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Prime Fitness Shorty Adjustable Bench Review (2024)

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Quick Overview

The Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench is one of the most versatile benches you can buy. Its unique design and attachment options make it great for bodybuilding and accessory movements. It offers an impressive range of angles, including flat, incline, and decline up to 85 degrees. It’s also made in the USA and available in multiple colors.

Overall Rating: 9.2/10

Build Quality: 9.5/10

Dimensions: 9.3/10

Versatility: 9.7/10

Storage & Mobility: 7.5/10

Aesthetics: 9.3/10

Value: 9.2/10

Who It’s Right For

  • Bodybuilders and those who perform a lot of accessory lifts
  • Someone who wants decline angles
  • Those with a bigger budget

Things to Consider

  • It’s slightly taller than some
  • 10″ pads are narrower than most
  • No vertical storage

Prime Fitness is one of the most innovative equipment companies in the world.

From advanced cable machines to adjustable resistance curves, they’re truly pushing the envelope.

The Shorty Adjustable Bench is a great example of their unique designs.

This is a high-quality weight bench with flat, incline, and decline capabilities.

But its real genius is the modular attachment system that converts this bench into a preacher curl station and more.

In this review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the Prime Shorty Bench. I’ll share the pros and cons and compare it to the versatile Ironmaster Super Bench Pro.

Let’s dig in.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Incline Setting
Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench
Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench
The Prime Fitness Shorty Adjustable Bench is a unique option with solid specs and multiple attachments for excellent versatility.
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I’ve owned several pieces from Prime Fitness, including their functional trainer, dumbbell rack, single stack machine, and more.

I’ve also used several of their SmartStrength plate-loaded machines.

Their equipment is top-grade, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with everything I’ve used from them.

The Shorty Adjustable Bench is no exception.

I love the design and easy-to-use ladder system. The attachments are well-made, versatile, and fun to use. I especially like the preacher curl setup.

But there are some things I don’t care for, including the narrower pad, slick vinyl, and missing vertical storage capabilities.

Let’s take a look at the specs and get into the review.

Specs

  • Weight: 94 lbs
  • Total Length: 51″
  • Total Width: 27″
  • Total Height: 18″
  • Back Pad Angles: 0, 10, 20, 30, 35, 40, 45, 60, 75, 85
  • Seat Pad Angles: -30, -10, 0, 10, 30
  • Pad Gap: 0.5″
  • Weight Capacity: 1,000 lbs
  • Other Features: Optional attachments include preacher curl, dumbbell tray, decline leg rollers, and elbow pads
  • Assembly Time: ~20-25 minutes

Video Review

Most Versatile Bench? Prime Shorty Bench Review

Design and Construction

The Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench is one of the most smartly designed benches I’ve used. You may be asking, “Why make it short?” The answer is in its unique modular attachments.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench 85 Degrees

The back pad may look short at first, but you can attach the included headrest to create a full-length bench. Further, you can attach several other pieces, making it one of the most versatile in its class.

Aside from attachment options, the biggest benefit of having a short pad is increased range of motion and comfort on some lifts.

Chest Supported Rows on Prime Shorty Bench

For example, shoulder presses feel much more natural, in my experience. And even better, you’ll no longer have the pad directly in your face on chest-supported rows. I’ve found I generally prefer accessory movements on the short pad than a full-length pad.

Construction-wise, this is a heavy-duty bench that uses thick-gauge steel. It has a 1,000 lb weight capacity in the flat position, which is more than enough for most people.

The stability, functionality, and overall design are standout qualities I’ll detail below.

The Frame

I’m impressed with this bench’s frame, but there are some things to consider. The first is that the bench is 18″ tall in the flat position. I typically recommend 17-17.5″ tall adjustable benches since they’re better for leg drive.

Prime Fitness Shorty Adjustable Bench Frame

However, as you’ll read below, I think this bench is better for bodybuilding and accessory movements where leg drive isn’t as important. Even as a short lifter, the 18″ height on this bench doesn’t bother me.

The front post has an ultra-narrow design, giving you plenty of room for positioning your feet. But the offset handle design eliminates around 3.5″ of space. Lifters who prefer a super-tight stance may find this problematic, but it shouldn’t interfere with most people.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Front Post

The 26″ long rear support is one of the widest in the class, giving this bench outstanding lateral stability. I’ve stressed the bench with dumbbell pullovers and good old fashioned hand shaking, and it’s rock solid.

I also appreciate the spine supports under the pad, which provide nearly full coverage. Not only does it increase overall rigidity, but it increases the durability of the slightly thinner pads (more below).

Lastly, Prime included thick end caps on the end and an inset rubber front post to protect your floor and improve traction.

The Ladder

This bench uses a ladder-style adjustment mechanism, but it’s different than traditional designs. Instead of hooks, the prime bench uses laser cutouts in a recessed channel. Functionally, it works the same and is fast and easy to operate.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Ladder Adjustment

However, not having a cage allows the support arms to move freely, making it slightly more cumbersome than conventional cage designs.

I love the angles Prime chose for this bench. The back pad ranges from 0 to 85 degrees and offers several of my favorites, including 30-45 degrees in 5-degree increments. With ten selections, it’s one of the most versatile you’ll find.

Dumbbell Press on the Prime Shorty Bench

The seat also uses a ladder and has five angles ranging from -30 to 30 degrees for decline and incline movements.

As much as I like those choices, Prime didn’t include any markers or laser cutouts like they did on the back. It’s not a huge deal once you learn the angles, but it would be helpful and better-looking to include them.

The Pads and Gap

There are pros and cons with the pads on the Prime Shorty Bench, and this is where some people will have the biggest concerns.

The pad is certainly high-quality, but it’s thinner than most at 1.5″ (vs. 2.5″). Given the frame dimensions, it’s a necessary design to maintain the bench’s 18″ height. The pad is reasonably dense but has a little more forgiveness than some, making it less ideal for heavy benching.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Pad Vinyl

Furthermore, it’s only 10″ wide. Most benches are 12″ wide, creating a more stable foundation for your shoulders. Others can be as wide as 14.”

And lastly, the vinyl is noticeably slicker than more textured pads. Lifters with a lot of leg drive may find themselves sliding on this bench more than others. Otherwise, the vinyl is well-applied with no areas of bunching, looseness, etc.

I don’t like this bench as much for conventional barbell or dumbbell bench presses because of these two factors.

However, the narrower pad is excellent for accessory movements and bodybuilding exercises. I especially like it for chest flies, chest-supported rows, and incline curls.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Pad Gap

This bench also has one of the most impressive gap designs I’ve ever seen. While gaps have generally gotten narrower on high-end benches, most have a hinge between the pads, which can sometimes contact the body.

The Prime frame uses a U-bracket to eliminate this concern entirely. There is no hinge at all, making it more comfortable than others.

The Attachments

The most compelling reason to buy this bench is the attachment compatibility. Prime currently offers five (including the headrest) unique attachments, but they have more in development.

How to Attach on the Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench

Aside from the functionality, the best thing about them is how they mount to the bench. Instead of sliding into a piece of tube steel, these attachments hook into the frame and secure with a pop-pin.

This system is more rigid and easier to use than others. They also have a clever rail system under the pad for even more versatility. I’ll detail each attachment below.

Decline Leg Roller

The leg roller is necessary to perform decline movements like sit-ups and decline bench press.

It has a similar design to conventional leg rollers but is noticeably more rigid, in my experience. Some leg attachments fit loosely inside a piece of tube steel, but this one feels more secure because of how it attaches.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Leg Attachment

The foam rollers are dense and high quality, but I wish you could adjust their end position like on some others to accommodate different user heights.

One unique feature I appreciate about this attachment is the vertical handle on top, making it easier to get into/out of position.

Preacher Curl

The preacher curl is my favorite attachment on this bench and is one of the biggest reasons I recommend the bench overall.

It attaches the same as the headrest and decline attachment, making it very secure. The elbow pads offer great coverage and are comfortable with the same vinyl as the rest of the bench.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Preacher Curl

My favorite part is that the angle changes as you adjust the back angle. A shallower back angle (30 degrees or less) creates more of a vertical spider curl setup. Alternatively, steeper back angles create a more conventional preacher curl angle.

I’ve loved exploring with this attachment, and I think the bodybuilders will especially like this feature.

Elbow Pads

The elbow pads attach to each side of the back frame and sit flush with the top of the pad. These are similar to the preacher curl pads but are fixed to the bench to perform incline dumbbell curls.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Elbow Pads

You can also set them up for a chest press to perform a modified “floor press.” This wasn’t a design intent, but it’s a neat hack that works reasonably well.

I don’t use these pads as much as the preacher curl, but they have merit if you like incline curls, etc. For me, the preacher curl attachment makes more sense for most people and is more versatile overall.

Dumbbell Cradle

The dumbbell cradle isn’t a necessary attachment, but it’s convenient when using the preacher curl pad. Unlike the others, the cradle attaches on top of the rear support post.

This attachment positions the dumbbells underneath the preacher pad, making it easier to set up for that movement. It includes UHMW lining to protect your dumbbells and removable sides, depending on your dumbbell length.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Dumbbell Cradle

You can also use a barbell, such as an EZ curl bar, but it’s not quite as easy to use.

You should also be aware of the range of motion, which may come into play on shallower angles. I’ve found that 35 degrees and higher poses no issues, but anything less and you may hit the cradle before full elbow extension.

Storage & Mobility

Storage and mobility is another area with clear pros and cons. On one hand, I appreciate the bench has handles and wheels. This is a heavy bench, so being able to wheel it around is essential. And because Prime didn’t include wheel covers, you have complete range of motion when transporting the bench.

The handle on the front works fine, but its offset position is a little more cumbersome for the reasons listed above. I prefer a low-mounted horizontal handle for better foot clearance and balance.

Prime Fitness Adjustable Bench Wheels

Unfortunately, this bench can’t be stored vertically like most in its class. It’s not a big issue if you have ample space or a dedicated bench “station” in your home gym. But if you’re tight on space and need a storage-friendly bench, this one isn’t for you.

In addition to the bench, you also need to store any attachments you buy. The elbow pads conveniently store in the base of the frame, which is a great design feature. However, the others will need a home. Prime sells wall-mounted storage for these specific attachments, but you can also find other storage solutions for your home gym.

Aesthetics

I generally like the look of this bench and appreciate its unique design relative to more conventional ladder-style benches.

The bench comes standard with a charcoal powder coat, but you can pay extra to upgrade to different colors. They currently offer seven choices, but keep in mind the Prime green accents on the knobs and handles don’t change, which may clash with some schemes.

I also like the stainless plaque under the spine showing details like frame color, manufactured date, etc.

Delivery and Assembly

In my experience, Prime Fitness is the best when it comes to delivering your equipment. This bench practically shipped in a fort and appeared bombproof. Everything was in perfect condition when unboxed, and even though it takes longer, I appreciate the extra steps they take.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Preacher Curl Attachment

Assembly is straightforward after getting everything unboxed. Unlike other benches, you don’t have to attach any of the support feet, which saves time. However, you do need to install the bottom rails with the back pad for the elbow pad attachments. It doesn’t add much, if any time, but is technically an extra step.

All told, it took me around 30-35 minutes by myself, from unboxing to training.

Price

As of this review, the base price of the Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench is $725, which is comparable to other high-end options. However, that doesn’t include any of the attachments except for the headrest.

Prices for other attachments range from $150-$225. If you buy all the attachments, you can expect to pay around $1,475.

My suggestion for most people is to buy the decline leg attachment and preacher curl. This offers excellent versatility and saves a little money, bringing the total to $1,075.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench vs. Ironmaster Super Bench Pro

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench
Ironmaster Super Bench Pro
Product
Product
Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench
Ironmaster Super Bench Pro
Price
Price
$725+
$499+
Weight Capacity
Weight Capacity
1,000 lbs
1,000 lbs
Adjustment Type
Adjustment Type
Ladder
Telescoping Spine
Decline
Decline
Yes
Yes
Vertical Storage
Vertical Storage
No
Yes
Attachments
Attachments
5
12

The Ironmaster Super Bench Pro is another highly versatile adjustable bench. It offers numerous attachments and a unique design, but how does it stack up to the Prime Shorty?

The biggest similarity is that both benches can transform into more than just a bench. The Ironmaster currently has more attachments than Prime, including a dip bar, pull-up bar, cable tower, 45-degree hyperextension, etc. It also has a decline leg attachment and preacher curl like on the Prime.

While more versatile, their attachments aren’t as high quality or as rigid, in my experience. And as Prime continues to develop more attachments, the gap will likely shrink.

Prime Shorty Bench vs. Ironmaster Super Bench Pro

Construction-wise, the Super Bench Pro has 11 adjustment angles compared to 10 on the Prime. They offer angles in 10-degree increments up to 80 degrees, with an 85-degree setting at the end. These are all good angles, but I like the 35 and 45-degree settings on the Prime bench more.

I also like Prime’s ladder system more than Super Bench’s telescoping spine. It’s easy enough to adjust, but it does take longer and isn’t as user-friendly.

Both benches have a 1,000 lb weight capacity, but the Super Bench Pro is lighter and easier to move. It can also be stored vertically, which is a big benefit in tight spaces.

The Super Bench has a lower 17.2″ height, which is ideal for pressing. Though, it also has a 10″ wide pad where it tapers down, providing a similar shoulder position to the Prime.

Price-wise, the Super Bench Pro is more affordable. The base price is less expensive, as are the same-kind attachments. If you’re looking for excellent versatility at a lower cost, the Ironmaster Bench is a great option. Otherwise, the Prime Shorty is higher quality and easier to use.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Incredible versatility with several attachments
  • Excellent choice for accessory/bodybuilding movements
  • Highly adjustable with flat, incline, and decline settings
  • Small seat gap with no hinge
  • Easy-to-use ladder system
  • High-quality upholstery
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Price can add up based on attachments
  • Slicker vinyl than most
  • 10″ wide pad isn’t ideal for heavy-pressing

Final Thoughts

The Prime Fitness Shorty Adjustable Bench is well-made and offers incredible versatility.

The clever design accommodates several interesting attachments, from decline rollers to preacher curl pads.

However, the slicker vinyl, taller height, and narrower pads aren’t ideal for conventional bench pressing.

I recommend this bench to someone who performs a lot of accessory movements, especially bodybuilders. But it’s also a solid all-around option if you have the space and budget.

Prime Shorty Adjustable Bench Rating

Build Quality: 9.5/10

Dimensions: 9.3/10

Versatility: 9.7/10

Storage & Mobility: 7.5/10

Aesthetics: 9.3/10

Value: 9.2/10

Final Verdict

Overall: 9.2/10

Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.
Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.

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