Picking a squat rack… it’s overwhelming, right?
When I was first in the market for a rack, I did an exhaustive amount of research trying to find the perfect balance between price, performance, and footprint.
I got googly-eyed looking at some of the high-end racks on the market, and I was tempted when looking at some of the heavy duty 6-post 3×3 racks.
But after coming across the Rogue R3 power rack and weighing all the pros and cons against the rest of the contenders (of which there were many), it became clear to me that the R3 was the ideal choice for my situation.
And I think it would be the ideal choice for a lot of people looking for a squat rack in their home or garage gym.
Let me explain.
The Rogue R3 Power Rack
To put it simply, this rack is great.
It comes in at a very reasonable price, it’s very functional, it’s built like a tank, and it takes up a minimal amount of floor space.
It’s really a fantastic blend.
Let’s break it down.
The Rogue R3 power rack is constructed with 2×3 11-gauge steel tubing and uses 5/8″ bolts and fasteners. I am of the strong opinion that a 2×3 steel rack is appropriate for 99% of the population when it comes to training at home. I find the 3×3 racks to be complete overkill, especially when you consider the R3 has been tested at over 1,000 lbs without issue.
So unless you’re Big Ray Williams, this rack should be completely suitable for you.
Depending on if you buy the R3 or the Bolt-Together R3, the posts will either be fully welded or fastened together with the provided hardware. I personally own the bolt-together version and I’ll make my full case for it below. Spoiler alert: I recommend it.
Given the footprint, this unit will need to be bolted to the ground regardless of which version you buy. I bolted mine to my lifting platform which consists of 3 total layers of 3/4″ material using 3/8 2.5″ lag screws.
My suggested assembly instructions are as follows:
Step 1: Assemble the rack without tightening down all the bolts.
Step 2: Mount it to your surface fully tightened through the feet.
Step 3: Load a weighted barbell into the rack and tighten down all the remaining bolts on the rack.
Keep in mind you will need a 15/16″ socket for the 3/8″ lag screws.
Mounted this way, it has very little sway in any direction. I am fully confident that it will hold any amount of weight I ever throw at it.
One of my personal favorite features of this rack is the Westside hole spacing. The 1″ spacing is really helpful for setting up your bench press as well as your safeties. I’m a fairly short… ok really short… guy at 5’8″ and I’ve always had issues getting an optimal bench setup on non-Westside racks. Further, the safeties were either too high, thereby cutting my range of motion short, or too low, rendering them less effective. With the Westside spacing, this is a non-issue. The one drawback here is that the holes aren’t numbered, which is slightly annoying trying to line up the safeties and J-hooks.
I’ve found interior depth to be one of the biggest points of contention with regards to this rack. The regular R3 power rack comes standard with a 24″ interior depth, while the bolt-together rack comes in either 24″ or 30″ (for $20 more). For what it’s worth, I think the 24″ depth is completely fine and acceptable; however, if you get claustrophobic or you just want more depth, the 30″ is perfect in my opinion. This is actually one of the main reasons why I chose the bolt-together version. For only $20 more it seemed like a no-brainer. Either way, the rack(s) are sufficiently deep.
The rack comes standard with two pull-up bars: one skinny bar and one fat bar. They also serve as a stabilizer between the uprights. There’s not really much to say on these other than they serve their purpose quite effectively. I regularly do pull-ups with very little rack movement. I also hang my gymnastics rings from them to do pull-ups, dips, etc…
As for the other standard offerings, the rack comes with Infinity J-cups, pin & pipe safeties, and 4 band pegs that can be slotted low or high. The pin & pipe safeties get the job done, but they’re the least functional safeties available on the market in my opinion. I personally swapped mine out for a custom fabricated set of swing-in safeties. The pin & pipes are a bit cumbersome to get into place and, without any kind of protective layer, they aren’t ideal for rack pulls, etc… I would suggest either a flat surface with protective UHMW like these spotter arms, or some strap safeties. They are more versatile, easier to work with, and they are much better for your barbells.
The Rogue R3 power rack is a workhorse without the glitz and glam that other more expensive models may have. The rack comes in one color: flat black… but I think that’s pretty badass. It has a heavy duty powder coat that holds up well, but as with any powder coated piece of equipment, there will be chips and nicks over time. Thankfully this is easily repaired with black textured Rust-Oleum spray, which Rogue directly recommended when I asked. I will add that Rogue’s powder coat is really high quality in general, so this shouldn’t be a major issue.
Ultimately, this rack has the look of something that simply belongs in a home or garage gym. Its small footprint is ideal if you’re looking to maximize your square footage or if you have a tight space. Don’t mistake its small footprint with a lack of function though. It’s unquestionably strong, it offers versatility, and it has good looks to boot.
Attachments & Accessories
Speaking of versatility, this is where Rogue power racks really shine. The R3 power rack is certainly no exception, as there is no shortage of attachments and accessories to really take your training to the next level.
Here is a list of attachments that I think are worthwhile followed by a list of ones I think don’t serve as much purpose:
- Adjustable Monolifts – Monolifts are awesome, and these monolift arms are an excellent solution to a normally very expensive “problem.” They are fantastic for benching without a partner because you don’t have to worry about the lift-off. They’re also great for squatting if you don’t want to walk the weight out. If you buy the monolift arms I strongly suggest you also buy the retrofit kit that will allow you to adjust these on the fly. For some reason Rogue decided to not produce an adjustable monolift for the R3 out of the box. This kit is roughly $47, but it will let you set up your mono arms very quickly. Otherwise, you’ll have to remove bolts any time you want to move them.
- Infinity Safety Straps – Straps are one of the best types of safety systems available. They are made of a super strong nylon that has been tested at 10,000 lbs. Yes you read that correctly. 10 thousand pounds. They are significantly better than pin & pipes.
- Infinity Spotter Arms – Spotter arms are another great safety option that can be used inside or outside of the uprights. If you’re like me, I actually enjoy squatting outside of the rack on occasion. If that’s you, the spotter arms are the perfect safety solution.
- Matador Dip Attachment – This is nice attachment for doing, you guessed it, dips. While it’s not absolutely necessary, it’s an overbuilt piece that offers some variety in grip width. If you own gymnastics rings, you can use those as well. I personally own both, and I still use my Matador along with the rings.
- Multi-Grip Crossmember – As the name implies, this crossmember gives you additional variety in your pulling movements. You can pull neutral, pronated, or supinated at various grip widths.
- Landmine – Landmines are a useful implement that can be used effectively for rows, core stability, and shoulders, among others. I would recommend you use a beater bar with landmines. Do not use a nice bar with these; they will cause cosmetic issues with the sleeves. Also, the sticker they put on there is pretty bad. You might as well just take it off.
- Plate Storage – I wouldn’t recommend it. This is one area where the interior depth is not ideal. There simply isn’t enough room to have plate storage on the back posts and lift effectively within the rack. This is especially true with benching.
- Dry Erase Board – I’d suggest you spend your money on other things. If you want a whiteboard, buy an actual whiteboard and put it on your wall. There’s barely enough room for you to even write your name.
- Mountable Chalk Bowl – Buy a cheap bucket or use Tupperware. Don’t put this on your rack.
- Mountable Reverse Hyper – If you’re going to buy a reverse hyper, buy a reverse hyper. I’m sure this works fine, but it takes up a lot of space on an already small footprint.
There are other attachments and accessories that I think are useful and a few others that I don’t. You can see the full list of Rogue’s offerings here.
All in all, their offering is expansive and I’m a big fan of several of them.
The Case for the Bolt-Together Rogue R3
As I mentioned above, I purchased the bolt-together version of the R3 rather than the regular welded version. I did this for three primary reasons:
- The bolt-together version offers a 30″ depth. While the 24″ depth is acceptable, I figured an additional $20 for 6 more inches (hey noooow), was worth it. After using it extensively, I’m glad I added the extra room.
- The rack ships regular UPS. The welded version is actually shipped via UPS freight, which has to be scheduled in advance. It’s a slight annoyance that I didn’t want to deal with. I’ve also heard some not-so-good stories about freight shipments, but this is largely dependent on your location, driver, etc…
- The bolt-together is more easily transported and it can fit into tighter spaces. While this isn’t an issue for me now, it could be down the road. I didn’t want to have to deal with something later on that I could just eliminate up front.
Generally speaking, I think the bolt-together is the superior version. It’s $35 more expensive than the regular R3 ($55 if you add the extra depth), but it’s well worth the upcharge in my opinion.
Pros and Cons
- The R3 is a low profile rack with a small footprint – perfect for a home or garage gym.
- Despite its small footprint, Rogue has tested the rack with over 1,000 lbs without an issue.
- 1″ Westside hole spacing allows for optimal bench and safeties setup.
- When properly mounted, this rack has very little sway in any direction.
- Fit and finish on this rack is really nice. Rogue offers a nice looking flat black powder coat that holds up well over time.
- You have the ability to add numerous attachments and accessories to the rack, making it a very versatile piece of equipment.
- Band pegs can be placed either high or low on the rack, adding further training options.
- Assembly is very easy, although I would recommend two people.
- The price is reasonable at under $700 for the R3 and $725 for the bolt-together version.
- Because it is only 4 posts and has a small footprint, you have to mount it to the floor. You can either do this directly into concrete or you can mount it onto a lifting platform.
- Pin and pipe safeties are not the easiest to work with.
- The holes have no numbers, which can be slightly cumbersome when lining up safeties, j-hooks, etc…
- Plate storage is not practical because of the interior depth. Given the rack has a small footprint with only 4 posts, this is standard and expected, however.
- It only comes in one color. If this is important to you, the R3 won’t be the best option.
All-in-all, the Rogue R3 power rack is an excellent option if you’re looking for a well-priced rack that will handle whatever your throw at it and not take up a lot of space. I’m personally very happy I chose this rack, as I find the larger/more expensive racks to be overkill in most cases.
The R3 offers a great blend of price, functionality, and size.
Rogue R3 Power Rack Rating
The Rogue R3 is just a classic, great power rack. If you need an economically sized and priced unit, definitely check this one out.