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Weight and Exercise Benches: Advice From Expert PJ Striet

written by: Angela Atkinson • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 4/30/2009

Have you always wanted to add weight and exercise benches to your workout routine but don't know enough about it? Here, get insider tips from personal trainer/exercise physiologist PJ Striet on what works and what doesn't, and possible alternatives to expensive exercise equipment.

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    Alternatives to Weight and Exercise Benches

    Image Credit: PerformBetter.comImage Credit: Perform Better.com
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    Weight and Exercise Benches with Expert PJ Striet

    Bright Hub: Are weight and exercise benches absolutely necessary for a successful fitness program? Can you offer alternative strength training ideas for people who don’t have access to them?

    PJ Striet: Weight and exercise benches are certainly not essential, but are extremely helpful and practical, especially for beginners who are unable to perform some of the more advanced body weight exercises. If cost is an issue, a sturdy set of exercise bands

    which provide progressive resistance will allow one to perform exercises, especially for the upper body, which mimic a number of the traditional dumbbell exercises performed on a exercise bench. Also, a stability/exercise ball can be a suitable replacement for a weight bench.

    Bright Hub: How are weight and exercise benches helpful in a weight loss program?

    PJ Striet: They allow for performing exercises safely and also providing for extensive variety in the training program. A heavy duty 0-90 degree adjustable weight bench allows for dozens upon dozens of exercises to be performed.

    Strength training is essential for maintaining/increasing lean muscle tissue, and doing so keeps your resting metabolic rate (the number of calories burned by the body at rest) high. If you want to avoid weight gain, the worst thing you can do is avoid strength training which causes a loss of muscle as you age. Losing muscle overtime is like taking hot logs off of a roaring fire.

    Bright Hub: Do you recommend specific types or brands of weight and exercise benches to your clients?

    PJ Striet: I like the benches sold by Perform Better. They are heavy duty and they offer a wide variety to accommodate a person's budget concerns.

    Bright Hub: Do you think that buying home gym equipment is money well spent or do you think it would be better to invest one’s money in a gym membership instead?

    PJ Striet: This depends on a number of factors. Convenience is the one of the biggest barriers to consistent exercise. People who have to make a commute to and from the gym often discontinue their regimen due to time constraints and convenience. If you have a home gym set-up which is just steps away from you, you may be more likely to exercise more consistently.

    Also, the average gym membership is $50/month...that's $600 annually. You can get a nice home gym set-up for this amount of money, and it will provide you years of training.

    On the other hand, some people like the motivating environment and the variety of equipment a commercial gym provides. It's whatever suits you individually, and it's whatever situation will give you more incentive to exercise...it's a very individual thing.

    Bright Hub: What kinds of tips would you offer to a client who wanted to use weight and exercise benches to exercise?

    PJ Striet: There are dozens and dozens of exercises which can be performed using a weight bench. Learn to do them correctly. My YouTube channel offers exercise demonstrations for a number of commonly performed weight bench exercises.

    Bright Hub: Final thoughts?

    PJ Striet: Once again, just consider your personality type and figure out whether working out at home, using a weight bench and other pieces of equipment, is going to be more or less conducive to your exercise consistency versus joining a commercial gym. Whatever gives you the best chance of being consistent with your exercise program should be the deciding factor.

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    About the Expert

    PJ Striet is a personal trainer and exercise physiologist based in Cincinnati, Ohio. He serves as the Fitness Correspondent for 700 WLW radio, the largest radio station in the Midwest and has presented on behalf of respected organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine.

    He owns FORCE Fitness and Performance in Cincinnati, where he and leads a team of fitness professionals. FORCE Fitness and Performance offers a private fitness training studio and fitness services. Mr. Striet boasts well-known clients, such as Bob Castellini, owner of the Cincinnati Reds, as well as various local radio and television personalities.

    Mr. Striet and his staff also hold certifications from nationally recognized fitness organizations, including the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Strength & Conditioning Association and The American Council on Exercise. Mr. Striet also authors a popular fitness blog and offers free video training via his YouTube channel.

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    PJ Striet

    PJ Striet