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Quick Review of the Rep Fitness 14″ Wide Pad

Review of the Rep Fitness Wide Pad for the FB-5000 Competition Bench

As popular as the new Rep FB-5000 Competition Bench is and as many questions as I get on both the frame and the pads, it seemed negligent of me to not get the new 14″ Rep Wide Pad in front of me for a review as well. So I did, and this is that review.

In this semi-short follow-up review I will compare the new Rep Wide Pad to the default 12″ Rep Thick Pad and the Thompson Fat Pad, and also tell you why Titan’s Hefty Pad should be 100% off of your radar now (if it wasn’t already).

If you’d like to read my review for the actual FB-5000 Bench or get more information on the 12″ pad, you can read that article here.


Rep Wide Pad Review – Specifications

Rep Fitness Wide Pad mounted on the Rep FB-5000

  • dimensions: 48.5″ long x 14″ wide x 4″ thick
  • 17″ total height on FB-5000 frame (19″ on FB-3000)
  • features same grippy vinyl as 12″ FB-5000 pad
  • features a multitude of installation holes for different frame styles
  • compatible with Rogue frames, of course
  • sold separately (no frame included)
  • price: $50 + shipping

Rep Wide Pad vs Standard Thick Pad

There are only two major differences that I can spot between the new Rep Wide Pad and the 12″ pad that is included by default with the FB-5000 frame.

The first is the size of the pad. The default pad is 48″ long by 12″ wide, while the Wide Pad is 48½” long and 14″ wide. The difference in length is insignificant really, so all that matters really is that the Wide Pad is 2″ wider.

Size difference between Rep's 12" FB-5000 Pad and the new 14" Wide Pad

The second difference is the amount of mounting holes on the underside of the pad. There are more options that allow for installation on a variety of bench frames – including the Rep FB-3000 Bench.

Mounting / Installation holes on the Rep Fitness Wide Pad (yes it's still Rogue frame compatible)

Other that that the pads are the same. Same overall design and construction, same grippy vinyl, same color, and so forth.

Close of up Rep Fitness' Wide Pad stitching and grippy vinyl

In case you’re not already familiar with the benefit of these wider pads, I’ll just briefly remind everyone that what we gain is much improved shoulder and back positioning, and improved leverages. Wider pads prevent our shoulders from hanging over the edge of the pad; which greatly reduces the risk of shoulder injury from benching.

Wide, dense pads are just a more stable base for heavy bench presses; they just feel better in every way. I’ve never heard of anyone going back to a 10-12″ pad after pressing on a 14″ bench pad. You probably won’t either.


Rep Wide Pad vs Thompson Fat Pad

The specifications for the Thompson Fat Pad are slightly different from the specs of the Rep Wide Pad. I’ll break it down.

Rep FB-5000 with Wide Pad next to a "shorty" Monster Utility Bench with Thompson Fat Pad

The Thompson Fat Pad has a length of 50″ versus 48.5″; a width of 14.5″ versus 14″; and a thickness of 4.5″ versus 4″. The Thompson Fat Pad also feels just a hint more dense to me, but I almost think that this feeling has more to do with how tight Rogue managed to get their extra thick vinyl around the padding. It’s super tight, and I assume that this tightness makes the deformation of the foam under load less likely. The foam just has no where to go without any slack in the vinyl.

Speaking of vinyl, Rogue and Rep use different patterns on their grippy vinyl covering, but I find them to be equally effective in terms of their ability to stick us to the pad. They are both miles ahead of the standard (slick) vinyl used for other bench pads.

Rogue's "grabber" vinyl up close

Rep Fitness' grippy vinyl up close

So yes, the Thompson is a bit more pad in that it is bigger and tighter than any other pad in the world, but it’s also more expensive; a lot more expensive. Matter of fact, the Thompson Fat Pad is over 300% more expensive than Rep’s Wide Pad (at $155 vs $50), and this price difference is noteworthy because even though the Thompson Fat Pad is technically a better pad, I don’t think that most people will find it to be 300% better.

Of course, the prices that I just mentioned are for those who are looking to buy only the pad to add to an existing frame. If you’re buying the frame and pad together, the price difference is not as significant…

In order to get your hands on the Rep Wide Pad and the FB-5000 bench frame you need to buy both ($149 + $50 + shipping). In order to get your hands on the Thompson Fat Pad and the Monster Utility Bench (the shorty version) you’re looking at $295 + shipping. This is only a 50% price increase versus the 300% price increase to upgrade just your pad.

Now there are some perks to going the Rep route besides the fact that you are still saving about $100, and they include the following:

  • you will own two pads that you can swap out as/if needed (12″ and 14″)
  • the FB-5000 frame is a tripod frame that doesn’t interfere with foot placement
  • the FB-5000 is easier to move around your gym (wheels and handle)
  • the FB-5000 frame is 1/2″ shorter (the 17″ height is great)

I believe the Thompson Fat Pad is a great pad, and since I already own it I’ll probably keep using it as my primary pad (which I actually have attached to the FB-5000 despite owning a shorty Monster Bench.) The question is this though… if I had no frame and no fat/wide pad; knowing what I know now; would I buy the Thompson again or would I go with Rep?

Rep FB-5000 with the Thompson Fat Pad

Rep FB-5000 Competition bench with the Thompson Fat Pad

If money is of no object I’d favor the Rep FB-5000 frame with the Thompson Fat Pad.  This is an expensive combo ($305 before any shipping, and you pay shipping at two merchants) that leaves you with an extra pad, but I think it’s ideal. If budget is a concern (as I am sure it is for most) I’m going FB-5000 with the Wide Pad in pretty much all circumstances. This is a $200 build, and shipping is combined since it’s all from the same merchant.

Rep Fitness FB-5000 Competition bench with new 14" Rep Wide Pad

At the end of the day though, the important thing is that both of these pads are grippy, both are bigger than a 10″ or 12″ pad, and both offer way more density and support than most of the standard bench options. I think the Thompson is a slightly nicer pad, and I think the Rep frame is a better option than the Monster frame, but however you build yours out using Rep and/or Rogue parts, you’re going to have a bad ass bench.


Goodbye Titan Hefty Pad (again)

The Hefty Pad is Titan’s attempt to emulate the Thompson Fat Pad, and if you take a quick enough glance at the Hefty Pad’s product description you might find yourself believing that it actually is a comparable pad. Comparable, while even being less than half the price!

As it turns out, aside from having the same approximate pad dimensions there are really no other similarities between the Hefty Pad and the Thompson Fat Pad. The Thompson Pad is wide, thick, dense, supportive, grippy, and built to last. The Hefty Pad, however, is definitely wide like a Thompson, but it’s also soft, slick, and not built to last. The Titan is cheap, it has no grippy vinyl (a key feature of the Thompson), and just isn’t worth the $70 price tag.

The Titan Hefty Pad is a total non-contender in the "fat pad" market. It's slick, soft, and just plain cheap

I get wanting to save the $85 if at all possible, but the problem is that you’re just not actually getting a product that’s similar to the product that you really want. You aren’t actually getting an alternative to the Thompson Fat Pad by purchasing the Hefty Pad. It’s apples & oranges.

Fortunately none of this matters anymore because Rep Fitness actually did a decent job of emulating the Thompson Fat Pad. Their Wide Pad is not only less expensive than the Titan ($50 vs $70), but you actually get a dense and supportive foam and grippy vinyl to go along with the over-sized dimensions. For your $50 you can actually get a viable alternative to the Donnie Thompson Fat Pad, not something that just kind of looks like a Fat Pad.

Purchasing a Titan Hefty Pad over the Thompson was always silly in my opinion, but before Rep offered their Wide Pad it was the only “alternative” to the Thompson, and many of folks who were short on cash picked up the Hefty hoping it would suffice. Thankfully this decision never needs to be made by anyone ever again, because if you cannot afford the Thompson Fat Pad but you can afford the Hefty Pad, then you can definitely afford the far superior Rep Wide Pad.

So good riddance, Hefty Pad.


Rep Wide Pad Review Summary

When it comes down to my overall opinion of the Wide Pad I really have nothing negative to say about it; especially considering that it’s only $50!  It’s essentially the definition of a steal when you consider not only what a Thompson sells for, but the fact that garage gym owners have been spending $20 more on the inferior Titan Hefty Pad for a year now. The Wide Pad is infinitely better than the Titan pad and only marginally less amazing than the Rogue while being just one-third of the cost. What’s not to like about that?

That said, the Wide Pad is not American made like the Thompson, and it lacks some of the above-and-beyond refinements of the Thompson. It’s still an outstanding bench pad though. It has the dimensions that are needed to improve your positioning and leverages, it has the density required to support a lot of weight, and it has the grippy vinyl to keep us stuck to the bench during heavy presses.

You’re certainly welcome to split hairs and buy a Thompson Fat Pad if you’re not concerned with money; it is an incredible pad; but the Rep Wide Pad is still all that is needed to get the job done. In other words, I like them both and I suggest that you buy what you can afford. If that’s the less-expensive Rep pad, don’t fret about it. It’s still a great pad and a great value.


 

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Isaac Carrillo July 2, 2018, 5:42 pm

    I was wondering if I already have a frame could I just drill new holes in the rep pad? or new holes so it can fit that pad? because $50 is a steal

    and would this be okay for a novice still? Not competing just wanting to get stronger

    • jburgeson July 6, 2018, 8:30 am

      I somehow overlooked this, Isaac. I apologize.

      First yes, wide pads are great for everyone in my opinion. They truly are shoulder savers. I don’t think there is any minimum bench press requirement needed to own a wide/fat pad.

      Normally the plywood of a bench has something like a T-Nut on the backside of the board, and these are put in before the board is padded and upholstered. I put a link to what I’m talking about below (I don’t know exactly what they use for the bench but it’s this kind of hardware – usually gets hammered into a pre-drilled hole with spikes to that it can’t spin).

      (https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-3-8-in-16-tpi-Coarse-Zinc-Plated-Steel-Tee-Nut-2-per-Pack-802321/204274196)

      You’d want to get these onto your board somehow where ever you want new holes, but like I said they install from the backside and that would require disassembling the upholstery. If you drill directly into the board with just long, short screws or something, it may hold for a while but over time I’m willing to bet it will start to loosen if you don’t treat the whole thing with kid gloves.

      It can be done. People have done it with the Thompson to install it on comp benches, but at a certain point and with basic frames it becomes easier to replace the frame rather than put all that time and energy into disassembling and rebuilding the pad. A comp frame can cost a grand or more so getting a Thompson on there is worth the effort, but probably not so much on an inexpensive utility frame… if that makes sense.

      • Isaac July 6, 2018, 4:11 pm

        No it does make sense, I think I’m save up for the rep bench flat, and add it as an add on! or just weld a new bench frame to the dimensions save me $115.

  • Paul McFarling August 11, 2018, 6:25 am

    Is there any way you could tell me the spacing of the holes on the back?

    • jburgeson August 11, 2018, 9:47 am

      For the default holes for Rogue benches? or all of them?

      • Paul McFarling August 11, 2018, 10:46 am

        All of them would be nice. Modifying my benches to fit but the pads won’t be here for a week. Also, are the bolts 5/16 or 3/8?

        • jburgeson August 11, 2018, 10:50 am

          The outside set of holes is 32″ apart (this is what Rogue/Rep are using), the inner pair is 27″ apart (for Rep’s economy bench), and there is a pair dead center. All of these are about 5.5″ apart (the width).

          • Paul McFarling August 11, 2018, 11:11 am

            Thanks!

  • Mauricio Mendoza August 25, 2018, 9:46 am

    Hi, I am a 50 years old retired (by now) competitive powerlifter with VERY SERIOUSLY INJURED shoulders. I am going to buy the rep fitness 5000 bench. I always was interested in buying a thompson fat pad, but also have my concerns as I am small, (145 pounds). Do you think the 12″pad would be enough for me and the 14″ too much? or still recomend the 14″ pad?.
    Thank you!

  • Mauricio Mendoza August 25, 2018, 9:53 am

    I forget to say I am planning a comeback to the platform, and as you know the bench specs for a bench in IPF are 12″, so I am afraid the 14″ could act as a disadvantage? But also I am not competing a lot. Maybe twice a year.

    Thank you again from Mexico!

    • jburgeson August 25, 2018, 11:28 am

      I know a number of guys around your weight and many shorter fellas who still love the 14″ pad. I don’t think it’s going to be too wide for anyone except for maybe a <100-pound youth. Keep in mind that you get the 12" pad with the frame so a month out from a competition you could swap back to the 12" from the 14" if that's a concern. It is a different experience (14 vs 12) but I think you'd completely benefit from doing the majority of your training on a more supportive, shoulder-friendly pad.

      • Mauricio Mendoza August 26, 2018, 11:27 pm

        This is a solid argument.
        Thank you again!

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