The Bowflex 5.1S Bench is one of the most successful ‘stowable’ benches to have hit the market in recent years. So if you’re reading this review because you’ve already heard about it and want to find out more about it then you’re in the right place…
We’ve had a lot of people interested in this weight bench ask us to give it a more detailed rundown. So by popular demand, what do you need to know about this adjustable bench?
Brand: Bowflex, Model: SelectTech 5.1S, Weight Capacity: 650lbs, Dimensions: 61″ x 28″ x 49″ (L/W/H), Bench Type: Adjustable Bench (FID)
The full name of this bench is the Bowflex SelectTech 5.1S. It’s a fully adjustable FID Bench (Flat, Incline, Decline) with 6 different adjustment angles.
It comes in a total of six adjustable angles 30°, 45°, 60° 90°, flat, and decline (-20°). The seat pad is also adjustable allowing you to get the best angle for you. The 5.1S is also a folding bench and is fully stowable…
This stowable bench is easy to just fold and wheel away for easy storage, making it perfect for home gyms. The legs are all fully adjustable as well to allow you to secure it on uneven ground which is well suited for certain garage gyms.
As a weight bench, it is incredibly sturdy, supporting a total weight of 650lbs. So if you are a 200lb guy, you can “easily” lift up to 450lbs on this bench safely. This has been one of the key factors that have made this such a popular bench among the community as it’s hard to get adjustable benches that have this kind of weight capacity.
- Solid Design with Great Stability
- Full FID Bench with 6 Adjustable Angles
- Weight Capacity of 650lbs
- Bowflex 15-year Warranty included
- Folds completely for Easy Storage
- The gap between the seat and backrest is fairly wide
- It is not the cheapest bench on the market
- Assembly instructions aren’t the best
- The Bowflex 5.1S Stowable Bench is our top of the line weight bench
- 6 different adjustment angles for total versatility: 30°, 45°, 60° 90°, flat and decline (-20°)
- Folds up and wheels away for easy storage
- Comes standard with a removable leg hold down brace for added decline position support
- Built strong to last long with heavy duty commercial quality steel
Note: Bowflex 3.1 vs 5.1 vs 5.1S.
Bowflex offers multiple models of the SelectTech series. There is the 3.1, the 5.1 and the 5.1S. Most of the confusion between the models comes from the 5’s. Suffice to say that the 5.1S is the updated and improved version of the 5.1. The 5.1S is the newest model in the series.
Our first impressions of this bench were that it’s special… This is no hyperbole. You can immediately see what people mean when they say it’s heavy-duty from top to bottom.
Most adjustable benches aren’t very solid in terms of construction. Having the kind of weight capacity of the 5.1S (650lbs) is usually reserved for fixed or welded benches. Then when you add to this that it’s a folding bench, it just blows your mind that it can hold this kind of weight.
In order to achieve this, you need to use high-quality steel, and it goes without saying the materials used are of great quality in this bench.
Even the padded foam backrest and seat are very comfortable compared to a lot of benches on the market. A lot of people underestimate comfort levels and how this can adjust your form over time, potentially leading to injuries and imbalances.
The notorious ‘gap’ is where a lot of people make a fuss, but the reality is that this is needed to make this bench do all of the things it does.
Also, it just shouldn’t make a lot of difference to lifters who are using the correct form such as leaving a slight arch in their back during lifting.
So in our opinion, this is a complete non-issue, as we always advise people to use the proper form when lifting. It’s fair to assume that this is what Bowflex was thinking when they built it in the way they did.
Assembly & Extra Features
Assembly of the Bowflex 5.1S is both difficult and easy. It arrives flat packed with all the hardware you need to put it together.
The instructions, however, are basic and don’t contain real diagrams. Instead, they are just step-by-step instructions.
Thankfully the bench only has a single extra feature beyond what you’d expect and what we’ve already mentioned so far. This extra feature is the leg station, which you can optionally leave off.
For this reason, assembly is fairly straight-forward despite the instructions. It should only take 10-15 minutes as there just aren’t that many parts. However, it can sometimes be useful to have an extra pair of eyes as we put this together as a group and I’m unsure how easy it would have been doing it alone.
The Final Rep
We named the Bowflex 5.1S as one of the best adjustable benches on the market. It is also easily the best folding bench on the market.
So it picks up a lot of accolades from us, and it’s definitely THE bench we recommend for those who have a home gym because of the versatility and weight capacity it offers.
It has over 2,000 reviews on Amazon as well making it one of the most purchased benches in 2020. It’s not the cheapest, but remember if you buy cheap you usually buy twice.
Our only wish for this series if Bowflex decides to release a new model is to include a preacher curl extension. All in all, not a lot left to ask for.
So that’s it for our review of the 5.1S Bench. Hopefully, you found it useful!