A Table-Sized Weight Bench for a Shoebox Sized Apartment

Weightlifters trapped in small spaces may soon get more room to swing their guns

Gabriel Prero/ Life Fitness

A 450 square foot shoebox apartment was once a valid exemption from owning fitness equipment (and merely one component of your preemptive exercise avoidance plan). But you soon may have one less excuse for that gut.  The Otto-Bench, a concept created by Gabriel Prero, presents the first chink in your oversized armor. The aesthetically pleasing ottoman or coffee table, transforms seamlessly into a weight bench and houses all the required hardware needed to get buff. Sponsored by workout equipment manufacturer Life Fitness, the concept recently won an industrial design competition at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

As designed, the ottoman functions as a full size Olympic bench with both the long and short ends adjustable for incline lifts. Metal arms housed in the head of the unit pull out and snap up ninety degrees to create the bar holder. The bar then provides resistance through cables connected to an electronic unit (more on that below). Beneath the legs are a series of dumbbells that can be used for any number of traditional lifts. The outer surface of the bench (available in an array of pottery barn colors) is an anti-microbial cleanable surface ensuring you can still eat your dessert, er salad, while watching TV .

But, don’t put down the remote control quite yet. Life Fitness, which owns the design, has no immediate plans to commercialize or prototype it. The company is not certain there’s enough demand for such urban fitness products (a few comments below might change their mind). The details behind the ‘electronic resistance unit’ would also need to be ironed out and tested. Ironically, the product wouldn’t be the first from the company intended for the health conscious in tight quarters. The F3 folding treadmill minimizes the footprint necessary to take a jog in the comfort of your own pajamas. Should look great next to the dining room table, don’t you think?  
Launch the gallery here for a further look at the Otto-Bench.