Monster Lite RML-690-C

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Monster Lite RML-690-CReview Facts

The RML-690C is a Monster Lite family power rack that comes in 10 different color choices. Rogue promotes it as a hybrid between the R-6 Power Rack and the RM-6 Monster Rack. That means dedicated strength training athletes get the plate storage and 80 by 53-inch footprint of the R-6, with 3 by 3 inch 11 gauge steel framing. The R-6 uses 2 by 3-inch steel. 

Since it is a middle ground in both versatility and price, the RML-690C does not have as many attachments and upgrade options as its huskier sibling, the RM-6 Power Rack. The RM-6 also has customizable upright height, though its footprint and 76 by 49-inch depth (length X width) are identical to the more economical RML-690C.

Though it’s a compromise, the RML-690C does not skimp on features and effectiveness. It is equally at home in residential basements and collegiate sport training rooms. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the RML-690C power rack special.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

3x3” steel tubing, 11 gauge thickness, throughout

90” uprights accessible to athletes of all heights

Westside hole spacing, .625 inch bolts

Powder coat finish is semi gloss and is corrosion, scratch resistant

Standard package includes plate and band storage pegs as well as pin/pipe safeties

Rogue offers concrete anchor kit, for floor bolting, at a reasonable price
Choice of 9 or 12 foot upright height

Cons

Height of uprights won’t work with some residential ceilings

Only includes a single skinny pull up bar standard

Construction and Specs

Construction and Specs

The rack is made of Rogue-fabricated 3 by 3-inch steel framing with laser cut holes for J-Cups and upgrade attachments. A semi-gloss powder coat protects the unit, but it is transparent so it does not hide natural marks or blemishes in the steel, from the fabrication process. At the time of this writing, Rogue does not offer any firearm-quality Cerakote finishes for the RML-690C. Some of Rogue’s other power racks do have this option.

The included pair of Monster Lite J-Cups is compatible with all other Monster Lite series racks. The J-Cups are thick steel hooks with a large surface area for the bar to rest while waiting to be lifted. Rogue J-Cups features a plastic plate on top that protects the finish of your bar without compromising the slight curve that prevents the bar from rolling or falling off. There are several options for J-Cups, including a thicker version that Rogue calls Sandwich J-Cups. You are able to make the rack as secure and rigid as you need it to be, including bolting it to the floor with concrete anchors or purchasing the Rogue Monster Lite Wall Mount kit. That kit will also enable you to place multiple racks in a line of up to 24 feet, which opens possibilities for commercial gym owners and athletics coaching.

We have talked about Westside hole spacing before. It is standard issue on high end squat and power racks. It means that the holes for the J-Cups (or upgrade attachments) are closer together near the bottom of the upright and farther apart as you move up. This means you can dial in the placement of your bar, and also adds a measure of security while preventing overreach injuries. You get a full range of motion. Typically, Rogue racks will have 25 mm and 50 mm laser cut hole spacing; the RML-690C instead uses an inch spacing up to the top of the bench and then 2 inches going up.

The uprights for the RML-690C have mounting holes on all sides. This is what makes the rack so adaptable to different Rogue upgrades and attachments.

Though the product page only offers 90-inch uprights, Rogue can work with you to customize upright height as well as offering options for cross members and accessories. Most of these are accessible from the product page, but Rogue staff will be happy to help you sort out your options and fine-tune your rack for your own use or for shared use.

Durability

Durability

Rogue racks are made from raw steel, processed, cut, treated, and sometimes welded at the Rogue facility in Columbus, Ohio. All upright and other holes are laser cut and precisely spaced for maximum safety and security. This rack is 3 X 3-inch steel throughout. Optional custom cross members add to the rigidity and long working life of the rack.

The optional Rogue nameplate, too, is laser cut sheet steel and can be customized to match the frame color. It may sound like a minor detail, but having the Rogue logo prominently displayed, for commercial gym owners, adds to the overall look and also helps clients feel catered to. This is because Rogue has such a reputation and iconic look for those in the know.

To maintain the unit, including the transparent protective finish, most sites we visited recommend a weekly wipe down with warm water, a microfiber cloth, and a bit of dish soap. The coating makes the rack scratch resistant and also means you won’t cause rust or corrosion by using water. Of course, you’ll want to wipe a second time with a dry microfiber, just to ensure everything is bone dry.

If you add a Rogue barbell, set of plates, equipment holder, safety feature, or other attachment, you can rest assured it will be of the same unmatched quality and will last the life of the unit, giving you consistent results that you can rely on.
Safety and Accessibility

Safety and Accessibility

Rogue offers several options for safety equipment, to keep heavy lifts from getting out of hand. Though a human spotter is always best, someone you can stand up and spot when it’s their turn on the bench, Rogue makes it possible for you to do heavy lifts alone without exposing yourself to injury or equipment damage.

You get one-inch mounting bolts, J-Cups, standard cross braces, pull up and connecting steel bars, and the uprights with the basic order. The other safeties, which we will describe below, are add ons and will cost extra. If you regularly do unassisted barbell squats, we strongly suggest spending the extra money for a pair of safety spotter arms first. You can research and consider adding the other safety features down the road.

Safety spotter arms bolt to the uprights at floor level. They look like sturdy ramps and will catch a plate loaded barbell of almost any weight before it reaches the floor or your lower body. This means you can increase your working squat weight at a brisk pace, with peace of mind. Safety spotter arms are mandatory for any powerlifting gym.

Pin and pipe safeties are solid steel rods, made from one and a half-inch thick Schedule 80 pipe. Pipes are deburred for safety, so they are smooth inside and out. The pin is a solid steel lever, similar to an Allen key, that locks the pipe in place the same way a quick release on a bicycle holds the wheel or seat steady. No tools are needed to install or move the pin and pipe safeties.

It’s worth noting that only Monster series pin and pipes are compatible with the Rogue RML-690C. The same is true of all add-ons and upgrades. When you purchase from Rogue, make sure you are asking plenty of questions and doing your homework. It is possible to end up with parts that can’t go together, leading to an annoying return and then waiting for what you do need. Rogue’s customer service staff won’t mind all your requests for clarification.

Other safeties include belts and straps, thick stitched bands that go across the uprights and help roll the barbell away from danger areas. They have a different form and function but will keep you safe just as effectively as any steel safety.

Upgrades and Extras

Upgrades and Extras

You can contact Rogue or search their site for Monster Accessories to see everything this rack has to offer. Briefly, add-ons include dip stations, squat belt platforms, cable rigs, extra pull up bars, several kinds of Olympic bars, and extra plate, band, or chain storage. There are even gymnastic rings you can hang from the uprights, and Rogue plates are some of the best money can buy although you are not limited to Rogue band weight or bumper plates.
Stick With It Factor

Stick With It Factor

Rogue products come with a learning curve. It starts with the installation. Rogue racks are pretty straightforward when it comes to bolting together, and Rogue offers support including sending an installation expert if you need one.

Straightforward doesn’t mean easy or fast, though. If you have never drilled holes in concrete before, you may struggle. You will also have to rent, purchase, or borrow an impact drill. If you decided to connect the rack to the wall, the installation gets even trickier because you have to make sure you aren’t impacting a load-bearing wall. Part of your prepurchase planning should involve checking into local building codes. You may even need a permit if you are installing in a commercial gym.

Once installed, the rack will teach you how to use it if you are patient and take your time. Even if you are used to rack lifting, you will need to break yourself in and get comfortable with the array of features available to you on the RML-690C. Everyone’s breaking in period will be different, and you may even take to the rack right away, proving us wrong. But our point is that, once you are confident and comfortable using it, you’ll want to use the rack for all your lifting sessions. It gives you a consistent experience and, while no steel frame can make you stronger, you may see more pronounced results after cutting down on transition time between sets. The feeling of trust and confidence you get, too, will encourage you to reach new levels fairly rapidly.

The Final Word

The Final Word

If you are prepared to spend the money, have a plan for installation, and are comfortable picking and choosing upgrades at additional cost, we can’t recommend the Rogue RML-690C enough. Its 3 by 3-inch steel framing, with extra mounting holes that are numbered for reference, will facilitate the micro-tearing your muscles need to grow. Just make sure you have some consistent lifting experience under your belt, and that this is the best rack for your space and your needs. It’s wise to make sure you know your way around a lifting gym before you start your own or bring this mammoth rig into your garage (which is totally possible).