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Donnie Thompson Fat Pad vs Titan Fat Pad

Thompson Fat Pad versus Titan Hefty Bench Pad

I’ve been a big fan of the Thompson Fat Pad since the very first time I benched on one. It’s wider, longer, thicker, denser, and more supportive than any other bench pad I’ve ever seen or used. In addition to all that it has a unique, heavy-duty “grabber” vinyl cover that prevents any slipping or sliding around on the pad; a surprisingly uncommon feature for bench pads.

The Fat Pad is incredible, and to give you an idea of how much I love it I purchased a frame specifically for it and then had that frame custom chopped to account for the extra thickness of the pad (I wanted it to still be the normal 18″ from the floor to top of pad). Did it cost a few bucks? Sure, but I’ll never need to buy a bench or pad again.

Thompson Fat Pad mounted on a custom cut Rogue Monster Utility Bench

Thompson Fat Pad mounted on a custom cut Rogue Monster Utility Bench

The pad itself retails for $155 when not purchased alongside a Rogue frame, and it is worth every cent if you not only love the bench press, but you want to maximize power and safety while benching – and who doesn’t want that, right? When it comes down to it the Fat Pad is an all-around great product, and it is becoming commonplace despite its higher cost simply because there is no better pad on the market. Not a single decent alternative.

The Fat Pad Creator

For those who don’t know, the Fat Pad was created by powerlifting legend and equipment innovator, Donnie Thompson. Donnie is the first human being to total 3000 pounds. He has eight all-time World Records in powerlifting including three bench press records, two squat records, and three Total records. In addition to developing the Fat Pad, Donnie has created many other training tools and implements including the Thompson Fatbells, the Bowtie, and the X-Wife. In other words, he’s an active participant in and a contributor to the powerlifting industry and community.

The Titan Fat Pad

The Titan "Hefty Pad" bench pad

Enter the “Hefty Bench Pad“, an imported knock-off of the Donnie Thompson Fat Pad made by none other than Titan Fitness; the masters of riding coattails. The Hefty Bench Pad has dimensions that are modeled completely off of Donnie’s Fat Pad. Not a single dimension is off by even by a fraction of an inch. The location & spacing of the mounting holes are even identical. Most interesting to me is that the Titan pad comes in packaging that’s labeled “Fat Pad”, not “Hefty Pad”, which definitely closes the door on any argument that the Titan isn’t a clone (not that there was any doubt anyway).

Box Label for the Titan "Hefty Pad"

We all know that Titan has made an awfully good business out of reverse engineering every single profitable fitness product out there (most of which are stolen from Rogue) and having them made with cheap materials and for low wages in China, so it’s not surprising at all that the popular Thompson Fat Pad was also “borrowed”.

Obviously arguing the ethics of Titan’s business model is more or less pointless to do here, so I won’t go there. All that’s left is to ask whether or not the Titan Fat Pad is just as good of a product as the Thompson Fat Pad. Are they equal products? Is Rogue too expensive or is Titan just offering up junk? Are you sacrificing anything by going with the knock-off?

In my opinion; having both pads in front of me; the answer is clear: the Thompson Fat Pad is a far superior product. Yes you save some money by buying the Titan Fat Pad, but you’re sacrificing performance and not getting the full benefit of this over-sized pad. Here’s why.

One of the best features of the Thompson Fat Pad is the special, grippy vinyl. Aside from it being extremely durable, it has thousands of tiny textured particles that completely prevent the lifter from slipping and sliding down the bench. Once you get set into your final position, you’re not going anywhere. Whether you do a single max-effort rep or heavy sets of 12 with a Sling Shot, you’ll end the set where you started. This is an important feature of this pad.

Gripper vinyl of the Donnie Thompson Fat Pad - prevents any sliding around whatsoever

Gripper vinyl of the Donnie Thompson Fat Pad – prevents any sliding around whatsoever

Titan’s pad is nothing more than a standard, cheap bench pad that’s designed to mimic the dimensions as the Thompson Fat Pad; that’s all. The vinyl on the Titan is no different than what you’d find on a $40 bench from Amazon or in a chain store. It is thin, slick, and cheap. You get the extra surface area from the larger dimensions, but that alone doesn’t make it a Thompson Fat Pad.

Standard, lightweight black vinyl - very thin with no texture, so very slippery

The vinyl of the Titan Fat Pad is thin, lightweight, and has no texture whatsoever. You will slide.

Now the foam padding used for the Titan Fat Pad is actually more firm than I expected it to be, but without the thicker, high-quality vinyl the overall feel still leaves much to be desired. The combination of that thicker vinyl and the way the vinyl is sewn into well-defined edges with the Thompson Pad makes the outer edges of the pad seem firmer as well. Now maybe if you’ve never benched on a Thompson Fat Pad you wouldn’t know what you were missing out on, but that’s hardly a good reason to settle for less.

Finally, because of the thin vinyl and low-cost workmanship, I suspect that the Titan pad will age and fall apart more like a cheap bench pad. I haven’t had the Titan pad long enough to see this wear and tear yet, and I most certainly won’t be keeping this pad to witness this in the future, but that is my assumption nonetheless. It just has that cheap feel to it.

In other words, these products are only identical when viewed as spec sheets. They are no more alike than the Bomba and the California Bar are alike.

Titan vs Thompson – Review Summary

The Thompson Fat Pad is a superior product by more than just a small margin. The quality of the American-made Thompson Fat Pad is just obvious in many ways: the use of a thick, premium vinyl cover, the precise way in which that vinyl is cut, shaped, and stitched around the pad, and in the overall feel of the pad when in use. Even if you are willing to forgive the Titan for its use of cheap vinyl, there is still the issue of the gripping effect of the Thompson vinyl that you are giving up by going with Titan. Again, this is a crucial feature.

I’m all about saving money when possible but I see no point in replacing your current bench pad for any amount of money if it’s not actually an upgrade, and the Titan Hefty Pad is not much of an upgrade. My suggestion is to either buy the Thompson Fat Pad or just stick with what you currently have. If it just kills you to pay more than you hoped to maybe it will make you feel better to know that by buying the Thompson you’re putting food in the mouth of the guy who invented it, not the company and Chinese factory that ripped it off.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the Thompson Fat Pad can be had as an upgrade to the normal pad of the Monster Utility Bench by paying only $30. You get the beefiest frame on the market and the best pad for under $300. How much did you spend on your last phone?

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{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Nick November 28, 2017, 6:52 pm

    Very Anti-Titan.

    You hate the pad vinyl on this bench, yet it looks to be the same as on the Rep Fitness bench and you had no problem with that.

    “The 2½” foam padding is firm yet comfortable. The vinyl pad cover is also comfortable and relatively grippy, but it could probably stand to be pulled a little tighter around the padding. It just seems like a looser fit than it should be. That’s whatever though. I have no real issues with the comfort level of the Rep Adjustable Bench.”

    • jburgeson November 28, 2017, 6:59 pm

      The Rep is grippier. They are not the same material.

      Also, you have to consider that the Titan Hefty Pad is supposed to emulate a very specific pad, whereas mediocre vinyl on an economy bench is not uncommon at all. Matter of fact, I even pointed out how uncommon it is for a manufacturer to deliberately use a grippy material. If I were to review say that $100 basic Titan bench, I wouldn’t raise a stink about the pad grip because expectations wouldn’t be very high. I might even say exactly what I said about the Rep bench assuming it was equally firm and grippy. But since this product copies a very specific product and failed to do a good job doing that, it needed to be mentioned.

      That being said, no I’m not a huge fan of Titan. The comments are still very real though.

      • Ryan December 1, 2017, 12:32 pm

        I believe we chatted about any other competitors besides rogue’s fat pad a few weeks ago. Needless to say, I bit the bullet and went with the the Rogue Customized Utility Bench Frame and Thompson Fat Pad over the Titan about 1.5 weeks ago. It was a bit more (about $300, after the fat pad upcharge and custom frame mod), but I can’t wait to try it.

        Another interesting thing to mention – Titan had a few reviews of the fat pad bench on their site. One was not so flattering…basically saying that you shouldn’t buy it unless you absolutely can’t afford the real thing. Needless to say, that review “disappeared” less than 24 hours after I first saw it. That was the final “nail in the coffin” for me on which way I was going to go.

        The only other comment is regarding Rogue’s cost to have the pad retrofitted so that its height meets IPF regs (17-18″, I believe). I’m at a bit of a loss as to why anyone would want to buy the fat pad, but at an unorthodox height of 20″ or more above the floor. The standard height with the fat pad should be the base option on their site. It was a bit unnerving to know I had to pay $42 and change for some steel cuts to be made.

        Thanks again for your site. It is refreshingly honest.

        • jburgeson December 1, 2017, 12:50 pm

          I remember that review. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a negative or even average review go missing, and it’s not just Titan that does that. Some companies both delete the bad AND write their own positives. Actually it’s refreshing that someone else noticed because it validates what I’m generally not allowed to talk about. It’s tough to prove stuff like that after the fact, so throwing around those accusations can be dangerous for me since I technically have a “platform”, you know?

          Anyway yeah, I read all the Hefty Pad reviews both on their site an on Amazon before I even ordered mine to try out and I too saw that same review. Far as I know they cannot remove reviews from Amazon at least.

          I do agree with you though – the Monster Bench with Fat Pad outta be its own product with the shorter legs by default. All that metalwork is done in house at Rogue. Not a bit of that bench is imported, so it wouldn’t be an ordeal at all to do it that way. Hell technically it uses less steel so would be less costly to make for the same price. Who knows, maybe that’s coming, or maybe having this conversation will lead to that. The fact is that the Thompson on that frame is like literally the last bench you’ll ever buy. The extra $40 sucks, but it’s worth it since the alternative is, well either chopping it yourself or nothing.

          • Ryan December 4, 2017, 12:32 pm

            I heard that Rep Fitness may be coming out with wide pad bench to compete with Rogue as well. I know they’ve had very competitive prices and I’ve also heard good things about their quality. It will be interesting to see if and when that happens what the price point is, as well as the overall feel and workmanship compared to the Thompson Fat Pad.

            Still waiting on the delivery…they told me 4-8 weeks, which seem like a long time to make a retrofit worth $42. Regardless, it’s not as if I had other options.

            Thanks again.

            • jburgeson December 4, 2017, 3:49 pm

              Rep has come up some over the years. They are more on my radar now than they were in the past. It’s all still Chinese stuff but they are making an effort to control what they have produced. I may check out their pad if they do one so long as they put some money into the exterior vinyl. I won’t bother if it’s just another Titan-style pad.

              I only waited a few weeks for my custom bench, but they quoted me long time like you. Not quite 8-weeks, but it is that time of year. Yours will probably take a little longer.

              • Brent December 11, 2017, 10:03 am

                Rep Fitness posted on Reddit that they’re working on a flat bench that’s compatible with the original Fat Pad.

                I sent an email to them inquiring if their flat bench would support a fat pad and this was their response:

                “On our current flat bench, no. We have a new model in production now which will be compatible with that pad– 3×3″ 11 gauge with a 3 foot design. We plan to have those in stock by the middle of January.”
                -Ryan

                • jburgeson December 11, 2017, 10:39 am

                  So they are moving the mounting holes on their frame so that they are a match with Rogue’s? I assume a comparably sized pad is coming as well. Did they mention any adjustments to frame height?

                  • Brent December 11, 2017, 11:44 am

                    they did not mention any type of adjustment to the frame. From what I remember reading on reddit, it will be compatible with the Thompson Fat pad, but it did not state the height of the bench nor did it state if it was a new bench or modification of an existing bench…

          • Dorian December 12, 2017, 4:56 pm

            There is no way anyone would call me Anti-Titan. I have and use what they now call the T-3 rack, at least five of their accessories to the rack, and at least a few other products (9 bar holder, weight tree, etc.). I write only to confirm something else they do that is related to removing negative reviews: simply not posting critical reviews. I’ve given a few of Titan’s products positive reviews on their website and those reviews are there. I’ve also submitted fair, but critical, reviews that were not posted on their website. Nothing I said in the reviews was inflammatory, and with the bad I also noted the good, so there was no justification for not posting. It definitely diminished my view of their company – although not to the point I’ve stopped buying stuff from them.

  • Billy December 8, 2017, 5:28 pm

    Have you checked out the new Rogue Competition Fat Pad that was just launched? Appears to be based on the Thompson, but not as wide (still wider than a standard bench though, as far as I can tell)

    • jburgeson December 8, 2017, 6:27 pm

      It is still a Thompson, just brought back to 12″ wide instead of 14.5″ so that it can be used legally in meets. It’s the same product otherwise so it’s unlikely that I’ll buy one having covered the original twice now.

      Keep in mind that both pads need to be installed onto a frame that keeps the height within IPF limits (or whatever organization event it’s being used in). That is, on standard bench frames the top of the Thompson pads are ~20 inches off the ground, which is too high.

      I think the new Comp version is just as good as the original for most people. The original’s 14.5″ width is fine for all but the smallest frames, but the 12″ will still support the shoulders of an average sized guy. Only the biggest and widest of guys will get extra shoulder support from the original’s 14.5″ width. But to be fair I’m tall and fairly broad shouldered, and I noticed a huge difference going from a 12″ pad to 14.5″ pad. I’d never go back to 12″ for flat benching but I do not compete. If I did, it would be in my best interest to work with a 12″ pad at least in the time leading up to a meet as to not be uncomfortable with regulation-sized equipment.

  • Rep Fitness December 12, 2017, 9:03 pm

    Look out! Rep Fitness is releasing their FB-5000 with grippier vinyl cover, and proper height so no customization required. Both a 14.75″ pad and a 12″ pad are coming too, so you’ll have two options. I think it’ll beat both options reviewed here. Having said that, we enjoy reading your reviews and we hope to keep coming out with gear that impresses. If you want, we’ll send you one and you can compare all 3.

    • jburgeson December 12, 2017, 10:43 pm

      I’m anxious to see that Shane, and I’d be more than happy to add you to the comparison mix.

  • Mussa Mohkami February 19, 2018, 5:08 pm

    Fantastic Review unfortunately Rogue These greedy bastards wont sell this genius product in Europe and i happen to live in good old Germany…

    • jburgeson February 19, 2018, 7:35 pm

      I wish I could help you, but I hold no power over the beast. You gotta tell them you want it on Rogue EU – demand it. How else they gonna know to offer it? =)

  • Rob March 14, 2018, 6:31 pm

    Hey John,
    I know that you are not a fan of the Titan Pad and that you have made it clear that the Thompson Pad is far superior in every way. My question was about the Titan frame that come with the pad. How would you rate it’s construction? From your side by side comparison pic, it appears to be the exact same height as your custom cut Rogue Monster Bench. In your estimation is the frame sturdy and would it be a viable option to mount the Thompson Pad on for those who may be disappointed with the Titan Pad and now are willing to spring for the original? Thanks

    • jburgeson March 14, 2018, 7:31 pm

      I just bought the pad – I had no desire to own the frame.

      I’d buy the Rep frame that was designed for Fat Pads – it puts the pad at the proper height of 17.5″ rather than closer to 20″. It’s due back in stock this month from what I understand.

  • The truth about this article April 16, 2018, 9:06 pm

    This article reeks of snobbery and discrimination. The author never even tries the Titan hefty pad, so how can he write a fair review? I have never used the Thompson fat pad, but I did but the Titan pad. It works great, and arrived in great condition. It is heavy and solid, and the pad is of perfect density. I have noticed NO slide, and if I ever do, I’ll put a sheet of cabinet liner over it. It serves its purpose, as in no shoulder pain. Do not hesitate to buy this bench. The Rogue snobs can suck it. I’m into saving money, have a personal gym, and this is an amazing value. I have no interest in pleasing clients or caring about a piece of chipped paint. The Rogue bench with thompson pad, including shipping, is a rip off when compared to the Titan. Rogue is obviously greedy, and this bench is proof.

    • jburgeson April 16, 2018, 9:37 pm

      First of all, don’t get on here with an attitude. Your feedback is welcome, but your attitude is not.

      Second, I very well did try this pad. Paid for it, received it, mounted it, tested it, and decided that compared to the Thompson (the pad YOU have never actually used) that it’s a piece of garbage.

      You, my friend, are absolutely entitled to use Titan equipment, love it, preach about it, tell all your friends about it, and all that jazz… and those of us who take pride in our equipment (us snobs, as you put it) can use Rogue (or now Rep; who managed to actually copy the Fat Pad vinyl successfully – for less). WE obviously don’t feel like we’re being ripped off, but WE also don’t have to place kitchenware on our benches.

      If you ever see or touch a Thompson, you’ll see the difference. You’ll see that Thompson owners have a $150 pad that will last two lifetimes. Titan customers will replace that $50 every two years (assuming they actually use it). Who really got ripped off?

      • Big Jer April 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

        I see my last retort was declined. There is no proof that the Titan pad will only last 2 years. And there is no sliding, so what’s the point in spending 100+ dollars on something that grips better? Plus the bench is already cut down (the Rogue bench is not low enough), and the REP pad was recalled due to bwing wobbly. So who got ripped off?

        • jburgeson April 17, 2018, 4:29 pm

          Honestly man, this isn’t Reddit. I told you that your feedback is welcome and attitude is not, and you definitely have an attitude. You’re not even offering constructive feedback, you’re obviously just as biased as you think that I am. I let you hate and tell people to suck it in your first post, but I’m not going to keep approving that.

          Aside from that, you admittedly have no experience with the Rogue Thompson pad(s) or the Rep pads (the one with the issues wasn’t even the real pad btw), so you don’t even have any way to compare these pads. I have Rogue’s, Titan’s, and Rep’s new gripper pad. When the new 14½” Rep pad is released I’ll have that one too. Fact is, the Titan is the worst of the three and by a massive margin. I recommend you search Reddit, Instagram, and the bodybuilding forums for all of the safety recalls from Titan lately. Look for broken J-cups, safety straps, weld failures, and so on.

          Yes, the Rogue pad is expensive, but it’s also the best one. The new Rep pads are a perfectly reasonable, inexpensive alternative (as is the new $139 flat bench that’s cut down already). Fact is, I’m all about representing safe, high-performance products over the cheap, unreliable, and potentially dangerous brands.

          • Big J April 18, 2018, 10:34 pm

            I think you have me misunderstood. There is no attitude. I’m simply trying to help people, who like myself, may be mislead by this review. The hefty bench is in NO WAY a piece of “kitchenware”. And the price cannot be beat by anything similar at present. Maybe rep will make something workable that beats Titan’s price, but it hasn’t successfully done so yet. As for Titan products in general, I own about 8 different items from them (husafell stone, bumper plate tree, bumper plates, viking press handle, gravity boots, bar jack, axle bar, etc) and while some of the welds might not look perfect, I am not worried about any of them breaking on me. I’m not telling anyone to “suck it”. I’m just making an honest review and assessment of something publicly posted on the Internet.

            • jburgeson April 18, 2018, 11:28 pm

              Fine, everyone is now warned.

              Next time you comment on a review of mine to tell me my analysis is incorrect or misleading, make sure you’ve actually used the products in question (like I have). I don’t have time to point out how ridiculous it is to argue against something you’ve never seen or used, or to engage you on this matter any longer. Come back when you’ve tried the Thompson.

              • Big Jer April 19, 2018, 12:08 pm

                Maybe I will try the Thompson Fat Pad one day. But for now, I’m perfectly content and believe that the Hefty Pad serves its purpose well. No shoulder pain today after doing heavy bench and flies last night. I never slid once.

  • peter t mullen December 8, 2018, 1:36 pm

    anything thats wider than the commercial shit benches i use would be great imo. love to try a real width bench and have stable pain free shoulders.. omg that would be great…12 incesh…..is fine…

    • Big Jer December 8, 2018, 3:48 pm

      The pad is STILL great on the shoulders. Mine is still functioning perfectly with no damage yet. Keep in mind, Titan released a version 2 of the fat pad which is supposed to have grippy vinyl. I have thought about upgrading, but honestly see no point in it.

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