I was fortunate enough to be in the market for a new comp rack right as Rogue released their new IPF approved combo rack. I had previously owned a Texas Strength Systems rack that I really liked and only have great things to say about that piece of equipment. But with the launch price actually being slightly less than the TSS rack after shipping, I felt I had to jump on it, and I am very happy I did (there was special launch price of $2,000 for the Rogue comp rack, but it has now increased to $2,500)! The Rogue combo rack came right on time based on their 12 week lead time. It was easy to assemble and the directions were fairly clear, probably took us about 2 1/2 hours to put it together. You do need a decent amount of tools to put it together (different size sockets and allen wrenches) but fortunately I had all of the tools I needed already available at the gym. But let’s get to what you are here for, and that is an honest review of the pros and cons:
1.) The absolute first thing you will notice compared to other comparable combo racks is that this thing is a tank! It weighs about double compared to any of the other combo racks, and that’s one of the main reasons I bought it. For gym use, I have zero doubt this thing is going to take a beating for years with no problem. Maybe my favorite thing about this rack it has maybe moved 2 inches in 1 week of use. Compared to my TSS rack that almost needed to be adjusted back every set, the Rogue rack doesn’t move. Now this is solved if you just bolt down other comparable combo racks, but I prefer not to and the Rogue rack makes this possible. When you rack the weight, half rack the does not come up off the floor, but stays firmly planted. It feels almost more like lifting out of an open power rack than a combo rack at times because of its sturdiness.
2.) The bench is a fat pad, enough said. It is IPF legal at 32cm wide (32.5cm is max width, competitors are all at 30cm) and provides immediate improved stability over any other combo rack you may have benched out of. This is the one combo rack I would say actually gives a competitive advantage due to the bench. This was also a big reason I bought it, as the athlete’s I had at the Arnold that got to use it absolutely loved benching out of it.
3.) The safety arms are easier to adjust and remove than any other rack. As can be seen below, the safeties are attached through hand adjustable screwed in knobs, so no tools are need to remove. And for adjusting height, rather than a pin it has a spring load pull-pin that is very nice. Also the safety arms I feel like can actually act as safety arms! Most of the other combo rack’s safety arms are fairly basic and only meant for emergencies, whereas these arms look like they could actually withstand a beating.
4.) A couple nice little touches is things like having a rubber bottom to the lever arms so that it stays in place when racked. Also the J-Cups, surrounding uprights, and safety arms are all protected by heavy duty plastic so you aren’t scraping up the rack. Again, this thing is a tank and I have zero doubt will stand up over time with its durability. On the inside bottom of the uprights there is a tiny screw so that the uprights always track correctly up and down. These seems small, but as my old rack developed wear and tear we found it catching on the inside when we adjusted it.
5.) It looks beautiful. Put this next to any other rack and your eyes will no doubt gravitate towards the Rogue combo rack. Maybe this is just personal preference, but I do believe it even looks better in person than pictures online give it justice.
6.) To rattle off some smaller but noticeable Pros:
-More adjustments for rack height than I think any other rack.
-The bench fits in very snug. Other racks it was fairly important to also tighten down the screws after placing the rack in, but with the Rogue rack that really isn’t even needed.
-There a bunch of hand adjustable knob screws that allow you to customize settings quickly.
-The rollers are firmly in place. With the TSS rack it seemed like every other day I had to tighten that. With the Rogue combo rack I doubt I will ever have to tighten those.
7.) It is a combo rack, so you can add any Pros a combo rack offers here. This is obvious, but the main reason anyone buys a piece of equipment like this is due to the adjustability and versatility. This isn’t a comparative advantage over other combo racks, but it is the reason I bought this rack over another power rack.
1.) If there is one thing I am not a fan of its is the lever arms and pin adjustments. As can be seen in pictures below, the numbers are on the backside of the arms versus the inside and at times it is deceiving which hole you are placing the pin in. For gym use this isn’t a big issue, but I direct meets and this very well could slow down the spotters and loaders at times. To go along with this, due the size of the lever jack, you have to set a pin 3 holes above or below to be able to make adjustments. And maybe even more annoying is that the lever jack then only reaches up to 6 holes away. If there is a short and taller lifter both using the rack, it takes two pin adjustments to get to the new rack height.
2.) The bench is HEAVY. It for sure is not the easiest to move and is very possibly not moveable by some smaller lifters. I don’t really think there is a way around this, as if it includes a fat pad and that extra reinforcement it is going to be heavy, but it doesn’t mean I like having to move it.
3.) The go along with point 2, the whole rack is HEAVY, which is a product of point #1 in the Pros. As mentioned above it has only moved a little bit over the past week of heavy use which is great, but to move it back can take a couple people.
4.) It is wider than any other combo rack. I am putting this on the cons list only because of what many have talked about from the Arnold, but I actually have zero issue with it and actually think it is a pro, so this can go either way. At the Arnold a lot of talk about the new rack circled around many people hitting it during walkouts. People weren’t used to a combo rack this wide and had issues banging into during their walkouts (pictures shown below with the room between the uprights and the plates). I can say that in the past 2 weeks our members have not had any issues with this. The argument I’d have is if you are hitting any rack during a walkout, that you may need to work on the control of your walkout. This rack forces you to have a proper straight back walkout, versus a fast and swaying walkout, so I actually find that advantageous in training. I’d much rather have to train out of this and have more room come competition time when using other racks versus the opposite. There were also issues at the Arnold of people hitting the safeties on bench. There isn’t much room on each side between the outside of the safeties and the plates, but this again has not been an issue yet for any of our lifters. If you are off center and crooked it might be, but if all is even this should not be an issue.
5.) To rattle off some smaller but noticeable Cons:
-I would have liked if the pins had a tad more of a taper to them. I really liked the new TSS pins as the taper made it really easy to take them in and out. The Rogue ones aren’t bad, but it would be a plus if they had more of taper to them.
-This is nit picky, but some of the other rack’s benches can easily be set up against a power rack and used. The Rogue one when set up outside of the rack has a bit of decline to it, so it can’t be used other than inside the rack.
So my recommendation? This is my favorite combo rack currently on the market. I have a couple things I would have changed, but I’ll take the cons of the Rogue combo rack over the cons of its competitors. And the pros definitely outweigh the cons. This is the best rack for durability in a gym with heavy use, and maybe the biggest bonus is the benefits of the fat pad on bench press. If I was buying this solely for meet directing I may go another route due to the size and increased difficulty to transport, but that would be the only scenario where I would choose another rack over this one. The price has now increased to $2500, but that still is the 2nd lowest of any other IPF approved rack I believe, and for that price you are getting your money’s worth for sure!