Freak Athlete Nordic Mini Review – Best Budget Nordic Bench?

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Nordic Mini Review Summary

Freak Athlete Essentials Nordic Mini

The FAE Nordic Mini was the first product to make Nordic hamstring curls not only affordable, but also super easy to do from the comfort of your own home.

Our Rating:

The Good

Extremely portable and compact, perfect for any home gym.

High quality materials make this bench a joy to use.

The new screwable loading bar makes storing the bench vertically possible.

Footplate and ankle locking are top notch, helping you get the “perfect rep.”

Extremely good price!

The Bad

Some athletes may need to add a weight plate on the back as a counterbalance.

Recommended For

The FAE Nordic Mini is the perfect Nordic bench for anyone needing a low-profile, portable, compact bench to do Nordic curls at home at an amazingly cheap price!

FAE Nordic Mini Review – How Did It Compare?

Almost nothing does it better than the Freak Athlete Essentials Nordic Mini when it comes to doing Nordic curls at home.

FAE Nordic Mini Bench

Nordic benches used to be super bulky and REALLY expensive, but the Nordic Mini has broken the barrier to accessible Nordic curling at home, providing a light-weight, portable, and affordable option for nearly everyone.

Let’s explore why the Nordic Mini ranked as one of our best Nordic benches of 2023, and how this ultra affordable bench will help you make some high-quality gains!

Perfect Nordic Bench For Knees Over Toes/ATG Training

FAE created the Nordic Mini specifically with knees over toes/ATG training in mind.

I stuffed my feet under a bed frame and put my knees on pillows to do Nordic curls for years due to the expensive price tag and massive size of Nordic benches in the past, but the Nordic Mini has been the perfect solution for me.

FAE has created an amazing bench that checks off everything you need to strengthen your hamstrings and bulletproof your knees!

Comfortable Foam Pad

The foam pad is thick and firm, providing a super comfortable surface to put your knees on – which is extremely important considering how much pressure goes through your knees with Nordic curls!

FAE Nordic Mini Foam Pad

I have fairly sensitive knees at the moment (slipping on ice never feels good) and it still feels fine to do Nordic curls on this pad, so I’m really impressed with how good the cushioning is.

The material covering the pad is strong and doesn’t seem to be easy to tear – I’d expect this to last quite a while without wearing down!

Large Footplate Increases Rep Quality

The footplate is one of my favourite features of the Nordic Mini…

FAE Nordic Mini Footplate

It provides extra stability and gives me something to push off of, which I found was missing in some other Nordic benches or when using a Nordic strap.

Your feet will fit on there no problem unless you have clown feet – I have a size 10 shoe and had more than enough room.

Adjustable Ankle Locking

The adjustable ankle lock is perfect for keeping your feet in place and helping you get that perfect rep, providing lots of adjustment no matter how big or small your calves are.

FAE Nordic Mini Ankle Locks

The padding is hard enough that your legs don’t sink in too much from the pressure of each rep, but soft enough to make it really comfortable.

The material also feels like it won’t soften up quickly or get permanent indents, making it ideal for long-term use.

Tiny Footprint – Ideal For Home Gyms

I have to pick-and-choose wisely what equipment I put in my humble apartment space, so the Nordic Mini has been a great fit (literally) for my home gym.

It serves its purpose perfectly, and gives me a hamstring workout like nothing else.

The Most Portable & Affordable Nordic Bench On The Market

The Nordic Mini may just claim the crown for the best mix of portability and affordability in a Nordic bench while keeping the quality high.

It’s got wheels at the front so you don’t have to pop a disc in your back every time you need to lift it to move it – rather just wheel it to wherever you want!

The Nordic Mini measures in at 38″ long and 18″ wide, and only weighs about 50lbs, making this low and compact design a portable mini beast!

It’s currently going for $250, making it the most affordable Nordic bench on the current market – and you can get an extra 10% off using our code A1ATHLETE!

What I Liked About The Nordic Mini

Let’s take a closer look at why this is one of the most popular Nordic benches on the market right now.

High-Quality Build

The Nordic Mini doesn’t compromise quality for a lower price tag.

The build feels super solid, and the materials are strong and can handle some intense Nordic curling.

FAE Nordic Mini Top View

It can handle users weighing up to 300lbs and 7 feet tall, so you can feel confident that it won’t fall apart on you.

Plenty Of Space For Regressions

The new bar upgrade is coming soon, but the Nordic Mini has plenty of room at the front of it for a box or exercise ball to use as regressions in the meantime.

This makes it super easy to modify the Nordic curl if you can’t do a full rep yet.

What I Didn’t Like About The Nordic Mini

There’s only one relatively small thing I’m not a huge fan of with the Nordic Mini…

Have To Add Plates For Counterbalance

The Nordic Mini has a bar attached to the back of the footplate where you can put weight to counterbalance yourself.

FAE Nordic Mini Loading Bar

FAE recommends loading up 45lbs on the bar for anyone weighing around 180lbs doing full reps, and loading up 90lbs for anyone weighing closer to 300lbs.

I’m about 165lbs and don’t put any weight on the bar, and I haven’t flipped the bench yet!

But I can understand how needing weight plates might turn off some larger athletes.

How Does The Nordic Mini Compare To Other Nordic Benches?

There’s some really great Nordic bench options these days, let’s see how the Nordic Mini stacks up against them!

TBG Nordic Weight Bench

Another awesome Nordic bench, the TBG Nordic Weight Bench is great for people wanting an easy way to regress the Nordic curl.

It pretty much acts like a regular adjustable weight bench but is designed to help you regress your Nordic curl from an upright position all the way down into a full rep.

It’s about the same price as the Nordic Mini, a bit less compact, and is a little bit more convenient for regressions right now – a great option as well if you’re wanting something a little more exercise-versatile.

TBG Nordic Back Extension

The TBG Nordic Back Extension Machine is a unique new-comer in the Nordic bench world, a hybrid between a Nordic bench and a back extension machine.

Nordic Back Extension Pics

It has a really cool design that not only lets you do Nordic curls, but also Nordic regressions AND back extensions by raising one of the adjustable pieces.

The Nordic Back Extension Machine pretty much eliminates the need to buy two separate pieces of equipment for Nordic curls and back extensions, giving you a great 2-in-1 product to crush your posterior chain.

It is quite a bit more expensive than the Nordic Mini, however, coming in at $650, although you can get $150 off using our discount code “A1ATHLETE“!

While an amazing product, it’s hard to overlook that (strictly for Nordic curling) the Nordic Mini does something very similar for half of the price – unless you’re wanting to do back extensions as well!

Who Should Use The Nordic Mini?

This is an amazing Nordic bench for anyone on a budget or working out in a tight space and wants to do knees over toes/ATG training on a comfortable, portable, and high-quality piece of equipment.

It’s also great for anyone needing to store the bench vertically in a closet or tight space, as the new screwable loading bar comes off easily and makes that super convenient.

What’s The Verdict?

The Nordic Mini crushes it for everything it’s made for: Nordic curls at an affordable price in an extremely compact package.

I’m very impressed with the quality you get at this price point, and I would crown this as the most portable Nordic bench out right now.

On top of an already solid price, remember to use code A1ATHLETE for an extra 10% off!

Eric Richter, MSPT

Eric Richter, MSPT

I'm Eric, a physiotherapist with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a Master’s degree in Physiotherapy from the University Of Manitoba. I have enjoyed the better part of a decade working with both amateur and professional athletes as a physical therapist.I've also worked as a strength and conditioning coach at an MMA gym!

Learn more about me...

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