RML-490-C Power Cage

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RML-490-C Power CageReview Facts

The RML 490-C is a workhorse of a rack. It is compatible with a range of accessories that will make it the center of your home gym.

This rack is an upgraded version of the lower-priced RML-490, which is in turn based on the lighter duty and less customizable R-4 rack. The 490-C is available in ten custom colors. Priced for home gym budgets, and with a garage-friendly footprint, the 490-C is also a staple of commercial gyms, boot camp facilities, and collegiate weight rooms.

Highlights include Westside hole spacing on the uprights, optional stabilizers, custom configurations, and options for additional safety. Rogue also made the 490-C compatible with all the Monster Lite accessories and upgrades, which we’ll get into below.

We highly recommend this rack to semi-pro and competitive lifters, as well as the hobbyist who wants to expand their repertoire and build muscle safely and efficiently. Let’s take a deep dive into this compact power rack and see what it has to offer. It can go toe to toe with any competing product and will beat most of them in terms of rigidity for heavy lifts as well as the ability to upgrade.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

More customization options than the RML-490

All colors protected by transparent semi gloss powder coat finish

Comes with one pair of Monster Lite J-Cups and 4 pegs for different kinds of bands/straps

53 by 53 inch footprint with 90 inch uprights; generous working depth

Can be wall mounted instead of floor bolted, and even grouped with others to make a rig

Stabilizers can eliminate need for drilling holes in concrete floor

Pin and pipe safeties also part of standard package

Cons

Westside hole spacing only through bench and squat area

Not as many upgrades as Monster line (Monster Lite receives new upgrades after Monster)

Construction and Specs

Construction and Specs

Rogue racks and stands are all made of 11 gauge steel, with the lighter units using 2 by 3-inch tubing. All have laser-cut J-Cup and accessory holes. The RML-490C is made of 3 by 3-inch steel, which is a nice touch for something aimed at lighter use and for lifters on a budget. The rack is made of raw steel, so imperfections from fabrication will show through the transparent protective finish.
Bolts and other fasteners are .625 inch black zinc, also made by Rogue and tested for anti-shearing and anti-seizing. While installing this beast won’t be fast, Rogue simplifies it with excellent instructions and dedicated customer service. Without the stabilizer, this rack has to be bolted to a concrete floor. Rogue offers a concrete anchor kit for less than thirty dollars.

Stabilizers, which do away with the need for concrete anchors, cannot be made to match the color of the framing. Color options for the frame include bright blue, bright green, dark red, gunmetal, and others. Some Rogue racks have the option of Cerakote coating. This is a heavy-duty, heat resistant, thin-layered ceramic finish often used in making firearms. At the time of this writing, Rogue does not offer Cerakote as an option for the RML-490C.

Rogue doesn’t give much information about the stabilizer. You can order one from the product page at an additional cost. The stabilizer is also 3 by 3 inch 11 gauge steel, with matte black powder coat, so the stabilizer won’t match any other frame color. The black will go with any color and won’t take away from the overall consistent look of the rack.

Finally, the 53 by 53 inch footprint leaves enough room for other gym equipment, though the RML-490C will most likely be the centerpiece of your home gym. Many of the upgrades will increase the footprint, so you’ll want to make sure you leave room if you plan on purchasing add-ons from the Monster Lite line.
Durability

Durability

Most reviews of Rogue racks and other products highlight how durable their units are. The transparent satin finish guards against rust, corrosion, and nicks or scratches from dropped or stray gear. Rubber or iron plates will hang immobile on the storage pegs, without any worry about friction damage to the frame. Holes in the uprights are all precision laser cut at the factory, so they will do the job effectively without ever losing shape even under frequent workouts with different weight transitions.

The 43” inch cross member beam has a gusseted opening for reaching through. The rear Rogue nameplate is laser cut and looks attractive, letting gymgoers know they are working with a rack they can trust. The nameplate sits on the rear beam, so it adds rigidity as well as advertising for Rogue. The nameplate is not available in any color other than black.

Your order includes a single 43” inch 1.25-inch diameter pull up bar, which Rogue calls the skinny bar. If there is an option to upgrade to the 2-inch fat bar or multi-grip bars, Rogue does not make this easy to find. All pull up bars are made of rounded polished steel, with contoured shaping for comfort and grip enhancement.


Safety and Accessibility

Safety and Accessibility

The compact frame and straightforward layout of the RML-490C mean that any lifter, beginning or advanced, can learn to use it. Although it runs over $1000 USD with no upgrades, we still recommend this rack as a starter package for neophyte lifters. There are enough upgrade options to let the rack grow along with you.

Pin and pipe safeties, which snap horizontally across the uprights, can even enforce form by stopping a barbell squat within the appropriate range of motion. This is in addition to the safety factor since pin and pipe safeties are designed to stop a dropped barbell in case of a failed lift. Perhaps the greatest advantage of a rack, as opposed to a squat stand, is the ability to do heavy lifts alone provided safety features are in place.

For the RML-490C, those safety features include the pin and pipe safeties, which are thick steel bars held in place by quick-release levers. No tools are needed to install or move pin and pipe safeties. You get one pair with purchase.

You also get Rogue’s sturdy J-Cups, which hold loaded barbells in place for your lift. Rogue J-Cups are not compatible with competitor racks. They feature a thick plastic plate, covering the area where your bar touches the J-Cup. The plate prevents damage to the finish of your bar and is especially handy for knurled bars or specialty bars like the Kabuki Strength Duffalo Bar.

The other safety features Rogue offers are the safety spotter arms, which catch a failed squat of almost any weight before the barbell reaches the floor. You can add strap or belt safeties, too, which are lightweight and easy to work with. Belts and straps will naturally roll a dropped barbell away from the user.



Stability

Stability

You cannot make this rack safe without either bolting it to the floor, bolting it to the wall, or using the stabilizer at an extra cost. Drilling holes in concrete is straightforward but labor-intensive. Along with the concrete anchors, the zinc mounting bolts make the rack ultra-stable once it is assembled and placed. The rack weighs 340 pounds, so you won’t be able to move it easily after you set it up.

Also, if you go with the wall mounts, you may run into structural integrity issues if your space has a load-bearing or flame-resistant wall. Any holes in the wall and studs will have to be filled with flame-resistant putty to keep the commercial or residential space up to code, so check your local requirements during the pre-purchase planning stage.

Rogue will be happy to help with any problems during installation, including sending a professional technician out to take a look. All Rogue racks are backed by one of the most comprehensive and long-lasting warranties in the industry.
Upgrades and Extras

Upgrades and Extras

Rogue offers an array of attachments, which enhance your fitness practice, for all of its racks. But the Monster Lite series offers slightly fewer options than the full-fledged Monster line. When upgrades are introduced, they release to the Monster racks first and may or may not appear later in Monster Lite versions. It is a compromise that keeps both the footprint and cost down for the RML-490C and other Monster Lites, while still giving you plenty of additional equipment to choose from. Again, if you plan on upgrading after using your new rack for a time, make sure your space can accommodate the extra steel and plastic.

The brilliant thing about Rogue add-ons is that they typically snap, rather than bolt, to the frame. This makes it easy to take off and move if you like. It opens up new possibilities for range of motion and targeted muscle groups.

Here is a rundown of just a few Monster Lite add-ons that we favor and recommend.

The Monster Lite Slinger transforms the front of your rack into a high capacity standing or seated lat pulldown station, with different handles and grips to choose from.

The Socket Curl Pull Up bar has knurling to match an EZ Curl bar. With it, you can add variety and challenge to your pull up or hanging crunch sets. You can even hang upside down on the Monster Lite, though that’s probably safest with a straight bar instead of the Curl.

The Monster Lite monolift is a surprisingly affordable way to do your heaviest barbell squats without walking the bar out from the rack. It may not sound like much, but it makes a big difference in terms of efficiency, fatigue avoidance, and spinal integrity. The monolift has massive jaws on each side that clamp around the plates at a height of your choosing.

With the RH-2I hypermount, you can add a glute and hamstring developer in the form of a pared-down, adjustable, removable reverse hyperextension machine. Safe and easy to use, it is Rogue’s answer to the standalone RH-2, which is too expensive and bulky for many home gyms.
The Final Word

The Final Word

If you are a follower of this site, you know that we have a fondness for Rogue’s mission and products. The company positioned itself early on as a one-stop-shop for gym owners in need of durable and reliable equipment. Never ones to compromise, Rogue racks, barbells, benches, and other large and small equipment makes commercial duty gear available to the home gym enthusiast, with the backing of a top-notch customer service department.

This is the ethos and work ethic that went into the design and manufacture of the RML-490C. Though you won’t get quite as many upgrade options, the safety accessories and rigidity you need are present. If you already have some lifting under your belt, can afford the upfront investment and are certain you can properly install and make use of the rack, we can confidently say that the Rogue RML-490C is just what you need.