Updated Sept 2022 to mention V2 of the Super Bench and fix a few other details.
Good news — Ironmaster fixed their Super Bench!
They just unveiled their Super Bench Pro on Friday. It’s a big deal because they fixed two major bugs in the old design: The somewhat squishy pad, and the 20″ bench height in flat position that is too high for the average lifter.
Table of Contents
The Old Ironmaster Super Bench – Why It’s Insanely Popular
Let me fill you in on some context.
Ironmaster is best known for their Quick Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System that rival the Powerblock and Bowflex adjustable dumbbells because of their extreme durability with the nearly all-metal metal construction instead of plastic.
Ironmaster also happens to make a really good bench to use with their adjustable dumbbells, or in a power rack or as a general use gym bench for that matter. Bowflex or PowerBlock simply do not make a bench of this quality.
The Ironmaster Super Bench (original) has been loved for years because of its unique design that solved a major problem in other benches, the dreaded “pad gap”. Its detachable seat pad design completely eliminates the pad gap.
Let me show you what I mean, on another brand of bench:
The pad gap in most benches like the above bench is required so as to give room for the back and seat pads to move in as you adjust to incline position.
Here’s how Ironmaster solved it:
This eliminates the pad gap entirely, removing the discomfort associated with having that 2″ gap in your lower back area when doing flat presses.
That, along with the fact that the adjustment mechanism is so sweet, and it has a ton of attachments if you’re interested, is why it’s such a popular bench. I featured it in the Top 4 Adjustable FID Benches article as perhaps the best FID weight bench, which I need to update with the Pro at this point!
The New Super Bench Pro – Quick Rundown
Here’s what they improved.
- Height in flat position is 17.2″, down from 20“.
Huge improvement. This puts it at the optimal height for most people to plant their feet safely and comfortably.
- Firm pad.
Along with the height, this was a major complaint of the old model. Now it totally feels like a commercial quality bench.
- Wheels are included.
No need to buy their $30 wheel kit.
- Larger frame.
The base frame is 4″ wider and 4″ longer, with larger tubing, making the bench more stable under heavy load. I didn’t know that was even an issue in the old model, but ok.
- More secure connection for attachments.
They now have a pin and a separate tightening knob. This is like what I’ve seen in the sliding adjustment for glute-ham developers to make things feel nice and solid.
They bumped up the price by $50 to $369. Considering that other benches comparable to it (but without the awesome gapless design) are $400, that’ not a bad jump in price for what you get.
The wheel location was an odd choice. They put them the wheels at the front of bench, unlike virtually all other brands of benches. You want the wheels to be on the rear so that you can wheel the bench in and out of your power rack easily. Not to mention that would put them out of the way of your feet when lying on the bench. Ironmaster primarily markets this bench to use with their popular Quicklock dumbbells, so I can kind of understand it, but still, weird choice. Ironmaster confirmed with me that you can put the wheels on the rear too.
Do the Attachments Still Work?
One thing that makes these benches unique is Ironmaster has an unusually large number of other accessories for this bench.
Most of the attachments for the Super Bench work for the Super Bench Pro. Where they don’t, Ironmaster has released new Super Bench Pro versions of those attachments.
2020 update: Ironmaster came out with a “hybrid” pad that you can replace the stock Super Bench Pro pad with.
Half is 10.25″ width, half is 12.25″ width. You can flip it around to install either end towards the front. People like a narrower or wider bench for bench pressing or other exercises, and this pad accommodates that. The vinyl on this pad has a better grip than their stock pad. I like the fact that they removed the logo too, a consequence of the material they switched to. Big logos look tacky on bench pads.
As of writing, Ironmaster is forcing you to buy the Super Bench Pro with the old style pad and add the hybrid pad as an extra. I hope they offer the hybrid pad as an upgrade option at some point, or replace the old pad entirely and bump up the price a little more on the Super Bench Pro.
Is the Super Bench Pro Worth the Upgrade?
Normally the incremental improvements in gym equipment don’t justify you buying a replacement. What you have is ordinarily fine.
In this case, Ironmaster is the only company making a bench with this kind of “no pad gap” design in the first place, because it’s patented, or at least the ring adjustment mechanism allowing for it is.
I have no doubt that current owners of the bench are going to be selling it on the used market and springing for this upgraded design. It’s that big of a deal. So yeah, if you’ve got the cash, you will enjoy this bench significantly more.
As always, you can get it direct from Ironmaster and that’s about it, because they have no online dealers.
2022 Update: Super Bench Pro V2
In August 2022 Ironmaster released the Super Bench Pro V2 with several welcome improvements.
One complaint that remained with the Super Bench Pro was the seat was so close to the floor when the bench was in incline position. This has been addressed with an additional attachment point for the seat pad, should you find it helpful to move it up several inches.
The adjustment holes on the locking ring are now numbered so you can set your favorite incline angle consistently.
Wheels and a handle have been added, a modern feature that people have come to expect from benches.
Finally, the popular Hybrid Pad – which is narrower at the shoulders – is now standard on the V2, no longer forcing you to buy it separately for full price and have a useless regular pad to do something with.
I’ve just received my V2 cable unit and super bench pro v2. The problem with the wheels on the back of the bench is that when you join the bench to the cable pulley, the wheel spacing is similar causing connection issues. So looks like this was an oversight by IM. I’m probable going to have to switch the wheels and handle around on the bench for easier attachment, which will be a pain regarding manoeuvrability and potentially balance os the handle section is shorter.
Thanks for the info! I’m looking at their pics of the V2 bench and cable tower. It looks like they connected it, so from what you say I’m guessing it’s finicky but eventually goes in if you force it? If you can upload a pic I’d love to share it to give people a heads up on the situation, and I can check with Ironmaster about it if you haven’t already.
Excuse my ignorance, I’m looking at gym equipment for my teen son. For the pro version, can I raise the bench by placing it on blocks or other, so that I can still attach the old original super bench leg developer? Also, are the super bench pro attachments compatible to the original bench? Many thanks,
They now have a leg attachment for the Pro version here. I’ll make a note to update this article with that added. Any attachments Ironmaster has listed that are for the “SB/Pro” will fit both. Otherwise it should say Pro only in the title or description.
The changes to this bench were not good. Making this bench shorter caused them to take away the top slot for seated incline and shoulder pressing. Now you have to incline press from a squat position with thighs below knees. This was utterly and completely ignorant. Makes the bench only good for short people under 5’10.
Thanks for sharing your perspective! I see what you mean about how the seat position is even lower in incline position now. That makes for a serious tradeoff in this design. I’ll have to add a note about that in the other article I included this in.
I think there’s actually a shortcoming in the Super Bench that Ironmaster has not fixed: the splayed-out front feet that get in the way of your own feet. Why not replacing it with a single-post front foot?
I agree, those feet are a dated design now that most other manufacturers have gone with a single center front foot. Maybe it’s because it’s 12 gauge steel and can twist/flex slightly under load to where they need the splayed out feet, but just a guess.
I thought the Super Bench Pro had replaced the Super Bench, considering that the former is simply the same as the latter minus its shortcomings. But in fact Ironaster is still manufacturing both of them. Weird.
I don’t understand it either. At first I thought they were burning through the rest of the regular before removing it from the site, but they’ve gotten new shipments of it in since.
Thanks for the article. I’m 6’1/2″ – would the original 20″ be a better height for me than the Pro version? And which of the attachments are actually worth it to get?
I think the Pro would be a better height. The attachments are pretty much a matter of what exercises you’re itching to do and won’t have any other equipment for. A power rack would be better than some of the attachments. If you’re getting started with a home gym for the first time, this post will give you an idea of what to focus on first:
Sounds like they created the leg attachment for the Pro as well.. There’s also a new hybrid pad that’s wider in the shoulder area.. I got one on my (non-pro) bench it works well
I’ll have to add info about that hybrid pad here. Thanks for the note!