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Rogue R3 Infinity Power Rack / Half-Rack Review

Rogue R3 Power Rack product review

For the last three years or so I’ve had a Rogue R4 power rack in my garage gym (many of you have no doubt seen my glowing review for the R4), and in that time I haven’t had a single issue, problem, or complaint with or about the R4. It has served me well. I even purchased many accessories for it; all of which work wonderfully and get used regularly. However, despite my respect for the R4, I’ve replaced it with the smaller Rogue R3 Power Rack.

Bye-bye R4, Hello R3

Why the change? The simple answer is because I wanted to reclaim and make better use of the limited space in my garage; not only to give me more space in general, but also because I wanted to add an 8’x8′ Olympic lifting platform to my gym.

The R4 is a pretty big power rack at about 4½-feet square, and it’s about twice as deep as I needed (especially since I use spotter arms.) I also anchored it down further away from the wall than I should have (pretty bad planning on my part.) Anyway, to make a long story short, by not only moving, but also downsizing the R4 power rack to an R3, I was able to reclaim dozens of square feet of my garage.

My previous garage gym set up with the Rogue R4 Rack

My old Rogue R4 set-up. Between the gap from wall to rack, and twice the inside rack space that I actually needed, there was lots of wasted space.

I didn’t even need to buy an R3!

Thankfully Rogue racks are modular, so I only needed to buy a couple of pieces to convert my existing R4 to an R3. Technically, all I needed was two pairs of Rogue R3 24″ cross-members, but since I intended to set up the R3 as a half rack, I also purchased a couple pairs of plate horns for bumper storage. I already had three different pull-up bars (the single bar and skinny/fat bar come standard with the R4, and I bought the multi-grip bar as an add-on), so there was nothing else to buy.

Pieces need to convert my R4 into an R3 Half Rack

On the left are the 24″ cross-members from the Bolt-Together R3. They were about $80 per pair. I also bought some plate storage horns (right) for about $50 per pair. Other than redoing the flooring around the rack, it was a very simple transition.

R3 Half Rack?

As you probably well know, half racks are basically squat stands with a pair of rear uprights for plate storage. Like a squat stand, you work out in front of (outside of) the rack. Half racks offer pretty much all the benefit of a king-size rack like the R6 (storage, pull-up, stability, accessory options), but for a lot less cash and by using a hell of a lot less space. For me, the downside of a standard half rack is that they have long, protruding legs. Since my goal was to reclaim space, I didn’t want those long legs.

The Rogue SML2 Squat Stand and HR2 Half Rack

I borrowed this picture from my power rack guide to show you the feet that half racks and squat stands have. You don’t have to anchor these types of racks, but I was okay with anchoring if it meant no long legs. Having said that, if I was starting from nothing (no R4), I would just have bought the HR-2 (right image.)

In order to safely “convert” the R3 into a half rack, the unit absolutely had to be anchored to the foundation (to prevent tipping). I used three concrete anchors per rear leg, and two anchors per front leg; for a total of 10. Having plate storage on the rear uprights also contributes to the racks stability by acting as a counter-weight on the rare occasion I fail a rep and have to set a loaded bar on the front-facing spotters (although this is obviously not a suitable substitute for anchoring.)

My new R3 Half Rack situation

R3 Half Rack. I already had the skinny/fat pull-up bar that comes standard with the R3 and R4 (red), but I installed it vertically for stability rather than chin and pull-ups. I use the multi-grip bar (yellow) for those.

Better shot of my R3 pull-up situation

Here is a better shot of how I installed the pull-up bars. The fat/skinny bar is vertical just like it is on the R4, only I did it this way for stabilization. With the R3, that fat/skinny bar would normally be installed where I currently have the multi-grip bar. Side note, I just had that mini split installed. I’m looking forward to a cooler garage this summer!

The Rogue R3 Review

First of all, just about everything that I had to say about the R4 in my previous review applies to the R3 as well. Quality of construction is the same, accessories and add-ons are the same, and both have the amazing Westside hole spacing. Both racks are awesome, and there are so many small things that Rogue does better than they probably have to; things you wouldn’t even know to look for in many cases.

For instance, holes are laser cut rather than drilled, and they always line up; welds are clean and look professional; and sharp edges and flashing is removed from every fabricated piece of steel before powder coating is applied. I hate sounding like a talking head for Rogue, but if there is one thing they can do, it’s build high quality racks and rigs (I’ve been around some imported knock-off racks, and you wouldn’t believe what passes for a finished product out there.)

When looking over my R4 review, the only thing that I notice that wouldn’t really apply here would be the strong recommendation I made regarding replacing the pin-and-pipe safeties with spotter arms. I can see the pin-and-pipes being much simpler to use on a rack with only 24″ between uprights, making that upgrade far less critical. Try the pipes before you order arms; you may not feel as compelled to upgrade to arms with the R3 as you would on the R4.

In the end, as much as I like the R4, I prefer the R3 for my situation. I have access to all the same exercises and all the same accessories, but the rack takes up half as much space as the R4 did. Not only that, I now have more plate storage, and the plates are inches from the bar instead of across the garage on a plate tree. This doesn’t change how I feel about the R4 or the R6 though; I think all three of them have their place. The entire Rogue Infinity line is by far one of best priced, best built, and most versatile power racks on the market, and the R4 would have probably lived in my garage forever if not for my desire to own a legitimate Oly platform.

If there was one thing I miss about having an R4, it’s the ability to super set without having to move things around. That is, I could set J-cups both inside the rack and outside the rack and work two exercises without having to move bars, weights, J-cups, etc. It really doesn’t come up much since most movements don’t involve a rack, but it was a nice perk the few times it did come up.

The Garage Gyms Olympic platform

This is my 8’x8′ Olympic platform. It’s not stained yet, but it’s completely functional. If you follow that arrow about seven feet, you’d hit the front of the new R3 (just to give you an idea of layout.) Lot’s of space.

Rogue R3 Options (there are many!)

Leave it to Rogue to have a power rack for any situation. Keep in mind, most of the same variations are also available for the R4 and R6. In other words, Rogue has a ton of racks.

Rogue R3 / R3 Shorty

The “standard” R3 is completely welded except for the fat/skinny pull-up bar. It’s 90″ high, 30″ deep (24″ between uprights front-to-back), and has a total footprint (the feet poke out for anchoring) of 53″ x 34″The rack comes standard with a pair of J-cups, and the pin-and-pipe safety system.

You can also order the standard R3 as a “shorty” version; it’s 84″ tall versus 90″. I’m assuming this option exists for those of you with basement gyms. Either version is $695 before any accessories or add-ons.

Rogue R3 Bolt-Together

The bolt-together version of the R3 has cross-members that aren’t welded. There are two benefits to the bolt-together; it’ll fit into tighter spaces (doorways, stairs, etc) for assembly, and it can be shipped to APO addresses. This version of the R3 is $725, and a slightly deeper 30″ (vs 24″) version can be had for $20 more. The bolt-together R3 is the same rack as the standard R3, and it has all the same features (safeties, J-cups, pull-up bar), but it obviously comes in more pieces so requires like five more minutes to assemble.

Rogue “Echo” RE-3

There is also the RE-3 Power Rack, which is more or less the economical 2″x2″ alternative to the R3. The size and features are mostly the same, but the price is lower by over $100. Other than the fact that it looks wimpy (it’s not really wimpy, just looks it), the biggest down-side to the RE-3 is that it lacks the Westside hole spacing in the bench region. Westside spacing is amazing to have, and it’s hard to go back once you get used to it. Also, the safeties are not included in the price, and the J-cups have no protective plastic. I don’t think this rack is worth it; stick with the Infinity line.

RML-3 and RM-3 Racks

See next section.

Infinity Racks vs Monster Lite Racks

I get asked from time-to-time about the Infinity series vs. the Monster/Monster Lite series. That is, what justification is there to own a beefy, 3″x3″ rack like the RML-3 rather than standard 2″x3″. I am of the opinion that the 11-gauge, 2″x3″ configuration of the Infinity series is just perfect for a garage gym. Honestly, it’s sturdy enough to be used commercially. 3″x3″ is a little bit (a lot, really) of overkill in a home, especially when you get into the thicker 7-gauge metal. It’s a power rack, not a skyscraper.

So unless you plan on driving your truck into your power rack at 60 mph, I think you’ll be fine with 2″x3″. Having said that, Monster racks looks super cool and beefy. If you’re flush with cash, knock yourself out and buy some Monster gear. Be warned, the accessories cost more as well.

Like the Idea of a Half Rack?

I did my conversion the way I did because it was cheaper than buying a whole new rack (by a lot.) If you want a half rack, I suggest just buying a half rack, not a power rack like I did. As I previously mentioned, if I did not already own the R4 to convert, I would have probably just bought the Rogue HR-2 Half Rack and called it a day. The HR-2 is a few bucks less than the Rogue R3, and it’s even a Monster Lite (3″x3″) rather than an Infinity. It too has the Westside hole spacing and chin bar, but it also has plenty of space for plate storage horns.

The Rogue HR-2 Half Rack, Monster Lite rack

The Rogue HR-2 Half Rack – $655 before upgrades and accessories (spotters/safeties not included.)

One of the drawbacks of the HR-2 vs the full racks is that you can’t use the multi-grip pull-up bar. I’m sure that’s not a deal breaker for most people, but it’s worth mentioning. You don’t get any safety system included either; spotter arms are an add-on. There are pin/pipe safeties for the HR-2, but I can’t understand why anyone would buy a half rack and then work out inside that little bit of space rather than use those rear uprights for storage. To each his own though!

There are other half racks out there, but I don’t think I’d even stray from Rogue when it comes to power racks and squat stands. Knowing what I know about how they are made and the fact that they are modular makes them an easy front-runner. So again, if you’re in the market, take a look at the Rogue line-up before you make a decision.

HR-2 Half Rack | R3 Power Rack | Entire Infinity Line

{ 57 comments… add one }
  • Derrick March 9, 2015, 12:52 am

    Great review. Love the website! There’s so much useful information. Your reviews and guides are extremely helpful. Question though. I’m thinking about building an 8′ x 8′ platform like the one in your picture, but with an extra layer of plywood. So two pieces, another two on top, and then a fifth on top down the middle with stall mats on the sides. Do you think it is safe to anchor the rack to the platform? Drilling holes in my concrete garage isn’t really an option for me. Thanks!

    • jburgeson March 9, 2015, 2:01 am

      Mine is like that, it’s just that the bottom layer is the same height as the flooring. The platform isn’t actually sitting on the flooring. Ya people anchor into platforms like that. I haven’t done it myself so I’m not sure of the hardware to use, but ya, it’ll stay put. 5 pieces of plywood + rubber is heavy.

      • Derrick March 9, 2015, 2:09 am

        Ah my mistake. I couldn’t tell. Cool, thanks for the help and quick response! I was actually considering the R4 for a while before reading this review, but after reading this and remeasuring the size of my garage space, I think the R3 would suit me better. However, I’ve only ever done workouts in racks the size of the R4. Is the depth of the R3 enough for squatting and benching in?

        • jburgeson March 9, 2015, 2:14 am

          Yeah it is. It may feel small at first, but 24″ is more than enough space. There is a 30″ R3 as well in the bolt-together version if that makes you feel any better =p

          • Derrick March 9, 2015, 2:28 am

            Great, thanks! I’ll look at the bolt-together version, but I’ll take your word for it that it’s enough space haha. Thanks again for the help. Your website has been a godsend! It’s really helped me figure out what to do and where to look.

            • jburgeson March 9, 2015, 11:09 am

              Thank you very much.

          • Derrick March 10, 2015, 12:29 am

            I think I actually found a good alternative. The RML 390F has a 30″ depth and doesn’t need to be bolted down. I don’t see any downsides to it either.

            Do you think one 3/4″ stall mat is enough to prevent floor damage, if using bumper plates? I intended to build a platform to protect the floor and to also have something to bolt the rack down to. But since the 390F doesn’t need to be bolted down, I’m thinking I might not even need the platform unless a single stall mat isn’t enough to protect the concrete (there are already some cracks spread intermittently).

            • jburgeson March 10, 2015, 12:39 am

              Yeah that is a good alternative.

              If you’ve already got cracks forming I would still buffer those bumpers with some plywood. Stall mats are great to help absorb a lot of a drop because they don’t compress too easily, but they still will compress given enough weight. Think about how little surface area there is to the part of the bumper that actually connects with the ground… not very much. The more weight, the more risk. Honestly, the money you spend on some 4×8 plywood is nothing compared to what it will cost to fix a foundation; it hardly seems worth the risk. I don’t think you mentioned what you’ll be doing on the platform, but whether it’s just deadlifting or Olympic lifting, both can be bad for the already compromised foundation.

          • Derrick March 10, 2015, 12:49 am

            Good point, better to be safe now than damage the foundation and have to fix that up. At the moment I’m thinking about deadlifts only, but it’ll be good to have the option to do olympic lifts in the future without worrying about damaging the floor. I’m guessing one layer of 3/4″ plywood isn’t enough for a platform

            • jburgeson March 10, 2015, 1:02 am

              It’ll help a lot. I think the reason for the two layers is to make sure it’s flat. If you don’t weigh down first and second layer as the liquid nails dry, you have a pretty good chance that the platform won’t sit flush with the ground. There’s really no way to make sure it’s flat with just one layer then the mats on top. I mean, you can get it close by doing the same thing (weight all over the platform while it dries, but I’m assuming it won’t work as well.

          • Derrick March 10, 2015, 1:22 am

            Oh is that the reason? Yeah definitely don’t want it to be uneven. I guess the lifting platform is still the way to go lol. Thanks again for all the help and quick responses. This probably would’ve been better as an email correspondence with the way this comment thread is going lol. I appreciate it.

            • jburgeson March 10, 2015, 1:34 am

              It’s all good. And maybe someone else with a similar situation will stumble upon this here. Good luck with everything.

  • jd March 16, 2015, 12:13 pm

    I just ordered a sml-2 but now second guessing that decision. I lift alone often, and considering the safety of the stand or half rack. With these there Is nothing to catch you from falling backwards. Although most fall forward or straight down on failed attempts, the possibility still exists. Would safety straps work? I see straps on full racks but not half racks.

    • jburgeson March 16, 2015, 12:26 pm

      Well, falling backwards in any rack is not good. That shouldn’t ever happen unless you are really overloading that bar. You should fail getting back up, not on the way down. Set those spotter arms to the right height (just an inch below the bottom of a normal squat), and if you get stuck in the bottom, just come down that inch and the bar is safely on the arms.

      I’ve seen two people fail reps in a dangerous way, and both of them were teens who had no idea how much weight they could lift; maybe they thought their leg press strength translated into squat strength, I dunno. Either way, they way way way overloaded that bar, and that weight brought them down.

      The SMLs are just as safe as a full rack, I wouldn’t worry about that. The feet extend as far as the arms (further actually, I believe), so you can’t tip it even if you have weight on the ends of the spotters. You need four uprights for straps though, so that’s not an option.

  • jd March 16, 2015, 12:50 pm

    Thx for the quick response. I agree, overloading the bar way too much and not knowing your ability definitely leads to most catastrophic events. Not to say you can never experience a tendon going out in your knee or something else freakish that could happen. I have seen straps that hang from a single bar in a cage. So i wondered if something like this could work in a half rack as back up? But i dont think it would work…as you step back from the rack to squat. If you fail the bar will be swung forward and not caught straight down.

    I agree the chances of something catastrophic happening are low… just wondering if anyone did something as an additional insurance policy to the safety arms. Great site by the way!

    • jburgeson March 16, 2015, 2:12 pm

      Yeah I don’t think there is much else you could do, or would even need to do. I think you made a good purchase, but you could always convert the unit to a half rack by getting with Rogue for the parts. I think the HR-2 only converts from the S-2 and S-3, not the SML line, but I don’t doubt for a second that it could be done anyway. Everything they make for racks and rigs is modular. But to answer your question, I have not seen anyone do any custom strap modifications.

      There are plenty of guys that back squat without spotters of any kind. They have learned to ditch the bar safely just like if it was a front squat. I only even ditch a bar like that myself when Oly lifting or front squatting, but that’s just me. It doesn’t even really negate the point of having a rack since there is no effective way to get into a back squat position without stands, and most people don’t want to power clean into a front squat position just to squat.

  • jd March 16, 2015, 4:25 pm

    They show a HR-2 in the ML line so i think one could convert. But i cant see myself squatting within a 16 in space haha! Im sure i will love it as it is….and will be just fine with the safeties.

  • Jim May 8, 2015, 2:57 pm

    I’m leaning heavily toward the R3 rack for my own garage gym, but I’m wondering if you ever considered a W4 rig? I know the rig footprint is slightly larger, and it’s less versatile. Still, it has taller uprights which are great for a taller person (I’m 6’1″ with a 79″ wingspan) on pull-ups, etc., and you could certainly add safety spotter arms for max efforts. Perhaps this could be accomplished with a half-rack, but I don’t love how far the legs would extend. Given the quality and thoroughness of your reviews, I’d love to get your perspective as I’m certain you considered things that I haven’t. Thanks!

    • jburgeson May 8, 2015, 3:15 pm

      Hey Jim, yeah I just don’t like them for their lack of versatility. Your only safety option is arms, and you have a giant footprint but no storage. They are tall, and being even taller than you I would appreciate that height, but they are too tall for most garages. Anyone with a house more than 5-10 years old probably has 8-foot ceilings, and that wouldn’t work. They don’t stop you from having to anchor, actually now you need a stringer on the wall too, so it’s not really an simpler.

      Yeah I dunno, I mean they do have a couple of advantages, but I think they mostly belong in maybe a one-car garage that won’t be used for anything else but a gym, or a box setting. R3 seems better, or HR-2 if you want the storage. You can also buy those 9′ uprights for the R3 if you call the order in, but you’ll absolutely have to anchor down lol

      • Jim May 9, 2015, 8:59 pm

        Thanks. That was my take on it as well – the lone real advantage I could come up with was the height of the uprights (I have 120″ ceilings). It looks like I’ll be going with the R3, and of course I’ll anchor it down. Thanks again; I really appreciate your reviews.

  • Josh May 11, 2015, 5:50 pm

    John: did you use rogue’s concrete anchors for your R3 or something you bought locally? Just had my R3 delivered today and realized I didn’t buy the anchors so trying to decide whether to order from rogue or just head to the hardware store. Rogue claims their anchors are superior because they can be put in and removed repeatedly just like a regular screw, whereas standard concrete anchors have to be ground off.

    Curious about someone else’s experience. And thanks for the feedback on the Ohio Power Bar vs the TX power bar. Due to shipping consolidation I went with the OH bar.

    • jburgeson May 11, 2015, 6:00 pm

      Hey Josh, I used these: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Tapcon-3-8-in-x-3-in-Hex-Washer-Head-Large-Diameter-Concrete-Anchor-10-Pack-11413/203770115. I think Rogue is talking about wedge anchors when they say that; yea those don’t come out I don’t think. Double-check the sizing, but I know you can buy the exact same size at Home Depot and I’d assume Lowes, the Tapcons are just blue instead of zinc. I’ve moved my rack around and pulled these anchors. You got a big hole, but they came out no problem just like taking a screw out of anything else. Make sure that hole goes straight in, not at an angle. Seems obvious, but it takes a good eye to put it in straight… either that or I’m bad at those kind of things lol.

      You happy with that bar?

  • Rob August 26, 2015, 9:30 am

    Any idea what the best plate storage system/option is for the HR-2 Half Rack? I see in the picture at the bottom of the article there are eight long monster-lite plate storage arms. It looks like rogue sells them in pairs. Would I be best suited to get 4 pairs and I assume these are bolt-ons correct? I have a full set of OFW bumpers and then pairs of 2.5lb, 5lb, and 10lb troy premium iron plates to fill the smaller gaps (also purchased from fringesport). Will there be enough space between the arms to store my bumper 45s, 25s, and 10s from fringesport given that they are all the same size? For the record your website, feedback, and articles are all awesome and helpful. Thanks again for your help.

    • jburgeson August 26, 2015, 11:01 am

      Thanks very much Rob. So do you have the 70″ rear uprights? I know you can get three full-size plate horns in under 70″, but I don’t think you’ll get the fourth horn unless only 2 of the horns hold big plates. I am not 100% on this though, you may ask Rogue to confirm. I tried to use my rack for comparison, but the R series doesn’t have that triangle shaped base-plate and I think I have more available holes because of that, so I can start lower. I’m going to guess you can’t do three large and one small because they didn’t do it that way in the picture, and I doubt many people would choose to only have two horns for large plates. Also yes, they bolt on.

      • Rob August 27, 2015, 9:27 am

        John I appreciate the response. Yes, I will be ordering the 70″ rear uprights. I think what I am going to do is purchase two pairs of the long plate storage horns and one pair of the short horns and simply put three 45s on each bottom horn, one 25 & one 10 combined on the other long horn. I will then place my small collection of iron plates on the top short horns(2.5, 5, 10). I will only have three horns on either side, but that should give me enough room for plenty of weight and relative ease of access.

        • jburgeson August 27, 2015, 9:52 am

          Any merit to buying all three long pairs so you can switch that up down the road if you need to? You can always put little plates on a long horn, but you can’t put big plates on the little horn. Just a thought.

          • Rob August 27, 2015, 1:30 pm

            Absolutely, they are only a few bucks more! I will try it out and see what happens. I appreciate the advice and help.

            • jburgeson August 27, 2015, 1:32 pm

              Roger that, have fun with it!

  • Mike October 31, 2015, 6:17 pm

    Hello John,
    yesterday I ordered the AB Super Power Bar :-)
    Thanks for all your commitment and patience with all my questions.

    Next thing is a rack.
    The Rogue Bolt-Together R-3 in 30″ I think.

    Do it have important advantages to buy extra spotter arms versus the existing Pin/Pipe Safeties?
    For me the “R-3 Strap Safety System” looks quite interesting and it should be “very silent in use” (neighbors)? What do you think about it?

    Does it makes sense to buy plate storage or Vertical Plate Storage with a R3 or is this rack to small for it, if you squat and bench press frequently inside it?

    A pair of additionally J-Cups seems to be a good investment.
    Anything else?

    Thanks, Mike

    • jburgeson October 31, 2015, 8:16 pm

      haha congratulations on the bar. =)

      So, no there is no reason to have spotter arms unless you plan to lift outside the rack, and with a 30″ rack I don’t see any reason to do that as 30″ is plenty of inside space. If you do want to lift outside the rack, the thing needs to be anchored down good; at least two anchors per leg. If you want something with spotter arms and plate storage, go with the HR-2 if you even are offered that. You can’t really put plate pins on basic racks because the plates interfere with the bar’s path inside the rack.

      Straps are probably a waste of money unless you just are used to using them and like them. You could argue they are quieter, but how often do you really expect to fail a rep? Moreover, how often do you think you’ll fail so brutally that the bar can’t be controlled down to the pipes? I’m going to say close to never.

      I would use the R3 in the traditional way. Lift inside, use the pipes (they still aren’t bad for 30″. In the R4 size racks pipes suck but not so bad in R3), and get some other form of plate storage. Vertical tree, rolling plate rack, something. Extra J-cups can be okay because you may want to do press or front squats from outside the rack, and you won’t ditch a bar in the press ever, and a front squat can be safely dumped. Still, anchor down if you plan to put any load outside of the uprights.

      • Rob October 31, 2015, 9:50 pm

        Big supporter of the HR-2 with plate storage. Will do a video review soon! Made the purchase because of your reviews so I want to thank you John.

        • jburgeson October 31, 2015, 10:20 pm

          Yeah you got it. The HR-2 is probably what I’d own if it hadn’t been so easy for me to convert my R4 down into that R3/Half rack thingy I have now. That is to say, it was inexpensive to do so, and serves the same function.

  • Mike November 1, 2015, 3:23 am

    Hello John,
    I don’t understand a few things.
    1. Why do you save a lot of room space with a squat stand?
    The footprint is 48″ (by the way the same footprint has the “RM-390F Flat Foot”).
    If one have the space for a 48″ and you look only at the footprint, you could buy the R4? (okay, it is more expensive).
    2. Why do most powerlifter use racks (perhaps am wrong)?
    3. The EU-Rogue-Store offers just small part of the product range compared to the US-Store :-(
    This is the only HR2-option if you order in the EU-store:

    That would mean one has to buy first the S2, after that the HR-2 Half Rack Conversion Kit PLUS the spotter arms (bench press, squats) – if one wants the same safety support compared with a full rack.
    Final sum for a delivery from Finland to Germany: Subtotal €797.00 (Tax €191.28, Total €988.28).
    The Rogue Bolt-Together R-3 (in 30″) costs €744 (total with Tax €922).
    I lack any experience – where are the advantage and disadvantages if you compare this two options (the price is one aspect, but for me not the most important)? When is the first option the better choice, when the second?
    (And if you take the HR-2 solution, would you use Rogue plate storage in the case?

    You know John, I do mostly Mark’s SS-exercises…

    Thanks, Mike

    • jburgeson November 1, 2015, 1:04 pm

      You don’t save space with a squat stand. I actually address that up near the beginning of this article. I only suggested the HR-2 if for whatever reason you wanted to work outside the rack, or you wanted to use the rear uprights of the unit for plate storage. This is all just personal preference and budget you know. R3 is just as functional as the HR-2 in terms of the lifts, especially for Starting Strength where you only have like 2 exercises that even require spotters. The only other difference is that the racks need to be anchored, but the stands do not.

      Also just to be clear, one shouldn’t use the optional pin and pipes with the HR-2. It kind of defeats the purpose of it being a half rack. Use spotter arms for the HR-2 and leave the rear uprights free for plate storage.

  • Mike November 2, 2015, 2:47 am

    Hello John,
    okay, thank you.
    What confused me at the beginning a little bit is that you and e.g. Rob favor the HR-2.
    If have unterstand it, you changed from the bigger R4 to the smaller R3 – no, to the HR-2.
    Because you wanted to reclaim space. But do you realy reclaim space with the bench and spotter arms outside? Yes, if you remove the spotters. That’s the advantage in regards to space compared to the R4, right? But this is true only in your special case. If I look on your photo from the R3 with spotters, I understand it.
    But if you buy the S-2 or the HR-2 (48″ footprint), you need even more space compared to the R3 (24″ or 30″ footprint) – not less?.
    The only difference between the S-2 and the HR-2 is the plate storage option (with additional costs), okay.
    At the end one can say the R3 has a smaller footprint, but the S-2 (HR-2) don’t need to be anchored and gives you the plate storage option in case of the HR-2.
    I think I understood it now. Sorry, it needed time :-)
    Perhaps I was confused first because you wrote “I was able to reclaim dozens of square feet of my garage”… (R4 footprint 43″ x 43″, S2 footprint 48″ x 48”)
    After I was looking on your special R3 Half Rack-photo above again, I’ve got it.

    Thanks, Mike

  • Mike November 2, 2015, 1:51 pm

    In addition:
    If the matter is new and the information is not found in the mother tongue, sometimes I little bit difficult…
    I hope I did not confuse anybody else exept me, sorry!
    It stresses me out a bit having to make a decision without having a Rack/Squat Stand/half-Rack ever seen, touched or tried. And it is here also about a lot of money.

    A mind game: If you had to buy new rack (stupid assumption), would you buy a R3 (30″)?
    And because of protruding legs and the space it need rather not a HR-2?
    And if you had enough space for a R4 or a S2/HR-2? For what would you choose?

    • jburgeson November 2, 2015, 5:54 pm

      If my rack disappeared, I’d replace it with a half rack for sure. I don’t plan on adding a monolift attachment, and I don’t squat 900 pounds, so I don’t care about having a full cage. A half rack is more than fine for me.

      If I had an abundance of space.. massive space; I’d buy an RML-690 probably. R4 is awkward. Too much footprint, not enough utility.

      • Mike November 2, 2015, 6:30 pm

        Okay, thank you for your patience and your tireless advice!

        I would have ordered the R3 – now I doubt whether that’s the best idea.

        I understand now the differences between the R3 and the HR-2.
        But why is the decision so clear for you? Because the HR-2 doesn’t have to be anchored? And has the plate storage option? Weighs that for you more than the larger footprint? Or what else is better personally for you.

        • jburgeson November 2, 2015, 6:59 pm

          Ya the extra footprint of the legs is more than made up for by the on-board plate storage. I don’t much care about the anchoring as I have no issues with putting holes in the floor, but I suppose it’s nice not to have to. You know with plats loaded all up that back upright, the unit isn’t going anywhere. It becomes very heavy and very stable. Now, if you just don’t have the extra space, there is nothing wrong with the R3. It’s probably their overall most simple and effective rack; cheapest too. Even the 24″ version is more than enough space to lift in.

  • Mike November 4, 2015, 3:02 am

    Hello John,
    after many hours of reading and thinking I’m now between the RML-390F Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack versus the HR-2 plus Spotter Arms.
    Actually I want to ask you to controll that I didn’t make a fallacy:

    A few thoughts on the RML-390F Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack versus the HR-2 plus Spotter Arms:

    In general:
    Because I don’t know if I have to move away in the coming years I tend to buy a flat food construction – either a RML-390F or a HR-2 pus Spotter Arms.
    This would enable me to use it inside the home or even in a garage or in the cellar without having to ask for permission to bolt it to the floor.

    Both have nearly the same footprint. The HR-2 allows me to use various plate storage horns.

    If I take a rack e.g. the RML-390F my partner or my son could train together with me at the same time (with additional J-Cups).
    If I would have enough space I could put up the rack in a way that you have access to both sides.
    And with additional spotter arms the other person could e.g. do bench press while I’m squating inside the rack with the Pin/ Pipe Safety System.
    I know, if I use Spotter Arms I should bolt this rack to the floor (says Rogue) – must I?

    In this case – can I use the “S-Base Floor Mounting Feet“ to fix a RML-390F if this setup will be necessary or desired?
    If not, what do you recommend if someone someday wants to bolt the RML-390F to the floor?

    Yes, it sounds a little stupid to buy a flat food rack and anchor it later – maybe I never will… But I try to find the solution with the most options related to possible future changes or needs.

    A HR-2 Half Rack can’t be used from two persons at the same time. But has the advantage of space for plate storage horns…

    Could I use plate storage horns at ANY (high/low) position in the RML-390F too? Or will this interfere with most exercises (for me the most important exercise inside the rack is the squat)?


    • jburgeson November 4, 2015, 10:00 am

      You cant put spotter arms outside the uprights of a power rack and not anchor. You also couldnt put plate horns anywhere on a the back uprights of a normal power rack without them interfering unless you want to mount like maybe one horn all the way at the top, but that doesn’t make much sense. You can’t even do it low because of the bench press.

      If you can’t bolt to the foundation at some point, you can always put a platform under the rack and mount to that. Not sure if the flat foot even has a way to anchor; I doubt it considering that’s kinda the point to not anchor.

  • Mike November 10, 2015, 10:17 am

    Hello John,

    after a lot of discussions at home I’m thinking about a clever solution for two persons.
    I want to buy a ROGUE product, nothing else.

    I want a set-up which allows that my son and I can squat or bench press safely at the same time
    (all combinations of exercises should work together at the same time – and I have two benches).

    What would be the best solution from your point of view?

    1) R4 with one pair of spotter arms on one side?
    One person could train inside the rack, the other one outside with spotter arms…
    Is there enough space in the rack for this setup?

    or is better to have a

    2) R3 with 2 x Spotter Arms (Spotter Arms on BOTH sides)?

    or do you have a better idea?

    Thanks a lot,

    • Mike November 10, 2015, 10:20 am

      And yes, I will follow your proposal and put a platform under the rack and mount to that.

    • jburgeson November 10, 2015, 10:35 am

      Neither of those will allow one person to work in while the other is out.. not comfortably anyway. Your idea of double spotter arms has been done and works, but I would suggest at least the 30″ R3 for that, if not the R4.

      There are two station racks out there that basically look like HR-2s with the short uprights on either side of a tall center upright that can still be used for plate storage (http://www.legendfitness.com/products/racks_cages_platforms/racks_cages/double-sided_half_cage_3155.aspx). I don’t believe Rogue makes this, but their racks are completely modular so it would just be a matter of asking for all the right parts. I’d say it would be expensive, but a two-station unit from anyone else will cost a couple grand as well so what’s the difference.

      You need a lot of space for two people to lift on either sides of the same rack, as I’m sure you’ve figured.

      • Mike November 10, 2015, 7:51 pm

        I asked Rogue and this is The Answer:

        “For total safety, you might consider the R-4 with two sets of spotter arms.
        You could also execute the conjoined HR-2 rack with no problem, as we can provide crossmembers to connect the two independent HR-2 racks.”
        I’m not sure if the second proposal is a good idea …
        Maybe two normal squats stands (S-2) would be the best and most adaptable solution?
        That example from “legend-fitness” is a great idea and is the solution I’m looking for.

        • jburgeson November 10, 2015, 11:19 pm

          That Legend rack is probably a couple grands, so the R4 is probably the best option. The HR-2 option seems lost on whoever you got to respond to you. I don’t think joining two full units is the answer, I think using only one rear upright and then connecting the front upright to both sides of what would now be the middle upright. The problem with this is only the base. It would need to be fabricated to the right length for all three uprights. They’ll do it if you’re willing to pay for it, but does seem like the R4 is easier.

  • Mike November 12, 2015, 7:30 am

    Hello John,
    OK, I will wait until BLACK FRIDAY is over… Rogue Europe said, they will have some specials. I don’t expect they will offer a special price for a Rack or spotter arms :-) But imagine they would – after my order!

    I trust in your experience but I don’t understand one thing:
    Why can’t my son squat inside a R4 while I am benching outside with spotter arms? If the rack is located in the middle of the room with enough space in all directions, couldn’t he leave the rack without disturbing me?
    Or in what way would we bother each other?

    At the moment I tend strongly to buy a 30′ R3 with two pairs of spotter arms or to seperate the athletes with TWO squat stands.
    One advantage is, that two squat stands could be placed in different ways – for example, next to each other…

    I’m really thankful. You helped me so much during the last weeks.
    (by the way – my American Barbell Super Power Bar will arrive on Monday or Tuesday :-)
    Which kind of Collars do you use? Olympic Spring Collars or Flip Lock Collars?
    And yesterday I ordered 150 kg (330 lbs) Hi-Temp Bumper.

    With a Rack / Squat Stand everything would be fine at the moment.
    The GHD has to wait…

    • jburgeson November 12, 2015, 10:47 am

      When you bench, the bar in the J-cups is over your head below your field of vision if you look straight up. That puts both the bench and part of your head inside that rack. You don’t want your head so close to someone squatting anymore than they want to worry about sitting on you as they squat. Plus, I mean it’s just not safe if while squatting a rep has to be ditched, or even just carefully failed. At best I can see someone squatting both in and out of an R4, but that’s about it.

      My favorites are muscle clamps, but I can only use those on power lifts. They don’t work 100% if the bar is being dropped a lot. I use lock jaws on the platform. Everyone is using OSO collars it seems, but I just can’t get excited about $50 collars that don’t weigh anything.

  • Mike November 12, 2015, 11:42 am

    OK, I have got it.
    And as you said, you think it would work without problems if I buy the R3 (30 “) with two pairs of spotter arms.
    You wrote: “Your idea of double spotter arms has been done and works, but I would suggest at least the 30″ R3 for that, if not the R4.”
    Why did you think the R4 could even be better compared to the R3?
    Isn’t the distance of 30 ” enough if both athletes are working outside?

    • jburgeson November 12, 2015, 11:46 am

      The extra 12″ or so just makes it more stable, though it won’t matter if anchored. You don’t seem to have a shortage of space, so getting a compact unit seems less important. Also, it just gives more space between lifters so you never feel on top of one another. Fact is you could go either way. I remember seeing someone with a 24″ R3 doing exactly this and it was fine. Would be weird to bench that way, but you wouldn’t be touching at least.

  • Mike November 12, 2015, 1:47 pm

    You wrote: “….You don’t seem to have a shortage of space…”

    Yes, not at the moment – but I will move away in the next years and nobody knows how the situation will be in the future.
    Finally I think the R3 (30″) is the best compromise for me. And I can use it with less space at least without spotter arms for one person. The footprint is small but with one or two pairs of Spotter Arms I have a lot of possibilities. And the setup for the second person is payable (Spotter Arms).
    At the beginning I worried about anchoring but as you suggested with a platform under the rack I can always bolt to the platform – even if I move to another apartment without extra space.

  • Andrew January 20, 2016, 9:49 pm

    30 inch depth r3 vs r4? Any experience with the differences between bolting these down vs. not? Also any opinions or experience with the r4 with stabilizer not bolted down? I’m curious about the stability of those different options. Will be looking at monster light series racks. I’d like to able to do dips with the attachment as well as dips and push ups on rings hanging from the pull up bar. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Can’t decide what set up to get.

    Also… Based on recs from this site I purchased an American BB Oly training bar and OFW bumpers… Some bad ass gear! Thanks for your help!

    • jburgeson January 21, 2016, 2:55 am

      Good combo. Someone should open a re-seller shop and sell all the top gear from each vendor! ROgue racks, AB bars, and OFW plates. Free shipping! Eh, none of them would be down with that I’m certain lol

      Yeah so, I did the R4 with stabilizer not anchored at first. Hated it. Hated having the stabilizer and hated how even that wide footprint of the R4 wasn’t enough to keep the thing in place or completely on the ground with dips. The R3 would be worse just sitting there; you’d have to weigh 80 pounds and go nice and slow. You can get away without anchoring a 4 if you don’t work outside the unit as in with the dip station, and you pull-up inside the rack as close to center as you’re willing to attach the bar.

      I’m of the opinion that anything other than a 6-upright king rack (like an R6) or a rack with horizontal legs (HR-2 or flat foot units) needs to be anchored. These things are heavy but they aren’t heavy enough for men to be swinging around on without moving or tipping; especially on a smooth surface like a foundation. I’ve never heard of one toppling completely, but even pulling one side a couple inches off the ground is enough to freak you out mid-rep and make things uncomfortable.

      Save for the trip to Home Depot for bits and bolts, anchoring a rack takes like 30 minutes. If you can’t drill into the floor cause you rent or something, you’re better off with a rack that isn’t intended to be bolted. The best part about anchoring is losing the stabilizer btw. That thing is the worst.

  • T November 19, 2016, 8:10 am

    I finally made the leap and sold my R4. Planning to pick up a new rack on Black Friday. I’ve gone round and round trying to decide what to get, but the name of the game is space-saving. I really never needed the full depth of the R4 and it just took up a bunch of needless space. I plan to buy 3 to 4 plate storage pairs for whatever I buy, so I think I’m in the same boat you were.

    Looking at 3 options: HR-2, RML-390F Flat Foot, or an R3 bolted to a lifting platform. I really don’t want to drill into my slab or wall so I’ve eliminated garage rigs or folding racks.

    I love the idea of the RML-390F but it looks like you can’t use outside spotters or a matador with that option which kind of defeats the purpose. The HR-2 looks great but has a few drawbacks: no option for multi-grip pull-up bar, no option for attaching vertical bar storage which I was hoping to do, and it’s not a full rack so wondering if I’ll miss that cool factor (just being honest). R3 is perfect but has to be bolted down. Thinking about the possibility of building an 8×8 lifting platform and bolting to that but not sure how that would fit into my current garage set up.

    Looking for some advice regarding my options and also how you’ve laid out your lifting platform. Do you simply lay it on top of your existing mats or did you place it in the garage and then fit all your other mats around it?

    • jburgeson November 19, 2016, 9:52 pm

      Honestly I’d do the HR-2. It’s the safest scenario.

      My R3 is bolted down using 10/12 max anchors and has about a thousand pounds of bumpers on the plate horns to help keep that back side securely down in case I actually did bust anchors. I haven’t had any issues, but I’d be more concerned having it bolted into a platform rather than the floor itself like what you’re talking about. Seems more precarious. I mean, you can lift outside any un-anchored rack all day using just the J-cups, but it’s the spotter arms that turn it into a potential disaster. The HR-2 gives you all that storage and safety with no bolts, and aside from the feet (or spotters if equipped) it only takes up about half the space as the R4 you just got rid of.

      My platform warped and is gone now, but it was a standard 3-layer 8×8 platform with the flooring fit around the platform. The platform backed up to two different edges (one wall, and the 4″ lip in the garage) so it was an easy fit. You could lay it on top of existing flooring, but now you’re just that much closer to the ceiling, and you’ve wasted 64 square feet of mats for no reason.

  • T November 20, 2016, 9:13 am

    i thinking I’ve eliminated the RML-390F because it really doesn’t offer me the option to work outside the rack.

    The HR-2 is the safe, cheaper bet. Could probably upgrade to sandwich j cups with that option too, but no multi-grip crossmember which I really want at some point.

    The RML-3 is perfect really. Add multigrip, spotters, Matador, 3-4 weight horn pairs, and maybe a 3 bar vertical bar holder to the rear crossmember (would probably have to decide between this and the multigrip). I would just have to soften my stance on anchoring. I own and have no plans to move again soon so that’s not the issue. Just worried about damaging the slab. What are the odds of that happening?

    • jburgeson November 21, 2016, 8:34 am

      Probably <1% unless there is already something wrong with it. Can always pay an experienced and insured installer, but it's really not that hard at all.

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