The Ironmaster Super Bench
Seattle-based Ironmaster has been making reliable gym and home gym equipment since 1978, though you may not have heard of them. They are in some ways the Wolverine to Rogue Fitness’s Deadpool–older, more established, scarily effective, but not as brash and slightly less in the spotlight at present.
Ironmaster racks, Olympic bars, Smith machines, free weights, and other staple-type gear will also cost less versus bigger name equivalents. Ironmaster even holds patents on some of their products. Adding to their “serious business” pedigree, Ironmaster manufactures everything in its catalog at a facility in the United States.
In this review, we will break down the pros, cons, and outstanding features of Ironmaster’s own Super Bench. It is a thin line bench, with the minimalist (padded) seat measuring thinner than the one-piece backrest. To incline and decline, you use a foot pedal connected to a large stainless steel half circle connected to the back of the bench. No pins, sundials, or bending over is necessary. We have never seen a bench that inclines like this; it is Ironmaster’s unique design and very telling about how hard the company works to innovate and facilitate fitness for its customers.
Rated to 1000 pounds including user, bar, plates
11 different angles, cover all bases and adjustment is a snap
10-year frame warranty, 1 year on seat surface coverings--one of the best we have seen
Price is surprisingly reasonable for these many features
Ironmaster has a huge line of compatible attachments/upgrades
Both bench and seat are quite narrow, with seat tapering to become even narrower
Lightweight and portable, but no front or rear casters
Ironmaster is quick to say the Super Bench has the most available attachments of any weight bench in the world. We’re not sure if that statement is even verifiable, considering all the homebrews that your editors and others like us do, but it seems legit coming from Ironmaster.
You get 11 adjustable angles, from lying down for dumbbell flys to sitting straight up for military presses. Most of use will not need that many angles, but having them means the bench is suitable for specialty athletes who need to target fine muscle groups for increased performance. The 1,000-pound capacity, too, makes the bench ideal for powerlifting. That’s markedly different from a lot of similarly priced residential/commercial models.
Construction is ultra-stable 11 and 12 gauge steel sheeting and tubing, with ample padding over a thick foam on the seat surfaces. The idea behind the tapered seat is so it won’t bite into your legs when you do seated or semi-seated presses.
You lose some capacity when you change from anything but a flat angle. Incline/decline/upright capacity is 600 pounds. The bench weighs 65 pounds fully assembled, and 60 with the seat removed. We’re big fans of the removable seat because it means the whole backrest is one piece. There’s no tricky gap between the upper and seat to challenge your placement during bench presses.
All frame components are powder coated for corrosion and moisture resistance. There are no custom colors or finishes available. Framing and seat covers are black, with grey stainless steel adjustment components.
Dimensions (in flat position) are 44 X 18.75 X 20 inches (LxWxH). The total footprint is 18.75 by 41 inches, putting the Super Bench on a par with compact folding benches while offering commercial grade features and service.
Comfort And Ease Of Use
The seat could be a problem, too. It matches the backrest at the attachment point, then tapers down to less than half that size at the end. The idea is that the seat won’t irritate your inner thighs. That’s great and welcome, but what about those of us with wider hips or a squat-enhanced posterior?
We aren’t saying the narrow seat is a deal-breaker, but it is something to think about. There are plenty of benches out there with consistently sized, more accommodating seats, and we can’t remember the last time we heard about anyone falling off a bench butt first. On a more positive note, you can adjust seat height (not angle) as easily as you can adjust the working angle of the backrest. And the padding is 3 inches thick, giving you a ride similar to a Memory Foam mattress with less give.
Extras And Upgrades
First, you can get Olympic bars, bumper plates, and iron plates from Ironmaster. Most any bench maker would offer all that, but Ironmaster offers both consistency and variety. You can buy packaged weight sets of up to 460 pounds, but they may be more expensive than your comfort level. If you can afford, it’s pretty clear you will have an Olympic set that will last a lifetime. All Ironmaster plate bundles include one of their Olympic bars. If you are doing the beast on a budget thing, there are dozens of manufacturers with lower-cost sets that will work just fine with the Super Bench.
Here are some of our other favorites:
The bar dip handle is a fixed frame that adapts and integrates with the Super Bench like a hand/glove situation. You can put the backrest all the way vertical an attach the dip bar to the top. The bench then becomes a power tower, and you can even do pull-ups if you are under a certain height and don’t mind crossing your legs. By reversing the dip bar, you can incline the bench, grab hold of the dip handles, and do supported leg lifts to your trunk’s content. This reduces the chance of spine injury that is always an issue with squats, and also means your neck is automatically supported.
There is also a straight-up traditional chin-up bar for the Super Bench. Its greater height means you may not have to cross your legs. While you could do dips with the chin bar, the handles stick out straight which we think would make grip and range of movement tricky.
Amazingly, Ironmaster offers a large attachment that turns your bench into a reverse hyperextension machine. That’s a lot of back, hammy, and gluteal strengthening, still at a lower cost than most standalone reverse hypers.
You can add a cable tower setup, for lat pulls, rows, and more, but be prepared to spend the money and accept the tower as a permanent add-on. It isn’t designed to snap on and snap off as the dip bar handles.
If you don’t have the room or desire for a full-powered squat or power rack, you can add uprights, squat stands, and, most impressive, safety features like bench press spotters that will help you lift heavier with no need for a human spotter. It is hard to overstate how happy that makes your editors, with our fixation on personal safety and desire to see all our readers pursue their fitness goals without injury. The level of protection you get with the bench press stoppers is about the same as a pin and pipe safety, which is part of a (usually) much costlier squat rack.