Rogue RML 690 Power Rack

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Rogue RML 690 Power RackReview Facts

The Rogue RML 690 power rack is a crossover between Rogue’s RM-6 Monster Rack and its sibling, the R-6 rack. Before we get into the RML 690 and what it can offer you, here’s a rundown of the key specs for each rack.

The RM-6 has your choice of 90, 100, or 108-inch uprights. It features customizable rear cross members and over a dozen options for pull up bars including knurled, smooth, skinny, fat, and colored grips. You can get pin and pipe, strap, or flip-down safeties for the rack, with the Monster pin and pipe safety coming at no extra cost.

The R-6 runs about $600 USD less than the RM-6. You can upgrade it with nearly any of the attachments in the Rogue catalog, including Landmines, Matador dip frame, chain storage, or weight plate storage. The R-6 weighs 300 pounds with no attachments and gives you 90-inch uprights on an 80 by 53-inch footprint. This footprint is identical to the RM-6.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Can be bolted or install without bolts--never any wall mounting

One of the more compact but still full featured full racks we’ve found

Offers over a dozen accessory attachments

Includes two pull up bars standard

Large footprint translates to ample working depth

90 inch uprights fit almost all lifters, won’t scrape residential ceilings

Cons

Large footprint may be too much for a garage gym

Unit is heavy and difficult to move, if transport needed

Why a Power Rack?

Why a Power Rack?

Did you ever climb on a jungle gym as a younger person? If you haven’t, maybe you climbed trees instead. At the very least, you have probably seen a jungle gym at one time or another. They are domelike frames with tough welded joints, big enough for a group of kids to climb on. The jungle gym feels like play, but it and many other pieces of playground equipment help kids build strength, stability, and confidence while enjoying themselves with friends. The only thing one has to worry about, with a jungle gym, is falling off; this is why modern playgrounds put thick turf or padding under them, and keep them from too great a height.

Think of the power rack or squat rack as a jungle gym for adult weightlifters. When you pair one with a bench, barbell, and set of iron or rubber bumper plates, there are few limits to what you can do. Endless squat variations, standing or seated presses, bench work, shoulder lifts, upright rows are all possible, all with as much weight as you can handle so long as safety precautions are in place. Things like pipe and pin safeties, flip up safeties, squat spotter arms, and staggered upright hole spacing are the reduced height and soft turf of the lifting gym. The enclosed steel framing of a rack lets you push yourself to lift heavy weight, often without a human spotter. Bigger racks, and expandable ones like Rogue’s flagship Monster wall mount, even allow more than one person to lift weights at once.

With the world of new exercises a rack can open up to you, the safety features, the ease of adjusting plates and changing your start position from high to low, it is no wonder that power racks are at the heart of so many lifting gyms and home rigs. Many of them allow you to add cable pulls, belt squat platforms, and lat pulldown stations. Even the smallest rack, too, will feature a pull up bar for upper body resistance work. You can hit every single muscle group efficiently, with less time between sets than you’d experience if you were just using a bench and barbell with uprights.
Construction and Materials

Construction and Materials

The RML-690, fabricated at Rogue’s facility in Ohio, is made of 3 by 3 inch 11 gauge steel tubing which makes it ultra-stable. Though it can hold almost any amount of weight, the rack does not need to be bolted to the floor or wall. It weighs 530 pounds, held together with ⅝ inch black zinc hardware bolts. From reviews we have seen, Rogue racks assemble easily and without much fuss. Bolts don’t shear, tubing doesn’t bend, and the powder coat finish means the rack will be as sleek and corrosion-free 10 years down the line as it was the day you bought it.

The rack has room for two pull up bars, a 1.25-inch skinny bar, and a 2-inch fat bar further back. The idea behind the fat bar is to train and build your grip, like extra-thick barbells used for strongman training. The uprights are 90 inches (7.5 feet), plenty of space for the standard eight-foot ceiling you find in most homes.

The base model comes with ample plate storage at no extra cost. These are round steel pegs that you can slide your plates on. If you typically work out with close to the same weight, too, you can simply leave the bar on the movable J-Cups with plates preloaded. Rogue collars are always free when you buy a Rogue rack or stand. Rogue also includes pegs for your heavy duty resistance bands as part of the basic package.

The uprights feature staggered Westside hole spacing for mounting the J-Cups. Westside spacing means the holes are closer together towards the bottom of the rack, spreading to 50 mm apart as you go up the uprights. This spacing means you can tweak your start position to maximize safety and range of motion for your experience level and body type.
Safety and Style

Safety and Style

Rounding out the basic package, you get pin and pipe safeties, the two pull up bars, and four J-Cups. Rogue J-Cups are proprietary and feature a hard plastic plate on top to protect both the finish and grip/knurling of any barbell you decided to use. Though Rogue offers many variations on barbells, all with the same quality control and dependability, you are not limited to using Rogue brand barbells or bumper plates.

A word about pin and pipe safeties, since they may be unfamiliar: they are cylindrical rolled steel pieces that attach horizontally between the uprights, with a quick-release lever similar to a bicycle seat release. The pipes are thick and stable enough to catch a dropped barbell, no matter what lift you are performing. Pin and pipe safeties are standard at lifting gyms, and using them will give you peace of mind while not restricting your range of motion or taking excess time to adjust between sets.

The other piece of safety equipment, vital for powerlifters, is the safety spotter arm for doing squats. We’ll talk more about safety spotter arms in the next section.

Although it has no impact on performance or durability, the RML-690 comes in your choice of 10 colors, from white to neutral to primary. You can also order custom colors from Rogue. If you are looking for a certain aesthetic for your gym, choosing your own color will be a welcome touch.
Upgrades and Add-Ons

Upgrades and Add-Ons

To make the most of any squat or power rack, you need a bar, collars, and plates at a minimum. Most gyms pair a bench with the rack since the J-Cups and pin and pipe safeties make heavy bench presses more feasible. The RML-690 is 76 inches deep by 49 inches wide, so there is plenty of room for any standard bench, with or without leg curl attachments or other extras. Bars offered by Rogue include the zinc or oxide Ohio bar, the Rogue women’s bar, or the specialty B&R bar. But as we’ve said, you are not limited to Rogue bars, plates, or benches. Rogue does offer the latter two, in addition to the barbells, in several iterations.

A pair of safety spotter arms, which catch dropped barbells before they become runaway barbells, costs less than $200 USD and will pay for itself in increased peace of mind. It takes 18 concrete anchors to secure this rack to your floor, and you can buy the kit from Rogue if you wish (though you’ll have to supply the impact drill and concrete bit). This is if you want the RML-690C bolted on for extra immobility, or if you routinely lift much heavier than average weight.

The enhancement upgrades, those that offer new exercises or greater efficiency, are the same for the RML-690 as for any rack from Rogue’s Monster Lite line. You can search or contact Rogue for a complete catalog listing, but here are a few of our favorite attachments for this hybrid power rack.

The LT-1 50 Cal Trolley and Lever Arm Kit attaches bumper plates to a lever that can be mounted anywhere on the uprights. The lever lets you do incline benches, rack pulls, snatches, low rows and more, all with virtually no downtime between sets. Handles are knurled for grip and comfort, and you can use one arm at a time to overcome a training imbalance if you wish.

The Rogue Monster Lite Slinger turns your power rack into a full-fledged cable pull and band system, using significantly less space at a lower cost versus getting a traditional cable-pull machine.

The Matador dip attachment is a frame that snaps on to a corner of the rack, letting you do dips from any desired starting height. Since the Matador doesn’t bolt-on, it is simple and quick to adjust start height or take the frame off completely.

The Bolt Together Wall Ball Target is unlike anything we have ever seen, and we don’t say that often. Made from a steel plate, the target is 16 inches around and 3/16 inches thick. It bolts to any upright, making it height adjustable, and will withstand being slammed with a wall ball again and again. The target is similar to ones used in CrossFit games and will prevent damage to the wall if you use it instead of painting on a target.
The Final Word

The Final Word

The Rogue RML-690 rack is a high end piece of fitness equipment that will be equally at home in a commercial gym or in your private garage or basement gym. It is made of solid steel, with holes and J-Cups to keep your loaded barbells in place. Accessory options are almost endless, and the solid Rogue construction means it will last forever. You get a lot of benefits, and of course the pricing reflects that. We recommend that you have an established consistent lifting practice before you think about purchasing the RML-690. This ensures you will quickly learn to use the rack and it will expand your lifting practice and help you make gains over time. With solid Rogue construction, customer service, and a warranty, the RML-690 is something that will last forever with consistent results and no excess wear.