Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 05:48 pm
The big four of rack, weights, bar, and bench are essential parts of a complete home gym. It’s hard to say that one of those is more important than the others. It’s not hard to say which will be most noticeable if you go cheap or low quality.
Buying a cheap or low-quality bench is immediately noticeable. Safety, durability, and comfort all suffer when using a sub-par weight bench.
The good news is that a high-quality, reliable, and long-lasting bench doesn’t have to break your budget. Sure, you could spend an arm and a leg on a Sorinex, Rogue, or Ghost Strong bench. But you absolutely don’t have to.
This is where Rep Fitness comes in. While I’m a huge fan of a lot of the gear that Rep makes, I think their benches are their strongest offerings. In fact, if you look at the three benches I recommend on my recommended bench page, they are all made by Rep Fitness. One of those is the subject of this review.
Rep Fitness AB-3000 Overview
When training at a commercial or big box gym, it’s standard practice to have three types of benches available: Incline, flat, and decline. In a home gym, we often only have the room and budget for one. That’s where the FID bench comes into play.
FID stands for flat, incline, decline. It’s an adjustable bench that allows you all three bench positions in one footprint. When I bought a bench for my home gym, I wanted all three of those positions. The Rep AB-3000 was my choice.
The AB-3000 offers seven different flat, incline, and decline positions. It’s solidly built, coming in at 95 lbs. assembled. It has a 3 point design (more on that later), ladder style back adjustment, excellent padding, and wheels that make it easy to move around.
I bought the AB-3000 a little over two years ago and used it consistently for about 18 months. I train six days a week, and on four of those, I used the bench for several movements. Over that time, I put this bench through its paces. While I take good care of my gear, I’m not necessarily easy on it either.
What follows is my honest assessment of the AB-3000. I’ll tell you what I loved, what I liked, and what I wish was different. I’ll let you know who I think this bench is well suited for and who it is not.
AB-3000 detailed specs
Before I get into my personal take from my 18 months with the AB-3000, let’s look at the nuts and bolts of this bench as they are listed on the Rep Fitness website:
- 7 different angles, including -20 (decline), 0 (flat), 20, 35, 50, 65, and 85 degrees
- Weight capacity: 1,000 lb
- Thick, firm, 2.5″ pad wrapped in very durable textured vinyl for maximum comfort and support.
- Wheels allow for efficient maneuvering around the gym.
- Solid steel ladder.
- Total Height: 18″
- Total Pad Length: 54.25″
- Back Pad Width: 11.5″
- Pad Gap: 1.75″
- Total Footprint: 11.25 SQFT
- Weight: 95lbs
- 3% Tolerance
Shipping and Assembly
Rep Fitness is located in Denver, CO, and that’s where this bench will ship from. The packaging is more than enough to protect your new bench even when shipping cross country.
I know from experience that if anything isn’t right on receipt of any gear from Rep, they will make it right. They are one of the best customer service companies in the industry.
Assembly took me about 30 minutes and was not complex. I did it by myself and didn’t feel like I needed a second person at any time. Only basic tools are required. Rep even has a video available to assist with assembly:
Other useful videos
I have three videos on the GymCrafter YouTube channel that may be helpful to those interested in this bench.
Here’s the video I made when I first got the bench, unboxed it, and gave my first impressions:
Here’s my 18-month review of the AB-3000:
Here’s my detailed comparison of the AB-3000 and the AB-5200:
Things I love about the AB-3000
There are a few things that the AB-3000 has that are absolute must-haves on any bench. They got some things really, really right on this model, and they are features I’ll demand on any bench I might buy in the future.
Three post design
In my opinion, ALL weight benches should have this design. This is where you have two feet at the bench’s head and one at the foot. This provides two significant benefits.
The first is stability. 4 post designs wobble. Look at any table with four legs, and more often than not, it wobbles. The same is true of benches with two points of contact at the head and two more at the foot.
Stability is a safety issue. The last thing you want from your bench is for it not to be stable. The AB-3000 is rock solid underneath you. Part of that stability comes from the three-point design.
The second benefit of the three post design is bench press form. When setting up to bench press, effective form requires that your feet are underneath you, close to your centerline, and driving down and out. If your bench has two points of contact (feet) at the foot end, those feet get in the way of this form.
There is little more frustrating than having your equipment get in the way of good form. The AB-3000 allows for proper bench press form and does not get in your way in the least.
As an aside, the foot anchors/pads do NOT get in the way here. They jut out from the foot of the bench far enough to never be in the way during a bench press. I’ve received several emails asking this question, so I thought I’d include that here.
Ladder Style Back Adjustment
This is one of those things that brings me joy every time I use it. So many benches have a pull pin or other clunky adjustment when raising and lowering the seat. Those types of adjustments are cumbersome at best. The pins never seat right on the first try, and pulling them out in the first place can often be challenging.
The ladder-style adjustment on the AB-3000 makes adjusting the back a breeze (I’ll address adjusting the seat below). Simply lift it to adjust up. Reach under and lift the brace to adjust down. It really couldn’t be any easier while still maintaining rock-solid stability.
I’m 6’6″, so I don’t fit on most things. That includes a lot of adjustable benches. To lay down on them, I end up having to deal with the gap between the seat and the back. Not so with the AB-3000.
I can easily lay down and fit my entire upper body on the back pad. The seat doesn’t even come in to play, let alone the gap. The pad is also plenty wide and thick. It’s a very comfortable bench for my 6’6″ 210lbs frame.
The seat AND The back both adjust
This is something you don’t find in less expensive benches. Often the seatback will adjust, but the seat itself will not (see my review of the Body-Solid GFID-225 for an example of this).
This is important when doing incline work on the bench. If the seat itself will not adjust, you’ll constantly feel like you are slipping off the bench. Allowing the seat to adjust anchors you securely on the bench and makes incline work much safer and more effective.
You simply can’t get a bench with this build quality and set of features for less. Rep as a company consistently delivers a lot of value for what you spend, and the AB-3000 is no exception.
While it’s NOT a good idea to shop for your bench based solely on price, at $269 (price listed at the time I’m writing this article in April of 2021), it’s hard to beat the Rep AB-3000 when it comes to bang for the buck.
Pro Tip… If you want to save money on a bench, it’s NOT a good idea to try to find something with the same features listed for less on Amazon. Almost all of the benches that look similar to the AB-3000 will NOT have the same build quality.
If $269 is not in the budget, then go with a flat bench like the Rep FB4000 or FB5000 flat benches (both under $150). You are better off maintaining build quality and forgoing the adjustability than trying to get an adjustable bench at a cheap price.
Having a quality, well-built bench is a safety and a comfort issue. You will come into physical contact with your bench during almost every training session. If it isn’t stable, safe, and comfortable to train on, you WILL regret your purchase every time you use it!!!
Things I like about the Rep AB-3000
In addition to the above features of the AB-3000, it has a host of other things that are well designed and that I like having on the bench. There isn’t one of these that is game-changing, but when taken together, they combine to make this bench an excellent offering.
- High-quality powder coating
- Three color choices
- Attractive badging/branding
- Handle and wheels make it easy to move around
- Foot/ankle pads for decline work
- Pads are well sized and durable
- Wide seat make decline work more comfortable
Things I wish were different about the Rep AB-3000
No product is perfect, and the AB-3000 is no exception. There are certainly some things that, over time, I grew to not only wish were different but to not like altogether.
None of these are deal-breakers. None of these are reasons that I would recommend a different bench. But I want to give people a realistic view of the products I review, and I have yet to find a piece of home gym equipment without flaws.
My biggest issue with the Rep benches that I’ve owned (the AB-3000 and the AB-5200) is the trim on the seat pads. As much as I like the pads themselves, they have this piece of trim around the bottom edge that comes off easily.
It’s a simple fix (some gorilla glue will get the trim to stay in place), but it shouldn’t be something you have to address in the first place. The bench is built so well in every other respect. It’s disappointing that this trim would come off so easily.
While the seatback of the AB-3000 has a very easy-to-use and secure ladder-style adjustment, the seat itself adjusts with a pull pin type adjuster. These are simply a pain to use. They get stuck, are hard to pull out, and never seat correctly on the first try.
Every time I used this adjustment I wished it was the ladder-style adjuster instead. This is also one of my favorite things about the Rep AB-5200 where a ladder-style adjustment is used on both the back and seat.
While the covering of the pads on the AB-3000 is nice looking, easy to clean, and very durable, it lacks the grip most people want in a bench. In fact, it could even be considered mildly slick. This is not good when trying to execute proper bench press form.
That form requires that you use your legs to drive your shoulders into the pad itself. This is hard to accomplish when the pad lacks grip. This is one of the most apparent differences between the AB-3000 and the step-up AB-5200. The padding on the 5200 is significantly more grippy.
The good news is that this is an easy fix. As I showed in my YouTube review of the AB-3000, a very inexpensive piece of rubber drawer liner can be used to improve the grip of any bench significantly. This little hack is so effective that I use it on every bench regardless of the quality of its pad and covering.
While it’s nice to have these for doing some decline work, I would love it if these were removable. They aren’t. I can’t be the only one who would want to remove these for lack of use.
For those of you doing decline ab work, you’ll love that these are there. For the rest of us, they don’t get in the way. They are positioned in such a way that they don’t interfere with your use of the bench. But it would still be nice if they could come off.
The feet on this bench are bare metal. This works fine for those that have rubber gym flooring. For those that don’t, this will be an issue in two ways.
First, the bench can slide pretty easily on concrete, tile, or hardwood floors. Not so much when bench pressing, but when using the bench as support for rows or hip thrusts, it will not stay put on a hard, non-rubber floor.
Second, that sliding around will scratch and damage the floor. Not a big deal on cement, but for those of you training on laminate, tile, or wood, this isn’t a good choice of bench for you. In your case, it’s an easy choice to upgrade to the AB-5200.
No upright storage
This is something I didn’t realize I wanted until I bought the AB-5200. Being able to stand the bench on its end for easy storage is a handy feature. It’s especially useful for those of us in gyms that have limited floor space.
If you are in an apartment or other tight quarters, having a bench that can store safely on its end (like the AB-5200) is a handy feature.
Would I buy the AB-3000 again?
For me, the answer is no. But that’s not because it’s not an amazingly good bench. It is!!! It’s because there is a bench that better fits my current training needs (I’m currently using and LOVING the Rep AB-5200).
For those that want to stay under $300 and want a well-built adjustable bench, the Rep AB-3000 is the ONLY bench I would recommend. There isn’t even anything close.
The closest thing you’ll find is the Titan Fitness clone. While I’m a huge Titan fan and own a lot of their gear, this isn’t one I’d recommend. It’s only $10 less than the AB-3000 and the fit and finish are nowhere close to as nice as the Rep model.
I trained with the AB-3000 for over 18 months and loved just about every minute of it (except for having to glue that trim back on!). It’s the only bench I recommend to people building a gym on a budget.
Remember, if you are on a budget, the two things you’ll want to spend a little more on are your bar and your bench. I promise you’ll be happy you did. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune!
The Rep AB-3000 sits perfectly at the crossroads of value, quality, and functionality. It’s the ideal choice for most home gyms in need of an FID adjustable bench.