Training outside in the fresh air is amazing. This is one of the many reasons why I just love calisthenics: you typically train outside.
After training like that for a few years, training in the gym always felt uncomfortable to me. As if there was a lack of fresh air.
Even the old school bodybuilders like Arnold, for example, used to train outside on the beach under the sun.
Many people may also like the feeling of training outside, so you may want to know if you can actually keep some of your training equipment outside, for example, the weight bench.
So can you keep a weight bench outside? Yes, you can keep a weight bench outside. The best way to keep the weight bench outside is by keeping it dry and providing it with cover and protection against the elements. If the weight bench stays outside without proper protection, it can wear out faster.
As you can see, keeping the weight bench outside is not going to be the best idea, but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. So let’s get into some detail why and how to do it.
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Are Weight Benches Designed to Stay Outside?
Of course, one of the downsides is that weight benches are usually not suitable, nor are they designed to be kept outside.
The problem is because the weight bench is going to be affected by the elements which will wear it out a lot faster than normal.
The things that will affect the weight bench the worst are going to be:
- The sunlight;
- The rain;
- The different temperatures;
- Snow and ice, and more.
Usually, a weight bench is designed for being kept indoors where it will not have to be facing the elements, so naturally, weight benches do not have any suitable protection against them.
Of course, this doesn’t mean it cannot be to be kept outside, and this is what we are going to explore now.
However, I just wanted to introduce you to the risks and that keeping a weight bench outside may not be recommended by the manufacturers, and this may potentially lead to warranty voids.
How to Keep Your Weight Bench from Rusting Outside
The metal parts of the bench are going to be susceptible to rusting. There is a higher chance of this happening if you live in areas with a lot of precipitation where the weather conditions are generally humid.
If you live near the ocean, you should also know that saltwater can further increase the wearing down and speed up the rusting process.
The good thing is that there are a few things we can do to minimize the risk of rust developing.
- First, make sure to protect the weight bench from water. If it has been raining, make sure to wipe off the water from the bench as soon as possible and don’t let it remain on the weight bench.
- Keep the bench covered when not in use. I recommend using a waterproof protective cover like this one (link to Amazon). It makes life sooo easy when it comes to storing training equipment outside.
- Don’t use a plastic tablecloth as cover. It is not a breathable material, which means that it will trap the water and humidity underneath.
- To provide the metal parts of the weight bench with adequate protection, you can also use paste wax. Applying paste wax like this one found on Amazon is going to give your bench some protection against water and the humidity.
- For places that have already developed rust, you can use a rust converter, which turns the rust int a hard black substance stopping the rust from spreading.
- In case you don’t have or you don’t want to deal with all the hassle using paint, you can alternatively go for a spray like this one from Rust-Oleum on Amazon. Makes all the maintenance so easy. Remove the rust and just spray the spot.
- Another alternative to paste wax is applying some grease or oil. Although this may end up a bit messier, both grease and oil are excellent at preventing rust.
I want to direct your attention to the legs of the bench. Ideally, you don’t want the bench to be placed in the soil. The direct contact with the soil can lead to rust – not to mention that this can make the bench super unstable and uneven.
Have the bench placed on something sturdier, placing it on the patio or the driveway is ideal.
What About Long Term Storage?
This could be a tricky topic. Regular use will provide some protection to your weight bench outside solely because you will be using it and keeping an eye on the bench. And if needed, you can do the necessary maintenance when and where required.
Long term storage poses some dangers, especially when it comes to water and temperature swings.
Ideally, I would recommend disassembling the bench (that way, it will take significantly less space) and storing it indoors. This can work even for the smallest of spaces. You can probably (depending on the model you have) fit everything under your bed.
The next best thing would be to keep it on the balcony.
What you need to do is try and keep moisture and temperature changes to a minimum.
Always start by applying a fine oil or rust protector to the metal surfaces.
You can get yourself one of these large plastic bins that are sold. Some of these storage sheds and deck bins can easily fit on a terrace, as well.
You can keep the weight bench, weighs, and the barbel (mind the dimensions!) inside place a few packets that are filled with dehumidifying materials (which will absorb the moisture) and seal the bin with tape to offer it as much protection as possible.
Combining that with a good tarp cover is going to be, arguably, one of the best ways you can protect your bench outside, albeit it may require too much work and planning to pull all that off.
Can You Keep Your Weight Bench in the Sun?
The sun will not necessarily damage the metal parts of your weight bench. It may make it very hot, which will be very uncomfortable if you have to use it.
The cushioning or the padding of the bench will suffer the most from the sun exposure as it may become brittle and lose its color.
The prolonged sun exposure may potentially damage the paint as well, so further attention needs to be taken.
Can You Keep Your Weight Bench in the Rain?
The rain is going to be one of the things that you really need to make sure the weight bench is protected against. As I have mentioned earlier, good waterproof protection is vital.
Always inspect the bench after heavy rains as it may have gotten very dirty, and it may need to be cleaned to minimize the risks of developing rust. And not cleaning the dirt from the metal parts of the bench is one of the sure-fire ways to cause it to rust (even if it is stainless steel).
Can You Keep Your Weight Bench in the Snow?
During the winter, when you may not be using the bench as often – try storing it somewhere away from the snow.
And even putting it under an eave may be more than enough to give it some much-needed protection.
However, if you have no way of storing it somewhere away from the snow during the winter, there are a few things that you can do to provide it with good protection:
- Make sure it is protected from the snow. Don’t leave it under the snow. Use a protective cover or tarp;
- Make sure the bench stays away from the snow. Cover the feet of the bench too;
- Make sure to apply some grease, oil or wax before the winter season comes;
- Every few days uncover the bench to give it some air to breath;
How to Clean a Weight Bench from Dirt?
The best way to clean metal surfaces is by using a sponge or a piece of cloth, water, and soap.
For regular maintenance, avoid using hard and abrasive scrubbers. These can scratch the protective finish and expose the metal underneath the humidity.
And for the dirt that may be more difficult to remove, use a window or a non-abrasive multi-purpose cleaner.
What to Do If the Weight Bench Starts to Rust?
This may happen sooner or later, but don’t despair. This doesn’t mean that the weight bench has been ruined.
Make sure to remove any rust as quickly as you have found it. By removing it as soon as possible, you are preventing it from spreading as quickly as it usually would.
Use a wire brush or sponge to brush off the rust, or alternatively, you can use fine-grit sandpaper to sand those areas.
Make sure to scrub it until every tiny bit of rust has been removed from the bench. Be careful not to damage too much of the paint as this may invite more rust to develop over time.
After scrubbing the rust down, I recommend applying a small layer of touch-up paint to the spot in order to prevent rust from developing in the future. If you don’ have access to paint, paste wax, oil, or grease can also do the trick at least for a while.
What About Mildew?
Mildew is going to be another problem that may need our attention.
If you are using a protective cover, you have given your bench good protection. However, during certain seasons of the year, the atmosphere will be very damp, and this can also trap a lot of humidity under the cover and onto the bench.
It doesn’t take much time for mildew or other kinds of fungus and mold to start developing in and around the padding of the bench.
If you are training regularly, you will be using your bench frequently, thus removing the cover and allowing the padding to breathe and for the water to evaporate.
But if you are not using the bench frequently, this is where we may have a problem. I recommend in the ‘off-season’ every once in a while to remove the protective cover for at least several hours.
Give the padding a little sniff in order to see if it smells like mildew.
If it smells funky like that, then you will need to try and clean it as soon as possible.
- Usually, this is done by creating a cleaning solution of 3/4 of a cup of bleach for every gallon of water.
Although the padding should be able to withstand that kind of solution, don’t risk it and try applying it so a small and inconspicuous part of the padding.
If it all seems good, then apply the solution over the padding and wash it off with clean cold water.
Can You Keep Other Training Equipment Outside?
If you follow the same techniques and methods for storing training equipment outside, you may be able to store other weight equipment outside.
However, keep in mind that, generally speaking, this will not apply to electrical training equipment like treadmills, for example.
The Best Type of Weight Bench to Keep Outside
What I feel like is a good bench is the (you can check it out on Amazon here). It is a sturdy weight bench with good metal construction that can last a really long time.
How to Keep Your Weights from Rusting Outside?
The things with weights don’t really differ much. Again rust protection products will be your ally here.
The weights are going to be the part of your training equipment that has the highest chance of rusting. Why? Because there is a higher chance of chipping away and damaging the paint of the weights.
It is best to follow the advice I’ve given above about scraping off the rust if there is any and covering the spot with paint. I wouldn’t recommend grease or oil (although they too would work) for the sole purpose that it can get real messy.
If you have the time, I would suggest regularly cleaning the weights with soapy water and drying them with a paper towel or regular towel.
And last but not least, don’t keep the weights on the ground. Try placing them on a clean surface. Depending on how much weights we are actually talking, keeping them on the bench may be a viable option (under the protective cover). Or at the very least leaning them against a wall under an eave may give them some small protection too.
Depending on how you end up storing them, you may want to get yourself a small waterproof cover for them, as well.
How to Keep Your Barbell Bar from Rusting Outside?
One could venture to guess that the barbel has a little lower chance of rusting compared to the weights, but that may not actually be true.
In my experience, by placing the weights on the barbel, lifting it, and putting it back on the bench, we tend to scrape the protective cover of the metal, exposing it to the humidity in the air.
This means that you may end up with a rusty barbell sooner than expected.
Applying protective paste or even paint to the areas where rust has started to develop will work best. Of course, make sure to scrape the rust off first.
Don’t leave the barbell in the dirt, and ideally try to keep it indoors or under an eave. If you have not a choice but keeping it outside, consider placing it underneath the protective cover for the bench or get its own cover.
The grooves and the knurling on the barbell are where the most dirt will tend to accumulate, so I recommend regularly cleaning it. It is good for the barbell, and it is more sanitary and healthy for you as well.