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Rogue SML-2 Squat Stand Review

Where to Purchase: Rogue Fitness

Rogue Fitness in my opinion is the premier garage gym equipment supplier. They have everything with top notch quality and service. I've seen so many stories of somebody complaining about something going wrong with their order or shipping and the owner Bill Henniger personally making things right. That among other reasons are why I have a lot of Rogue gear in my garage and that's why the centerpiece to my garage is the Rogue SML-2 Squat Stand.

Rogue SML-2 Squat Stand Review

The beast in all its glory!

The main difference between the different squat stands is the gauge of the steel, width of the uprights, and hardware used to keep the racks together. They have the Echo, Infinity, Monster Lite, and Monster lines. For the majority of the population the Echo and Infinity lines are more than enough. All of the lines use 7 gauge steel except for the Monster which has 11 gauge steel. The left over difference then comes down to the width of the uprights. The Echo is 2×2, Infinity 2×3, Monster Lite is 3×3, and the Monster is 3×3 with the addtion of 11 gauge steel and heavier duty hardware. Do you need thicker gauge steel? Do you need heavier duty hardware? Do you need wider uprights? I'll answer this question for most of you… NO! But if you like the look and the security of knowing the rack can hold 10x more than you'll ever squat than you have my permission to splurge–like I did.

How it was acquired:

I purchased this bad boy straight off of Rogue's website along with a Rogue Ohio Bar and their HG plates which both will be reviewed later on. As I'm sure many reading know, Rogue ships fast! So I received like 3 days later after ordering it and had free shipping because I combined a bar and plates along with the rack.

Total Cost: $607.75 including Monster Lite Safety Spotter Arms

Fat/Skinny Combination Pull Up Bar:

When you go to purchase the Squat Stand there is a drop down asking if you want a single skinny bar, or the combination of the fat and skinny bar. Due to my height (5'10”), I knew that purchasing the combination skinny and fat bar wouldn't be a problem. That being said, for the majority of people I would suggest purchasing the single skinny bar. The reason is because for most reading this, you are doing Crossfit workouts and will not use the fat bar very often. Secondly, the bar is bolted to the rack so flipping it can take some time, well at least it did until I did a little modification that I'll explain later in this review. I've also seen it suggested and can see how it would work wonderfully if you have the tools to purchase the combination bar and just cut it in half, giving you two bars. That being said if you're doing mostly metcons, go for the skinny bar, its the one you'll find in any Crossfit Gym and the one you'll use most often.

Diameter of the Combination Pull-up Bar

J-Cups:

The J-Cups that come with the Squat Stand are out of this world! First, they're made out thick powdercoated steel, and weigh around 7.5 lbs. a piece. More importantly, they're rated to hold a 1000 lbs. I've seen very few people walk out a bar weighing a grand from a squat rack outside of ‘Captain' Kirk Karwoski (video here) but if you wanted to, these J-Cups are rated for that heavy of a bar. One thing I really like about Rogue is their attention to detail. The welds on the J-Cups are all even and clean, and to protect the knurling on your bar they bolt UHMW plastic on top of the J-Cups. Just put the J-Cup in the rack horizontally, once all the way in drop it to vertical and they are locked in ready to take any abuse you throw at them. In fact, I was once Overhead Squatting at a Crossfit Gym that had a Rogue Rig and I dropped the bar with 225# from overhead on the J-cups, and they barely even budged. (Don't test this out though)

wpid-img_20141031_071217.jpg

Here you can see the UHMW Plastic on the J-Hooks.

Safety Spotter Arms:

I can not stress enough that if you'll be benching alone using the Squat Stand that you should purchase the Safety Spotter Arms. You do not want to be pinned by a heavy bar by yourself in your garage, that's how people die and stories come out every year about some kid putting too much weight on the bar and choking himself out Cold Stone Steve Austin style with a bar on his neck. Don't be that guy. The Spotter Arms look like a machine gun and often when I'm putting then on my rack I'll pretend I'm Rambo (just another added benefit.) The Spotter arms come with the same UHMW plastic to protect your bar, and also have hitch pins to keep the spotter arms in place although I don't think they're needed. I've used the Safety Spotter arms for everything from a DIY Reverse Hyper which I will soon be building and explaining to rack pulls and box jumps. I've also used it as a makeshift work bench which I will also create a DIY post for later on. The only downside about the Monster Lite series is the accessories cost more due to them being heavier duty, but I'm glad I went the route I did.

IMG_20141031_071942

Like turrets ready to fire.

Can you Kip on it?:

Well yes, sorta. As it comes it will rock when kipped on. However if you put some weight on, I used sandbags when I first got it, it will stand up pretty well to any kip/toes to bar you throw at it. Granted if you can, I would bolt it to a platform like I did. The problem with just putting the weight on the base is that it still rocks and moves some, but it's still usable. I went ahead and bought an Again Faster Home Pull-Up Bar to hang on my ceiling that has made doing butterfly pull-ups on a breeze.

Modifications:

On nearly anything I buy, I do some sort of modification to make it suit my preferences. The first modification I made was taking the side plate storage that came with my Rogue Y-1 Yoke and putting it on the base of the stand as seen here:
IMG_20141031_113619

These can be purchased from Rogue, but they also come with the Y-1 Yoke, which is how I got these since the base of the rack is made from 2×3 tubing.

Next,  I took the bottom bolts off of my combination pull-up bar and put trailer hitch pins that way I can spin the bar from Fat to Skinny easy and without having tools. You can see it here:

IMG_20141031_071250

The Hitch Pin was purchased from Harbor Freight.

The last modification I made was bolting the Squat Stand to my weightlifting platform. I went to Home Depot and purchased two L brackets, bolts, washers, and lag bolts and bolted it down. In order to make the Squat Stand even with the platform I took a 2×4 and put it under the back of the base and used commercial double sided tape to keep it from shifting around. It's worked out great. You can see pictures of the details here.

Displaying IMG_20141031_071145.jpg

This is how the Squat Stand is bolted to the platform. Pretty self explanatory.

For further details on the modifications including how to build the platform check out my DIY Instructions here: DIY Weightlifting Platform with Squat Stand Attached

Final Thoughts:

Would I buy another one? No, only because I also have  a Rogue Y-1 Yoke and find it more versatile. If I could do it over again I would buy the Y-1 Yoke instead of the Squat Stand and buy another stand alone pull-up bar. I also now have a Rogue R3 (click to read my review) which in my opinion is one of the best power racks available. However, if you'd like a Squat Stand that is mobile, takes up little space, and includes a pull-up bar I would highly recommend you check out the Squat Stands from Rogue. Their customer service is excellent, and the quality of their equipment is even better.

Rogue SML-2 Squat Stand is up! #garagegym #roguefitness #rogue #crossfit #weightlifting #powerlifting #train #strongman #diy

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Here she is in action.

Where to Purchase: Rogue Fitness

Train On,

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About Coop

Hello fellow fitness fanatics and equipment fueled fiends. I'm Coop and when not training I can be found mostly operating other entrepreneurial ventures, spending time with my Wife and family, and worshipping my risen Savior. You can find more about me here.

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  • Ian

    Good review! Just FYI 11 gauge steels is thinner than 7 gauge. When something is measured in gauges the size varies inversely with the number.

    https://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/scales/sheetmetal.html

    • I had no idea! Thanks for the link, you would think the higher number would indicate thicker steel but I guess I’m wrong. I’ll get it changed. Thanks!

  • Hey man, the image that shows the rack bolted to your platform is broken. Any way you could fix it? Would really like to see how you did that. Thanks!

    • Coop

      Thanks for the heads up! It’s showing up on my end from both my phone and computer. Let me know if it’s still not working and I’ll see what I can do.

  • Royale Martinez

    How do pull ups feel on the squat stand vs. the R-3? I weigh 240lbs and am torn between the two, however I really want a rig that doesn’t swing around a whole lot.

    • If you plan on kipping, get the R-3, otherwise the SML-2 is definitely solid enough for strict pull ups.

  • Nathaniel Grau

    What other modifications can be done with the hitch pins? Can a pulley system be setup?

    • I’m sure one could with the right imagination, but I wouldn’t have much use for one.

  • Will

    Did it take any modifications for you to attach the side plate storage that came with the Y-1 to the base of the rack? I’m guessing if not the plate storage designed for the Infinity line would also work since the base is 2×3″ if I’m not mistaken. I really like how you could have the stand back against a wall and still fit plates on there.

    • It did not take any modifications. Plug and play!

  • K

    Do you find the R3 redundant with the Y1? I’m trying to downsize and I’m wondering if I can get rid of my power rack, squat stands, and sled and go with the Y1 and a dedicated pull up bar instead. I feel like the Y1 with spotter arms and or safety straps could probably do everything I need and take up a lot less space. Also considering getting rid of my specialty bars. I’m not sure why I need to own a Texas power bar, rogue Oly bar, rogue Ohio bar, and a safety squat bar. You get caught up with I need this I need that and then after a while you have too much stuff and you aren’t sure why anymore!

    • Great question! If I was just going to buy one rack, I’d go with the Y-1, maybe a Y-2 if your garage door opening is large enough.

      I like the R-3 because I can do a lot of rack work, but it could easily be accomplished on the Yoke. Most of the equipment available certainly isn’t needed, like you’ve said, but it’s nice to have.

      One reason I have both the R-3 and Y-1 is because I sometimes have groups of friends train with me, and having the ability for multiple squat stations is really nice to have. Let me know if you’re willing to ship the Texas Power Bar, I may be interested in it for the right price.

      Cheers!

  • John

    Hello,

    Great review! Can the spotter arms and the horizonatal plate storage be mounted low on the sides (with 45 lbs plates) without interfering with benching?

    Thanks,
    John

    • No, the plate storage will get in the way of benching, unless stored really high which I wouldn’t recommend.

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