I don't think it's any secret at this point…
…I think Rep Fitness is making the best benches for the money.
This has been my position since they came out with the AB-5000 Zero Gap Bench, which I reviewed here.
While I don't necessarily think they're making the best benches ever in the history of bench making, when it comes down to your dollars, they're EXTREMELY solid.
So solid that, at the time of this review, I only own Rep Fitness benches: the FB-5000 (review here), the AB-5000, and the AB-5200, which I'm reviewing in this article.
I have owned this bench since it was first launched back in October 2019. Before receiving it, I felt like there was no chance it would overtake the AB-5000.
After using it, it quickly became clear that wasn't the case. In fact, I've been using this bench as my primary adjustable bench ever since.
Do I think it's better than the coveted AB-5000 Zero Gap bench?
In some (most) ways, and for some (most) people, yes. In other areas, it falls short.
Is this the right adjustable bench for you?
Read more to find out.
Rep Fitness AB-5200 Bench
The AB-5200 isn't particularly innovative – not in the same sense as the Zero Gap Bench, at least. The ladder-style 5200 draws inspiration from some other benches on the market, most notably the Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0 and the Sorinex 0-90 NP3. Both of those benches, mind you, are more expensive.
By blending some of the features of both, Rep has created a bench that will appeal to a lot of users. Not only that, but they've priced it extremely competitively, making this one of the best value benches of its kind.
And when I say ‘value,' I don't mean cheap by any means. This is a well made, heavy-duty bench that performs very well. This price-to-quality ratio is exactly why I'm such a proponent of Rep benches.
Can you go out and spend $1,200 on an adjustable bench? Absolutely, and you'll be getting a high-quality product. But at well over 2x the price, are you getting a proportionate quality/utility multiplier over the AB-5200?
I don't think so – especially not in the home gym space.
The reality is that the AB-5200 from Rep costs less than $500 and, regardless of the price tag relative to others, it's a damn good bench.
Frame Material: 11 & 7 gauge steel frame
Total Bench Dimensions w/ Pad: 55.5″ long, 17.5″ tall, 20.25″ wide (back support)
Back Pad Dimensions: 42″ long, 12″ wide, 2.25″ thick
Seat Pad Dimensions: 11.5″ long, 11″ wide in back, 8.5″ wide in front, 2.25″ thick
Pad Gap: ~2″
Pad Material: Dense foam with vinyl upholstery and plywood bottom
Weight: 125 lbs
Weight Capacity: Rated to 1,000 lbs
Design: Ladder-Style with 7 back adjustments and 3 seat adjustments
Other Features: Vertical Storage Support, Frame Color Options, Ladder Cage, and Optional Spotter Deck
Assembly Time: Around 15-20 minutes
Design & Construction
The Rep AB-5200 is an impressively designed and constructed bench. When I compare this bench to a tank, I'm only ‘slightly' exaggerating. From the moment you get this bad boy built, you will almost certainly agree. At 125 lbs, it's HEAVY – heavier than the Zero Gap bench even, by 8 pounds.
Even more impressive than the beefy bod is the very tight tolerance on all the moving parts. With my Zero Gap bench, there is *some* wobble in the seat – not a ton, but enough to notice. With the AB-5200, I have to try to wobble the seat…and the back… and even still, it holds tight.
There are a few things I want to break down in this review regarding the design & construction of this bench.
Let's have a look.
Design Quality #1: The Ladder
One of the biggest selling points of this bench is the ladder system. As opposed to a telescoping spine (like the Zero Gap) that requires a pop-pin adjustment, a ladder system makes for effortless adjustment. Not only that, but it's MUCH faster. With a telescoping spine, it requires two hands to adjust: one on the pin and the other on the back/seat. Conversely, on a ladder system, you simply use one hand to make the incline adjustment. When adjusting back towards the flat position, you will need a little help from the other hand. This is made easy enough with the urethane handle on the articulating support.
Another feature of this ladder is that it's fully enclosed on both the seat and the back. This is a feature seen on the $1,200 Sorinex bench, but not on the $545 Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0. The benefit of this “cage” is that it keeps the support within its intended confines. In other words, it prevents you from overshooting the top and bottom positions. It also reduces potential travel and makes vertical storage more accessible.
The third feature of this setup is that the cross bolts are covered in urethane to prevent your finish from being damaged on the ladder itself. With the ability to have colors on the 5200, this is a nice-to-have.
In terms of the adjustment options, the back pad can accommodate 7 different positions ranging from 0 degrees to 85 degrees, while the seat can accommodate 3 different positions.
Design Quality #2: The Frame
The frame on the AB-5200 is built using a combination of 7 and 11 gauge steel. Again, this bench is not messing around – it's beefy and it's heavy. Rated at 1,000 lbs, it's more than capable of handling just about anything anyone can throw at it. Under the back pad, there is a full length 5″ wide steel support bar that keeps everything tight and secure.
The frame is built to create a 17.5″ height to the top of the pad, which is in-line with IPF specs. This height is great for most people since it's low enough to generate ample leg drive, even for shorter users like myself. While I think most “serious” bench pressers should invest in a dedicated flat bench with a 17″ height and potentially a 14″ fat/wide pad, the AB-5200 is capable of handling flat benching nicely (with a caveat listed below).
As mentioned, the tolerances on the bench are very, very impressive. I have to physically try to generate wobble in pivot sections, and even still, I can't.
On the back of the frame is a vertical post with a flat extender piece. This post serves two purposes: the first is that it provides additional support on the back when in the flat position, which is commonplace for an adjustable bench. The second, and the more unique purpose, is that it allows for vertical storage. This is a big benefit for those who train in a home gym or for anyone who places a premium on space.
Design Quality #3: The Pads & The Gap
The Pads on the Rep AB-5200 measure 2.5″ thick and they're constructed using what they call an “ultra-dense foam core.” How that translates in everyday terms is a firm, but still comfortable pad. Underneath the pad is a 3/4″ thick piece of plywood to create a stable and flat platform. This is standard in the industry when it comes to quality adjustable benches.
In terms of measurements, the back pad is loooooong. At 42″, it's almost 4″ longer than the Zero Gap Bench. What this means is full coverage for almost anyone, even tall people. Some benches will have your head hanging off the back depending on incline position and body height. That is not likely to happen on the AB-5200. The pad also measures 12″ in width, which is the ideal width for an adjustable bench, in my opinion. 10″ has always felt too narrow to me and 14″ is reserved for flat benches
Like Rep's other benches, the AB-5200 pads include a grippy vinyl that has a nice texture to it. They market this as “non-slip” and I would say it does a very respectable job. It's not as sticky as something like a Thompson Fat Pad, but I haven't had any real concerns with the grip on this vinyl. The vinyl construction is very nice also – the stitching is quality and it's wrapped tightly.
Lastly, this bench does have a pad gap, which is the caveat I mentioned above. Thankfully, the gap is around 2″, so it's not egregious by any means. You can absolutely flat bench on the AB-5200, but just know you'll have to deal with that gap unlike the AB-5000 or a dedicated flat bench, like the FB-5000. I say “around 2″ because my seat is slightly tilted towards one side, making one side a little less than 2″ and one side a little more than 2”. Rep claims the gap is 1.8″, which I believe is accurate based on that. This isn't something that I feel in-use, but it is something to point out as a minor fit issue, even if it's limited to just my copy. Again, there is no wobble at all.
Lastly, on the pad gap, the pivot point sits about an inch under the top of the pads, meaning your body is unlikely to make contact with any metal parts unless you're sitting directly in the gap.
Design Quality #4: The Feet & Mobility
One area where I think this bench shines is with the feet. Unlike the Zero Gap Bench, which uses a T-shaped design, the AB-5200 uses a single post, tripod design. This is beneficial because it's less your feet have to deal with. Nobody likes a post that gets in the way of their feet – it's annoying and it may require form adjustment to maintain leg drive off the floor. The 5200 front post is ~7.5″ wide, which essentially gives you total freedom on foot placement.
Also on the front post is a stainless steel horizontal bar that's used for moving the bench. Anecdotally, I've found a horizontal handle to be easier to use than a vertical handle. The AB-5200 handle sits low on the frame and it's generally just a joy to use.
On the back of the bench is a 20.25″ foot with two wheels. This of course makes it very easy to move the bench around. You will notice that the wheel enclosure extends above the wheels themselves with a mostly flat top. I don't think this was necessarily an intended design feature, but it allows someone to stand on top as a spotter. Alternatively, you can also buy an optional spotter deck for around $90. If you're serious about having a spotter, I would definitely recommend that route, but the flat-top wheel enclosure is still nifty.
On the bottom of both sides of the bench are thick and very grippy rubber touch points. Not that you have much to worry about with the AB-5200 weighing 125 lbs, but you can rest assured this bench is not budging when you're using it.
Design Quality #5: Aesthetics
Another great feature of the AB-5200 is the option to pick from a few colors. Rep currently offers this bench in blue, red, and black. I'm sure over time they will introduce other color options as well, but these are nice choices and they match the same scheme as some of their other products like racks, flat benches, etc…
The bench also includes some other nice-looking features including a stainless steel logo plate, a laser-cut logo on the front, laser-cut numbers on the ladder, and the stainless steel front handle.
Overall, this is a very nice-looking bench, in my opinion.
Rep Fitness AB-5200 vs. Others
Several benches can be compared to the AB-5200 from Rep. In this article, we'll take a look at just two of them: the Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0 and the Rep AB-5000 Zero Gap. The Sorinex 0-90 NP3 is another bench that Rep drew inspiration from, but it's nearly $1,200, and for that reason, I'm omitting it from this article.
Rep AB-5200 vs. Rogue Adjustable Bench 2.0
This is probably the comparison that most people are considering. The Rogue Adjustable bench 2.0 is a popular ladder-style bench. Priced at $545, it's more expensive than the AB-5200.
Despite the higher price, it offers less in terms of features and functionality. Firstly, unlike the AB-5200, which has 7 back adjustments and 3 seat adjustments, the Rogue bench has 6 back adjustments and 2 seat adjustments. Secondly, the Rep bench has a 12″ wide pad vs. the Rogue bench with an 11.25″ wide pad. As I mentioned earlier, I think 12″ is the ideal width – anything less feels too narrow to me. Thirdly, the Rogue bench does not offer a cage around the ladder as the AB-5200 does. This means you can't easily store the Rogue bench vertically and the articulating support arm is free to roam around.
Both benches offer a horizontal handle, wheels, and an optional spotter deck. The Rogue bench is made in the USA, so if that's important to you, that's certainly a consideration.
When I compare these benches, the choice is pretty clear to me: the Rep AB-5200 has better features, better function, and a better price.
Rep AB-5200 vs. Rep AB-5000 Zero Gap
Within the Rep family, this is another comparison that is often made.
Upfront, these benches are quite different. The AB-5000 is an FID bench, meaning it offers flat, incline, and decline positions. The AB-5200 only offers flat and incline positions. The AB-5000 also uses a telescoping spine, which is very stable, but slower to use than the ladder-style on the AB-5200.
The biggest benefit of the AB-5000 is the ability to create a zero gap between the back and the seat. This can be accomplished in virtually every position, which is an awesome feature. The AB-5200, as mentioned, does have a pad gap even if it is relatively small at ~2″.
The AB-5200 has a single post front vs. a T-shaped post on the Zero Gap Bench, giving your feet more room. The 5200 also has a longer back pad, which will likely appeal to the taller users. Both of these benches can be wheeled and stored vertically.
Pricewise, the AB-5200 is $70 cheaper, but keep in mind that the decline leg attachment on the Zero Gap bench is an extra expense. If you add that, the price difference is actually $159 in favor of the AB-5200.
Between these two benches, I would ask yourself two questions: Do I need decline capabilities, and is the zero gap feature important to me? If you said yes, the AB-5000 Zero Gap bench is the one for you. Otherwise, I would pick the AB-5200.
Rep Fitness AB-5200 – Pros & Cons
- At 125 lbs and with a 1,000 lb weight capacity, this bench is a freakin' tank.
- The bench is generally just very well made. The frame is strong and supportive, and all moving parts are extremely tight.
- The ladder-style adjustment system makes for very easy and very quick adjustments.
- With 7 back adjustments and 3 seat adjustments, the AB-5200 offers a lot of variety.
- Priced at $469, this bench represents an outstanding value.
- The narrow front post ensures your feet have plenty of room to find solid ground.
- The bench can easily be moved and stored vertically.
- The pads are firm, comfortable, and grippy.
- The pad gap is small at ~2″ and the pivot points sit near the bottom of the pads.
- Flat-top wheel guards can be used as spotter footings or you have the option of purchasing a dedicated spotter deck.
- Aesthetically, the bench looks very nice. Color options, stainless steel accents, and laser-cutouts are all great touches.
- The bench does not have decline ability. If this is something you want/need, then I would recommend looking into the AB-5000 or the AB-5100.
- My version of the bench has a seat that is slightly tilted towards one side. Again, this isn't something I feel in-use, and it may just be limited to my copy.
When you boil it all down, I think the AB-5200 just may be the best adjustable bench Rep Fitness makes.
The Zero Gap Bench is another favorite of mine and I'm sure it's a tough decision for people on which to pick.
If you're someone who requires a decline option and/or you're someone who loves the idea of having no pad gap, go with the AB-5000.
Otherwise, I would go with the AB-5200. Personally, I enjoy using the 5200 more. It's easier to use, it's heavier, it's tighter, and I don't use decline positions often at all.
At the end of the day, both are great options. Hell, all of the adjustable benches from Rep are nice options.
I maintain that they're making the very best benches for the dollar.
If you want to read more about benches or powerlifting equipment in general, check out my ultimate guide to building a powerlifting home gym.
If you have any questions about this adjustable bench or adjustable benches in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own the Rep Fitness AB-5200 Bench and you want to chime in with your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
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The bar is loaded,