This is a comprehensive guide to help you buy the best adjustable weight bench for your home gym.
I’ve included several adjustable weight bench reviews at the start of this page. These reviews will you choose the best adjustable weight bench for your needs and budget.
After the reviews, you’ll find my informative adjustable bench guide. You’ll learn about all the different features to look for in a quality adjustable weight bench and what to avoid.
If you’re in a rush and want to know what the best adjustable weight benches are, check out my summary table below for my top recommendations:
|Best Flat/Incline/Decline Adjustable Weight Bench Overall||
Rated 4.8 out of 5 in Adjustable Benches
|Best Flat/Incline/Decline Adjustable Weight Bench for the Money||
Rated 4.6 out of 5 in Adjustable Benches
|Best Premium Flat/Incline/Decline Adjustable Weight Bench||
Rated 4.8 out of 5 in Adjustable Benches
|Best Flat-to-Incline Adjustable Weight Bench Overall||
Rated 4.8 out of 5 in Adjustable Benches
|Best Flat-to-Incline Adjustable Weight Bench for the Money||
Rated 4.7 out of 5 in Adjustable Benches
|Best Premium Flat-to-Incline Adjustable Weight Bench||
Rated 4.8 out of 5 in Adjustable Benches
The 9 Best Adjustable Weight Benches (Reviews)
Rep AB-5000 Zero Gap Adjustable Weight Bench Review
The Rep AB-5000 came out in January 2019 and took the gym equipment industry by storm for two reasons:
Rep created a truly innovative design, which solved the one problem that always made adjustable benches subpar for flat benching: the pad gap.
The AB-5000 is the first “zero gap” adjustable bench thanks to its unique sliding seat mechanism. Now, you can do flat bench with a continuous flat surface of support beneath you.
You eliminate the problem of your butt or lower back sinking into a gap; something that’s not just uncomfortable, but also throws off your technique and strength.
The Rep AB-5000 is also an FID bench. However, it’s not like most FID benches: It doesn’t have the bulky reverse-taper seat to hold your legs in place for decline. Instead, uses takes a non-traditional FID design — originally seen on the old Nebula Fitness 1080 benches — where you do decline simply by laying on the bench in reverse (head to seat).
This means you can have a narrower tapered seat, which allows for better leg position on other exercises. Plus, it lets you use the incline settings as decline settings.
All important dimensions fall within IPF specs (17.5” height, 12” back pad width). And it’s overall very stable and more than strong enough (1000+ lbs rated).
Rep also gives you the option to purchase 14″ wide back and seat pads to replace the 12” pads that come standard. Some lifters find this provides more support for their shoulders especially if they have broad backs.
All of the above design factors allow you to use this bench like the one and only bench in your home gym. No need to buy a separate flat utility bench, which means extra savings…
…And speaking of savings, the cost of the bench itself is low for everything you get: $599 shipped; plus an extra $109 if you want the optional decline leg holder attachment.
The most comparable bench to this is the Rogue AB-3, which is no doubt among the best adjustable weight bench on the market. However, it has a large gap. And it costs hundreds of dollars more at $950 + S&H.
When the AB-5000 first came out, it didn’t come with grippy vinyl pads. Instead, it had a smoother leather-like vinyl. However, Rep has since updated the offering to include their popular grippy vinyl fabric standard on both the seat and back pads. This upgrade makes a huge difference because it prevents your back from sliding during flat bench press.
The only thing you could say is a negative about the AB-5000 is that it can take longer to adjust the bench angle compared to some other benches. This is for a couple of reasons. First, you have to adjust the sliding seat position each time you change the back or seat angle. Second, the pop-pin mechanism takes slightly more time and effort than a ladder-style adjustment mechanism.
Rep AB-5000 – Key Features & Specs:
- First-of-its-kind sliding seat makes this the only true zero-gap adjustable weight bench on the market. Adjusting the seat is quick and easy. The mechanism is very well built and durable, so you shouldn’t have any issues with it breaking down in the future. The only (very slight) downside is that you need to adjust the seat whenever you adjust the back pad. But it really is a simple task; and well worth it since you’ll have no gap on every single bench angle.
- FID bench using a non-traditional but superior design where decline is done using the bench in reverse (head on seat, legs over back pad). This gives you access to the incline angles for decline AND it removes the need for the obstructive reverse-tapered seat used on traditional FID benches.
- 1000+ lbs weight capacity rating
- Robust 11-gauge steel frame using 2” x 3.5” tubing; extra thick (~0.4”) steel used for back pad support plates and adjustment arcs
- Pop-pin arc adjustment mechanism
- 7 back pad adjustment settings from 0 to 90 degrees (increments of 15 degrees); decline angles are achieved by laying on the bench in reverse on the desired incline angles
- 5 seat pad adjustment settings from -15 to 45 degrees (increments of 15 degrees)
- All adjustment settings have laser-cut labels showing the angle
- 12” wide back pad with the option to upgrade to a 14″ wide pad (back and seat pad)
- 17.5” height in the flat position
- 53.5” combined pad length in the flat position (i.e. 15.25” seat + 0” gap + 38.25” back pad)
- 21″ x 57″ footprint
- Weighs in at a hefty 110 lbs
- Has wheels and a lift handle to easily move it around your gym
- Can be stored upright without needing to lean it against the wall
- At just $599 with free shipping (without the optional leg holder attachment), the AB-5000 is unquestionably the best value high-end adjustable weight bench on the market. It’s as good or better than other commercial quality benches that cost hundreds more. Plus, if you get it for your home gym, it can potentially replace your need for a standalone flat utility bench, saving you even more money.
Rogue AB-3 Adjustable Weight Bench Review
The Rogue AB-3 is a behemoth of an FID adjustable bench. It’s an excellent product, but you’ll end up at $950 before shipping for all of that excellence. And shipping can run you $200-300 for this particular item, which is shipped via LTL freight.
It comes with the decline leg holder attachment standard. As an aside, there is a retrofit kit available for the AB-2 bench (which is basically the AB-3 without the leg holder attachment).
Until recently, if you wanted a super high quality FID bench with this non-traditional FID design, the AB-3 (or the similarly expensive AB-2) would be your only choice. So at that time, you’d have to find a way to justify the price. However, it’s a lot harder to justify now with the recent introduction of the Rep AB-5000 to the market.
The AB-5000 has the same basic design as the AB-3 (i.e. laying in reverse — head to seat — and using a leg holder on the back pad for decline). Plus, it also has a unique sliding seat for a zero-gap benching experience. Like the AB-3, it’s also built like a tank…
…And it does all that for a fraction of the cost of the AB-3. It’s just $708 ($599 for the bench + $109 for the decline attachment) with free shipping — that’s about $500 less than the AB-3 since the AB-3 has such high shipping costs ($200-300+ depending on location)!
Now, the AB-3 does have 9 back pad positions vs 7 for the AB-5000, and 6 seat positions vs 5 for the AB-5000. However, since the AB-5000’s available positions are perfectly adequate, that’s not a compelling reason to go for the AB-3, in my opinion. At least, it’s not enough of a reason when you also have to pay an extra $500.
Rogue AB-3 – Key Specs & Features:
- FID adjustable weight bench that uses a non-traditional FID design like the Rep AB-5000: For decline, you lie on the bench in reverse (head on the seat, torso/thighs on the back pad). This turns the incline settings into decline settings. Plus, it allows for a narrower tapered seat instead of the obtrusive reverse-tapered seats used on traditional FID designs.
- 1000+ lbs weight capacity rating
- 11-gauge steel using 2” x 3” tubing; also uses two parallel 2” x 2” tubes that run parallel down the midline of the frame (i.e. similar in effect to one 2” x 4” tube)
- Pop-pin arc adjustment mechanism for both the back pad and the seat
- 9 back pad adjustment settings from 0 to 78 degrees (0, 8, 18, 28, 38, 48, 58, 68 and 78 degrees)
- 6 seat pad adjustment settings from -15 to 40 degrees (-15, 0, 10, 20, 30 and 40 degrees)
- Adjustment settings do not have labels to show the angle
- 12” wide back pad
- 18” height in the flat position
- Has a large 5.5” gap between the top of the seat and the top of the back pad in the flat position.
- NOTE: The seat and back pads have angled-in edges, such that the gap between the bottoms of the pads is approx. 2”. This makes the gap appear smaller. However, the gap at the top of the pads is what matters, because you’ll have no support in that 5.5” region if you end up placing your butt or lower back on that part while benching.
- 52” combined pad length in the flat position (i.e. seat + 5.5” gap + back pad); combined pad length plus the length of the decline leg holder attachment is 68”
- 51.25” x 22.5” footprint
- Weighs 117 lbs
- Wheels and lift handle for easily moving the bench around your gym; the lift handle is on a swivel joint, which some people like and others don’t
- At $950 plus a hefty shipping fee, the Rogue AB-3 is most certainly on the high end of the price spectrum. You’ll pay a lot, but you’ll also get an excellent quality FID bench. As I discussed above, it’s hard to recommend the AB-3 now that the Rep AB-5000 has come onto the scene with comparable features at a MUCH lower price.
Rep AB-5200 Adjustable Weight Bench Review
The Rep AB-5200 is one of the most attractive adjustable weight benches on the market. It’s arguably the best flat-to-incline bench overall. At the very least, it’s the best flat-to-incline adjustable bench for the money.
In any case, if you want an adjustable weight bench and don’t care about the decline option, the AB-5200 is the bench I recommend.
The AB-5200 is almost compliant with the key IPF specs. It is 18″ tall, which is just a half-inch taller than max IPF flat bench height regulations. The back pad is 12″ wide, which is within the IPF guidelines…
…However, Rep gives you the ability to upgrade to 14″ back pad (and seat pad) if you prefer benching from a wider surface. This is something they also offer on their AB-5000, AB-4100 and AB-3000 benches as well. It’s typically the bigger guys with broad backs who will appreciate this option the most.
Like all of Rep’s benches, the AB-5200’s seat and back pads use a grippy textured vinyl that keeps you from slipping while bench pressing.
The bench frame is quite beefy, boasting 11-gauge and 7-gauge steel with 2” x 3.25” steel tubing and 5.25″ steel channel running the full length under both the seat and back pads. The entire bench weighs a whopping 125 lbs, making it Rep’s heaviest bench by a full 15 lbs. The thing is a tank.
My favorite part is its ladder-style adjustment mechanism. Compared to pop-pin adjustments, ladder adjustments are so much easier. You don’t have to bend down to access the pop-pins any time you want to adjust the bench angle. Instead, you can just raise the bench or seat pad to increase the bench angle.
Decreasing the bench angle is almost as seamless, you just have to pull the adjustment arm out of the way and lower the backrest/seat to the desired setting.
What makes the AB-5200 better than most ladder-style adjustable benches is that the latter portion is fully enclosed on both the seat and backrest. This does two things:
- It makes vertical storage possible by ensuring the adjustment arm stays in place and the back pad doesn’t swing out. (More on vertical storage in a moment.)
- It prevents you from accidentally going past the highest setting or the lowest setting when adjusting the bench angles.
This bench is designed to be stored vertically. There is a built-in bench prop on the wheel-end of the frame. Just lift the bench up with the handle and tilt it onto the bench prop. It’ll stay safely upright, taking up a minimal amount of space.
Compare this to the AB-5000, which you can store upright, but it wasn’t designed for that purpose. The AB-5000 isn’t completely vertical when stored upright and is supported by the bench pad, which isn’t great for the foam quality in the long term.
The pad gap between the seat and the back pad is 2” on the AB-5200. This is decent but I wouldn’t consider it minimal. You will still feel a bit of a dip if you’re flat bench with your butt or lower back resting on this gap…
…However, this may not be an issue at all for many lifters because the back pad is so long. It’s 41.75″, which is long enough for most lifters to flat bench on. So you can avoid the gap and bench seat altogether when flat benching.
Lastly, there is an optional spotter platform available for purchase that you can install on the back of the bench. This provides an elevated spot for your workout partner to stand while spotting you, which makes it easier and safer for them to grab the bar if you fail.
Rep AB-5200 – Key Features & Specs:
- Flat-to-incline adjustable weight bench
- 1000+ lbs weight capacity rating
- Super heavy-duty steel frame made with both 11-gauge and 7-gauge steel
- Uses 2” x 3.25” steel tubing and an extra wide 5.25″ steel channel on the underside of the backrest and seat
- Fast and easy-to-adjust ladder-style adjustment mechanism for both the backrest and seat
- 7 backrest angle settings (0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 85 degrees)
- 3 seat angle settings (0, 15, 30 degrees)
- Laser-cut numbers on the ladder that show how many degrees each backrest angle setting is
- The seat and backrest ladders are fully enclosed, which makes vertical storage possible. Plus, it prevents you from accidentally going past the highest or lowest settings.
- Built-in bench stand that allows you to safely store the AB-5200 upright at a completely vertical 90 degrees
- 12” wide back pad comes standard; you can upgrade to a 14″ wide back pad (and seat pad) if desired
- 18” height in the flat position
- 55.25” combined pad length in the flat position (i.e. 11.5” seat + 2” gap + 41.75” back pad)
- 20.25″ x 58.5″ footprint
- Weighs in at an impressive 125 lbs, making it rock solid on the floor
- Easy mobility thanks to wheels and a lift handle
- The AB-5200 comes in competitively priced at $499.99 with free shipping.
Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0
The Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 is a top contender among flat-to-incline adjustable benches. Like all Rogue products, it’s overbuilt, very stable, safe and secure. It can take anything you can throw at it.
A major benefit of this adjustable bench is that it has a whopping 10 back pad angle settings from 0 to 85 degrees. That’s more than any other adjustable bench except the Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench, which has 12 settings. You’ll be able to get the perfect incline angle for any exercise.
Another standout feature is its minimal pad gap of just 1 inch in the flat position. This is barely noticeable even when your butt is right on top of it while you’re benching. Until early 2019 when the Rep’s AB-5000 zero-gap FID dropped, you couldn’t find any adjustable bench with a smaller gap than this.
The main competitor of the Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 is the Rep AB-5200 Adjustable Bench. Here are some notable similarities:
- Both benches are similarly overbuilt with thick, robust frames.
- Both have ladder-style back and seat adjustments with fully enclosed ladders.
- Both have laser-cut numbering on the ladder to show the angle settings
- Both have a built-in vertical storage stand to securely store the bench upright without leaning on the back pad.
- Both have the option to add a spotter stand to the back of the bench.
The Rep AB-5200 has the Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 bench beat on:
- Upholstery: Grippy vinyl vs less grippy textured foam
- Price: $499.99 w/free US shipping vs $605 + S&H
- Back pad width: 12″ vs 11″
On the other hand, the Rogue bench wins vs the Rep AB-5200 in terms of:
- The number of back pad adjustments: 10 vs 7
- Pad gap size: 1” vs 2”
- Bench height: 17.5″ (within IPF specs) vs 18″ (half-inch over IPF specs)
- Manufacturing: The Rogue bench is made in the USA while the Rep bench is an import
One final point worth noting about the Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 is that it comes with a new type of back seat and back pad material. It’s a premium textured foam pad instead of a standard vinyl pad. It’s seamless, easier to clean, more durable and somewhat grippier than standard vinyl.
Previously, Rogue gave you the option to choose between the textured foam pad and the standard vinyl pad. However, it appears they now include it standard with no option to choose the standard vinyl pad. This works out since most people prefer the new type of pad.
To be clear, the premium textured foam pads are NOT grippy like the grippy vinyl pads with a ton of tiny divots as seen on the Rep AB-5200 (among many other benches).
At $605 + S&H, this is not cheap for a flat-to-incline bench, especially when comparing it to the Rep AB-5200, which retails for over $105 less and has free shipping.
However, it has 3 more incline settings, is made in the US and has a slightly more premium feel. That alone will justify the higher price for some people. Additionally, the minimal 1″ pad gap makes this a possible option to replace the need for a separate flat utility bench in your home gym — which bakes more value into the price.
The decision between the Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 and the Rep AB-5200 comes down to your preferences on certain features and your budget.
Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 – Key Features & Specs:
- Flat-to-incline adjustable weight bench
- 1000+ lbs weight capacity rating
- 11-gauge steel using 3” x 3” tubing
- Ladder adjustment mechanism on the back pad and the seat
- 10 back pad adjustment settings from 0 to 85 degrees (0, 15, 30, 37.5, 45, 52.5, 60, 67.5, 75 and 85 degrees)
- 3 seat pad adjustment settings (0, 15, and 30 degrees)
- Adjustment settings have laser-cut labels for every 15 degrees
- 11” wide back pad
- 17.5” height in the flat position
- 1” gap between seat and back pad in the flat position
- 52” combined pad length in the flat position (i.e. seat + 1” gap + back pad)
- 24.75” x 56.5” footprint
- Weighs 125 lbs
- It has wheels and a lift handle for easy transport in your gym
- At $605 + S&H, this is not cheap but it’s not over-the-top expensive either
Rep AB-4100 Adjustable Weight Bench Review
The Rep AB-4100 Adjustable Bench is the lite version of the Rep AB-5200. The basic design and capabilities are identical on both benches. However, there are several specs that are different, including the following:
- The AB-4100 is lighter with a total weight of 85 lbs compared to the 125 lbs for the AB-5200. While the AB-4100 is not as heavy-duty, some lifters may like how the lighter weight makes the bench easier to move around.
- The AB-4100 has a lower weight capacity of 700 lbs compared to 1000 lbs for the AB-5200.
- The AB-4100 frame uses 14-gauge and 7-gauge steel, whereas the AB-5200 uses beefier 11-gauge and 7-gauge steel for its frame. This accounts for much of the differences in the bench weight and the weight capacity rating.
- The AB-4100 has a shorter total back pad length of 36″ compared to 41.75″ on the AB-5200. While most people could do flat bench press by laying on just the back pad portion of the AB-5200 (and thus avoid any pad gap issues), this is not possible on the AB-4100.
- The AB-4100 has a more compact total bench length of 51.3″ compared to 58.5″ on the AB-5200.
- The seat pad is actually longer on the AB-4100 (13″) than it is on the AB-5200 (11.5″). Since the back pad is shorter on the AB-4100, the slightly longer seat length ensures you have enough total bench pad length for all exercises, especially flat bench press.
- The pad gap between the back and seat pads is more minimal on the AB-4100 (1.57″) than it is on the AB-5200 (2″). If your butt or back is on the gap, it’ll be less noticeable on the AB-4100.
- The AB-4100 seat angles aren’t as steep as on the AB-5200. The AB-4100 seat settings include 0, 10 and 20 degrees. Whereas, the AB-5200 seat settings include 0, 15 and 30 degrees. On some incline exercises, having a higher seat angle can help you feel more secure and prevent your butt from sliding forward.
- The bench height on the AB-4100 is 17″ tall compared to 18″ tall on the AB-5200. This is a point in favor of the AB-4100 since it makes the bench compliant with the IPF rules for bench height. The AB-5200 is a half-inch taller than the IPF bench height guidelines. Practically, an inch difference isn’t noticeable, but lifters who compete in the IPF may want an IPF-spec’d bench. Of course, those types of lifters will probably also have a dedicated flat bench, making this point irrelevant.
- There is no 14″ wide back and seat pad upgrade available for the AB-4100 like there is for the AB-5200.
- You can’t install an optional spotter platform like you can on the AB-5200.
- Currently, the AB-4100 has color options available. Its available colors include Metallic Black, Red, Blue, Matte Black, Army Green, Purple and White. The AB-5200 is offered in Metallic Black, Red, Blue and Clear Coat.
- The AB-4100 is considerably less expensive at $399.99 compared to $499.99 for the AB-5200.
There are also minor details that are a bit more polished on the AB-5200 than on the AB-4100. Examples of this include beefier hardware for the frame and better protective material for the parts of the adjustable arm that make contact with the ladder.
Beyond the above-listed differences, the AB-4100 and AB-5200 are very much alike.
The AB-4100 shares the following important characteristics with the AB-5200:
- It is a ladder-style bench with 7 backrest positions and 3 seat positions.
- It has a fully enclosed ladder that ensures you never accidentally go past the highest or lowest back or seat angle settings.
- It has a built-in stand that allows for safe and stable vertical storage.
- The pads use grippy vinyl to keep you from slipping during exercise.
- It has a lift handle and wheels for easy maneuvering.
- It has protective plastic/rubber under the feet to protect the floor and keep the bench from sliding.
Rep AB-4100 – Key Features & Specs:
- Flat-to-incline adjustable weight bench
- 700 lb weight capacity rating
- The bench frame is built with relatively thin 14-gauge steel combined with much thicker 7-gauge steel
- Features 2” x 3.25” steel tubing in addition to 5.25″ steel channel under the seat and back pad
- Quick and efficient ladder-style adjustment mechanism for the seat and back pad
- 7 back pad angle settings (0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 85 degrees)
- 3 seat angle settings (0, 10, 20 degrees)
- Laser-cut numbering of each ladder angle setting for the backrest
- The ladders on the seat and backrest are fully enclosed
- A vertical storage stand is built onto the rear part of the frame, which allows for easy upright storage
- 12” wide back pad
- 17” height in the flat position
- 50.57” combined pad length in the flat position (i.e. 13” seat + 1.57” gap + 36” back pad)
- 20.3″ x 51.3″ footprint
- A moderate total bench weight of 85 lbs
- Wheels and a lift handle for easy moving
- The AB-4100 costs just $399.99 with free shipping, which is a great deal considering its specs and features
Rep AB-3000 FID Adjustable Weight Bench Review
The Rep AB-3000 is in my opinion the best budget FID bench you can buy. It does everything good, but nothing great. If you want a well-rounded FID bench for a low price, then this is probably the best adjustable weight bench for you.
That being said, I would strongly recommend this only if you already have a dedicated flat utility bench or are planning to buy one. Ideally, you don’t want to use the AB-3000 for flat barbell bench press, for these reasons:
- It has a 2” gap, which isn’t that bad as far as gaps go. Still, it’s big enough to cause issues when flat benching (i.e. your butt or lower back will sink into it).
- It has a reverse-tapered bench seat that gets wider toward the end. As discussed earlier, this type of seat is required for this type of bench. It keeps your thighs together so you can lock into the leg holder on decline. However, it also forces your legs to splay into a wider stance on non-decline lifts. This is the case on all benches with a similar traditional FID design; it’s not specific to the AB-3000.
Lastly, the AB-3000 could’ve been improved by having better seat incline angles. The highest it goes is 20 degrees. On heavier low incline pressing movements, you may feel like the 20 degree seat angle isn’t steep enough to hold your butt in place. You will have to focus more on using your legs to keep your butt in the back of the seat. A max seat angle of 30+ degrees would have been ideal.
Those are the negatives. But there are many positives, including:
- Great stability
- Robust frame strength (1000 lb capacity)
- Tripod design for better balance/stability on uneven floors; also, the front foot is out of your way
If you have a flat bench already, and you want a second bench that lets you do incline and decline, I would strongly suggest the AB-3000. Especially if you don’t want to break the bank.
However, if you have a flat bench already and want an adjustable bench for incline only (no decline), then you should also strongly consider a flat-to-incline bench like the Rep AB-5200, Rep AB-4100, Rep AB-3100 or the Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench — instead of the AB-3000.
Rep AB-3000 – Key Features & Specs:
- FID adjustable weight bench
- 1000 lb weight capacity rating
- 11-gauge steel using 2” x 3” tubing on the main parts of the frame; thicker steel is used on the ladder portion as well as on the reinforcement steel under the seat portion of the frame.
- Ladder style adjustment mechanism for the back pad; telescoping pop-pin adjustment mechanism for the seat.
- 7 back pad adjustment settings from -20 to 85 degrees (-20, 0, 20, 30, 50, 65 and 85 degrees)
- 5 seat pad adjustment settings from 0 to 20 degrees (increments of 5 degrees)
- Adjustment settings do not have labels for the angles
- 11.5” wide back pad
- 17.5” height in the flat position
- 2” gap between seat and back pad in the flat position
- 54” combined pad length in the flat position (i.e. 15″ seat + 2” gap + 37″ back pad)
- 26” x 54” footprint
- Weighs 85 lbs
- Has wheels and a lift handle for moving it around the gym; the lift handle is conveniently located, though some have reported that wheels could move a bit smoother.
- At $299 shipped, this is the best budget-level FID bench you can buy. Not the best overall, for sure, but it’s a solid setup that won’t break the bank.
Rep AB-3100 Adjustable Weight Bench Review
The Rep AB-3100 Adjustable Bench is an extremely price-competitive flat-to-incline adjustable weight bench. Rep did a superb job of putting all the essentials you need in a flat-to-incline bench.
To minimize the price tag, there are absolutely no bells and whistles on this bench. That is what you should expect in a budget bench.
As I said, Rep nailed the essentials on this bench:
- The back pad is an impressive 11.75” wide. That’s within IPF specs and it’s wider than what you’ll find on the vast majority of adjustable benches on the market. There are only a few adjustable benches with wider back pads and they’re 12” at the widest; a mere quarter-inch more than this bench. No complaints here! This bench will give your upper back and shoulder blades plenty of support.
- 17.5” height, which is within IPF specs and is in the ideal range for achieving good leg drive.
- It has a tripod design, with one foot in the front and two points of contact in the back. This means you’ll never have any issues with the front foot getting in the way of your foot position. Plus, the tripod design helps improve the bench’s balance and stability on uneven floors.
- The gap is relatively small at 2 inches. That’s not minimal. But it’s on the lower end of what you’ll see on most adjustable benches (2” – 4”+).
Originally, I thought this bench only had a max seat setting of 20 degrees, as is the case with the AB-3000. I reached out to Rep for confirmation on this, and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was wrong! It has an “official” max seat incline angle of 30 degrees, which is great — you won’t slide out at this angle. Here’s the even better part…
…There’s an unofficial fourth seat angle setting of 45 degrees, which is even better. You can achieve this angle by mounting the seat adjuster on top of a ledge just above the highest ladder slot. It is secure. If Rep didn’t intentionally design the seat this way, then this is a happy accident for sure:
The notable shortcomings of the AB-3100 are that:
- It’s not overbuilt and has an acceptable, but not impressive 700 lb weight capacity. To be fair, that is more than enough for the average lifter.
- Since it’s lighter weight, it won’t feel as rock-solid on the floor as heavier benches, especially considering it also has a tripod design. It’s not unstable per se but it may wobble a bit when you’re sitting upright on the seat-end.
- It doesn’t have a ton of back pad incline settings.
These negatives are acceptable given the AB-3100’s budget price tag.
…If you want a more robust flat-to-incline bench with more premium features, you should look at the Rep AB-5200 and Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench. Both benches are stronger and more feature-rich than the AB-3100, yet are still reasonably priced.
Rep AB-3100 – Key Features & Specs:
- Flat-to-incline adjustable weight bench
- 700 lb weight capacity rating
- Variable thickness steel from 4 to 14-gauge using 2” x 3” tubing: Extra thick 4-gauge steel to reinforce the vertex of the frame (below where the seat meets the back pad). This is the most structurally vulnerable part. Thinner and lighter 14-gauge steel is used on the rest of the frame.
- Ladder adjustment mechanism on the back pad and the seat.
- 6 back pad adjustment settings from 0 to 85 degrees (0, 30, 45, 60, 75 and 85 degrees)
- 4 seat pad adjustment settings from 0 to 45 degrees (0, 15, 30 and 45 degrees)
- The fourth setting is kind of an unofficial setting, but it’s fully functional for all practical purposes. I explained this and showed a photo, a few paragraphs above.
- Adjustment settings do not have labels to show the angle
- 11.75″ wide back pad
- 17.5” height in the flat position
- ~2” gap between seat and back pad in the flat position
- 50” combined pad length in the flat position (i.e. 13″ seat + 2” gap + 35″ back pad)
- 23” x 49.75” footprint
- Weighs 77 lbs
- Has wheels and a lift handle to move the bench around the gym
- At $249 shipped, this is the best value budget flat-to-incline adjustable weight bench I’ve seen on the market.
Vulcan Prime Adjustable Weight Bench Review
The Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench is an excellent choice for certain lifters. It’s ideal for those who already have a dedicated flat utility bench and are seeking a quality adjustable weight bench; but who do not need a decline option.
This is a tank of a bench, made from large 3” x 3” steel tubing that’s more than thick enough (11-gauge or thicker). It’s stable. And as a very nice bonus, it’s one of the few adjustable benches on the market with grippy vinyl; the same kind you’ll commonly see these days on competition-style flat benches.
It also has a tripod-style design: 2 feet (or points of contact) in the back, and one foot in the front. This gives you better stability on uneven floors. It also ensures the front of the frame is never in the way of your feet on any exercise.
Possibly the most attractive feature that the Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench boasts is its impressive 12 adjustment settings for the back pad. This gives you access to any incline angle you could ever want, all on a well-built ladder adjustment mechanism. Oh, and you can’t beat the price ($419.99, US shipping included).
The main competition for it is the Rep AB-4100, which is similarly priced to the Vulcan bench. Both benches offer a lot of value for the price. They both have ladder-style adjustment, grippy vinyl upholstery, a tripod design, 1.5″ pad gap and good build quality. However, there are some key differences…
…The Vulcan has the AB-4100 has it beat in terms of:
- Weight capacity: 1000 lbs vs 700 lbs
- Back pad incline settings: 12 vs 7
- A heavier total weight by 10 lbs (95 lbs vs 85 lbs)
Whereas, the AB-4100 wins over the Vulcan when it comes to the:
- Back pad width: 12” uniform width vs tapering width from 10” at the top to 12” at the bottom
- Price: $20 less ($399.99 vs $419.99)
- Ladder-style: The AB-4100’s ladder is fully enclosed, whereas the Vulcan’s is open. The enclosed ladder keeps the adjustable arm from overshooting the highest and lowest bench angle settings; plus it helps with upright storage.
- Upright storage: Only the AB-4100 can be stored upright thanks to having a built-in vertical bench prop combined with its enclosed ladder.
The Rogue Adjustable Bench 3.0 and the Rep AB-5200 are also comparable to the Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench in many ways. However, they are overall superior options. And that is reflected in their price tags: You’ll have to jump more than $150+ in price. If you have the extra cash, consider either of those alternatives.
But if you’re on a budget, keep it simple and go with the Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench. You’ll save over $150 and get a great flat-to-incline bench.
Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench – Key Features & Specs:
- Flat-to-incline adjustable weight bench
- 1000+ lb weight capacity rating
- 11-gauge steel using 3” x 3” tubing; 3-gauge steel and 7-gauge steel are used on the adjustment column piece and the ladder, respectively
- Ladder adjustment mechanism is used for both the back pad and the seat
- 12 back pad adjustment settings from 0 to 85 degrees (0, 10, 20, 30, 35, 40, 50, 55, 60, 65, 75 and 85 degrees)
- 3 seat pad adjustment settings from 0 to 30 degrees (increments of 15 degrees)
- Adjustment settings do not have labels to show the angle
- Back pad tapers from 10” to 12”. Having a uniform 12” width would have been ideal. This isn’t a huge issue for the Vulcan Prime since most people buying this bench will likely have a dedicated flat bench with a wider pad.
- 17.75″ height in the flat position
- 1.5” gap between seat and back pad in the flat position
- 47” combined pad length in the flat position (i.e. 12” seat + 1.5” gap + 33.5” back pad)
- 50″ x 29″ footprint
- Weighs 96 lbs
- Has wheels and lift handle for easy transport
- At $419.99 with free US shipping, this is a super competitive option for anyone in the market for a flat-to-incline bench
Ironmaster Super Bench Pro Review
For full details on this adjustable bench, be sure to read my Ironmaster Super Bench Pro review. Or you can continue reading below for an abridged review:
The Ironmaster Super Bench Pro is the newest version of the original and highly acclaimed Ironmaster Super Bench. It is made by the same company that makes the Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbells, which are one of the best adjustable dumbbell sets on the market.
The Super Bench Pro is similar to the original Super Bench in terms of basic style and design. There are some significant differences, though. Specifically, there are several changes to the design that were made to fix the most common complaints about the original.
Before getting into the specific changes between versions, I’ll go over the basic design of the Super Bench Pro:
- The entire length of the bench is made up of just the back pad. The seat does not factor into the bench length as it does on all other adjustable bench designs. There is a unique swoosh-shaped adjustment arc that attaches to the back pad at two points. There is a large support column under the back pad that acts as the pivot point when adjusting the bench angle.
- There is no gap in the flat or decline position thanks to the detachable seat, which is removed for these settings.
- There are two height settings for the seat. The seat angle is always 90 degrees relative to the back pad. The seat angle relative to the floor only changes as you change the incline angle of the bench.
- Decline positions are achieved by lying on the bench in reverse, such that you use the incline positions for decline. To use higher decline settings, you need the optional decline leg holder attachment.
The standout pros of the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro over many other benches include the following:
- There are several optional attachments you can buy separately to expand your exercise selection, using the bench as the base. This is a major plus for anyone with a smaller space for a home gym because all of these attachments are designed with space efficiency in mind. The attachments are listed below:
- Decline/Crunch Sit Up Attachment
- Dip Bar Handle Attachment
- Chin Up Bar Attachment
- Preacher Curl Attachment
- Hyper Core Attachment
- Dumbbell Spotting Stand
- Barbell Spotting Stand: Get the Spotting Stand Base and the Spotting Stand Barbell Adapter.
- There is a Cable Tower Attachment, but it only works with the original Super Bench because of its taller height. That said, you could still buy the Cable Tower Attachment as a standalone unit if you also get the Cable Tower Seat Attachment.
- 11 total back pad angle settings, which is a crazy high number of settings. The angles range from 0 to 85 degrees. The incline angles also double as decline angles.
- Extremely easy adjustment. Unlike all other benches that use an adjustment arc mechanism, the Super Bench Pro does NOT use a pop-pin. Instead, it uses a convenient foot lever to adjust the arc, which lets you change the bench angle without even bending over!
- You can use it as a makeshift inversion table. You lie on it in the decline position with your legs in the leg holder and let your back stretch out. You’re limited to 40 or 50 degrees since it’s hard to climb into the leg holder at steeper angles. But that’s more than enough to get a good inversion effect and allow your back to decompress.
- It’s lightweight, weighing a mere 68 lbs thanks to its unique design that eliminates the need for a traditional frame that would otherwise add to the weight. This makes moving it around your home gym a very low-effort task; the included wheels make this even easier.
- You can save a ton of space when not using the Super Bench Pro by putting it into the flat position, then standing it up on its end and moving it out of the way. It’s completely self-supporting like this.
Here are the main negatives of the Super Bench Pro vs other adjustable weight benches:
- Its back pad is 10.5”, which is narrower than I’d prefer. My ideal back pad width for an adjustable bench is 11.5” – 12”.
- Lower max weight capacity of 600 lbs on incline. This is due primarily to the leverages that can be applied against the relatively weaker seat attachment. If you’re a 200+ lb guy who can incline press 300+ lbs (or any other combo approaching 550-600 lbs total), you may want to seek out an alternative. The stated limit on decline is also 600 lbs. But in reality, it’s somewhat higher since there’s no seat on decline, which is the main reason for the 600 lb capacity on incline. Still, to play it safe, just consider the limit on incline and decline to be 600 lbs.
- The highest you can set the seat in the upright position is 14.5” above the floor, which is shorter than ideal. Most people will have their knees slightly above their hip crease when using the bench in the upright position. This is a result of the bench being shorter (which is a benefit for flat and lower incline angles). Ultimately, this is annoying but not a major problem in my opinion.
If you’re interested in the differences between the original Ironmaster Super Bench vs the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro, I’ll quickly review them below:
- The Pro is 17.2″ in the flat position (IPF compliant), whereas the original is 20”, which is way too high.
- Wheels are included standard with the Pro, whereas you have to buy them separately for $30 on the original.
- The Pro is more stable thanks to its wider and longer footprint with 2″ x 3″ (instead of 2″ x 2″) steel tubing on the frame’s feet.
- The Pro has a corner tightening knob that allows you to get a completely secure fit. No wiggle room. The original Super Bench only has a pop-pin to secure attachments. This inevitably means there is some amount of play between the attachment’s tube and the tube it inserts in.
- The Pro has higher density foam that you’ll never bottom out on. The original was too soft and had too much “give” to it.
Overall, the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro is a quality adjustable bench, with plenty of desirable features at a very reasonable price. It can also save you money by replacing the need for a flat bench thanks to its no-gap experience in the flat position. The free shipping helps, too.
That said, you may want to consider buying a different adjustable weight bench if:
- The 600 lb rating on incline is insufficient for your weight/strength
- The 10.5” wide back pad is too narrow for your preferences
Here are some possible alternatives:
- Rep AB-5000: This bench beats the Super Bench Pro in a few important ways: 12” back pad, 1000+ lbs capacity in all positions, zero-gap on all positions (achieved via a sliding seat). However, it can’t compete with the Super Bench Pro in terms of the availability of attachments to expand exercise selection. It also costs a lot more: $599 without the optional decline attachment. That’s still a great price for the features & specs in the AB-5000, but it still means paying about $200 more than for the Ironmaster.
- Rep AB-3000 + Any Decent Flat Utility Bench: The Rep AB-3000 is a very well-rounded FID bench. It’s not fantastic, but it also has no major flaws. It beats the Super Bench Pro in just two ways: It’s rated for 1000+ lbs in all positions, and it has a wider 11.5″ back pad. If you choose to go with this bench, I would also recommend getting a dedicated flat bench to complement it. This is because — unlike the Super Bench Pro, the AB-3000 has a 2” gap that will get in the way when doing flat bench press. You can get the AB-3000 and a quality flat bench for around the same price as the Super Bench Pro ($399). The AB-3000 is priced very low, at just $299 with free shipping. And a quality flat bench will be anywhere from $149 to $229 — My top flat bench picks are below:
- Rep FB-5000: $209 shipped — I own and highly recommend this one!
- Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Bench: $229 shipped.
- Rep FB-3000 Flat Bench: $149 shipped. This is a solid bench with a crazy good price. But you do lose out on the grippy vinyl cover that you get with my two choices above.
- The total price of the Rep AB-3000 plus whichever flat utility bench you decide on will run you anywhere between $449 shipped and $528 shipped. That’s in the same ballpark as the Super Bench Pro ($399 shipped; add an extra $79 if you want the decline attachment).
Ironmaster Super Bench Pro – Key Features & Specs:
- FID adjustable weight bench
- 1000 lb weight capacity rating in the flat position; 600 lb capacity in the incline and upright angles.
- 11 and 12-gauge steel using 3” x 3” and 2” x 3” tubing
- Pop-pin arc adjustment mechanism for the back pad. This is a different type of arc than on other benches. It connects from one point of the bench to another (other benches’ arcs only connect to the bench at one point).
- Seat pad is always perpendicular (i.e. 90 degrees) to the back pad. The angle of the seat changes relative to the floor only when you adjust the back pad to a different incline angle. You remove the seat for flat or decline use. It has two available height options.
- 11 back pad adjustment settings from 0 to 85 degrees (0, 5,10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 85 degrees); decline angles are achieved by removing the seat and laying on the bench in reverse at the desired incline angles.
- Adjustment settings do not have labels to show the angle
- 10.5” wide back pad
- 17.2” height in the flat position
- NO gap between seat and back pad in the flat position or decline positions (because the seat is removed, leaving just the 44” back pad)
- 44” total pad length in all positions
- 20.75” x 47” footprint
- Weighs 68 lbs with removable seat installed; 64 lbs without the seat
- Has wheels for easy transport. It does not have a lift handle, but the bench is lighter so it’s not a big deal to lift it from the back pad.
- You can stand it upright without having to lean it against the wall for support. This works regardless of which end you install the wheels on.
- The Super Bench Pro costs $399 with shipping included (for the lower 48 US states), making it among the best adjustable weight benches available for home gym lifters in terms of features for the price. Sure, there are better benches out there, but its price plus its unique features and accessory options make it the best adjustable weight bench for many lifters.
Types of Adjustable Weight Benches
There are two main categories of adjustable weight benches:
- Flat-to-Incline Benches
- FID (Flat/Incline/Decline) Benches
It’s important to understand the difference between these so that you can get the right one for your training needs.
This type of bench does NOT have any decline settings. The lowest it goes is the flat (0 degrees). It will adjust to multiple higher incline settings, with the highest setting being near-vertical or completely vertical (e.g. around 80 to 90 degrees depending on the model).
FID (Flat/Incline/Decline) Benches
FID benches do flat-to-incline angles (i.e. 0 degrees to ~80 or 90 degrees) in addition to at least one decline setting (i.e. the back pad goes below 0 degrees).
“Traditional” FID bench designs have just one decline setting of around -15 to -20 degrees. Whereas, “non-traditional” FID bench designs have multiple decline settings.
Let me explain what I mean by traditional and non-traditional FID benches in the subsections below:
Traditional FID Bench Designs
A traditional FID bench design refers to benches where:
- To achieve a decline setting, the back pad drops below parallel and the seat goes into an incline setting. This makes the entire bench straight but at a decline angle.
- The seat only goes to flat and incline settings.
- There are roller pads attached below the seat. For decline exercises, you put your shins/ankles behind the rollers to lock your legs in place so you don’t slide down the bench.
- The seat is “reverse-tapered” meaning it gets wider toward the edge of the seat. This is needed so you have enough room to keep both your thighs on the seat pad on decline. You need your thighs on the seat so you can lock your legs behind the roller pads. The drawback of a wide seat is that it can get in the way on flat and incline exercises; you have to splay your legs out into a wider stance than you’d naturally use.
An example of a good traditional FID bench is the Rep AB-3000, which is shown in the image above.
EXCEPTIONS: Some traditional FID benches have most, but not all, of the design elements listed above. Examples:
- The Force USA Commercial FID Bench does not have a leg holder; nor does it have a reverse-tapered seat. The reason being is the decline angle is gradual enough that you can stay in position without sliding — at least some decline exercises. Force USA designed it to include decline as a “bonus feature.” They didn’t want to lose the benefit of a narrower seat, which I think was a smart choice. People who want to focus on flat and incline work, but want the option to do light to moderate decline chest work, will appreciate this design choice.
- The Fringe Sport FID Bench does not have a leg holder. It does, however, have a wide reverse-tapered seat like most traditional FID designs. The reverse-tapered seat by itself will prevent or minimize sliding on most decline exercises, at least compared to a narrower tapered seat. However, I think it was a big mistake to not include the leg holders on this bench. First off, the decline angle is -20 degrees, which is steep enough that a leg holder would be desirable on heavier decline presses. Second, the only benefit of eliminating the leg holder would be added legroom; but you don’t get that if you also have the big reverse-tapered seat since that already interferes with your leg positioning. In other words, if an FID doesn’t have a leg holder, it shouldn’t have a reverse-tapered seat either.
I still consider both benches above to be traditional FID benches despite being having a couple of minor differences. They still have the same basic functions and design as other traditional FID benches.
Non-Traditional FID Bench Designs
A non-traditional FID bench design refers to a bench that utilizes the back pad end of the bench for decline work. That is, you lay down in the opposite direction that you would for flat and incline exercises: Your head goes on the seat, and your torso and thighs are on the back pad.
This reversed setup for decline is made possible by these design elements:
- There is a leg holder attached to the end of the back pad with two sets of rollers; one set for the back of your knee to go over, and the other for your shins/ankles to go against.
- The back pad does not go below the flat setting as it does on traditional designs. Instead, the seat goes into a decline position. When the seat is at a decline and the backrest is at an incline, this creates a decline plane from the perspective of laying on the bench in reverse.
This non-traditional design has 2 very important benefits that make it superior to traditional FID benches:
- You can use incline settings as decline settings. Practically speaking, you’d be able to use the first few incline settings (i.e. up to ~60 degrees). Why not all? Because it’d be nearly impossible to safely climb into the leg holders at steeper angles. That said, the takeaway should be that you have access to multiple decline settings. Anything greater than one decline setting is a major benefit over traditional FID benches.
- The seat is narrow and tapered. This allows you to position your legs without obstruction when doing flat and incline exercises. Contrast this to the awkward reverse-tapered seats on traditional FID benches that force your legs to splay out on certain exercises.
The first bench to pioneer this ingenious FID bench design was the Nebula Fitness 1080 Utility Bench, which no longer exists — Nebula Fitness was previously owned by Rae Crowther who then sold the brand to Rogue, which folded some of the Nebula Fitness products into their own product line…
…Nevertheless, the basic design still lives on to this day! Rogue has the AB-3 and Rae Crowther has the Pro Gold Utility Bench. And Rep Fitness has what I consider to be the best: the AB-5000, which I recently bought for my home gym, and I’m excited to start using it!
Flat-to-Incline vs FID: Which Bench Is Right for You?
So, the major difference between these two types of adjustable benches is the inclusion or absence of any decline settings. Knowing which type(s) will work for you depends on whether or not you’ll be doing any decline exercises (e.g. decline bench press variations, decline sit ups or crunches):
- If you do plan on doing any decline exercises in your training, then you’ll absolutely need an FID adjustable weight bench.
- If you don’t plan on doing any decline exercises, then you’ll be fine with a flat-to-incline adjustable bench. OR, a non-traditional FID adjustable can work fine too — Even though you don’t need the decline settings, other features in non-traditional FID benches may make it the right pick for you.
Weight Capacity Rating
The first thing to understand about weight capacity rating for a bench is that it includes your body weight plus the weight you’re pressing on it. Some people make the mistake of thinking that it refers to the max amount of weight you could put on the bar to bench press.
Look for a bench with no less than a 1000 lb weight capacity.
Assuming you’re not planning on becoming an elite competitive powerlifter, you’ll never actually “need” the full 1000 lbs capacity. That said, it’s always better to have more capacity than to be cutting it close. Even if you’re not that big and relatively weak on bench press now, you could very well end up getting close to the max weight rating on a bench with lower capacity.
For example, a 315 lb bench at 185 lbs puts you at 500 lbs., which is around the capacity rating for many intro-level (i.e. cheap) adjustable benches on the market.
Additionally, there’s a correlation between higher max weight capacity and higher overall quality. That is, an adjustable bench with a 1000 lb+ weight capacity is much more likely to have other positives, such as:
- Sufficient amount of padding
- Quality high-density padding that won’t quickly lose its hold/shape
- Better upholstery with stronger stitching on the upholstery
- Easy, smooth adjustment
- A well thought out design
Note that this is JUST a correlation. Not all benches with a high weight capacity rating will be high quality in other areas.
Possibly the most compelling reason to go with an adjustable bench with a high weight capacity is that there are many great 1000+ lb capacity benches available at comparable prices to some lower capacity adjustable benches.
Weight of Bench
Generally, the best adjustable weight benches will be on the heavier side. If you’re looking for a number, I’d say most “good” adjustable benches weigh at least 70 lbs, though it can vary based on design…
…For example, the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro is only 68 lbs with the removable seat installed. But it has a unique and minimal design that eliminates the need for certain parts of the frame that would otherwise increase the total weight.
Of course, just because one bench is heavier than another, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. It’s just that heavy adjustable benches tend to have larger frames and thicker steel. And that correlates with a stronger and more durable bench.
Bench Pad Length
Bench pad length for an adjustable weight bench refers to the length of the bench in the flat position, from the start of the back pad to the end of the seat.
The bench pad length is one of the less important dimensions to consider when choosing the best adjustable bench for your home gym. The main thing is for it to not be too short. That shouldn’t be a problem if you’re looking at even half-decent benches. I’ve never used an adjustable that felt too short.
Still, if you want to be sure, look for a bench length of around 48 inches or longer. If it’s an inch or even a few inches shorter, that shouldn’t be a problem. I selected 48 inches as a rough guideline based on the IPF’s rules for benches to be no less than 1.22 meters (48 inches). Most adjustable benches will be around this length.
An example of a good adjustable bench that’s a few inches shorter than the rough 48 inch guideline is the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro. It’s 44 inches long. Part of the reason it’s relatively short is because the seat is removed for the flat position (the seat is otherwise always perpendicular to the back pad at all other angles). Forty-four inches is still plenty of space for anybody to position their body properly for flat bench press.
NOTE: Don’t confuse the bench length with the length dimension of the bench’s footprint. Sometimes these two dimensions will be very close. Other times, though, the footprint length will be a few inches longer.
Back Pad Width
The width of the back pad is one of the most important dimensions to consider when trying to find the best adjustable weight bench for your home gym.
The main risk is getting one that’s too narrow. The narrower it is, the more likely your delts and/or shoulder blades will spill over the sides while bench pressing. Meaning, you’re less stable, weaker and more at risk for shoulder issues…
…This is the reason why Donnie Thompson invented the Thompson Fat Pad, which is a super wide 14.5 inches! However, that wide of a back pad is better just for flat weight benches, since the extra width is most beneficial on the barbell bench press exercise. Whereas, adjustable weight benches are meant to be used for much more than flat barbell benching. Having a super wide back pad on an adjustable weight bench would likely cause issues on other exercises — this is probably why you don’t see any companies making super wide back pads for their adjustable benches.
So, you don’t want a super narrow back pad. And you don’t want a super wide back pad (not that you could even find one if you wanted)…
…What width should you look for? I recommend using the IPF’s specs as a starting guideline: Legal IPF benches must be between 29-32 cm or 11.5-12.5 inches. However, with adjustable benches, I don’t think I’ve seen one that’s wider than 12 inches. With that in mind, I’d say the ideal range to look for is 11.5 to 12 inches wide.
Let’s say you find an adjustable bench that has all the other features you want, BUT it’s narrower than 11.5 inches. In that case, you shouldn’t automatically disregard it.
As long as it’s at least 10 inches wide, you should still consider it. If you’re using the bench for mostly incline work, a 10 inch wide back pad is sufficient for most people.
If you’re considering a 10 inch wide FID bench that you’d use for heavy decline pressing, then I might say to look for a somewhat wider option. This is because your shoulder joints are much more vulnerable when you’re in the decline position (vs flat or incline) if your shoulder blades have insufficient support. It becomes dangerous if you’re decline pressing heavier loads.
Don’t consider any adjustable weight bench that’s narrower than 10 inches. Ten inches should be the minimum.
Bench height for an adjustable bench is defined as the distance between the floor and the top of the pad when the bench is in the flat position.
I recommend buying an adjustable bench that falls within the IPF’s specs of 42-45 cm, or 16.5-17.5 inches tall. This is a must if you compete in powerlifting and plan on doing flat bench press training on your adjustable bench (though I’d strongly recommend a dedicated flat bench, in most cases). Even if you don’t compete, 16.5-17.5 inches is still an ideal height for achieving strong leg drive.
There are some benches out there that will be way too tall if you’re a short or even an average height lifter. I’m talking up to 22 inches high. With that height, lifters as tall as 5’9” might not be able to plant their feet flat on the floor.
I’d only recommend a taller bench if BOTH of the following are true:
- You don’t compete in powerlifting; or if you do compete, you have a dedicated flat utility bench that’s 16.5-17.5 inches tall for your bench press training.
- You’re very tall (e.g. 6’3”+) AND you know from experience that you’re more comfortable on a taller bench. Many taller lifters will still prefer the 16.5-17.5” adjustable bench So don’t just get a tall bench because you’re tall, unless you know it’s what you want.
In conclusion, almost everybody should get a 16.5-17.5 adjustable bench. All of the best adjustable weight benches are in that range these days, anyway.
The footprint dimensions of an adjustable weight bench refer to the length and width of the entire bench, including the frame.
The only thing to consider when looking at footprint specs is whether or not the bench will fit where you need it in your home gym. Unless you have a tiny workout area, this shouldn’t be an issue even for an adjustable bench with a larger footprint.
Back Pad Shape
I’m a fan of more rectangular back pads. I don’t see any real benefit in a curvy or tapered back pad. On the negative side, it could make doing exercises like hip thrusts or bench dips difficult or impossible since those exercises require a straight bench edge.
That said, a tapered adjustable bench is NOT the end of the world. It’s just on small factor to weigh when deciding between different options.
As for seat shape, there is usually just tapered and reverse-tapered. I already covered this earlier when discussing traditional vs non-traditional FID benches. The only thing to add to what I said earlier is that all flat-to-incline benches will have a tapered seat.
Frame Tubing Size
The best adjustable weight benches have steel tubing that’s anywhere from 2” x 3” to 2” x 4” on key parts of the frame.
Some great benches will have smaller tubing in certain parts of the frame, which is fine if done intelligently. An example of a bench that does this is the Rogue AB-3, which uses both 2” x 3” and 2” x 2” 11-gauge tubing.
In the AB-3’s case, two 2” x 2” tubes run parallel to each other underneath the bench, from the front to the back feet. In a way, it’s like 2” x 4” tubing but split apart.
Look for a bench constructed with 11-gauge steel. The only benches you’ll find with thicker steel (e.g. 7-gauge) throughout the entire frame are extremely overbuilt high-end commercial benches, which are overkill for any use outside of a high-traffic commercial gym setting.
The only time I’d recommend anything thinner than 11-gauge steel is if it’s an intelligently designed frame that uses variable-gauge steel that’s thicker in structurally important places and thinner in less important areas. This is done to create a more economical bench that still has a high capacity…
…An example of such a bench is the Rep AB-3100, which uses thinner 14-gauge steel in some areas and much thicker 4-gauge steel in the most essential points:
Pad Thickness & Material
Components / Material
The bench pad consists of 3 primary components:
This is the bottom of the pad. It’s flat and hard and serves as a base of support. The frame is bolted to the bottom of it, and the padding is on top of it. Usually, the base is a piece of wood, such as particleboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or plywood. Generally, plywood is the strongest. In terms of thickness, it’s usually about a half in thick, give or take.
The padding forms the bulk of the pad, on the inside. It provides cushioning for comfort but without sacrificing too much support.
The idea is for it to be firm enough to support your back while pressing heavy weight, and to maintain its shape over years of use.
It should have enough compression for sufficient comfort. However, it should not be soft and collapsible — That would be more comfortable, but it wouldn’t provide the support needed for performance. And it would become permanently sunken in over time.
The best pads have some type of high density foam, such as rebond foam and/or a rubberized foam like neoprene.
Upholstery refers to the fabric that wraps around the padding and the base of the pad. It holds everything together. The fabric is usually some type of vinyl. But not all vinyl fabrics are created equal when it comes to a bench application.
Many have a smooth surface, which is not ideal. Any basic texture will make a big difference in reducing sliding on the bench compared to a smooth vinyl cover. See the photo below for an example of an adjustable bench pad with a good basic texture:
Some adjustable weight benches have even better textures that are made specifically to be as grippy as possible. The Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench is one of the very few adjustable benches with this feature:
While grippy vinyl is nice on an adjustable bench, it’s not as necessary as on a flat bench. As long as your adjustable bench has any basic texturing on it, that’s good enough.
Generally, thicker pads are better. Usually, 2-3 inches is a good range to look for when considering an adjustable bench.
While there are 4-4.5” “fat pads” (e.g. Thompson Fat Pad) available on flat weight benches, I haven’t seen anything comparable on adjustable benches. Most likely, that’s because these types of fat pads are most useful for the flat barbell bench press scenario. Whereas, adjustable benches are used for much more than that.
Good upholstery is only as good as the stitching that keeps it together.
Quality stitching is a must if you want your pad to stay together. You can have the best material, but if the stitching is shoddy, it will start ripping at the seams sooner than later.
The main flaw with (almost) all adjustable weight benches is that they have a gap between the back pad and the seat, particularly in the flat and decline positions.
This is a natural consequence of the basic hinged adjustable bench design that allows for the bench to go into incline positions. If the seat and back pad were touching together in this hinged design, you physically wouldn’t be able to adjust it to high incline levels, since the two pads would hit into each other and prevent movement.
That said, some adjustable weight benches have better designs than others in this regard. Some have a variation of the basic hinge design, which allows for a very minor gap between the back pad and seat (e.g. compact hinge on the Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0 has a minimal 1” gap).
I’ve seen a few different types of adjustment mechanisms on adjustable benches in my extensive research. The two most common types of mechanisms you should know about are the:
- pop-pin arc adjustment mechanism
- ladder adjustment mechanism
The overwhelming majority of adjustable benches on the market fall into these two categories. For anyone who cares, the next most common type is a telescoping adjustment mechanism, but that’s more common in big box commercial gym equipment.
Pop-pin arc adjustable bench
These benches have a large steel adjustment arc attached to the back pad. It curves down and toward the front of the bench. The arc has multiple holes cut along the length of its curve.
Each hole is for a different incline setting. The arc passes through the center of the frame (or goes just to the side). There is a pop-pin assembly connected to the frame; just adjacent to the arc such that the pin will line up with, and insert into, any of the holes.
To adjust the back pad angle, you do the following:
- Pull the pop-pin handle to remove the pin from whichever hole it’s currently in.
- Raise or lower the back pad, such that the pin lines up with the hole for the desired angle setting.
- Release the pop-pin handle. The spring-loaded pin will pop into the hole, locking the back pad into place.
Pop-pin steel arc adjustable benches (almost) always have the same mechanism for adjusting the seat angle settings. The main difference is that the arc is smaller and facing the opposite direction than the one on the back pad.
Ladder adjustable bench
These benches have distinct grooved slots cut into the steel on the rear frame post. The grooved slots may be cut into the frame itself, or into separate pieces of steel, which are then bolted to the frame.
The rear frame post in this style of bench is angled upward, usually starting near the rear feet and coming up toward the bench seat. The grooved slots going up this angled post make it kind of like a ladder, hence its name.
Each slot is a different back pad angle setting.
There is a steel “adjustment column” attached on the underside of the back pad with a hinge.
Note that the column may be one solid post. Though, more often than not, it’s two posts spaced apart but connected across at some point along their length. The hinge allows the adjustment column to swing forward (toward the seat) or backward (toward the rear feet).
The far end of the column has some type of steel bolt or rod that’s meant to hook into any one of the slots on the ladder. Once in the slot, the column will remain solidly in place, keeping the back pad stable at the chosen setting while under load.
Adjusting the angle setting is simple:
- Lift the back pad up. This will allow the column to swing out of its current position.
- Lower or raise the back pad to the desired setting.
- If you’re going to a higher setting, you can simply raise the back pad to the desired position and the column will fall right into the slot without you having to do anything else.
- If you’re going to a lower setting, you’ll have to pull the column out of the way a bit with your other hand to guide it to the right slot (if you don’t, the hinge will make the column fall back to the original setting).
Some ladder adjustable weight benches have seats that adjust with a similar ladder mechanism. Others use a pop-pin adjustable mechanism for the seat. It depends on the model. But the split seems to be about 50-50. Though, usually, the higher-end ladder benches also have ladder adjustable seats. That doesn’t mean that a ladder bench with a pop-pin seat is low quality, though — It’s just a correlation I’ve noticed.
Number of Adjustment Settings
Back Pad Adjustments
The more back pad settings, the better. More back pad angles give you more variety in terms of the number of exercise variations you can perform to hit different muscles from different angles.
In terms of the number of back pad settings, a flat-to-incline bench should have at least 6 settings and an FID bench should have at least 7. Any more is a bonus. Any less, and you’ll likely find that you aren’t able to get the desired angle on certain exercises.
For the flat setting to the highest incline setting, the angles achieved will go from 0 degrees to ~80-90 degrees. If it’s a flat-to-incline bench, this is all you get…
…If it’s a traditional FID bench, then you get the 0 degrees to ~80-90 degrees PLUS one additional setting below the flat setting. This additional setting is the decline position and it will be around -15 to -20 degrees.
If it’s a non-traditional FID bench (e.g. Rep AB-5000 and Rogue AB-3), the back pad does not go below 0 degrees; it only adjusts from 0 degrees to ~80-90 degrees. BUT you use the incline settings to achieve multiple decline settings by laying on the bench in reverse.
You don’t need as many seat angles as you do back pad angles. The main purpose of the adjustable seat is to keep you from sliding off the bench when your torso is at different incline angles. That doesn’t require a ton of seat settings.
As a general guideline, look for a bench with 3 or more seat angle settings, including the flat setting. The best adjustable weight benches will have at least this many.
If the seat uses a ladder system for adjustment, chances are it will have a max of 3 adjustment settings. The only ladder style seat I’ve seen with more settings is the one on the AB-3100, which has a fourth setting — Even in this case, it’s kind of an “unofficial” setting, since you’re mounting the adjuster piece on a ledge above the third ladder slot. I explain this more and show a photo in the review section below.
The reason you (usually) see 3 or fewer seat settings on ladder-style seats is that it would be hard to fit more many ladder slots on the front post of the bench frame.
In terms of angles, it’s ideal for the highest seat incline setting to be 30 degrees or greater. This is steep enough to prevent your butt from sliding forward without even having to think about resisting it — even on low incline presses with heavy weight, which is when sliding is most likely to occur.
Not all adjustable benches have this high of an angle. Many have 20 degrees as the highest seat incline. While not ideal, it’s still workable if the rest of the bench meets your needs.
EXCEPTION: The Ironmaster Super Bench Pro is the one good bench I can think of that violates the above guidelines concerning the number of seat angle settings. Its unique design, which allows for other useful features, only allows for one seat setting: it’s always perpendicular (90 degrees) to the back pad.
This does not mean that the angle of the seat is always the same relative to the floor. The angle decreases relative to the floor as you make the back pad more upright, and it increases relative to the floor as you make the back pad flatter. But again, it is always 90 degrees relative to the back pad.
Sure, it might be preferable to be able to independently adjust the seat angle relative to the back pad for some exercises. But this setup actually works out pretty well, since the seat is always plenty steep at whichever back pad angle you’re at. So, you’ll never slide forward.
NOTE: When the bench is flat, the seat is simply taken off, so you have room to use the entire back pad length.
Labels for Adjustment Settings
One convenient feature you don’t see on most adjustable benches is labeling that indicates the angle (in degrees) of each back pad setting.
This makes it easier to know if you’re using the right setting if your routine calls for an exercise to be performed at a specific angle.
It also makes it easier to track your training in your workout log with greater precision. You can write down the actual number of degrees used on incline or decline movements. Having specific data like this in your workout log provides greater insight when analyzing past workouts.
For example, let’s say you have to train at another gym with a different adjustable bench because you’re traveling. If you only know you use a certain incline setting (e.g. setting number 3) on your bench at home, that probably won’t help you find the corresponding angle on the other bench. However, if the labels on your home gym bench allowed you to log (or just memorize) the angle used in your past workouts (e.g. 30 degrees), it’ll be much easier to estimate the best setting.
Back Pad Frame
There should be a robust support structure holding the back pad to the main bench frame, and by extension giving stable support to you and the weight you’re pressing. This part of the bench frame is sometimes called the “spine.”
An adjustable bench’s spine can be built in many different ways.
Often it includes a main post (or posts) running lengthwise down the middle of the back pad, along with lateral supports going across the width of the back pad. The photo below shows an impressively sturdy version of this type of spine as seen on both the Rep AB-5000 and AB-5100 benches — a large post going down the middle with three heavy-gauge lateral supports:
Thicker steel is ideal in this particular region of the bench since it’s where the most amount of weight will be bearing down on. Plus, there’s no physical structure directly supporting the upper part of the back pad, so it needs robust reinforcement to support itself under heavy load.
Here’s an example of a different type of spine design that works well, as seen on the Rep AB-3100:
As you can see above, it is not steel tubing. Instead, it’s a very wide steel channel. Instead of using extra thick steel in key areas, it spreads its support over a larger area of the bench pad using thinner steel. The adjustment column also bolsters support significantly.
Here’s the last example I’ll give — of the Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench:
It’s a combination of the two examples above. It has a thick steel tube running down the center. It’s not as wide as the steel channel on the AB-3100, but wider than on the AB-5000/AB-5100. And while it only has one lateral support at the top, versus three for the AB-5000/5100, it does have an adjustment column for extra support.
There are surely many more variations of these designs, as well as significantly different ones. The idea, however, is simple: the spine should be well-built and capable of providing substantial support.
I strongly recommend getting an adjustable weight bench with wheels. It makes it so much easier to move it around, which you will likely need to do frequently in your home gym.
Moving an adjustable bench without wheels means you have to either:
- Drag it, which can mess up your floor and the feet of your bench; or…
- Pick it up and carry it, which can be a bit strenuous since most decent benches should weigh at least ~70 lbs, with some weighing closer to 120 lbs.
That being said, the vast majority of adjustable benches these days come with wheels (usually standard). If there are no wheels, chances are it’s a very cheap low-end bench that you should avoid. Or conversely, it could be an extremely high-end expensive bench for big box gyms that are designed to stay in the same place, which you should also avoid.
Related to wheels, another helpful feature is wheel guards. Wheel guards aren’t that common, but they’re a great bonus feature. They protect the wheels from damage (e.g. spotter accidentally stepping on the wheel; dropping a weight on the wheels).
The lift handle goes hand and hand with the bench wheels. You grab the handle and lift. This tips the bench onto the wheels. Then you can maneuver the bench back or forth.
Although all benches with lift handles have wheels, not all benches with wheels have lift handles.
Sometimes the bench design doesn’t facilitate a lift handle, as is the case with the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro: There’s no vertical column in the front or back of the frame, where lift handles are usually put. However, you can just grab onto the backrest to maneuver the bench on its wheels.
Sometimes the bench manufacturer simply didn’t include a lift handle in the design to cut costs or poor planning. If this is the case, then it’s probably a low quality bench.
Front Feet Position
Ideally, you don’t want the front foot/feet to be in the way of where you plant your feet and legs.
To avoid this problem, look for an adjustable weight bench that has either of these frame designs:
- A “tripod-style” bench has a single foot in the front. This front foot won’t get in the way since it’s in the midline of the bench and your feet can go on either side of it. See examples below:
- Front bench feet that are narrow enough that you can comfortably position your own feet on either side without bumping into them. Examples of this type of bench include the Rep AB-5100 and the Rogue AB-3, shown below:
The Rep AB-5000 is kind of a combination of both of the above designs, as a result of its unique T-shaped front foot:
- The “cross” part of the T-shaped foot is very narrow, similar to the AB-5100 and AB-3. You’ll be able to comfortably plant your feet on either side of it without having to modify your stance.
- The “stem” of the T-shaped foot extends forward, ahead of the seat; like a true tripod style foot, this “stem” portion won’t be in your way since it’s aligned with the midline of the bench. Additionally, the entire T-shaped foot is so compact that it doesn’t take up much more room than an actual tripod bench foot would. However, it’s not a tripod style bench because of its three points of contact. Arguably, it’s better due to the increased stability.
One last piece of advice on bench feet — I’d avoid the benches with the large U-shaped style of front feet if possible. These are likely to get in your way when using a wider stance:
Rubber Pads for Feet
Try to find a bench with some type of rubber or UHMW pad covering the feet.
Ideally, the pads should be load-bearing. This has several benefits:
- It prevents the floor from scratching
- Protects the metal feet from getting scratched and then rusting
- If the pads are load-bearing, it greatly enhances the bench stability and reduces or eliminates wobbling if floors are uneven
Another important benefit of protective rubber pads is that they prevent the bench from shifting on the floor during training due to the anti-skid properties of rubber.
Seats usually come in one of two different shapes:
This is what most flat-to-incline benches will have, as well as non-traditional FID benches. The seat gets narrower toward the end. This allows you to position your legs off the end of the bench in a narrower, more natural stance. Without the taper, you’d have to spread your legs wider or shift your body further down the bench.
Traditional FID benches typically have a reverse-tapered seat that gets wider toward the end. The reason the edge of the seat needs to be wide is so there’s enough room for your thighs to stay side by side on decline. Your thighs need to stay together so you can lock your legs in the leg holder and stop yourself from sliding down the bench.
Generally, I’m not a fan of this type of seat. It can force you to spread your legs wider than you’d like to on flat and incline exercises. This can be annoying and slightly uncomfortable. However, it’s something you can work around if need be.
While most FID benches have a reverse-tapered seat, a few do not:
- Some traditional FID benches have a tapered seat with a set of rollers at the end of the seat. You put the backs of your knees over these rollers to hold your thighs together on decline (and then put your shins behind the lower leg holder). The main issue with this design is that the rollers get in the way for non-decline work. You could remove them, but it may be impractical to constantly install/uninstall them, as was the case on my old Body-Solid GFID31 bench. My advice is to avoid this type of bench. Aside from the issues mentioned above, most of the benches with this design are of lower quality.
- There are also some traditional FID benches with tapered seats that do not have roller pads or any type of leg holder attachment. Certainly, decline ab work would be a no-go on these benches, since you need your legs locked for that. You should be able to do some light to moderate weight for decline chest work, so long as the decline angle is low (15 degrees or less) and the bench is low enough to the floor (17.5 inches or less) for you to fully plant your feet. One promising bench I found with this design is the Force USA Commercial FID Bench — I’d only consider a bench like this if you only want to do decline (excluding abs) occasionally. However, if you want to do decline work frequently (including abs) and with heavier weight, look for an FID bench with some type of leg holder attachment.
- Lastly, the “non-traditional” FID benches discussed earlier have a tapered seat, too. These are the benches where you lay on the bench in reverse do to decline, with the help of a leg holder attachment installed on the end of the back pad. This includes high quality benches like the Rep AB-5000 and Rogue AB-3. You get the best of both worlds with this design: a tapered seat AND a decline experience with no sacrifices on decline. Plus, multiple decline settings. It beats both of the two options, above, except in price.
Do you have limited space to move around in your home gym? Or maybe you have to move your equipment out of the way after your workouts (e.g. to park your car in a garage gym)?
In either scenario, a convenient feature to have in an adjustable bench is the ability to easily store it in a way that takes up less space.
The Rep AB-5000 is one bench that does this very well. First, you put it in the flat position. Then you lift it by the handle, tip it onto the wheels, keep lifting until the bench is fully upright. It will stay level and stable because it’s rested on the end of the back pad and the wheel guards. No need to prop it up against the wall or other equipment.
There are also some “foldable” adjustable benches on the market that you can collapse after you’re done training. This would be useful if you needed to store the bench under a bed or something like that. Unfortunately, most of these benches are pretty lackluster on many of the other important features. That said, if this is truly a top priority for you, you could look into the Powerline PFID 125X folding adjustable bench, shown below:
Even if you are in a smaller space, I wouldn’t let storability be a make-or-break feature in your decision. Consider it a bonus if the adjustable bench you’re thinking of buying has an easy storage feature. If it doesn’t, you can very likely still store it out of the way by tilting the bench upright; you’d just have to lean it against a wall.
Almost all FID adjustable benches have a leg holder that either comes standard or is bought separately as an attachment.
You need the leg holder to keep from sliding down the bench on decline movements. On FID benches like the Force USA Commercial FID that don’t have a leg holder attachment, you’re limited to moderately heavy decline chest work; definitely no decline ab work.
You won’t see leg holder attachments available for flat-to-incline adjustable benches since they don’t have a decline setting.
The frame should have powder coated paint. Not a regular wet paint coat.
The powder coating protects against scratches and chipping, which would then lead to rusting of the underlying steel. Some cheap benches may say they’re powder coated, but it’s either poor quality or it’s not actually powder coated.
Since we’re on the topic of paint, it should be noted that some manufacturers offer multiple colors for the frame. Rep Fitness, for example, currently offers: red, blue, grey, metallic black and some models also have regular black.
Now, color should be at the bottom of your list of wants when considering a piece of equipment that’s meant for performance. However, if you’re picking between two comparable benches and one of them has your favorite color available, you may as well go with that one! Having a splash of color in your home gym can add a nice personal touch.
To wrap things up, let me quickly summarize my recommendations for the best adjustable weight benches for home gym owners. My choices are based on a holistic assessment of each bench’s specs and features relative to its price.
The Best FID Bench Is…
My #1 pick for the best FID adjustable weight bench is the Rep AB-5000 Zero Gap Adjustable Bench. In fact, it’s my #1 overall pick for the best adjustable weight bench of any type, FID or flat-to-incline.
It nails everything: construction quality, weight capacity, stability, back pad width, multiple decline angles, and a patent-pending sliding seat for a no-gap experience at every angle.
It beats out other benches that cost twice as much or more. It’s a bargain at $599 with free shipping. While that’s an unbeatable price for this bench, it’s not a cheap purchase in absolute terms. However, it can actually save you money since the zero-gap feature means you don’t need to buy a separate flat bench.
My runner-up for best FID bench goes to the Ironmaster Super Bench Pro. This bench addressed all the major complaints people had about the original Super Bench, discussed earlier.
There’s still some room for improvement with the Super Bench Pro (the back pad could be wider; higher capacity on incline would be ideal). But there’s a lot more to like about it than to criticize.
When you consider all the adjustment angles, the gapless experience on flat and decline, the plethora of attachments available, and the very reasonable price of $399 shipped — it should be obvious that many home gym lifters will consider this to be the best adjustable weight bench for their needs.
The Best Flat to Incline Bench Is…
My #1 pick for the best flat-to-incline adjustable weight bench is the Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench. It’s an absolute tank of a bench with an 11-gauge 3″ x 3″ frame that utilizes extra thick 3-gauge steel on the adjustment column and 7-gauge steel on the ladder.
What makes the Vulcan Prime shine the most is its extremely high number of back pad angle positions: 12 settings total from 0 to 85 degrees! That is insane. You’ll never have an issue finding the optimal angle for any incline exercise with this bench.
A big bonus of the Vulcan Prime is that it has grippy vinyl upholstery, which is super rare for adjustable benches.
My only critique of this bench is its tapered back pad that’s only 10″ wide at the top. A uniform 12″ width would be ideal.
That said, 10″ width is acceptable for a flat-to-incline bench. The reason being — if you’re shopping for a flat-to-incline bench, it’s probably because you want it for mostly incline work. You can get away with a narrower pad for incline movements. You probably already have a dedicated flat bench with a wider pad for flat benching, or you’re planning on getting one.
As long as you’re not planning to use this bench for flat barbell bench press, where a wider pad is most beneficial, then the Vulcan Prime Adjustable Bench is arguably the best flat-to-incline bench you could buy for your home gym…
…At $419.99 shipped, it’s undoubtedly the best flat-to-incline bench for the price. You have to jump up another ~$200 for anything comparable.
My runner-up pick for the best flat-to-incline bench is the Rep AB-3100 Adjustable Bench. This is an all-around good flat-to-incline bench.
It’s strong enough (1000 lbs capacity), has enough back pad settings (6), has a wide pad (11.75″), an ideal height (17.5″) and a stable feel.
There are no truly exceptional features. Importantly, there are no real negatives, either.
What makes this well-rounded flat-to-incline bench one of the best adjustable weight benches is the fact that it’s very inexpensive for everything you get: $249 shipped. If you’re on a tight budget, this is a no-brainer.