Table of Contents
Update Oct 2022: Since writing, the FB-4000 bench has been discontinued. The FB-5000 is the current model being sold and is generally better in all respects. I have revised this with added attention towards how my findings on the FB-4000 apply or don’t apply to the FB-5000 so that you have a good picture of how that bench compares.
Rep Fitness is known for having some of the best benches for the price. Always hot sellers. They’ve gone through iterations over the years to perfect the designs. Any discussions online about flat benches of this type have to include Rep’s benches.
The FB-4000 was what Rep called their Comp Lite Bench, designed to be a lower-priced version of their FB-5000 Competition Bench with thinner padding (2″ vs 4″ thick) and a thinner gauge frame (14-gauge vs 11-gauge steel). I expected the FB-4000 to be plenty heavy duty for my purposes, so that’s what I went for.
I’m always excited to get new equipment to try out on the rare occasion that I need something. In this case I haven’t owned a bench in many years. I know, sounds weird. Until now I felt there were plenty of lifts I could do without a bench. Finally I got tired of relying on overhead presses and doing one-arm pushups to approximate the bench press movement.
Disclosure: Rep gave me a discount that did affect my decision to go ahead and try it out.
Packaging and Condition
The Fedex package looked fine. No shipping damage apparent from the outside. Three plastic straps were still intact.
This quality inspection signoff I believe is done in China where the factory packs it, not in Rep’s Denver headquarters. Like everyone who sources from China, Rep receives each unit in a package ready to reship.
In the past, most equipment like this that I’ve received from other companies has had passable packing, almost always some scratches due to the metal pieces banging around. The five pieces of this bench were packed just right. No crazy overpacking, just the right sizes of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap as needed. Everything was in excellent condition. The hardware was all organized neatly in a shrink-wrapped plastic and cardboard pack as shown, instead of the hardware all wadded up together up a taped up bag.
Plus, no styrofoam. Thank you! There were actually little styrofoam bits that must be from some other product’s packing. I imagine the Chinese factory that packed it has all kinds of other things on the packing line.
The included diagram is good but has no steps. A bench like this is simple enough. If you get this bench, take a minute to read this section first and it will save you some time.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- They include two crappy wrench plates as shown. You only need one because of the type of bolts this has. If you have tools, throw away the included wrenches and grab your ratchet and a 17mm and 19mm socket, or 11/16″ and 3/4″. That will be all you need, other than the knife to open packaging.
- The main frame, pad, and back leg are all symmetrical. You won’t screw up.
- As with bolts everywhere in your life, put the bolts on loosely to get them all aligned in the holes, then wrench tighten them and move to the next part.
Craftsmanship and Sizing
The pad dimensions are pretty close to the advertised 45.25″L x 12″W x 17″H. The height is more like 16 3/4″ (UPDATE: Rep has since revised the height on their website to 16.9″). I’m 6ft tall. I don’t recommend you get a bench any higher than 17″ unless you’re over 6ft and you know you prefer a tall bench. The FB-5000 is also 16.9″ high.
While I can’t say for sure because I’m not a welder, the frame welding all looks clean to me. It has no gaps nor sharp feeling spots.
As far as the frame, it’s 14-gauge with 75mm (2.95″) square tubing with thick connector plates welded on. The large tubing size and positions of the connector plates seem to stabilize the frame very well to make up for the relatively thin wall tubing. The FB-5000 has the thicker 11-gauge steel that will make it even more stable.
The bolts are carriage bolts, smooth round heads with a square neck that fits into a tight square receptacle, making the fit fairly exact without the hardware hole slop with typical hex-head bolts you might see in other gym equipment that can lead to people over-tightening the bolts to prevent movement. This design also means the frame holds the bolt in place, requiring only a single wrench to tighten the nut.
Feel and Ease of Use
Here’s what really matters! How’s it feel? Does it get the job done comfortably and safely?
It’s sturdy and won’t wobble under you at all. The connecting plates are oriented correctly to cause the bench to sit perfectly flat, which is not always the case for benches and other equipment. The solid feel is one thing I like about flat benches vs adjustable flat/incline benches that have a risk of a slight wobble because there has to be enough looseness in the hinge to allow for angle adjustment.
The pad is firm and is never going to bottom out, at least not for me. Feels just right.
The length is good. I can get my head and my feet halfway on the bench comfortably, if I wanted to press in that position instead of feet planted on the floor. I’m 6ft tall.
I like the 12″ pad width as well. It gives my shoulders a tad bit of support on the bottom end of the range of motion.
The handle and wheels work good. The wheels are over an inch off the ground, higher than they need to be. You have to tilt the bench up at least 30 degrees to roll it (yes, I’m psychotic enough to check with an angle level). Basically, when I lift the handle and stand with my arm hanging loosely at my side, the wheels are in contact the ground and it rolls. If you’re more than a few inches shorter than me, that might not be the case and you might have to lift your arm a little. Minor issue. In any case, you can’t just lift the handle slightly to roll it, you have to bring it up 30 degrees.
The FB-5000 has wheels that sit closer to the ground, requiring less of an angle.
I like the single front foot that doesn’t interfere with your own feet placement. That’s one reason I got this style of bench, sometimes called a three-post bench. No matter what bench you buy, I advise you to look for that feature. It is only made this way on benches that have a heavy duty enough frame to be stable without a splayed-out front foot.
By the way, sorry for the lack of color in most of these pics. They aren’t greyscale photos. That’s my gym color. The bench has some bright color options. I wanted matte black, the least distracting.
While it’s not an advertised feature, you can tilt it against the wall for storing out of the way, sitting on the edge of the pad. It stays there good. I’ve seen some benches have an upper frame that sticks out enough that it’s entirely resting on the frame in this position, to save any squishing of the pad, but I like it the way it is. The pad is firm enough that the foam won’t buckle.
The backpad’s upholstery has an interesting textured surface with a bit of stretch to it. All of Rep’s benches use this, and nearly all comparable manufacturers of this style of bench use the same or a similar upholstery. While I’m not going to give it a serious test with my knife because I want to keep this bench, I wouldn’t be surprised if it holds up to some sharp abrasion better than traditional vinyl type upholstery and lasts a long time without cracking. Just guessing, based on the texture.
When I sprayed the backpad with water to simulate a lot of sweat, it got only a little slippery with my shirt off, not too bad. I don’t have another bench handy to compare it to, but I suspect the unusual texture of it makes it less slippery when wet than traditional vinyl upholstery. This is probably the reason they went with this material.
On the downside, the pitted material makes it harder to towel sweat off of, with moisture staying stuck in the thousands of crevices. Not so friendly for multiple users who would like a dry looking bench to jump on. It also might dissuade you from using cleaners that might stay in there for a while and touch your skin, although if it’s a simple type that evaporates like a vinegar solution it’s fine.
On all benches I know of, the upholstery is secured around the wood backboard (hidden inside) with staples. It’s a tried and true method but doesn’t always look that great. This bench hides the staples well, around the back of the hem fold and another set inside of the folds as shown. Very sleek. The stitching looks flawless. I think they could have added a couple more staples down the length of the bench in the spot shown to make it a little more secure.
Conclusion: How it Stacks Up to Competitor Models
While I nitpicked some things because that’s what I do, I’m happy about getting this bench and will be keeping it!
The bench is a good design and works as well as I had hoped. Rep rates the bench at 700 lbs, which includes your body weight. For 99%+ of our readers, that’s plenty.
Several companies now have benches of roughly this design. As I mentioned at the start of this article, the FB-4000 has been discontinued in favor of their FB-5000, which is a similar design that has actually been around longer and has a thicker pad, heavier gauge steel, and different wheels and handle. I can easily recommend the FB-5000 based on reviewing the FB-4000.
Update: See the Best Tripod Flat Utility Benches Under $250 article for more info on how this bench compares to others.