Top 10 Rogue Weightlifting Power Racks in 2019

With roots back to imperial China and ancient Greece, weightlifting has long been established as a competitive sport.  The Chinese used weightlifting as a measure of strength for admittance to their armies, and in the first Olympic games, the Greeks used weightlifting to measure the strength of their men, and to improve their ability to compete.  

The basics of weightlifting are fairly unchanged from these early periods – lifting a heavy weight over your head.  While this has evolved, from lifting rocks and stones, to using high tech weightlifting bars and weight plates, the core concepts remain the same.  Let’s take a look at the two basic components in today’s weightlifting world.

First is the weightlifting bar, or barbell.  In its simplest form, it is a long metal pole, and weight plates of various sizes are slid onto the bar.  In today’s world, however, this is a complex, highly machined piece of steel, designed and engineered to support hundreds of pounds of weight, flex as it is picked up off the ground, and stress as it is dropped from height after the lift.  

Next are the plates.  Ancient Greek pictorials show men lifting large stones with holes cut in them as handholds.  These weights evolved into large bulbs which could be filled with sand or water to get to the desired weights.  Today, these plates are milled to tolerances in grams, and designed in conjunction with the barbells to produce a matched set to incredibly tight tolerance.  

Let’s look at a little more detail at how a weightlifting bar, or barbell, is set up.  Here’s an example:

Given this, the minimum equipment to become a weightlifter is quite simple – you need a weightlifting bar, and you need some weight plates.  Having these gives you access to an exercise to improve your strength, flexibility, muscle tone, and overall health. But there is another element beyond this, which can enhance your personal safety while lifting, give you access to more and different lifting moves, and enhance your overall weight lifting experience – a weightlifting power rack.

So, what is a power rack?  In general terms, it is a steel cage, which, at its basic level, has four upright, vertical bars, connected at the top and bottom with horizontal bars.  It has two basic functions – it acts as a rest, or holder, for your barbell as you start or end a specific lift. It also acts as a spotter if you work out alone – a way to stop the weight from falling, or pinning the lifter inside the rack – by having safety catches and spotter bars within the cage.

So what advantages are there with a weightlifting rack, that you don’t have with a bar and plates alone?  We will talk about this in more detail later, but there are some advantages. These include the ability to do different and additional types of lifts, adding body-weight pull-ups into your routine, and enhanced safety, if you work out alone.  

In this article, we will be reviewing ten different weightlifting power rack versions, all manufactured and/or distributed by Rogue Fitness.  We’ll also highlight the best features of these racks, their costs, and assign them an overall rating based on quality, value, and performance.

Fact Sheet – Product Comparison Table

This section of the article will take a quick, high level look at ten different power racks sold by Rogue Fitness.  They are presented in ratings order, high to low, as explained later in this document. Further on in the article, we will look into detail at each of the racks, and make some recommendations on which might be the best fit for the consumer.

Number Product Best Feature Price Range Rouge Rating
1 Rogue RE-4 Echo Rack A basic, beginner level rack, with many of the same features as more expensive racks $ 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
2 Rogue RM-6 Monster Rack 2.0 An absolute behemoth of a rack, featuring heavy-duty hardware and steel beam construction $$$$$ 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
3 Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack Not a floor rack, but a space-saving wall mount with many of the same features of a floor rack, without the space loss. $ 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
4 Rogue R-3 Power Rack Available in a standard or short version to accommodate ceiling heights.  Fairly small footprint; customization available. $$ 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
5 Rogue R-4 Power Rack A larger version of the R-3 rack, it has a larger footprint with greater inside depth. $$ 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
6 Rogue RML-490 Power Rack Reasonably compact footprint, well-suited for added customization. Nice safety features available. $$ 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
7 Rogue RM-390F Flat Foot Monster Rack  Another in the Monster series, many standard safety features, heavy duty steel and hardware. $$ 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
8 Rogue Bolt-Together R-3 Assembly required, but allows for easy maneuvering in small spaces.  Good standard features and customizable. $$ 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
9 Rogue RML-690C Power Rack Another Monster, fully compatible with the others. Large footprint for lots of lifting versatility. $$$$ 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
10 HR-2 Half Rack Conversion Kit Not a stand-alone rack, but a conversion kit for use with Rogue squat racks, expanding the versatility of the squat rack.   $$$$ 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Price range:

$ – <$500

$$ – $500 – $1000

$$$ – $1000 – $1500

$$$$ – $1500 – $2000

$$$$$ – >$2000

Prices are based on the standard configuration power rack, with no extra customization.  The Conversion Kit (#10 above) is $ by itself, but if you purchase one of the two compatible squat racks the total price moves into the $$ bracket.

Product-Buying Guide

There are three generally recognized levels of weightlifting – powerlifting, weightlifting, and weight training, also known as resistance training.

Powerlifting at competition level consists of two basic weight lifting techniques.  Each of them starts with the weight on the ground, so there are no benefits to the power lifter in using a rack, other than cross training with different lifting movements.  

Weightlifting normally consists of using heavier weights for repeated movements, until muscle failure is reached.  The purpose of weightlifting is muscle and strength development, and a weightlifting rack can assist with that. Weightlifting movements may consist of lifts such as the squat (weight across your shoulders, bending down to flex the knees, then driving up with the legs to return to the original position), bench press (laying on a weight bench, lowering the weight to your chest, lifting until an arm lock position is reached, and then lowering the weight to your chest to repeat), the shoulder press (similar to the bench press, but done in a sitting position) and the deadlift (starting with the weight on the floor or a low bar of a rack, then raising the weight to your waist level).  

Weight, or resistance, training normally is done with lighter weights, but with more repetitions.  The goal of weight training is body toning, not large muscle development. Other benefits improve strength improvement, improved health, and added strength for improved performance in other sports like football or basketball.  A weight rack can be very helpful for this type of workout, and can even enhance safety, if the individual is working out alone. The weight rack can also be used for various body weight exercises such as pull-ups.

With this background, we will focus on the use of weight racks primarily for weightlifting and weight training.  Many of the same weight movements can be used by powerlifters to improve overall stamina and strength, but that aspect of lifting will not be our main focus here.  Given that, let’s examine some of the key features and specifications for weightlifting power racks. For reference, here is a picture of a standard configuration weightlifting rack:

Capacity

The maximum capacity of weights that can be safely loaded on a rack is not normally listed in the product specifications, however, the user can get an indication of the capacity based on two factors.  First is the overall construction of the rack – size of the uprights and crossmembers. Lighter capacity racks will have smaller uprights, and lighter-weight hardware. Second, as you look at options available with the racks, most of them offer plate and bar combinations.  The weights of the plates offered is a strong indicator of the overall rack capacity; anything sold as an option is definitely compatible with the rack strength.

Upright size

This is the overall height of the rack.  This could have significance based on the ceiling height of the location of the installation.  It can also have an impact based on your personal height; a pull-up bar at six feet from the floor, when you are over six feet tall, will impact how you perform the exercise.  

Footprint

There are two overall important elements when examining the footprint of a weightlifting rack.  First is the space available in the area where you will be assembling and using the rack. The second is the inside dimension of the rack; the distance between the two upright posts.  The inside dimension needs to be wide enough where you can work both comfortably and safety within the confines of the rack.

Stability

The weight of the rack and other factors, may require the rack to be bolted to the floor in the location where it will be used.  This will be clearly defined in the specifications of the unit you are considering. Bolting down the unit, will obviously limit your flexibility in moving it between locations, such as outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter.

Hole spacing

You will also see this referred to as Westside hole spacing.  In Westside spacing, the area where you will perform bench presses has the holes spaced one inch apart for greater flexibility and comfort in performing the lift; the distance between the bench and the bar can be adjusted based on your individual measurements.  Below and above this area, the holes are typically spaced at two inches apart. On upper end racks, you will see numbers assigned to these holes to help you make sure the pegs and bars are set at the same height inside the cage.

Hardware

Hardware will give you a good indication of the overall stability, strength, and capacity of the rack. Some weightlifting racks will use 1/2-inch bolts for assembly; top-end, heavy duty models may use 1-inch hardware.

Bar containment

Every rack needs some type of peg system where various shaped holders will be placed to rest the bar.  Lower end racks may use an L-shaped bracket, where the bar rests on a 90-degree angle, like the letter “L”.  The disadvantage here is containment; it is easy to move the bar off the peg. Better racks will use a cup like the letter “J”.  Here, the bar can’t roll out on its own; a slight lift is needed to clear the curvature of the peg.

Options

Depending on the rack, the features will vary.  A top-priced rack may have all the bells and whistles, with very few options, while a lower-priced rack may require the purchase of additional options to get all the features you need.  Some of the more common features or options include pull-up bars of different diameters to improve grip strength, dip bars, post for attaching resistance bands, a safety strap or safety bar system, and pegs for weight plate storage on the rack.

Price

Like just about anything you buy, price is an important consideration.  Price can be affected by the extras you want or need – special features, upgrades, improved specifications, and options to the basic unit.  It is no different than buying a car. If you have three children, a two-seat car is not going to be right for you. If you are a competition or serious weightlifter, buying a base rack from your local department store is not going to be right.  On the other hand, if you work out only on weekends, you probably don’t need an expensive weight rack system. Whatever you decide to do with your purchase, the emphasis should be on value, not just the purchase price alone.

Making your decision

So, you already have some information on various weight rack systems.  You know that there are lots of different models, each with a set of standard features and available options, and widely varying price ranges.   How do you match what you want, with what you need, and what you can afford?

One element is frequency of use.  If you are a serious weight trainer, and working out three to five times a week, the rack you select will have different requirements than if you throw some weights around for a half-hour on Saturday morning.  

A second consideration is the weight capacity of the unit.  Some of these units are designed with smaller sized uprights, and smaller diameter hardware than others.  No matter what weight range you lift, you will still need to purchase a sturdy weight rack, but will you really need the heaviest bar construction and hardware?

Next, location, location, location.  Where will you be doing your workouts.  Remember that a weight rack can require very little permanent space, like the wall unit we will review later on in this article, or can require quite a large space, like some of the racks in the Monster series here.  Are you going to assemble your rack in a temperature-controlled room inside your house, where you don’t have to worry about wide temperature swings from hot to cold, or humidity, which can cause oxidation and rust? Or will your unit be in an ambient temperature environment, where the steel coating becomes a more major consideration?

Will you be using equipment you already have with this rack, or buying a full, ground up set?  If you are going to use existing equipment, you have to verify that the bar style and length are compatible with the rack, and that it will fit correctly and safely into the retaining system, whether J cup or L cup.  Some racks have plate storage capability, and you will also need to ensure that is compatible with your plates.

You now should have some idea about how all these individual features and specifications fit together to comprise a weight rack system.  Because this information has been at a fairly high level, it is also important to drop down a notch, and take a look at each of these ten racks in more detail.  In the next section, we’ll look at overall impressions of the system, the advantages and strengths of the rack, and any disadvantages or missing features that could affect your purchase.  

Top 10 Best

#1 Rogue RE-4 Echo Rack

First Impressions:

This economy matches up many of the features from the other “R” series rack, with a $$ price and a 5.0- star review, so it would seem like a no-brainer purchase.  However, be cautioned there are only two reviews on this product on the Rogue site. So please set your expectations accordingly.

Features & Specifications:

  • Built with 2”x2” rails of 11-gauge steel (the lower the gauge number, the thicker the steel), this is a solid unit, clocking in at 190 pounds.  Assembly hardware is ½”.
  • It comes with standard skinny and fat grip pull-up bars, J-cups, and a set of four pegs for resistance band training.
  • A 52” x 52” footprint gives plenty of work area, without taking up a ton of space, and the unit is just over 90” tall.

Pros:

  • A good utility rack, without a lot of features, but certainly versatile enough for the novice or experienced lifter.  
  • Available plate sets go up to 260-pounds, so plenty of weight and bar capacity.
  • Black-coated steel construction, with plastic protection J-cups for durability.  J-cups are welded to the frame, so placed permanently.

Cons:

  • Unit must be bolted to the floor unless extra stability bars are purchased.
  • No attachments are available for dip stations or plate storage.  
  • Safety bars are optional equipment.
  • The hole pattern is 2” in the bench press area, 6” elsewhere.  

Final Thoughts:

It’s difficult to draw firm conclusions based on the limited reviews.  While the unit covers all the requirements of a basic rack, that’s pretty much all you can get.  Options are very limited, and it’s disappointing, that the safety features are optional rather than standard.  Despite the low cost and the rating, it is probably worth looking at other racks in the R series.

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#2 Rogue RM-6 Monster Rack 2.0

First Impressions:

This rack is a beast in every aspect, including the $$$$$ price!  Given all the configuration options, there is not a weight given in the specs, but you’re not going to carry this box by yourself.  This rack is geared for the professional athlete, elite gymnasiums, and college level athletic rooms. If an individual buys this rack, he will most likely be passing it on to his kids.

Features & Specifications :

  • Available in eleven different colors, this rack has a giant 80” x 53” footprint, and comes in three heights from 90” to 108”, allowing for varied pull-up bar placement.
  • The rack is built with 3” x 3”, 11-gauge steel and 1” hardware.  
  • A pin and pipe safety system is standard, and an optional safety strap system is rated to 10,000 pounds.  
  • The standard, moveable J cups come with a high molecular weight plastic coating, and are rated at 1000 pounds.

Pros:

  • Given the size and weight of the rack, no anchoring is required.
  • Laser cut numbers make hole alignment easy when placing the J cups.
  • The rack comes standard with four pegs for resistance band training, and 8 storage posts for weight plate storage.  
  • With all the available options, there are innumerable combinations of standard and optional equipment to make this rack complete in any application.

Cons:

  • This is a full function machine, and I can’t imagine instances where it would not be fully suitable for use.  The only real drawback to this rack is the $$$$$ price, which likely moves it out of the realm of all but the most dedicated lifters, and into the realm of professional aspects or commercial training facilities.  

Final Thoughts:

This rack is probably beyond the reach of even the most dedicated lifters, based on overall price and all the bells and whistles both standard and available as options. Its likely home will be in high school, collegiate, or professional weight rooms.  However, if money is no object, you absolutely cannot go wrong with this weightlifting rack.

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#3 Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack

First Impressions:

If space is at a premium for you, this might be the rack system you need.  Two available depths, 21” or 41”, give the lifter flexibility in determining the inside usable area.  The 4.9 rating and lifetime warranty are a strong indication of the quality and durability of this rack.  When stowed away, it takes up only 5” of space off the wall, which makes it perfect for a garage application where you still need the car inside.

Features & Specifications :

  • Constructed from 3” x 3” 11-gauge steel, with 5/8” hardware, this is a heavy-duty unit, at either 63 or 190 pounds, depending on the depth configuration chosen.
  • The steel has a black powder coating for extra durability.
  • The Westside hole spacing is 1” apart in the bench press area, and 2” apart elsewhere on the rack.

Pros:

  • This unique design allows the lifter the functionality of a standing weightlifting rack, without permanently committing the floor space for one.
  • A heavy-duty hinge and pin system lock the extended unit in place without excessive movement during lifting.
  • An optional stringer system is highly recommended by Rogue to facilitate mounting on the wall.  These stringers come with all hardware to securely mount them to a standard wood stud wall.

Cons:

  • Improper installation could cause damage to the wall, rack, or lifter!
  • The unit is fully functional, but there are not a lot of options available for it, such as dip stations and plate storage pegs.

Final Thoughts:

This rack is an excellent combination of design, functionality, and flexibility.  For those lifters with space limitations, they can still have a good quality, basic weightlifting rack.  The $ price is just one more advantage to this product.

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#4 Rogue R-3 Power Rack

First Impressions:

This is the smallest of the R series racks, with a footprint of 53” x 34”.  The rack can be purchased in a “shorty” version for low-ceiling areas such as a basement.  It has decent standard equipment, and there are several optional variations available as well.  It’s compatible with other R series racks, so much of their equipment could be added to this model.

Features & Specifications :

  • The unit features everything you need in its standard configuration, including pin and pipe safety bars, J cups, and resistance band pegs.  Plate storage is available as an option.
  • This rack has a black powder coated finish, and is guaranteed for life by Rogue.
  • The Westside hole pattern is 1” through the bench press area, and 2” above and below that.

Pros:

  • A $$ price and a 4.9 rating combine to make this a desirable rack for the novice or experienced lifter.
  • 2” x 3” 11-gauge steel, with 5/8” hardware, makes this a sturdy and durable weightlifting rack.
  • The expandability of this rack allows you to start on a basic level, and add functionality over time.
  • Having a shorter version available could make this attractive to a wider market base.

Cons:

  • While the base configuration weighs in at 200 pounds, the unit must be bolted to the floor for safety and security.
  • Some reviewers expressed concern about the tight interior depth for doing squats; others claim it is not an issue.  

Final Thoughts:

What’s not to like about this unit?  Solid, durable, great warranty. Small footprint to increase the flexibility on where it can be used, including the “shorty” version.  The unit is expandable to give it almost the same functionality of other more expensive R line racks. Did I say great rating and great price?

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#5 Rogue R-4 Power Rack

First Impressions & Specifications :

This is a larger version of the R-3 rack reviewed above.  It comes with a bigger footprint, and bigger interior depth, which some rated as a concern on the R-3.  Functionality and specs are similar to the R-3, with some additions like a second pull-up bar and standard resistance band pegs.

Features:

  • This weightlifting rack has a 53” x 53” footprint, and is constructed out of 2” x 3” 11-gauge steel, 5/8” hardware, and a black powder coating finish.  
  • The inside depth of 43” gives ample room for squats and other exercises.
  • Plastic coated J cups, pegs for resistance bands, and safety pipes and pins all come as standard equipment.

Pros:

  • While a little more expensive than the R-3, this unit still wields a 4.9 rating and a $$ price.
  • The expandability of this rack allows you to start on a basic level, and add functionality over time.  
  • While it does not have the “shorty” version available like the R-3, the overall dimensions of this unit make it usable for most home gyms.
  • Standard Westside hole spacing is 1” through the bench area, and 2” above and below.

Cons:

  • Even with fifty pounds additional weight, floor mounting is still highly recommended for this unit.
  • While it comes standard with a safety system, the preferred Infinity safety strap system is a (rather expensive) option.

Final Thoughts:

Like the R-3, there is really not much to dislike about this unit.  It is sneaking up to the $$$ threshold, but given the functionality and expandability that should not deter too many.  The real differentiator here from the R-3 is the larger footprint and interior dimensions. If those are important, this is your unit; otherwise the R-3 is fully comparable.

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#6 Rogue RML-490 Power Rack

First Impressions:

From the Monster series of racks, this one is “Monster Lite”.  With heavy-duty construction featuring 3” x 3” rails and 5/8” hardware this is a solid unit, built for a long usable life.  It weighs in at 336 pounds, and has a 53” x 53” footprint. It has decent standard features, and is easy to upgrade with other Monster equipment.

Features & Specifications :

  • Standard equipment includes J cups, pipe and pin safety bars, two pull-up bars, and resistance band pegs.  A dip station and plate storage pegs are among available options. Normal Westside bench press hole configuration is standard on this rack.  
  • Rogue recommends that the unit be mounted to the floor unless a stabilizer bar is added.  Both the mounting hardware and stabilizer bar are available at extra cost.
  • The unit has a 49” x 49” interior dimension working area, and comes in a black powder coating finish as standard.  

Pros:

  • From a quality ranking perspective, this is another 4.9 rated unit, and a price still in the $$ range.  
  • This unit has several options available for upgraded equipment and features, which can be added over time to prevent the initial “sticker shock”.
  • A wide variety of custom colors are available for this unit.

Cons:

  • Floor mounting is recommended for this unit, and buying either the stabilizer bar or anchor kit actually pushes this unit up into the $$$ range.

Final Thoughts:

This unit is kind of the middle child.  Unless you need the extra stability for lifting heavier weights, the R-4 is probably enough rack for you.  If you are lifting heavier weights, the RM-390 might be a better fit, as it has more upward potential. There are no major issues with this unit; it just seems to me, there are better choices right above or below it.

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#7 Rogue RM-390F Flat Foot Monster Rack 

First Impressions:

Back to the true monsters here. This rack comes with very heavy-duty construction, solid weight and footing for stability, includes a lot of bells and whistles, with capability for more.  We edge into $$$ pricing with this rack, but it has standard features that would cost you extra in other models. The satin black finish makes it attractive, as well as functional.

Features & Specifications :

  • This unit comes with the big guns – 54” x 50” footprint, 24” inside depth, and 93” tall.  Big enough for squats or any interior lift, and tall enough for most to do dead weight body hangs from the pull-up bar without touching the floor.
  • The rack features 3”x 3” 11-gauge steel uprights, and 1” bolts and hangers for assembly.  With a weight of 336 pounds and a self-stabilizing footer, this unit does not require floor mounting.
  • Laser cut numbers on the hole spacing make matching heights across the unit simple and efficient.

Pros:

  • Very strong standard features, including pin and pipe safety system, extra-strong Monster J cups, and all assembly tools included.  
  • Rubber coated foot guards protect flooring and prevent any movement during rack usage.
  • This rack is compatible with many other Monster accessories, including dip stations and plate storage pegs.  

Cons:

  • We’re not to Monster RM6 price levels, but we are well into $$$ range.  Add in a couple accessories and this unit will break into $$$$ pretty quickly.  In reality, you are getting a slightly upgraded RM-3, without the requirement to bolt it to the floor.

Final Thoughts:

This is a solid unit, but starting to sneak up there in the price range.  For an individual user, it’s a bit of a stretch. You do get some extra strength and stability, but pay a pretty dear price for it.  Other units will do most of what this one will. I see this rack more in the realm of gyms and weight training rooms, not individual homes.  

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#8 Rogue Bolt-Together R-3

First Impressions:

This, along with the wall-mount unit we looked at earlier, is another modified version of another rack; in this case, the R-3.  The selling and marketing advantage(?) of this unit is that it is shipped unassembled, ostensibly so you can more easily maneuver it up a tight staircase or low ceiling area.  Other than that, it is a standard R-3 unit.

Features & Specifications :

  • With a 53” x 34” footprint, and 24” inside depth (with a 30” depth option available at extra cost), this is a medium sized unit that should be able to find a home in any home or garage.  
  • At 90” tall, the unit is assembled from 2” x 3” 11-gauge steel uprights, using 5/8” bolts and hangers.
  • Like the standard R-3, this rack has all the basics you need for weightlifting, and is expandable with several compatible features and options from other R series racks.

Pros:

  • The unit features everything you need in its standard configuration, including pin and pipe safety bars, J cups, and resistance band pegs.  Plate storage is available as an option.
  • This rack has a black powder coated finish, and is guaranteed for life by Rogue.
  • The Westside hole pattern is 1” through the bench press area, and 2” above and below that.
  • A $$ price and a 4.8 rating combine to make this a desirable rack for the novice or experienced lifter.

Cons:

  • While the base configuration weighs in at 200 pounds, the unit must be bolted to the floor for safety and security.
  • Some reviewers expressed concern about the tight interior depth for doing squats; others claim it is not an issue.  

Final Thoughts:

I have to admit that I just don’t get this.  The advantage of this rack is you can put it together yourself; the disadvantage of this rack is you have to put it together yourself.  And, surprisingly, you actually pay a slight premium for the privilege of assembling it. I’m sure there are occasional instances where this rack might make sense, but I’m guessing the vast majority just buy the R-3.  

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#9 Rogue RML-690C Power Rack

First Impressions:

I think we have another step-child here.  The combination of a high-end $$$$ price and, by Rogue standards, a low 4.8 rating would move me to push this one off to the side while shopping.  An attractive rack, finished in a semi-gloss powder coat finish available in ten colors, it has many of the same features as the RM6, but seems to be just a little off, top to bottom.

Features & Specifications :

  • This rack has the same 80” x 53” footprint as the RM-6, the same 3”x 3” 11-gauge steel, but dropped down to 5/8” hardware for assembly.  
  • At 530 pounds, floor bolts are not necessary.  
  • Westside hole spacing is 1” through the bench press area, and 2” above and below.

Pros:

  • This is a very heavy-duty machine, with lots of bells and whistles.  Pipe and pin safety system, resistance band pegs, and bumper plate storage posts are standard.
  • There are many opportunities beyond color choices for customization, including height and depth of the rack.

Cons:

  • There are no numbers assigned to the holes as in the RM-6, making alignment of pegs and safety equipment more difficult.
  • Given all the weightlifting power racks offered by Rogue, this combination of high price and lower quality rating makes this a bad value.  

Final Thoughts:

Unless there is a big sale or some other event to stimulate demand, I don’t see this RM-6 “wannabe” being a good purchase.  You can get a full-featured RM-6 rack for a couple hundred bucks more, or drop down to a 390 or 490, get similar functionality and specs, and save some serious money.  This might be a great commercial machine, but to me the value is just not there.

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#10 HR-2 Half Rack Conversion Kit

First Impressions:

This kit allows you to take a couple specific Rogue squat racks and convert them into a half-sized weightlifting rack.  By doing so, you get more spotting (read as safety) options, and improved storage for you weight plates. The uprights are made of 3” x 3” 11-gauge steel, and create a half-rack with a 1000-pound weight capacity.

Features & Specifications :

  • The conversion kit gives you the two uprights, plates for attaching the uprights to the squat rack, two cross-members for attaching at the top, and all the required hardware.
  • Addition functionality, such as long and short plate storage pegs and a pin and pipe safety system are optional and at extra cost.

Pros:

  • This conversion kit lets you expand the functionality of your existing Rogue S-2 or S-3 squat rack.
  • The purchase of optional features let you increase plate storage on this piece of equipment.

Cons:

  • If you buy just the conversion kit, this is a $ item, but brings with it only a 4.6 rating.  If you were to buy both the squat rack and conversion kit, the item is $$.

Final Thoughts:

If you have the right Rogue squat rack in your equipment, and want to expand the functionality of it, then this conversion kit might be worth looking into.  However, I really don’t see any circumstances where you would buy both at the same time. For the same or a little more money, you can get a full rack, with improved stability and greater features and functionality.  This purchase is probably only for a small niche market.

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Spotlights – Weightlifting – History, How and Why

As we noted earlier, weightlifting goes all the way back to ancient civilizations, like the Chinese and Greeks.  The initial tools for this were simple; men used either their own body weight, for such things are rope climbing, or natural tools, such as rocks and stones.  The Scots to this day have competitions over how far they can throw tree trunks, and circus strong men were among the earliest lifters. Strength has always been recognized as a desirable trait, and weight training and lifting enhances that trait.

In the late 1800s, more formalized weight lifting competitions began to evolve, starting in western Europe.  In the modern Olympic games, weightlifting made its first appearance in 1896. Apparently, there was insufficient interest garnered in the event, as it did not appear as an event in the 1900 Olympics.  The early history was a bit checkered, as it was competed in the 1904 games, but not in 1908 and 1912. The 1916 games were cancelled because of World War I, and, when the games revived in 1920, so did weightlifting.

Prior to 1932, there were no weight divisions in Olympic lifting.  In 1932, five different weight classes for lifters were established, allowing them to compete with opponents of common size, across three specific lifting movements.  Women did not officially compete in Olympic weightlifting until 2000, but women were active in several different organizations and competitions well in advance of their Olympic debut.

The earlier versions of today’s weightlifting racks were known as Smith Machines.  The original concept was advanced by Jack Lalanne, a very influential person in the early days of American fitness.  In the 1950s, Lalanne was looking for a machine to allow him to do squats without having a spotter present. While working with a friend, Rudy Smith, the first concepts of the machine were crafted.  Smith arranged to have a prototype built, and then managed to work it into a chain of gyms owned by Vic Tanny. By the 1970s these machines were common in gyms all over the US.

At this point, we have an understanding about the evolution of weight lifting through history, and have seen how the equipment used in weight lifting has moved from rocks and stones to today’s plate, racks, and bars.  The focus in this section has been, so far, on the professional and elite lifters. But those groups are in reality just a small niche in the weightlifting market; let’s take a look at how weightlifting fits into the lives of the everyday man and woman.

We know from earlier discussions here that weightlifting and weight training are two different things.  Most people using free weights are involved in weight training. They want to gain strength, improve their overall fitness, and develop firm muscle tone.  All of these targets lead to an overall goal of improved health and well-being. Weight training can improve bone density, and can help you maintain or even lose weight, as muscle burns more calories than fat.  It can increase heart health by improving aerobic capability, and lowering one’s cholesterol profile. Weight training is a very simple way to gain numerous health benefits.

By incorporating a weight rack into weight training, the lifter is able to improve his lifting safety, and reduce the risk of injury.  With the various safety features incorporated into the racks, lifters can use heavier weights than they could without the rack.

Final Verdict

In the course of this article, we’ve looked at the history of the sport of weightlifting, its origins, and the types of competition within this sport – strongest man competitions, the Olympics, and so on.  The detailed review undertaken on these ten racks looked at both common and unique features and specification. Knowing what we expect as performance criteria from these racks, we looked at both the pros and cons of their ability to deliver these expectations.  An overall impression of the value and placement of each rack was also assessed.

This selection was a cross-section of ten Rogue weightlifting power racks.  Most of them were standard, floor model racks, but, within that range, there were super heavy-duty racks for the elite athlete and racks for the average guy.  We threw in a couple specialty racks, including a conversion kit and a wall mounted rack.

So, from this list, let’s get started choosing the west weightlifting rack choices.  First, let’s identify the customers for these racks. We’ll look at this from two perspectives.  Customer A has been weight training for some time, and is getting ready to move up from his department store equipment into something a little further up the quality scale.  He feels a rack will help him meet his overall strength goals, and provide him safety considerations, as he typically works out alone. Customer B is a novice lifter, just getting started in the sport, and looking for a good value investment in a weight rack to help him meet his goals.  The major decision points for each will be the cost of the rack, and the overall value provided by the rack.

The “best of” racks should be suitable for personal use, not just designed for the commercial gym or professional athlete.  We will not, however, automatically exclude those higher end racks; if they provide the right mix of cost and value, they will be selected.  So, to summarize, my selection of “best of” will be driven by the pros and cons of the equipment, and the mix of price and value.

Let’s get started.

Let’s begin this exercise by looking at the #10 rack on the list, the HR2 conversion kit.  Rogue has two models of squat rack which can be modified by installing this conversion kit, turning it into a half rack set-up.  This unit would probably have a very limited market, and, for that reason, it will be dropped from out “best of” list.

Number 9 on the list is the RML 690.  This is a very heavy-duty machine, probably geared more to the commercial or professional market than the personal one.  As we discussed above, this one falls in between the absolute top end model and a couple other very good models in different price points.  So, based on the high price scale for this model, and the availability of similar models at lower prices, we drop the 690 from the list next.

The next model, #8, is another specialty model, the Bolt-together R3.  This one is pretty much the same machine as the R3 Power Rack, but it comes unassembled, purportedly to allow for maneuvering it up tight stairways or in rooms with narrow doors or low ceilings.  Okay, an interesting concept, but is it really worth paying more than the standard R3 model, and then having to take the time to assemble it? Off the list it goes.

The next three models, the RM390, the RML490, and the R4 Power, numbers 5, 6, and 7, are all similarly rated and priced.  All have good functionality, durability, and strength. All three have the same 4.9 rating, and, although the 390 has a $$$ price, the difference is fairly small.  Any of these three machines would be a worthy step up rack for our experienced lifter, and would also suffice for a novice lifter, but have more capability than really needed for that level of expertise.  Bottom line for these three racks – all recommended, but not the “best of” “or best value” that we are looking for,

Let’s drop down to #3 on the list, the RML 3W wall mount rack.  This is unique, in that it is a wall-mounted, fold up version of a full-size rack.  It would be perfect for a garage application, or a multi-use room where you could not leave a full rack set up all the time.  It has to be securely mounted, for obvious reasons, so portability is out of the question. It is also, again, geared to a niche market.  I’d say this is probably not a great step-up choice for our experienced lifter, but could be a good starter rack given its $ price and 4.9 rating.  For those reasons, while recommended, I’m going to throw this one off the list.

To take a quick recap, we have three racks left for consideration as “best of the best”; #4, the R3 Power Rack; #2, the RM6 Monster Rack, and #1 the RE4 Echo.

Let’s start out looking at the RM6 rack.  This is a huge, heavy duty, fully versatile weightlifting rack.  You get everything with this rack, even a choice of almost a dozen colors.  But let’s be realistic here. Unless you are a professional or competition level lifter, or an elite athlete, the $$$$$ price of this rack is going to chase away most individuals.  This is a rack you would most likely find in a top end gym, or in a professional or collegiate weight or training room. It blows away almost every other rack on the list with a 5.0 rating, but it is way too much rack for a novice, and even a move-up rack for an experienced lifter.  There are too many highly functional racks on this list that would suffice for those fictional people. So goodbye to the RM6.

This leaves two racks – the RE4 and the R3 Power Rack.  Both have the same $$ price point, and are almost identically priced within that range.  The RE4 has a 5.0 rating, but qualified; the R3 has a solid 4.9 rating. The qualification on the RE4 is that it only has two reviews in total; the R3 has almost 100.

So, when we put these two remaining racks side by side, here’s what I see:

  • The Echo has 2” x 2” rails, and is assembled with ½” hardware.  The R3 has 2” x 3” rails, and is assembled with 5/8” hardware. Advantage R3.
  • The Echo has a 52” x 52” x 90” tall footprint.  The R3 is 53” x 34” x 84” or 90” tall. The shorter version is available for locations where ceiling height is a consideration.  Slight advantage Echo for having a deeper working area, but positive to the R3 for the different height availability. Advantage Echo.
  • Both units require floor mounts.  Advantage to neither.
  • The Echo has a 2”/6” Westside hole pattern.  The R3 has a more standard 1”/2” pattern. Advantage R3.
  • Safety bars are optional on the Echo, but standard on the R3.  Advantage R3.

Drumroll, please.  

When you stack up these two racks side by side, for me, it’s no-contest; the R3 Power Rack is the clear winner.  Time may prove out the 5.0 rating on the Echo, but with just not enough user comments, and some technical disadvantages, the R3 is clearly the better rack.  It has solid capability for the experienced lifter (although some of the other models might be better move-ups for a very experienced lifter), and is a perfect rack for the new lifter.  

Realistically, you could not go wrong buying any of these racks, and it was a very tough task trying to identify enough differences between them to pick the best of the best.  Hopefully this article has given you some knowledge and guidance for your first or next weightlifting rack purchase.

Biddrup Mallick
 

Biddrup has built 5 gyms from scratch. He's a fitness enthusiast and spends a lot of his free time at the gym. He has competed in power lifting events in his local city.

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