While utility weight benches are fundamental piece in any decent home or garage gym, they’re also one of the easiest to get wrong. The Rogue Flat Utility Bench seems to do just about everything right, and while I’m hesitant to call anything “perfect”, it sure comes close (for a flat bench, anyway). In fact, it’s currently your best option for a flat weight bench.
Rogue BT Flat Utility Bench Review in Brief
Shipping disassembled, this bench is perfect for uneven surfaces – offering a stable place to perform bench presses and more. Everything about the model is straightforward and no-frills. However, when it comes to results, simple and functional is best. 11-gauge 2×2 steel tubing is made to last through any abuse you put it through and has a weight capacity of 1000 pounds. The flat surface of the bench is covered with a dense neoprene pad which is also tough, though it doesn’t offer a lot of cushion like many commercial gym benches do.
This is the bolt-together version of the welded utility flat bench. The main difference between the two is that the welded version has slightly angled legs, while this BT model’s legs are straight up and down and must be assembled. When it arrives, it comes flat-packed and includes all necessary hardware. Assembly is very straightforward and easy, and even if you’re doing it on your own it should take no more than 15-25 minutes.
You’ll need at least a 19mm (3/4″) wrench, 15mm (19/32″) wrench, and a shifter. If you have those sizes in a socket set and wrench set, you’ll blow through the process and may even get it done in less than that time.
Why choose a version which requires assembly over the welded option? The advantage here is that if you have an uneven floor in your home or garage gym you can still make the bench level. This was particularly useful, as my garage was originally built for repairing and cleaning motorbikes. As such, the concrete slab slopes slightly towards the drain in the center.
In levelling your Rogue Flat Utility Bench, all you need to do is keep the bolts loosened while assembling, place it where you’re going to use it, and allow it to level itself. Once it’s level, simply tighten the bolts and you’re ready for business!
Standing 18″ tall, with a bench width of 13″ and a length of 47.5″, the bench is outside the legal specs for the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). Therefore, if you’re training for a meet, this bench is going to be slightly different to what you’d use in competition.
As with all Rogue Fitness’ equipment, this bench is built to an exceptional degree of quality. Every single aspect of the bench is heavy-duty, even down to the bolts. Most of them, for example, are 1/2″ thick. If assembled correctly, you never have to worry about any looseness or stability, even when you’re benching particularly heavy weight. This kind of strength and sturdiness is crucial for serious competitors and amateur lifters alike.
Constructed with 11-gauge steel, the legs are incredibly solid. The pad sits on a ¾” plywood plank, and the pad itself comes wrapped in a high-quality black vinyl which looks and feels nice to the touch. However, all of these long-lasting components cause the bench to weigh a whopping 50 lbs. It’s not for nothing, though, as it also has a weight capacity of over 1000 lbs., which is evident as soon as you lay on it.
Performance (How Well Does It Work?)
Unsurprisingly, it works incredibly well as a weight bench. As mentioned previously, it’s very stable and the heavy duty frame can support over 1000 lbs. Everything you could need a flat weight bench for, this one does it better. For just $20 more than the welded bench, I feel it’s more than worth opting for this version.
Remember what I said about not deeming anything “perfect”? The only downside with this bench is that the pad is very dense, to the point that it almost feels like it’s not a pad but rather a rock-solid surface. While this definitely adds to the sturdy feel, it also provides practically zero give, which may be uncomfortable for some users. However, we’re talking about weightlifting here, not taking naps! If you feel it’s just too hard for you, you can always get the Thompson Fat Pad as an after-market extra.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the Rogue bench’s ideal uses:
- Bench Presses
This is the most obvious one, and excellent if you tend to lift weights heavier than what most commercial gym benches can support.
- Dumbbell Exercises
There are practically endless dumbbell exercises out there, but those like single-arm rows can be performed with ease here. The hard pad may be a bit abrasive on the knees after long sessions, though this varies per person.
- Bodyweight Exercises
If you don’t have a dip bar at home, simply use your bench for your tricep dips! It’s more than sturdy and heavy enough so that it won’t tip over or wobble around.
- Bulgarian Split Squats
Again, stability and sturdiness are crucial here.
All-in-all this is an exceptional flat weight bench, and arguably the best you can currently get. Yes, it costs more than a sports store bench, or one of the dime-a-dozen options you’ll find on Amazon, however it will literally be the foundation of much of your workout. For that reason, it’s worth tipping in the extra cash.
- Heavy duty as all hell
- One of the most stable flat benches you’ll find
- Simple matte black look
- Self levelling on uneven floors
The Not So Good
- Heavy, and therefore not really that mobile
- Relatively expensive