For those looking to use a weight bench with a power rack, there is a less expensive setup available in the form of an Olympic weight bench.
This terminology may be confusing, as Olympic weightlifting does not involve the use of a bench. However, the “Olympic” in the product title refers to the fact that this setup is compatible with an Olympic barbell.
Because of the bench’s extreme adjustability, versatility, and reasonable price, the Fitness Gear Pro Olympic bench receives three and a half out of five stars.
In general, if you are evaluating a bench setup, it is wise to consider your specific needs. Below is a list of general points to consider as you evaluate whether or not the Fitness Gear Pro Olympic Weight Bench is for you:
- Bench can be used as a flat, incline, or decline bench.
- Setup has both safeties and j-hooks
- Very good overall value
- Can be used for a variety of compound and isolation exercises
- Bench is attached to setup, and some users may prefer to move the bench closer or farther away
- Because of the attached bench, j-hooks and safeties can’t be used for squats
In order to gain an understanding of this setup, it is important to look at its unique features.
On a broad scale, this setup is essentially a half-rack with an attached bench. This keeps the set together as a unit, and it also ensures the bench will not be crooked.
While the attachment is convenient for benching, it is not convenient for all lifts. This is discussed in more detail below.
The setup has wide feet, which is essential for stability when lifting, and the total weight capacity (of the user and any weights they are lifting) is 600 pounds, which is workable for most people.
The setup also has adjustable safety bars and j-hooks. Both of these are fairly wide, which allows for greater contact with the bar, and they can both adjust easily with a lock-in mechanism.
While the security of these features can help any lifter become more confident, the fact that the j-hooks do not have a lip design or other shallow design means that it may be more difficult to unrack and re-rack the bar.
The bench portion of the setup is fairly versatile, and according to the manufacturer, it can go in flat, incline, or decline positions.
However, there is no foothold for the decline, so lifting in a decline position may make the user somewhat unstable.
The manufacturer also notes that the setup has 22 levels of adjustability, although they do not specify what those levels are. The spacing between holes is also not specified.
Fitness Gear Pro Olympic Bench Review
Now, we will evaluate this product in more detail, with a special focus on materials used to construct it, general ease of use, and versatility of the product:
The manufacturer provides little information about the materials used to create the setup itself.
However, most benches like this one are made of steel, and most setups that are fairly affordable tend to be made with thinner steel than 11 gauge.
Eleven gauge steel is standard for commercial gyms, and many authoritative sources recommend that those putting together a home gym stick with 11 gauge or 12 gauge steel.
However, this is primarily important for power racks where the user will also be squatting.
The bench itself has generous 2.5-inch padding for comfort, and it is covered in heavy-duty vinyl. This is important, as it is nonporous and will allow you to clean it easily.
While wiping down equipment is obviously important if you share a gym with others, it is also important in terms of protecting the longevity of your equipment.
Ease of Use and General Versatility
As far as adjustability, this setup is easy to use. The bench adjusts as many benches do – users just need to pull a small handle and move the bench as needed.
Similarly, j-hooks and safeties use a lock-in design that is common to many power racks.
In terms of ease of use during major lifts, the ease of use of the Fitness Gear Pro bench varies depending on the lift being performed.
As noted above, it is easy to use for bench pressing, as users can adjust safeties so the bar starts out touching the chest. The attached bench ensures that the bench is not crooked, and the user can move his or her body along the flat bench for the perfect start position.
However, for lifts where the bench is upright, like the seated overhead press, the ease of use may vary significantly depending on the user.
Depending on individual physiology, it may be safer or more comfortable to move the bench closer to or farther from the barbell.
However, the fixed bench cannot be adjusted forward or backward, and the j-hooks are shallow enough to not allow significant bar movement.
Another ease of use concern comes with the decline feature. While the manufacturer notes that the bench can decline, there is no way to secure the user’s feet or knees, which can lead to a dangerous slide down the bench.
Lastly, because the bench is fixed to the rest of the setup, this is not an ideal setup for those who also want to use it to squat, as bench placement would get in the way of the squats themselves.
In short, this is a set that is easy to use for certain lifts, but for others, the lack of specialized adjustment may present a problem.
How Does It Compare?
For this portion of the review, we will compare the Fitness Gear Pro to the Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Olympic workout bench.
Both of these setups are space-efficient and can be adapted to perform a number of different exercises, and both are equipped with both j-hooks and safeties.
However, the Gold’s Gym has a major advantage for those who want to do squats or just want to be able to move the bench into a more ideal position, since this setup’s bench is not attached to the rest of the setup.
The j-hooks of this model are also optimized for squatting, as they have a slight, slanted lip as opposed to a 90-degree bar stop.
Additionally, the Gold’s Gym bench includes footholds for secure decline pressing, and it also includes a preacher curl attachment.
This setup is ideal for those on a budget as well, as it is significantly less expensive than the Fitness Gear Pro.
In short, for users who do not need as much bench adjustability and who do not plan on doing squats, the Fitness Gear Pro Olympic bench may be a good choice.
However, if you have some extra cash to spend and want a more “complete” home gym set-up, you may be interested in both the Fitness Gear Pro half rack as well as the more moderately priced Fitness Gear Pro utility bench.