Refurbish AB Hyper Bench

In previous posts, I covered how to refurbish a bench and how to reinforce a bench. This is going to be similar to the former, in that I’ll be doing some refurbishing work. I happened across this piece of equipment when someone along my commute was discarding it. There was nothing functionally wrong with it, though I did discover it was not in usable condition.

Ab Hyper Bench

Ab Hyper Bench

I brought it home and disassembled it. Upon doing so, I discovered that the wood had rotted and the padding was moldy. I kept the pieces around just long enough to make a template, then promptly discarded them. For as bad as the wood and padding were, the vinyl coverings and metal frame were in good condition.



Since the vinyl was black and didn’t need to be replaced, I decided to change the color of the framework to Garage Gym’s signature fluorescent orange. In retrospect, I should have put a light-colored primer on first. This would have reduced the amount of orange paint I needed to apply, and would have improved the finish. Regardless, it’s orange now!

Garage Gym Orange

Garage Gym Orange

I cut new pieces of wood from the measurements of the old ones, taking extra care to get the Tee nuts in the right locations for reassembly. Next, I layered pieces of carpet foam from a previous project onto the pieces of wood, stapling them into place. Finally, I carefully replaced the vinyl covering and secured it with staples.

Refurbished Upholstery

Refurbished Upholstery

With orange framework and freshly cleaned up benches, I reassembled the entire bench. The end result, as per usual, is a nice piece of equipment for significantly less than the retail price!

Finished Ab Hyper Bench

Finished Ab Hyper Bench

Have you refurbished used equipment? Let us know about it in the comments or over on the facebook page.


Refurbish a Bench

“Since we all want big chesticles, we have to put some pec in it, ok? Chesticles are why we bench press, after all!”

-Mark Rippetoe

The first step in refurbishing a bench is to actually acquire one. Quite frequently, a bench could be picked up along with a barbell and some plates via Craigslist or a garage sale. I have one from each of those, and a third that I acquired when purchasing my current house.

bench before

Bench (Before)

You don’t need to worry about what condition the upholstery (typically vinyl, and often cracked or torn) is in. Check the structural parts of the bench, and understand that the bench will need to hold your weight, plus all the weight that you put on the bar. When benching properly, the vast majority of that weight will be focused on the area where your upper back comes in contact with the bench.

Step two is to tear everything apart. Pull off the upholstery and inspect the structure of the bench. My bench had a label stating the load limits, which I found to be quite helpful.

bench disassembly

Bench Disassembly

bench label

Bench Label

bench fully disassembled

Bench Fully Disassembled

If it needs it or you’d like to do it, this is a great time to prime and paint the bench. Wipe down all of the pieces so the primer doesn’t cause dirt or dust to stick. Apply the primer, and use a second coat if necessary. After the primer has dried (I waited a full day between coats of primer and coats of paint), spray on the paint color of your choice. I went with a matte black color to match my Rogue rack.

add primer

Add Primer

add paint

Add Paint

While I had everything disassembled, I gathered all the bolts and took them to the hardware store. The bolts that were on the bench were black, and I wanted to replace them with traditional hardware to match with the rack. Be sure to match threads where applicable.


Old Bolts and New Bolts

With the painted parts and the fresh bolts, begin reassembly of the bench. If the bench is made of particle board or if it’s not of sufficiently-sturdy construction, remove it. On a different bench, I replaced an old, worn out particle board bench with a new board, which significantly improved its strength and stability. Most quality benches are 12 inches wide, with some over-sized benches reaching as high as 14 inches.

bench reassembly

Bench Reassembly

Most benches have thin, feeble foam cushioning. Here is your opportunity to customize the compression of your bench. Some like a big plush cushion, while others prefer a firmer surface. Either way, make sure it’s stable and allows you to establish a solid base from which to bench. Most fabric and craft stores carry a variety of upholstery foams.

With the foam cut to shape, it’s time to add fabric. My favorite color is orange, so I got a couple yards of heavy weight (essentially denim) fabric from the fabric shop. Wrap the fabric over the bench, and cut it roughly to size. Start by stapling one of the long sides of the fabric to the underside of the bench. Pull the other side over the bench so it’s taught (not so tight that it compresses the cushion), and staple along the other side. Finish by stapling the ends of the fabric to the head and foot of the bench.

fabric stapled to bench

Fabric Stapled to Bench

To protect the knurling on the bar, I added some “grippers.” These grippers are a piece of rubber with an adhesive backing, meant for preventing furniture from sliding on smooth floors.



grippers installed to protect knurling

Grippers Installed to Protect Knurling

Your bench is now complete. Load up the bar and get pressing!

bench after

Bench (After)

As usual, post comments, questions or feedback to the comments.