The heart of any home gym is a sturdy bench and a pair of adjustable dumbbells. Just by having these two items you can effectively work every muscle group.
The bench you buy should be heavy duty and adjust to different angles such as a FID (flat/incline/decline) bench. The Ironmaster Super Bench fits these requirements.
At the time I was in the market for a bench my home gym was going to consist of a bench and adjustable dumbbells only. After plenty of research, and finding only one Ironmaster super bench review, I decided on the Ironmaster super bench and Ironmaster quick lock dumbbell system.
The super bench comes pre-assembled except for the feet. The feet install with four bolts, and the rubber end caps just slip on the ends of the feet, very simple to assemble.
In fact, the hardest part of assembly is cutting the industrial strength wire ties holding the bench for safe shipping and stripping off the protective plastic covering that's on the bench pads.
The features of the Ironmaster super bench are listed below in bold, and were taken directly from the Ironmaster website. My comments follow.
11 lock out angles: Inclines, Declines, Flat and Upright. 0, 5,10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 85 degrees.
Having this many angles to choose from is a great option. In comparison, my Body Solid GFID31 bench has only six angle options. Why are more angle options better? Here's an example: use the angles to help increase your shoulder press.
Say you can bench press 75 lb dumbbells, but can only shoulder press 50 lb dumbbells. Set the bench angle at 20 degrees and bench press the 75 lb dumbbells. Your next chest workout increase the angle to 30 degrees. Every week increase the angle of the bench by 10 degrees until the bench is at 85 degrees and you are shoulder pressing 75 lbs.
This article on the Ironmaster websites demonstrates this technique nicely.
Now while the incline options are excellent, to decline on the bench is another matter.
Obviously when you are in the decline position, your feet are higher than your head. There's no way to stay in this position without sliding down. Your legs and feet need to have something to hold onto. You have to purchase the crunch attachment so that you can use the bench in the decline position.
However, having to purchase the crunch attachment has another benefit besides being able to do declines. Just recline the bench to 85 degrees and you can now do near vertical sit-ups, or just hang upside down and decompress your spine (inversion therapy).
For those who are not familiar with it, inversion therapy involves hanging upside down to use your body weight and the force of gravity as traction to release pressure and stress on your spinal cord.
Some bodybuilders like to hang upside down after doing heavy squats, which can compress your spine.
44" x 10" x 3" heavy-duty pad and stitched vinyl upholstery. Very comfortable. New style pads have 1" radius corners.
The super bench has one solid, flat pad, unlike other flat/incline/decline benches with two separate pads.
I have a Body Solid GFID31 bench, and it has almost a 3 1/2" gap with the bench in the flat position. The incline position isn't bad, but I have to use a spacer if I do anything with it in the flat position because inevitably my rear end ends up in this gap.
If you have the Body Solid GFID31 bench and want to get rid of this gap, a 9 inch long 2 x 4 board fills this gap.
Powder coated frame with chrome components. 1000 lb rated 11 & 12 gauge super strong steel frame. (600 lb rated for incline/upright positions.)
Now, I don't know about you, but I'm a long way away from approaching the maximum load of this bench in any position!
This bench is built to last and has a ten-year warranty.
Ultra stable strong platform in aII positions yet is easy to lift and move. Does not need wheels. 20" flat bench height. 18.75" x 41" footprint.
This bench takes up very little space, and is very easy to move (it only weighs 64 lbs with the seat). The 18.75" legs are not wide enough to give the bench stability when used with the chin-up bar attachment. It would be nice if the legs were at least an inch or two wider, providing additional support.
The stability of the bench only comes into question when using the chin-up bar; otherwise it's rock solid.
Later, when I added a power rack to my home gym, the power rack had a chin-up bar, so I exchanged the Ironmaster chin-up bar attachment for the leg extension attachment.
The 3 position incline seat is narrower than the backrest pad so it does not cut into the inside of your legs and you can move the seat up or down for optimum comfort. Incline seat follows backrest pad at any angle so it will always be perpendicular unlike other benches where the seat can have a shallow angle allowing the user to slide off.
The simplicity of the seat design is amazing. Just slide the seat in and out of the rectangular tubes to adjust the seat height. Once inside the tubes, the seat never moves. Since the seat is removable, I came up with a way to utilize it as part of my homemade rowing machine.
But, I wish the seat were tapered like on some Hammer Strength benches (think bicycle seat) because it does somewhat cut into your thighs. However, this isn't a deal breaker.
Unique adjustment ring with foot lever adjust operates from both sides and locks up tight! Patented design.
This is what I like best about the bench: the multiple adjustments that the bench provides with an easy to use spring-loaded lever. I like to record the angle I use for a given exercise, so I took a marker and marked the angle positions:
Very easy to adjust, yet still rock solid in any position!
Accepts a growing list of optional attachments like the Crunch Sit-up, Dip Bar Handles and Chin Up Bar.
I wish that you could insert the attachments from either side of the bench, especially the leg extension attachment.
Ironmaster is developing more attachments, and I've developed one of my own.
Pull up Attachment
Dip Bar Attachment
Preacher Curl Attachment
This bench is versatile, with many angle settings, seat positions, and especially with all the possible attachments. Just buying dumbbells and this bench with all of the attachments and you would have a pretty well equipped home gym.
The super bench is well padded and durable, easily assembled, has a small footprint, lightweight, and yet rated for heavy weight.
This is a commercial gym quality bench at a reasonable price.
PS: Stay tuned for some brand new items from Ironmaster like Fat Grip adapters for the Quick-Lock Dumbbell handles, Barbell Attachment for the Super Bench Spotting Stand and the Ironmaster Kettlebell Handle that should be available at the end of August.
Hi Barry, Just thought I'd let you know that I purchased Ironmaster dumbbells and the Superbench. You helped me along in this process, by your review on your website and conversing with me on the subject. Have you written a review on Amazon for Ironmaster's dumbbell system? Those reviews helped to solidify my choice for Ironmaster, as well. Again, thanks. Dan
Wow! I just received my dumbbells and I am amazed! I've been weight training for 24 years and have worked/worked out in various gyms and this set is as close as you can come to pro-dumbbells. I have been building my home gym over the last year and even bought a pair of another brand's adjustable dumbbells (rhymes with "power-shock") and your dumbbells rock! My old dumbbells were very awkward and unbalanced especially when I used them with their 130 lb add-on kit. I could not 'wrap-in' which limited my training...and I was staying away from my usual training weights due to the fear of dropping these expensive items and bending them. Finally, I am hitting the weight in my home gym that I used to hit when I was a member in a commercial gym. Thank You!