Starting Strength Wooden Bench

Discussion in 'Product Recommendations - Other Training-Related' started by Geoff Chafe, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Anyone try this?

    Starting Strength Bench

    I am thinking of building one. If it does not work for me I can always add padding.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  2. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    I haven't, naturally, tried one out, but I have seen favourable reviews. I'd love to try one out but it's extremely unlikely due to my location.

    I'm looking for a bench myself and I'll only go with an IPF style bench. I believe the padding is mandatory.
    Geoff Chafe and Carl in Dover like this.
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Is there something to commend the lack of padding, e.g., is it supposed to be better in some way?

    Thanks, @Geoff.

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  4. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    Rip explains, here: The Starting Strength Bench | Equipment

    I sat on one when I was at WFAC last month for a SS Seminar, but I did not it use to bench press. Some poeple there had tried it, and liked it.
  5. mprevost

    mprevost More than 500 posts

    If I had a home gym, that is what I would get. Looks like a bargain for such a solid bench. But keep in mind, I sleep on the floor. ; )
  6. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    I could build that thing for cheap, but then again I'm a carpenter.. You could use a paralam beam cut to size, then bolt it to a heavy tube steel bench frame.
    I would ease the edges and seal it too..

    The picture looks like a laminated beam section or more likely a thick maple butcher block. You can get similar at Ikea, just oil or seal it really well, it'll soak up alot of linseed oil and take many coats, but it will last forever, just oil it periodically.
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  7. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I don’t see anything proprietary in the design, other than the logo.

    I would make it closer to an IPF Bench


    Only Bench Racks and Benches from Commercial Manufacturers officially registered and approved by the Technical Committee shall be permitted for use in International Powerlifting Championships.

    The bench shall conform to the following dimensions:
    1. Length - not less than 1.22 m and shall be flat and level.
    2. Width - not less than 29 cm and not exceeding 32 cm.
    3. Height - not less than 42 cm and not exceeding 45 cm measured from the floor to the top of the padded surface ofthe bench without it being depressed or compacted. The height of the uprights, which must be adjustable, shall be aminimum of 75 cm to a maximum of 110 cm measured from the floor to the bar rest position.
    4. Minimum width between insides of bar rests shall be 1.10 m.
    5. The head of the bench shall extend 22 cm beyond the center of the uprights with a tolerance of 5 cm either way.
    6. Attached safety stands must be used in all events.”

    -IPF Rule Book-

    I see exactly how I would build it.
    - make it 12” wide as I am broader than average
    - 17” high if I need to add padding
    - make the back foot wider for added stability
    - laminate 3 pieces of 3/4” plywood together for economy to make the Bench surface 2 1/4” thick

    I will work on it next week as I am on night shift and already have all the material and access to tools. I will take some pictures as it progresses.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  8. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Hey Geoff, just curious as to what your laminating material will be, I've used contact cement in the past but wood glue and clamps would be strongest.
  9. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Brett S Wood glue and 2 1/4” deck screws from the under side. I would probably remove the screws after the glue cures.
    Bret S. likes this.
  10. More than 500 posts

    10 inch Bench Width

    1) Yes, it works well for a small person

    2) No, it doesn't work well for a larger person.

    There is no, "One Size Fits All".

    "The big guy does not depend on the width of the extra 2 inches for stability." (12 in vs 10 in width)...per Mark.

    Actually, the wider the bench (even 2 inches wider) the greater the stability; for large lifters and even more so for smaller lifters.

    Joe DiMarco

    DiMarco along with George Frenn invented the basic Louie Simmons' Westside Training Method, circa 1970.

    On a side note, "Original Westside Squat Training Method" is uniquely different in comparison to to Simmons Method. Each provide a slightly different training effect.

    DeMarco also invented the "Lever Action" Powerlifing Belt.

    DiMarco is one of the best Strength Coaches and inventors that virtually no one has heard of. I was initially clueless. He was decades ahead of his time.

    Another novel item that DiMarco invented is the...

    Broad Back Width Padded Bench Press Training

    It is a Wide (about 16 inches) Padded Board that is placed on a Bench Press.

    The additional width provide more stability to the Bench Press, allowing you to overload the movement with more weight.

    While living out in California, I trained with DiMarco a couple of time and used the Wide Padded Bench Press Board.

    DiMarco's Wide Back Bench Press Board is somewhat like...

    Floor Presses

    Floor Press provide greater stability; using more weight to overload the Bench Press.

    Sliding On The Bench

    The Bench is slick. There is going be some unstable sliding on it.

    That is specifically true if you preform a Powerlifing Bench Press; using Leg Drive when you Bench.

    In all fairness, you will get some sliding on some Padded Bench Presses. Some sliding occurs on my Padded Bench Press.

    The remedy is...

    Kitchen Shelf Liner

    If you slide on your Bench, any Bench, purchase some Kitchen Shelf Liner; also used under throw rugs to keep them from sliding. It is around $10.00 at Walmart in the Kitchen Section. You can also find it at Lows and Home Depot.

    Cut it to fit your Bench and lay down. You stick to the Bench like "Fly Paper".

    Now that we've looked at the downside to a Narrow Bench let look at...

    The Benefit of A Narrow Bench

    A Narrow Bench allows you to drop down into a fuller range movement, especially with Dumbbells. This allows you to more completely work the muscle involved through a greater stretch.

    Bench Width Training

    A Narrow Width Bench provide a different training effect from a Wide Back Bench.

    Your Training Objective dictates your choice of Narrow or Wide Bench; providing you have those options.

    Kenny Croxdale
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
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  11. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    Yes! This is a great tip. I have a small mat, it's actually a tool box liner, that I have in my gym bag and lay on the bench to get better "stickiness" and not slide on it. You can see it in this video.
    Bret S. likes this.
  12. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Good choice.

    A tool box liner will add 10lbs to your bench press compared to a kitchen shelf liner.
    Bret S. and Anna C like this.
  13. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    How about eye liner? Airliner?

    Bret S. and Brookes like this.
  14. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I made my version of the Starting Sttength Wooden Bench.
    - 17.5” high
    - 12.5” wide
    - 48” long
    - made from 2” HSS and 3/8” FB
    - 3/4” laminated finished pine plywood, 2 1/4” thick
    - it cost me $60 for a sheet of plywood, and $15 for wood glue, steel was scrap and cutoffs, I had never everything else I needed to complete the build

    I like the stability and the feel of the Bench. I have been using a heavy rubber yoga mat as the bench pad and I like it a lot.

    I have a plan for different length add on legs to change the incline, but I don’t see a point in doing anything other than the magical 30deg.

    CF1DA9C1-A382-402D-B696-0C764A15B33C.jpeg 0CA77040-6492-4E26-B847-EC55120AC21E.jpeg E56E60DF-2572-4071-9B8E-BFC18DB641DA.jpeg

    I make a lot of my own equipment. I am modifying my power rack into a yoke rack at the moment.
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
    Joe Fraser, adam80, Bret S. and 3 others like this.
  15. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor


    Nice work Geoff! You do your own welds? I have a wire feed that works pretty well for these type things..
  16. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I weld often working in plant maintenance.

    I have a 220V, oven or dryer plug, AC/DC welder. I only use stick welding. It will burn up to 1/8” 7018 all day.

    I have used those hobbist wire feed welders a few times. Once you get it dialed in it can do good work. Works a lot better with shielding gas though.
    Bret S. likes this.
  17. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Yes, I've done only some amateur welding but stick to what I know mostly, which is wood work.

    Welding is a specialty skill, that much I do know..
  18. Geoff Chafe

    Geoff Chafe Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I have always wanted to learn woodworking. Looks like a very expensive hobby.
    Bret S. likes this.
  19. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Yes it is, luckily I've been able to accumulate tools over the years.
    If you want to start dabbling, I would buy 2nd hand tools at huge discount, you can pick up some nice stuff on the cheap if you know what you're looking for.

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