Up until now, wise weightlifters adhered to a golden rule: if you don’t have a spotter, keep the weights light. Pressing heavy weights and really pushing yourself is risky business when you’re all alone — just do a quick Youtube search for “bench press fails” if you need some proof. It’s super dangerous, so in an effort to reduce the number of weightlifting-related deaths and injuries that happen each year, engineer Dave Vorozilchak decided to make a better bench.
His invention, Maxx Bench, is the first weight bench that lets you control the bench height with hydraulics. If you get stuck and realize you can’t make the lift, you can press a lever on the bench frame with your foot that releases the bench, and the patented custom hydraulic system moderates your descent, letting you rest the weights on the safety rack. It’s interesting to note how many bench press fails could have been prevented with the simple addition of the safety rack positioned just beneath the user’s chest.
The hydraulics aren’t just for emergencies either. A tap on the lever lets you stop the bench’s descent, so you can make fine adjustments to the bench height without standing up and fiddling with pins.
Dave Vorozilchak, one of the inventors of the Maxx Bench system, knows this pain first hand. As an engineer he knew there had to be a relatively easy solution, and brought in his friend Jim Lennox, Director of Instrumentation in the College of Science and Engineering at Wilkes University, to help with the problem. They quickly realized lowering someone out from under weights made the most sense, and the inspiration for the parallelogram mechanism that makes up the core of the Maxx Bench came from a car jack.
The design includes an Incline bench variation with a seat. The Incline Maxx Bench offers the same gravity hydraulics system for safety. On the Incline Bench, pressing the pedal allows you to adjust the angle of the bench.
The Maxx Bench uses 11 gauge steel tubing, so it’s made tough and up to snuff. It’s been approved for both home and commercial use, and The Maxx Bench team claims it will hold 4,000lbs — more than any human could ever lift.
The completed Kickstarter campaign has Maxx Benches set to ship to backers in March 2016. After that they’ll start mass production and you can grab one for about $1,000. Compare this to as little as $100 for a bench setup, and some might find that hard to dish out. But a hydraulic bench press is one of those inventions that changes the game, and could eventually make all the old version of the same product obsolete. In this case, safety reasons would be enough to force other companies to try and copy the Maxx Bench. If the inventors deliver on this tech the Maxx Bench and Incline Maxx Bench could be a new standard for gyms worldwide for the insurance purposes alone.