehensive home gym solution should go for the Bodymax CF475 or Primal Strength package.
Is a Power Rack Included?
Anyone looking to work with heavy weights regularly (100kg+) should have a half or full power rack, both for safety and convenience.
If you normally work with weights less than this, you may not need or want a power rack. Naturally, if you need/want a power rack, then choose a package that includes one.
Type of Barbell
Barbells come in different lengths, usually 5ft, 6ft, or 7ft. They also come in different diameters, Olympic bars are 2 inches in diameter, and non-Olympic bars are roughly 1 inch.
If you are using a power rack, we recommend a 7 ft Olympic bar as shorter bars are often too short. If you won’t be using a power rack, you can get away with shorter, cheaper bars.
Amount of Weight
Your answer to the “fitness goals” question will likely give you an answer for this question as well.
Most people will be more than happy with 100kg of weight or less. If you are looking to seriously pursue strength training or are an advanced lifter, we advise you to get a package with more than 100kg.
Type of Weight
What type of weight you need will depend on what you will be doing with it.
If you intend to do any Olympic style lifts or drop the barbell from a height, you should definitely choose bumper plates. Cast-iron plates are fine, especially if you intend to use them in a full or half rack where they cannot be dropped.
The packages listed above include an array of different attachments. Your need for an attachment will depend on what type of exercises your plan requires.
Will you need a cable pulley system? Leg extension? Preacher Curl? Be aware that many exercises you can perform with an attachment can often be simulated using free weights alone, but not always.
How much space do you have? Do you have a dedicated room for a home gym? Do you just have the corner of your spare room? Don’t buy a huge power rack if you haven’t got the space to use it. Similarly, if you have a dedicated space, it would be a shame not to take full advantage of it.
To Sum Up
Barbell and bench packages vary hugely in functionality, quality, and cost. Different trainees with different goals and circumstances will require different packages.
If you are new to fitness, it can be challenging to establish which package best suits your goals. We hope that this rundown and buyers guide has cleared the fog and helped you choose the perfect package for your home gym.