I already own a flat bench (Amstaff) but I’ve recently acquired a used Rogue Flat Utility Bench from Kijiji (eBay’s version of Craigslist) for a mere 50 bucks...delivered!
I got it last Saturday, but wanted to use it for this week’s workout before publishing a review on this beast of a bench. On Monday I did bench press 5x5 (Texas Method volume day) and a broke a bench press personal record on Friday (Texas Method intensity day).
A brand new Rogue Flat Utility Bench is regularly priced at $175 USD. But since I’m Canadian, the Canadian price is $207.05 CDN (not including shipping). So the used Rogue bench for $50 (shipped) is a little over $150 off the regular price.
Not a bad deal!
Since it was over 75% off the regular price, and the seller was willing to deliver it to me at no additional cost, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Besides being covered with some chalk finger prints, having an imprint of the back of the head on the bench (which for some reason I can’t seem to get rid of) and sporting some spiderwebs on the underside, the only real issue with this bench was that there was a minor tear in the front end, which is probably the main reason why it was selling so low.
But the way I see it, it’s a minor aesthetic issue. The tear is barely noticeable (especially if I’m focused on pushing 300lbs+ off my chest, in this case my eyes will be looking up towards the ceiling), and won’t affect the function of the bench at all. I do have some concerns with the fabric ripping even more, which I’ll address below.
The first impressions I got when lining up this bench side-by-side to my Amstaff flat bench is that the Rogue bench is a monster. Take a look and see for yourself:
When I first started shopping around for a bench, I wanted something that would conform to the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation) specifications, just in case I start competing seriously.
From the IPF rulebook:
IPF Bench Specifications
- Length - not less than 1.22 m (~48 inches) and shall be flat and level.
- Width - not less than 29 cm (~11.4 inches) and not exceeding 32 cm (~12.6 inches).
- Height - not less than 42 cm (16.5 inches) and not exceeding 45 cm (17.7 inches) measured from the floor to the top of the padded surface of the bench without it being depressed or compacted.
It looks as though the Rogue flat bench is a little to tall to fit the IPF bench specifications.
Here are the dimensions of the bench that I have been using, along with the Rogue flat bench:
Amstaff Bench Dimensions (My current bench)
- Length: 43 1/4” (too short for IPF bench specifications)
- Width: 10” (too thin for IPF bench specifications)
- Height: 16” (too short for IPF bench specifications)
Rogue Flat Utility Bench Dimensions
- Length: 47.5”
- Width: 12”
- Height: 18” (too tall for IPF specifications)
More On Specifications
It lists the bench as 17.5” tall (which would fit into the IPF specifications), but in reality it’s 18” to the top of the bench pad.
With a width of 12”, the Rogue Flat Utility bench is a lot wider than my Amstaff bench (which is 10” wide). I feel a lot more stable while benching on the Rogue flat bench compared to the thinner 10” wide bench.
Pictured below is the width, and that back-of-the-head imprint on the bench I can’t remove:
Using The Rogue Flat Bench
This is 18” high, which is quite tall. Especially for a vertically challenged lifter such as myself, towering at a height of 5’4” (or 163cm).
That’s 2” taller than my Amstaff bench.
At my height, I can still place my feet flat on the ground on an 18” high bench, but I find myself having to stretch uncomfortably to establish firm footing.
On top of that, I find it a lot harder to utilize leg drive during bench press compared to the 16” Amstaff bench. I can’t even push my hips (or butt) off of the bench since I’m stretched out already. Using a pair of 35lbs plates (which are 1” thick) on both sides of the bench helps, eliminating some of the unnecessary stretch I need to do to place my feet on the ground.
Bench Press Height Affects Performance
While I was training at Columbia Lake Health Club last year for a few months, the height of the bench seemed taller than normal (the adjustable bench that goes along with the power racks). It was probably around 18” just like the Rouge flat bench. It may have been even taller. Using this taller bench, I recall not being able to utilize leg drive during the bench press.
In fact, looking back at my training log, during the time I was benching at CLHC and using the taller bench I was not making much progress. I didn’t even set a personal record while I was there.
This changed when I began training at home with a 16” tall bench, and more recently with the Rogue bench and 35lbs plates to elevate my footing. I even managed to set a new bench press PR of 327.5lbs on the Rogue bench.
Feeling the sides and underside of the bench itself, I could see why the fabric ended up ripping.
It feels as though there is a large rectangular pad made of neoprene sitting on top of a smaller rectangular piece of wood. The fabric covers the top of the neoprene pad, and then folded under and stapled on the bottom piece of wood.
Because the neoprene padding and the wood is not the same dimension, the fabric travels diagonally from the neoprene pad towards the wooden part of the bench. This means there will be an empty gap in between the fabric and the where the neoprene pad and wood meets. See below:
This would make the bottom edge of the bench prone to damage, which would explain why this bench has a tear in the first place.
To move this bench, I would have to grab it on the underside (holding the wood portion of the bench) so that I don’t stress the fabric that’s in between the neoprene and wooden board.
This bench would be perfect if it were 17.5” tall (as described on Rogue’s website) instead of 18”!
I will be using the Rogue flat bench instead of the Amstaff bench from now on. The bench pad dimensions (47.5”L x 12”W) fit within the IPF bench specification rules. However the height is just a tad bit too tall at 18”, but I can negate this height by placing plates under my feet while I bench.
If you’re not anal about dimensions, and/or you’re taller than me (5’4”), and you don’t mind the possibility of having to place plates or blocks under your feet to utilize leg drive, then this bench would be fine for you as an all purpose flat bench.
Also, I consider myself lucky for finding this for $50 on Kijiji. However I’m really not certain how often Rogue equipment is listed on classified ads, but if you’re lucky maybe you could find a deal on Kijiji or Craigslist. Keep in mind it probably would be in used condition and exhibit some wear and tear.
But if you want a brand new bench free of spiderwebs and sweat stains, check out Rogue Fitness.