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Top 10 Rouge Squat Stands In 2019

INTRODUCTION

Has anyone ever told you that you don’t know squat?  Well, by the time you read this article, you will know just about everything about squat.

The squat is a weightlifting move which focuses on building muscle – serious muscle – for competitive weightlifters.  Yet, at the same time, it is an exercise which, properly executed, can bring improved health and fitness to everyday weight training.  

Let’s start out, by looking at the evolution of weightlifting and powerlifting both as a sport, and as a health and fitness routine.  Competitive weightlifting began to evolve in western Europe in the middle of the 19th century.  However, weightlifting has been used as a measure of fitness and strength for centuries before that.  The ability to life weight was a condition to entering the military in ancient China. Documents and pictorials show the ancient Greeks doing body weight exercises like rope climbing, and lifting and throwing heavy stones to help develop their strength to do battle.  

The original weightlifting competitions featured such personae as the circus strong man in the side-show tent, purportedly lifting amazing quantities of weight.  This evolved into somewhat organized competitions in Europe in the 1890s, culminating by an introduction into the Olympic Games in 1896. Weightlifting remained a Eurocentric sport, as barbells and free weights were virtually unseen in the US.  In 1902, however, the Milo Barbell Company opened in Philadelphia, making weightlifting equipment much more available in America. Weightlifting bounced in and out of the Olympics for the next few games, and became part of the Olympics for good in the 1920 games.  

Exhibitions and feats of strength continued to be popular through the 1950s, and gaining strength was a common advertising scheme.  Any baby boomer that read comic books in this era will remember the guy on the beach getting sand kicked in his face, until he got muscular and won the girl back.  Charles Atlas was famous for his feats of strength, including pulling cars and even train cars. “World’s Strongest Man” contests continued to grow in popularity, as a young Austrian named Arnold Schwarzenegger captured the eyes of the world with his bodybuilding progress.

Let’s close this section by agreeing that weightlifting and powerlifting have a place both in American history, and in the future also.  Strength is still considered to be a desirable trait, and the role of weightlifting in general health improvement is well documented.

THE SQUAT

The squat is one of the most basic weightlifting moves.  It was initially called the “deep knee bend”, and began to evolve as a recognized move in the early 1900s.  The initial move was done lifting relatively light weights repetitively, with the lifter balanced on his toes, heels in the air.  The weight is put across the back of the neck on the shoulders, and the lifter bends down until the thighs are roughly parallel to the ground.  From that position, the lifter then pushes back up to the original position, driving upward with his legs. The move is then repeated for a set number of times.  

The move we know as the squat today started to gain popularity in Europe following World War I.  At this time, it became a powerlifting move more than a repetitive lifting move as the deep knee bend.  The first recognized squat contest took place in Germany, and was won with a lift of over 500 pounds. The lift became known in America in the early 1920s.

Initially, the lifter had to move the bar from the floor to his chest, lift the weight over his head, then lower it down to rest on the shoulders.  This limited the weight that could be squatted. A lifter named Steinborn developed a different technique to get the bar on the shoulders. He would raise one end of the bar so it was in a near-vertical position, then move under the bar, rest it on his shoulders, then get the other end of the bar on the other shoulder.  This new method helped lifters to increase their overall weight lift; Steinborn, for example, at 210 pounds body weight, could squat 530 pounds using this method.

As this lift grew in popularity in the 1920s and 1930s, it spawned the development of the squat rack.  This allowed lifters to lift even greater amounts of weight, leading to a current record squat of 450 kilos (992 pounds).  The squat rack became the precursor to the power rack, which offers even more lifting options and flexibility; however, the focus of this article will be on the squat rack.  

THE SQUAT RACK

A squat rack is a piece of weight lifting equipment to help the lifter move heavy weights safely, in the absence of a human spotter.  The rack acts as a mechanical spotter should the lifter lose control of the weights or the bar. In its simplest form, it is two or four upright bars with two horizontal bars on the side.  The horizontal bars have a dual purpose – they add stability to the rack frame, and they act as a “catch” for the lifter to place the bar after his lift, or, if he is losing control, during the lift.  An example of a basic squat rack is below:

To use the rack, the lifter will stand between the uprights, with the bar set at an appropriate level for his height.  His knees should be slightly bent as the gets the bar to his shoulders. He will then straighten his knees to get the bar off the pegs, take a slight step forward to clear the rack, and then begin his repetitions of squats.  As he finished, he reverses this procedure to put the bar back on the rack.

While this is referred to as a squat rack, it can also be used for many other lifts, including the bench press, floor press, clean pulls, and pull-ups.  While we will not discuss these moves in detail here, they are described fully on many different Internet sites.

FACT SHEET AND PRODUCT COMPARISON TABLE

In this section, we’ll list out then squat racks offered by Rogue Fitness.  For each rack, we will take a high level look at the best features of the rack, assign it to a price range noted following this table, and assign an overall rating to each of the racks.  Some of these racks have hundreds of customer reviews on the Rogue site; others have none or just a few. The assigned ratings here are based on my perceptions of the overall functionality, features, and value of the squat racks.  

Fact Sheet – Product Comparison Table

NumberProductBest FeatureRatingPrice Range (see below)
1Rogue SML-2C Squat Stand A hybrid rack, offering good features, several customizable options, and 11 color options 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)$$
2SML-2 Rogue 90″ Monster Lite Squat Stand A solid rack with everything you need to get started, and several customizable options available. 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)$$
3Rogue S-4 Squat Stand 2.0 Known as an “indy” rack, it features two separate upright sections.  Rated to 1000 pounds. 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)$$
4Rogue SM-1 Monster Squat Stand 2.0Part squat rack, part power rack.  Heavy duty combination unit, customizable. 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)$$$
5Rogue Mono Stand A special type of stand with movable uprights to make it easier for the lifter to clear the bar. 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)$$$
6Rogue Combo RackThis combo rack features a built-in bench for presses, plus high-end features as a squat rack. 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)$$$$
7Rogue KS-1 Kids Squat Stand A squat stand built specifically for the junior lifter; it is compatible with other Rogue products for kids. 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)$
8Rogue Echo Squat Stand 2.0A basic rack focusing on functionality and space utilization, rather than adding lots of bells and whistles.   4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)$$
9York FTS Squat StandA basic unit, with adjustable uprights to support bench and squat work. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)$$
10S-1 to S-2 Conversion Kit Conversion kit which gives you additional flexibility like a pull-up bar. 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)$

Price range key:

$ – Under $250

$$ – Under $500

$$$ – Under $1000

$$$$ – Over $1000

Product-Buying Guide

Weightlifters typically work out in one of three categories: powerlifting, weightlifting, and weight training.  As we begin to review these ten squat racks, we will look at them from the perspective of weightlifting and weight training.  

To explain the difference between the two, weight training is generally selected when the user wants to improve their overall health and body toning.  The idea is not to gain significant muscle growth, but to gain some muscle to add to overall conditioning and fitness, supporting weight loss, and general health improvements.  Weight training normally uses lighter weights, with multiple repetitions, in multiple sets. In addition to squats, bench presses are typically a part of a weight training program.  

Weightlifting will mostly use heavier weights, lifted a few times until failure.  This method promotes heavier muscle growth than weight training, and will lead to greater overall strength.  Squats are usually an important part of a weightlifting program.

So, knowing that a squat rack can be used for multiple lifts and has different functions, let’s take a look at some of the key features and specifications that will influence you as you select a rack for purchase.  

WEIGHT CAPACITY

Simply put, how much weight can you safely put on the squat rack.  While some of these racks, clearly note the weight capacity in the specifications section, others do not.  For those that don’t, there are typically two indicators of the overall capacity. First are the options available.  Many racks have the option to purchase plate sets with them. The sizing of the plate sets offered is a good indicator of overall strength of the rack.  Second is the assembly hardware; larger sized uprights and heavier hardware are going to give you greater stability and strength than smaller hardware. This may not be a significant factor for the weight trainer, but could be for a weightlifter.

STABILITY

To a large extent, stability goes hand in hand with weight capacity.  Stability will also be influenced by the hardware configuration. However, stability will also be impacted by the overall footprint of the rack, the number of crosspieces between the vertical bars, and whether or not the rack has to be anchored to the floor.  

SAFETY

How well the squat rack provides for the safety of the lifter, should be a primary consideration for any purchaser.  Brackets mounted to the rack, keep the bar contained prior to the lift, and allow a place to set the bar after the lift.  Secondary brackets may be needed in the event of failing to conclude a lift. Racks typically have either an L cup (shaped like the letter L) or J cup (shaped like the letter J).  The J cup was an upward curl, which helps hold the bar safely in position. The L cup has a perpendicular joint, which might allow movement of the bar off the cup. Some racks also have optional safety arms, which extend further from the vertical bars, and give even greater security should a lift fail.

UPRIGHT LENGTHS

The length of the uprights can be a factor for two reasons.  The first relates to the placement of the unit. For rooms such as a basement, with a low ceiling, a long upright might be an issue, and push you toward a shorter unit.  Second, many units feature a pull-up bar across the top of the two vertical uprights. The height of the uprights will dictate the height of the pull-up bar, and whether or not you can do full body length pull-up, or bent knee pull-ups.

HOLE SPACING

Holes are drilled in the upright bars for insertion of the J cups or safety arms.  The typical spacing is called Westside spacing, and refers to the distance between the holes.  In the better units, spacing will be 1” apart in the bench press area of the bar, and 2” spacing above and below that area.  Lower end units may have as much as six-inch spacing between the holes. A desirable option is numbering the holes, which makes placing the J-cups at the same level obvious, instead of a trial and error approach.  

FOOTPRINT

The footprint is the overall floor space that the unit will take up.  This measure has two potential impacts. First is the amount of space the unit will take up in your weight room, garage, or basement.  You may be driven to a particular unit because of the availability or lack of space for your choice. Secondly, the width portion of the footprint gives you the working area of the rack; it indicates the distance between the upright lengths, and shows the amount of side-to-side area you will have for your lifts.

HARDWARE

As we noted in the capacity and stability discussions, the hardware is key to the overall stability, and hence safety, or the unit.  Depending on the stress put on the unit based on the weights of the bar and plates, you may opt to go to heavier 3” x 3” posts, while other lighter units may feature 2” x 2” posts.  Assembly hardware will typically range for ½” to 1”, again dependent on the overall strength and stability expected of the unit.

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT

As we go through the detail on these units, you’ll note that some are fairly basic, while others are dressed out with more bells and whistles.  Optional equipment can include bars and weights, wheel brackets to make it easier to move the equipment, safety bars, fixed or adjustable position benches, and right down to the choice of color.  Your budget and personal preferences will help you determine whether to buy that upper end model now, or buy a more basic unit and add options to it over time.

PRICE

Admit it or not, price is always an important consideration when making a purchase.  But the lifter should consider not only price, but also the overall value of the squat rack.  He should make a list of the must have features, the nice to have features, and the bells and whistles, or unnecessary features for his needs.  This list, combined with the price, should give the purchaser a good indication of which squat rack gives the best value for his personal situation and needs.  

MAKING YOUR DECISION

So, now you have some high-level information about a variety of squat records, an indication of the price range for each of them, and some data on features and specifications that may or may not be important to you.  So, what other items will factor into making your decision which rack to purchase?

Let’s start with the obvious question – Do you really want (or need) to buy a squat rack?  It is, after all, somewhat of a specialty item. Are squats that important in your lifting routine that it justifies a separate piece of equipment?  A squat rack does have flexibility to perform lifts other than squats, but maybe a power rack is a better purchase. Then again, the power racks could be pricier, and you may or may not need all the flexibility they offer.  Another option might be to use the money you’d spend on the rack to join a gym, and use their equipment. The answer here will be a pretty good starting point in evaluating the other factors that come into play.

You’ve made the decision to buy a squat rack.  Where are you going to put it? Your basement might be damp and dingy, your wife may scream if you take over the guest room, and putting it in the garage means a car stays outside.  Footprint may be an important characteristic in this decision, and things like finish and resistance to oxidation may also factor in.

Do you already have a bar and plates, or will you be buying them at the same time as the rack?  If you have them, make sure that they will be fully compatible with the rack, and with the safety systems of the rack, whether J or L cup, or safety bars.  

You should be starting to get a feel of how this all comes together – requirements, needs, features, specifications, and value.  Let’s look at each of these squat racks individually, and then do a comparison to drive down to the best racks out of this list.

Top 10 Best

#1 Rogue SML-2C Squat Stand

First Impressions:

This is a “Monster Lite” rack, a cross between Rogue’s Monster series and their S series squat racks.  This is a fairly heavy-duty rack, with a lot of available options, including eleven different colors to choose from.  There are many different configurations available depending on how it is set up, and which options are ordered.

Features and Specifications:

  • This rack is made from heavy 3” x 3” x 11-gauge steel uprights, supported by 2” x 2” x 11-gauge steel bases, assembled with 5/8” hardware.
  • The unit has a footprint of 49” x 48”, leaving a good interior lifting area.  
  • J cups comes as standard on this rack, with optional available safety spotter arms.  
  • It has a 157-pound assembled weight, with a 1000-pound weight capacity.

Pros:

  • Westside hole spacing is 1” in the bench area, for greater flexibility in placement of brackets for bench presses.  Spacing is 2” above and below the bench press area.
  • This rack comes with an adjustable fat/skinny (two different diameter bars for varying grips) pull-up bar.
  • With a $$ price, this is an affordable Hybrid Monster/S series rack.
  • Reviewers are very happy with the ease of assembly.

Cons:

  • An overall height of 92” for this rack may present some constraints in lower ceiling areas.  

Final Thoughts:

This is the first of ten racks to be reviewed, but it’s hard not to get excited about the combination of features, durability, and price of this squat rack.  Eleven available colors let you dress the rack up, and optional features give you room to grow in the future. The 1000-pound capacity makes certain pretty much any lifter will not run out of capacity.

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#2 SML-2 Rogue 90″ Monster Lite Squat Stand

First Impressions:

This squat rack looks and acts like several of the Rogue power racks as far as strength and versatility.  Quite affordable in the $$ price range, it has several available options, much like the SML-2C above. You can start out with the basic unit and add to it as your needs and budget require.

Features and Specifications:

  • This rack is made from heavy 3” x 3” x 11-gauge steel uprights, supported by 2” x 2” x 11-gauge steel bases, assembled with 5/8” hardware.
  • The 49” x 48” footprint supports a 1000-pound weight capacity, and a 92” height.  
  • While safety spotter arms are available as optional equipment, J cups come standard with the rack.  
  • Given the 157-pound weight, wheel brackets might be a good option if the rack needs to be moved frequently.

Pros:

  • The squat rack can be configured with a combination fat/skinny bar, or a single skinny bar.
  • One-inch Westside spacing gives additional flexibility for bench presses and clean pulls.
  • Available floor mounting feet let you securely fasten the rack down for added stability.

Cons:

  • The 92” height might be a constraint if the machine needs to go into a low ceiling area.

Final Thoughts:

This rack and its close cousin, the SML-2C, are virtually identical machines in form and functionality.  With a lifetime warranty, various configuration options, and a $$ price, this is an exceptional value machine.  This is very close to a power rack, without the power rack pricing. An excellent option to the novice lifter, or for an experience lifter wanting to expand his equipment.

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#3 Rogue S-4 Squat Stand 2.0

First Impressions:

This independent squat rack is made up of two completely separate upright assemblies, each self-standing with a 26” by 22” base for excellent stability.  With the small base and easy portability, this would be a good squat unit for the lifter with space constraints.

Features and Specifications:

  • With only a 72” height, while you may sacrifice the pullup bar, you gain flexibility for placement of the rack, without worrying about height or floor space issues.
  • The unit is made from 2” x 3” x 11-gauge steel uprights, and 7-gauge (note that lower gauge numbers indicate thicker steel) base pieces, all assembled with 5/8” hardware.  
  • Other than a bench, not much is available for optional equipment.  What you see is what you get.

Pros:

  • As mentioned, the overall dimensions of this unit make it appropriate for virtually any space or height situation.
  • The standard equipment rubber feet protect your flooring and increase stability by preventing movement.
  • A very good entry level squat rack, with good basic functionality at a $$ price.

Cons:

  • The separate units need to be properly set up, parallel to each other, to avoid the bar being placed at an angle and not dropping into the standard J cups properly.
  • Safety arm bars are not available as an option for this equipment.  

Final Thoughts:

Some lifters will prefer the low profile and independent character of the uprights, while others may prefer an assembled unit that stays that way.  It comes down to personal preference. Many reviewers gave it high grades for overall stability, and the easy storage could be a major benefit depending on your space situation.

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#4 Rogue SM-1 Monster Squat Stand 2.0

First Impressions:

The SM-1 is a crossover unit between a squat rack and a power rack.  It features a relatively small footprint, and a fairly low height, which makes it suitable for smaller spaces and lower ceilings.  While no weight is given in the specifications, with 3” x 3” x 11-gauge construction, it’s not going to be very portable. It comes with several options, including safety bars, a safety strap system and three different bench options.  

Features and Specifications:

  • The squat rack has a compact 54” x 50” footprint, and checks in at only 73” high, making it perfect for areas with a low ceiling, or limited space.  
  • The rack has a capacity of > 1000-pounds, and is assembled with 1” hardware for extra strength, durability, and safety.
  • Laser cut, numbered holes make aligning the J cups fast and easy.

Pros:

  • This is a seriously heavy-duty squat rack, with over half a ton of plate capacity for even the most serious lifter.
  • Compact and sturdy, this is a rack you will be passing on to your children.  Extremely heavy duty, the satin-black powder coating will protect the rack from scratches and corrosion.

Cons:

  • Hole spacing is 2” throughout, so you lose some of the accuracy and flexibility available in other squat racks in the Rogue line.
  • An outcome of the lower height of the unit, pull-up bars are not available on this rack.

Final Thoughts:

With a higher $$$ price, this unit might be out of reach for the day-to-day lifter, but, compared to the Mono Stand and Combo Rack, it really is a bargain.  The strength and durability of the unit, matched with the available options and low space requirements make this an excellent choice for the serious lifter. This squat rack would be equally at home in a commercial establishment of collegiate or professional training room.

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#5 Rogue Mono Stand

First Impressions:

With the Rogue Mono stand, we are back to the beasts of squat racks.  With this model, the uprights tilt forward. When the lifter gets the bar up off the rack, they snap back, so he can begin squatting without walking forward with the bar.  This is a very heavy-duty rack, geared for the serious lifter.

Features and Specifications:

  • This rack can be assembled with either 43” width crossmembers or 30”, which gives you some flexibility in the floor space requirements and in the interior working area.
  • The unit is constructed from 3” x 3” x 11-gauge rails, assembled with 5/8” hardware.
  • Weighing 310-pounds, the squat rack has an 86” x 57” footprint, and is 78” high.  
  • Compatible with other Monster Lite machines, additional features like plate storage, safety arm bars, and a pull-up bar are optionally available.

Pros:

  • A serious machine for a serious lifter, it was designed with input from powerlifter Mark Bell.
  • Westside spacing at 1”/2” is standard, and offers flexibility for bench work and squats.
  • Pegs for resistance band work can be optionally added to the squat rack.

Cons:

  • Primarily because of the tilting uprights, the unit must be securely bolted to the floor.
  • With a high end $$$ price (easily into $$$$ range with any options), this machine is only going to be of interest to very serious lifters, professional athletes, or commercial establishments.

Final Thoughts:

With virtually everything they make; Rouge covers the entire lifting spectrum – from novice to professional.  Squat racks are not an exception. This is a high-end squat rack; not the Combo Rack, but not very far behind it.  The main benefit of this rack, over other heavy-duty racks, is the tilting uprights, and I just don’t see that being a major consideration for the day-to-day lifter.

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#6 Rogue Combo Rack

First Impressions:

This 500-pound bad boy is the ultimate beast of squat racks.  It is certified for competition use by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF).  The combination of an integral bench tied to the squat rack gives the lifter many options for diverse lifting.  Easy adjustments to the rack, and smooth additional or removal of equipment, like the bench, give this rack full versatility and ease of use.

Features and Specifications:

  • This squat rack is made completely from 3” x 3” x 7-gauge steel for the ultimate in strength and stability.
  • Including the bench, the unit has a 77” x 80” footprint, with a 43” inside working width.  
  • Steel spotter arms come standard for enhanced safety.
  • The adjustable uprights have standard 1”/2” Westside spacing, with laser cut number holes for easy alignment.

Pros:

  • Rubber feet offer additional protection for floors, and give the unit even more stability.
  • Uprights can be set up either vertical, or angled in five degrees.  This gives larger athletes the advantage of extra-width grip squats.
  • Bar height adjustments are possible without removing the bar or plates, with a standard lever-arm adjustment system.

Cons:

  • The $$$$ price tag (think $$$$ times two) most likely relegates this combo rack to the gym, professional weight training room, or in the home of an elite athlete.  
  • It is more size and capability than the average lifter would need, but would be a nice diversion to use occasionally given access to a commercial facility so you could see how the pros do things.  
  • This is a custom-built machine that takes 6 – 8 weeks for delivery.

Final Thoughts:

If all you want is a squat rack, this is equivalent to bringing a dragster to a bike race.  This rack is best placed in a college or professional weight training room, for elite athletes and cross-trainers.  It is obviously built with that level of lifter in mind, and the IPF certification proves it is outside the realm of anything but competition level athletes.  

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#7 Rogue KS-1 Kids Squat Stand

First Impressions:

This is really a step change from the Combo Rack we just reviewed.  This rack is geared specifically for the younger weightlifters in the crowd, with a 32” X 32” footprint, and 48” height.  This is not a toy or gimmick; it is built from 2” x 2” steel uprights, and has a 150-pound capacity. It is compatible with Rogue beginner barbells and plates.

Features and Specifications:

  • Put together from 11-gauge steel and ½” hardware, with 2” throughout Westside spacing, this youth squat rack clocks in at a solid 65-pounds.  
  • Finished in Rogue Red with black base pieces, this will make your child feel like he is using a competition -level squat rack.  

Pros:

  • A very reasonably-priced $ squat rack, it is proportioned specifically for the younger lifter, with a 28” inner working width.
  • Compatibility with other Rogue barbells and plates allows you to easily assemble a full system for your child.

Cons:

  • The unit is not expandable, so eventually your youth will outgrow the rack.  
  • There is no corresponding bench available that is sized specifically for the squat rack.  

Final Thoughts:

A worthy investment for the lifter that wants to share the weightlifting experience with his children.  The rack itself is solid and durable, and while it might be outgrown, it won’t be worn out. Note that the child’s physician should be consulted before beginning a weight training program and this rack should only be used under the supervision of an adult.

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#8 Rogue Echo Squat Stand 2.0

First Impressions:

This rack is one of the value series of the Rogue squat rack line.  You get a US made, fully functional rack, with no frills, but at an affordable $$ price.  There is no upper end to this rack; what you see is what you get, and the only real options are a choice in benches.

Features and Specifications:

  • The Echo has a compact 48” x 48” footprint, with an inside working width of 43”.
  • Consisting of 2” x 3” uprights and 2” x 2” crossmembers, assembled with ½” hardware, the unit is rated at 500-pounds, yet tested successfully at 1000-pounds.
  • At 70” tall, it comes with plastic coated J cups and plastic base covers to protect your flooring.  At 95-pounds, the unit could be moved around if used in a multi-purpose room.

Pros:

  • A really good entry level squat stand, this unit compares favorably to the S-1, and has strength and stability not available from imported racks.  
  • The entire unit is protected with a black powder coating finish to prevent scratches while racking and unracking the bar.=

Cons:

  • What you see is what you get.  No options, no conversions, no upgrades are available with this unit.
  • The squat stand features two-inch hole spacing throughout, limiting flexibility somewhat for presses and squats.  

Final Thoughts:

This is not a bad rack for the first purchase for a novice lifter, but given the limitations around upgrading or adding features, it might be better to start with a unit that could be upgraded later, like those in the SML series.  If you have, for instance, a power rack and want to add a squat rack, this unit would certainly fit the bill.

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#9 York FTS Squat Stand 

First Impressions:

This is a very basic squat rack, geared primarily for squats and bench presses; there is not much additional functionality beyond that.  The rack itself is adjustable for both squats and presses, with the primary difference that the J cups are welded to the frame, and the frame telescopes as the adjustment.

Features and Specifications:

  • Coated in basic white, this unit is 41” high by 49” wide by 35” deep.
  • The rack has plate storage pegs at the rear, which, when loaded, will improve the stability of this squat rack.  
  • Built from 2” x 3” steel frame, the unit capacity is not noted, but it should be fairly strong.

Pros:

  • This rack delivers basis squat and press functionality, and is reasonably priced at $$.
  • The rack adjusts in two-inch increments, from 41” to 61” for the squat lift, and from 29” to 49” for the bench press.  Telescoping arms control the adjustment; J cups are permanently welded to the uprights.

Cons:

  • This is an imported squat rack, with only limited (two) reviews available on the Rogue site.  
  • The top cups that hold the bar for squats are metal, and are reported to scratch the coating on the barbell used.

Final Thoughts:

This unit is pretty basic, without some of the toys that the other $$ Rogue racks have.  Considering the lower end 41” height, you could actually spend just a little more money, and have a rack that could be used for youth lifting (see above) and for adults.  Overall, a functional unit, but it really does not stack up well against the rest of the Rogue lineup.

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#10 S-1 to S-2 Conversion Kit

First Impressions:

This is a conversion kit to allow you to change the configuration of you Rogue S-1 squat rack (not reviewed here) into a Rogue S-2 squat rack.  Obviously, unless you already have an S-1, you would not be interested in this; you’d just buy the S-2. The S-2 is a good, basic squat rack, and you do gain some benefits by using the kit.  

Features and Specifications:

  • The conversion kit consists of two longer upright bars, made of 2” x 3” x 11-gauge steel, using 5/8” hardware, which takes the height of the rack from 72” for the S-1 to a full 92” for the S-2.  
  • The height addition allows you to add a pull-up bar, either a combination fat-skinny bar or a plain skinny bar.  
  • The overall footprint is 48” x 48”, with the rack weighing out at 146-pounds.

Pros:

  • Following the conversion, the rack is rated for 1000-pounds of weight for the bar and plates.
  • Converting to the S-2 allows you to add a dip stations, which allows you to do additional body weight exercises, and safety arm bars.
  • Westside 1”/2” spacing is standard on this model, allowing tight adjustments for maximum comfort and lift capability.

Cons:

  • If you already purchased an S-1 and then add on the conversion kit, you will have spent a fair amount more than had you bought the S-2 in the beginning.  Budget constraints may have prevented that, but the initial purchase of an S-2 would be the way to go over this scenario.

Final Thoughts:

While there are some gains to be made graduating from an S-1 to an S-2, the total price to do so could have put you into some upper end racks in the SML series for the same money.  While the conversion kit itself is only a $ price, you might be better off putting that money toward an SML or S-4 rack with better features.

Check Price


Final Verdict

So far in this article, we’ve looked at the history of weightlifting as a sport, we’ve looked specifically at the squat as a weightlifting move, and we’ve looked at the development of the squat rack to support that lifting move.  We know that a squat rack can also be used for other lifting moves, predominantly the bench press. Depending on the features and design, many squat racks can also support some body weight exercises, such as pull-ups and dips.

The ten squat racks we investigated were a good cross-section of the entire Rogue line.  We included a couple of specialty racks, like the S-1 to S-2 conversion kit and the Kid’s Squat Rack.  We looked at two professional level units, the Combo Rack and the Mono Stand. We checked out an import, the York model, and an introductory type rack, the Echo.  The others had similar costs and functionality, but still had several differences to differentiate each one.

At this point, we need to make some recommendations around these racks.  But what are the criteria we will apply in making the final recommendation?  Who are the customers? And what are their needs from these racks?

Let’s look at this from a couple perspectives.  Let’s start with an experienced lifter, who has been at this a while, and now wants to expand his routine to incorporate squats.  He will be looking to build some serious leg, chest, and arm strength, and wants a fairly heavy-duty rack to support higher weights, but doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it.  Ideally, he will find a unit that supports all the basic lifts like presses and squats, but can be added to in the future for even more flexibility.

Our second lifter is a relative novice to the sport, and is looking at weight training as a way to tone up his body, gain overall strength, and reap the associated health benefits from weight training.  This lifter would like a budget-priced squat rack, with basic features. The ability to add options for future needs is a plus, but not a hard requirement. His available space is a little tight, but not a constraint.  He works out by himself, so safety features are important.

As we go through the list, the primary selection drivers will be the suitability of the rack for personal use, and the combination of price – value – functionality for the squat rack.  This is reflected in the rating I have assigned in the table earlier in this article.

All right, so let’s get right into the deep water, and identify the squat racks that represent the best overall value for our two fictional weight lifters.

Right off the bat, I’m going to knock out the two specialty racks from our list – the kid’s squat rack, and the S-1 – S-2 conversion kit.  The conversion kit only has value to you if you already have an S-1, and want to add a pull-up bar to it. You still end up with a good, but basic squat rack, and have spent the same, or in some cases, more money than an upper end machine would have cost you.  So, given this niche market, we’ll drop the conversion kit.

As far as the kid’s rack, it has much the same issue.  While I get the concept, for just a few dollars more you could move to the York stand and have one unit that would work for both kids and adults, due to its adjustable nature.  Before too long, the kid’s squat rack would just end up headed to a garage sale, and you’re left with nothing. So off it goes.

The next two I’m going to drop off are both exceptional quality machines, but way, way more rack than either of our two fictional lifters will ever need.  Both the Combo Rack and the Mono Stand are geared to high-end commercial establishments, or professional level training rooms. Given the $$$ and (very high) $$$$ prices, they don’t represent the best values that this exercise is seeking.  

So, at this stage, we are left with numbers 1 – 4 on the table, and numbers 8 and 9.

The next one to drop out is the #9 squat rack, the York FTS.  This imported rack features telescoping uprights, allowing a 20” adjustment for both the bench press and squat moves.  While it has basic functionality, and a reasonable price, I question the overall stability of the unit, particularly when fully extended.  Placing additional weights on the storage pegs might alleviate this somewhat, but weights are meant to be lifted, not stored.

At this point, I really start to struggle with the ratings, and coming down to the “best of the best” rating.  The five squat racks left on the list are all very good quality, and, with one exception, all in the $$ price range.  The overall ratings do vary somewhat, though. Difficult indeed, but here we go.

The next rack to discuss is the Echo squat rack, with a $$ price and a 4.6 rating.  This is a strong contender, offering all the basic functionality, no bells and whistles, but also not expandable, and with no options for upgrade.  While perfectly suitable for a novice lifter, my recommendation would be to spend a little bit more money, and get one of the remaining racks with better features upgrade capability.  

And then there were four:

SML-2C

S-4

SM-1

SML-2

Let’s now look at the first of the Monster line of squat racks left, the SM-1.  This rack is a bit of a hybrid – either an upper end squat rack, or a lower end power rack.  It’s built solid, and has a compact footprint and height for use in smaller spaces. It starts out with a $$$ base price, but, with a long list of optional equipment, it would be pretty easy to put this into $$$$ range.  It has a 4.9 overall rating, but given the pricing compared to the others left on the list, I am crossing this one off.

And then there were three.  Let’s cut over and look at the S-4.  This is another 4.9 rated squat rack, but with a $$ price.  This is an independent rack, consisting of two separate upright bars, each mounted to its own base.  You get the advantage of a small footprint and easy storage, but lack a pull-up bar, and there are no available options other than a bench.  One detriment to me is that there are no safety arms available with this cup; you have to rely on the J cups if you lose control of the bar.

The last two rack to consider are the SML-2 90” Monster, and the SML-2C.  To start off the discussion, both of these units have the exact same price, right to the dollar. Let’s look at a few of the other key figures for these two units:

Specification
SML-2C

SML-2 Monster

2” x 3” x 11-gauge base
Yes
Yes

3” x 3” x 11-gauge uprights

Yes

Yes

49” x 48” x 92”H

Yes

Yes

Unit weight 157#

Yes

Yes

1000# capacity

Yes

Yes

Safety arms available
Optional
Optional

Colors
11 different choices Black

So, the bottom line here is that these two units are virtual twins, and it really comes down to picking a color.  The $$ price range makes them affordable to either the novice or our experienced lifter, and both have a number of options to expand their functionality.  Both of these units qualify as our “best of the best”, but the top five certainly are quality units that would work well for either application.

This wraps up the product review on the ten Rogue squat racks.  I hope, if nothing else, that at the end of this, you do indeed know squat.  


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