Eight months ago, I ordered the Rep Fitness AB-5200 adjustable weight bench. I didn’t need a new bench (my Rep AB-3000 was working beautifully for me), but I like to buy new gear every now and then, and I’d been looking at the AB-5200 for some time.
I originally bought the AB-3000 because of its price and ability to decline. I ended up never using the decline, and thanks to a bonus I received at work, I found myself with the funds to upgrade to the 5200.
The Rep Fitness AB-5200 is the single best adjustable bench for home gym owners regardless of price point. It is as good or better than benches that cost 2-3 times as much.
I make that strong claim having used comparable benches from Rogue, Sorinex, and Elite FTS. All of those benches cost considerably more. None were better than the Rep AB-5200. When you factor in price, no one can come close to Rep in this category of bench.
Rep Fitness AB-5200 Overview
The Rep AB-5200 is what’s called an “FI” bench. That means it can be either flat or incline. The 5200 does not offer a decline position. For me, that’s not an issue. If I need a slight decline, I’ll put one or two 45lb bumper plates under the foot of the bench if needed. If you need more than that, then the AB-3000 is probably a better suit for you.
The AB-5200 is incredibly well built using 11 and 7 gauge steel (thicker than you’ll find on almost all racks!) and comes in at 125 lbs when assembled. It is a remarkably solid and stable bench.
The back and seat both adjust with an easy-to-use ladder-style adjustment. The pads themselves are covered in a grippy and durable material. The back pad is long at 42″, which is long enough to fully support even the tallest lifter (I’m 6′ 6″, and I have room to spare here!).
I bought the AB-5200 roughly eight months ago and have used it a minimum of 4 days per week since then. I stand on it, jump off it, lean on it, lift from it, and use it consistently. I’ve put this bench through its paces, and it’s held up beautifully.
What follows is my honest assessment based on actual use over time. I’ll review what I love, what I like, and what I wish was different (yes, even this bench has a couple of areas that could be improved!). I’ll finish the review by letting you know if I’d buy it again.
Rep AB-5200 Detailed Specs
Before we get to the heart of the review, let’s take a look at the technical specs as listed on the Rep Fitness website:
- This product was designed by REP in the USA and is a Patent Pending Product.
- 11-7 gauge steel throughout 2×3″ steel frame with a 1,000 lb capacity.
- Seven back pad adjustments with laser-cut degree markings in 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 85 degrees.
- Three seat pad adjustments to find the perfect angle.
- High-grip pad material with ultra-dense foam core, backed by 3/4″ plywood.
- Ladderback design with cage. Nylon cover over bolts to protect paint on the ladders.
- Urethane-covered back pad handles.
- Oversize stainless-steel handle and wheels with a low lift-off point for easy maneuverability.
- Thick steel wheel guards to protect the wheels when being maneuvered, and to lessen tripping hazard.
- Space-saving design allows the bench to be stored in an upright position.
- Stainless logo plates.
- Optional Spotter Deck sold separately.
- Total Height: 18″
- Total Pad Length: 55.25″
- Back Pad Width: 12″
- Pad Gap: 2.25″
- Total Footprint: 8.25 SQFT
- Weight: 125lbs
- 3% Tolerance
Shipping and Assembly
The AB-5200 ships from Rep Fitness in Colorado and is packaged securely and well. It arrived promptly after ordering (4 days to my home in Illinois) and was delivered to my front door.
With a shipping weight of around 140 lbs, this was a small problem. My front door is on the opposite side of my house from the garage. Not a huge deal, but it sure would have been nice had they dropped this by the garage instead! As a tip, I’d add a note to your order regarding where you want it left at your home. Shipping companies won’t always pay attention to these notes, but it couldn’t hurt!
Assembly was a snap. It only took me about 20 minutes to put the bench together, and I was training in no time!
Other Useful Videos
Rep’s video overview of the AB-5200:
My first impressions video of the AB-5200:
My video comparing the AB-3000 and the AB-5200:
Things I love about the AB-5200
While there are quite a few things I like about this bench, a few of them stand out as things I absolutely love. Here’s a quick rundown. For those of you shopping for a bench, these are things I’d insist on getting on any bench you order, even if it’s not this one.
Overall build quality
This is what I call a big boy (or big girl) piece of gear. At 125 lbs assembled, it’s rock solid. Every aspect of this bench is well built and stable.
A bench supports you while you lift. It needs to be stable and secure. If it’s not, you have a safety issue on your hands. Made from 11 and 7 gauge steel (as thick or thicker than you’ll find on ANY other piece of fitness equipment), and with a 1,000 lb weight capacity, the AB-5200 is beefy enough for the strongest lifters lifting big-time weight.
In other words, for 99.9% of all home gym owners, this will support you and the load you are lifting safely and without moving.
Narrow post at the foot end of the bench
As I’ve mentioned, just about everywhere I talk about benches, having a three-post design in your bench is a must. It’s not only stable (many 4 point designs can wobble), but it allows you to get your feet in close to the bench while bench pressing.
The AB-5200 not only has this design, but the post at the foot end of the bench is compact while still providing excellent support. Some benches have a three-post design, yet the post at the foot is so wide, it defeats the purpose. The AB-5200 is designed beautifully in this area.
Ladder style adjustment on the back AND seat
This is so simple and yet so impactful. There’s very little more frustrating to me than fiddling with pull pins or other clunky adjusters on a weight bench. In my opinion, the easy-to-use ladder style adjustments should be standard on every bench.
This type of adjustment is easy to use and never gets stuck. It’s stable, safe, and secure. It’s also the fastest type of adjustment on the market. This allows you to make changes on the fly, so it never gets in your way while training.
The AB-5200 adds comfortable and easy-to-use handles to both the seat and back adjustment. The handle for the back is coated in grippy rubber, while the handle for the seat is integrated nicely under the front of the seat.
Back pad size
At 6’6″, I don’t fit on most things. Not so with the AB-5200. My entire torso, from head to hips, fits well within the 42″ length of this back pad. At 12″ wide, it’s a great width for most movements.
I have yet to want the pad to be wider, but you can purchase one on the Rep Fitness site here for those who prefer a wider back pad.
Things I like about the AB-5200
Wow, there is a lot to list here, but I’ll try to keep it to the features that will be meaningful to the folks reading this review. Rep got a ton of things right on this bench, and here are the highlights:
- The powder coat is excellent.
- Badging is well done and matches the build quality of the bench itself.
- The seat pad is grippy.
- It stands vertically for storage.
- Laser-cut markings for the back adjustments.
- Large handle and wheels.
- A narrow seat facilitates leg drive.
- Rubber padding under the feet keeps the bench in place.
- Sub $500 price point makes it a fantastic value.
Things I wish were different.
As with all things, the AB-5200 is not perfect. There are a few things I wish were different, and I would be remiss if I didn’t point them out in this review.
Ugh!!! Why, Rep, why?! This bench uses the same piece of trim around the bottom edge of the pads as the AB-3000. Both come off easily.
The trim aims to cover the bottom edge of the pads where the vinyl is stapled closed. While the pads could simply be covered differently, they don’t need to be.
What needs to happen is that trim needs to be more securely fastened in place. I know this because I’ve had to do this on both the AB-3000 and the AB-5200. It’s a 5-minute repair using a small bottle of Gorilla Glue. If Rep would only just do this at the factory so we don’t have to!
This is not, by any means, a deal-breaker. But it is a nuisance. It’s like having a defect in the cup holder on a Ferrari. It just doesn’t make sense. The bench is so well-built in every other respect. It’s frustrating that a piece of trim takes away from that.
This should in no way dissuade you from this bench. It’s just something you need to be aware of.
The seat is slightly cocked to one side.
And I mean ever so slightly. It’s not even noticeable unless you are standing directly over the bench looking down. You cannot feel it while using the bench, and you may not even notice it unless someone pointed it out. But as you can see in the image, it’s canted slightly to one side.
I’ve seen this noted in other reviews, so I don’t think it’s just a one-off observation. This in no way takes away from the bench, but again I wanted to mention it in the interest of publishing an honest and complete review.
The hinge is mounted too high in the seat gap.
The specs say that it’s mount 1″ below the top of the pads, but it’s more like .5″. And when sitting on the pads and compressing them, it’s even less.
Of course, there is no reason to sit on the gap. The back pad is long enough to prevent the need for this at all. If you never sit on the gap, the height of the hinge is not important at all.
That said, I’d still like it to be tucked just a little lower. If this bothers you, you could always go with the Rep AB-5000 zero-gap bench, but honestly, it’s not as nice as the AB-5200 in multiple ways. I’d rather just make a point to not sit on the gap!
Would I buy the AB-5200 again?
I would absolutely and without hesitation buy the AB-5200 again and again!
I have a lot of gear that I love. My Titan X3 rack. My Rep stainless barbell. My Titan EZ load hex bar. The list goes on. But if I’m honest, there are alternatives to all those that I would be as happy or happier with that are sold for similar prices, not so with the AB-5200.
There simply isn’t another bench that’s as well-built with as many useful design features as the AB-5200 at a similar price. The closest is the Rogue option, but it’s $150 more after shipping! Oh, and it’s not as nice either.
If you are looking for an adjustable bench (without decline) and the $469 price point fits within your budget, the choice is clear. Get yourself an AB-5200 and enjoy!