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The Amstaff TR023 is the Canadian version of the Force USA F-PC power rack with band attachments. I bought it from FitnessAvenue.ca, but it's also available on Amazon.ca.

It’s inexpensive, almost perfect for my needs, but has some flaws.

Here’s my review:

Introduction

I've debated about getting the Amstaff TR023 power rack or one of the Rogue Fitness power racks (such as the R3 or R4) for a long time, but finally decided on the Amstaff.

Rogue Fitness equipment is awesome, but I took a risk with a unknown brand.

Here's why:

  • It's cheaper (probably because it’s made in China)
  • Includes dip bars, whereas Rogue sells it as a separate attachment (Rogue Matador)
  • Includes monkey bars for chin ups & pull ups
  • The width of the Amstaff rack is wider (50.5” compared to 43”). I’ve found that I would have to be extra careful with racks that are too narrow. There’s been a few time where I would re-rack the bar from the squat, and almost catch my pinky in between the bar and J-hooks. Also, because the Amstaff rack is wide, I could perform wide stance squats inside the cage, allowing me to make use of the safety pins.
  • 2 pairs of J-hooks (compared to 1 pair for the Rogue R-3 and R-4)
  • 8 band pegs for band work (compared to 4 for the Rogue rack)
  • The stabilizer bar on the Amstaff rack is positioned so that you won't hit your foot/shins while you're setting up or racking the bar during the squat. The Rogue rack looks like it would be in the way if you squat.
  • Doesn't need to be bolted to the ground. I don’t have the tools to bolt a power rack onto the concrete floor, so this would be an additional cost. Also, if I decide to move my rack, it would be a pain to un-bolt, and re-bolt the rack elsewhere, along with having to repair the basement floor, which I do not know how to do.
  • The height of the rack is lower (the height of the Amstaff rack is 84”, or 7’. The Rogue power racks are 90”, or 7’6”). I was going to have my home gym in the garage, but after finding out that the garage floor was sloped, I decided to move it to the basement. The ceiling of my basement is too low to accommodate the height of the Rogue power racks

With these points in mind, I went with the Amstaff TR023 power rack.

Initial Impressions

I was pretty excited to get the power rack, since it’s a must-have piece of equipment for any home gym.

It arrived in separate boxes which was well packed.

Amstaff-TR023-box

Amstaff-TR023-box2

Assembly

Assembly was pretty easy. I was able to put it all together myself in about 2-3 hours.

Amstaff-TR023-before

Amstaff-TR023-before3

Amstaff-TR023-assembly

Amstaff-TR023-1

The worst part about assembling the Amstaff TR023 power rack was the assembly manual. The pictures and text quality are clear, but the instructions looks like it was translated from Chinese to English. Check out the picture below to see what I mean:

Amstaff-TR023-manual-front

Amstaff-TR023-manual-front

Amstaff-TR023-manual-back

Amstaff-TR023-manual-back

Some Details

After I finished assembling the rack, the first thing I did was take my Olympic bar that I purchased from Kijiji (eBay’s version of Craigslist) and put it inside the rack.

IT DIDN’T FIT!

Amstaff-TR023-widthNote: B&R bar is the top bar. The Kijiji bar is on the bottom.

Amstaff-TR023-width B&R-bar

Amstaff-TR023-width-barbell

The width of the Amstaff TR023 rack (50.5 inches) is wider than the shaft of my Olympic bar, which is 50 inches.

It turns out that the Olympic bar I had wasn’t even made to standard specifications. The spacing in between the collars for an Olympic bar should be 1310mm, or 51.57 inches in length. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbell). (So if you’re thinking of buying a used barbell from Craigslist, make sure take measurements first!)

At this point, I had a good reason to purchase a new barbell (I am now a proud owner of the B&R bar from Rogue Fitness, which fits inside the Amstaff TR023 power rack).

But now that I have a bar that can fit inside the rack, I can write a detailed and accurate review!

Using the Rack

Even though I have the B&R bar which fits inside this power rack, it appears to be too wide for my liking.

For the B&R bar, the spacing in between the collars is 51.57 inches. Since the Amstaff TR023 rack is 50.5 inches wide (NOTE: It’s listed as 51 inches, but I measured it to 50.5 inches), I only have 1.07 inches to work with!

That’s a little more than 1/2 inches of “wiggle room” on each side of the rack.

The good part about this is that it’s not difficult to center the bar with the rack. With power racks that I’ve used in the past, sometimes I would need to shift the bar 5-6” to get it centered. With the Amstaff rack, I only have to move the bar a fraction of an inch.

The bar part is that since I don’t have much space move from side to side, I have to be extra careful when taking the bar out of the rack, and putting the bar back onto the J-hooks.

When taking the bar off the J-hooks for a set of squats, sometimes I wobble out of the rack, moving the bar from side to side. With power racks that are more narrow, it is possible to do this without the 45lb plates hitting the side of the rack. With the Amstaff TR023, I need to walk straight back before setting up my stance for squats.

Also, because the cage is wide, the width of the safety pins are wide too. Meaning that my body needs to be centered with the rack when I squat, or else the collars would hit the safety pins once I descend to the bottom.

When placing the bar back onto the J-hooks, again, my body (and the bar) needs to be nearly centered with the rack or else I would hit the collars onto the J-hooks. This can be difficult after a heavy set of squats, when you’re out of breath, seeing stars and barely have enough strength to walk the bar forward.

Lastly, I was planning to do standing overhead presses inside of this power rack, but because of the width of the rack, sometimes I would hit the top of the rack with the 45lb plates.

Although it’s usable, the width of the rack forces me to be extra careful. Still, I would prefer a little wiggle room just in case.

Stuff I Like

Pin Holes

Amstaff-TR023-1.5inch-pin-holes

The hole spacing is about 1.5 inches apart. Other power racks I used in the past had hole spacing of 2-2.5 inches. This is awesome because I can adjust the height of the J-hooks for bench press & squats to the right height.

There are 42 pin holes from top to bottom. Although I won’t be using most of them, it’s nice to know I have that option.

Frame

The frame is 2.5”x2.5” and feels solid.

The blue and black colour (or "color" for you readers from the US and A) combination looks pretty cool!

J-Hooks

Amstaff-TR023-j-hooks

There are 2 sets of J-hooks (total of 4). This makes it convenient because I can set a pair of J-hooks for squats, and another one for bench press, meaning I don’t need to take them off and put them back on ever time I change exercise.

And according to the product description, the J-hooks should be able to hold 1000lbs. I won’t be approaching that weight anytime soon, but it’s nice to know that these hooks will be able to accommodate any weight I can lift.

Monkey Bars

Amstaff-TR023-monkey-bars

There are 2 bars that run parallel to each other, and another set of bars that are angled (See pictures below). I like the angled set of bars when doing pull ups & chin ups because it feels more natural, and isn’t painful on my elbows as straight bar pullups & chinups.

The knurling on the monkey bars aren’t as aggressive as I expected, since it’s covered in blue paint.

Amstaff-TR023-monkey-bars-fatgripz

Amstaff-TR023-monkey-bar-fatgripz2

Amstaff-TR023-monkey-bar-fatgripz3

Although there isn’t a fat and skinny bar like the chin up attachment on the Rogue power racks, I’ve attached a pair of Fatgripz to mimic a thicker pullup bar.

Expansion

I can purchase additional attachment for this power rack. They include lat pull down/low row combo, pec dec, and cable cross overs.

Dip Attachments

Amstaff-TR023-dip-attachment-2

Amstaff-TR023-dip-attachment-4

I’ve read somewhere that “dips are the squats for the chest”, so I wanted a power rack that included a dip attachment.

The dip attachment for the Amstaff power rack are sufficient.

There are 2 bars that attaches itself the same way as the J-hooks. When attached, the dip bars are parallel to each other.

The padded handles on the dip attachment comes off quite easily. I’m not sure what these handles are made of, but it doesn’t offer much in terms of padding. Also, it looks as though the dip bars are hollow.

I haven’t tried performing weighted dips on these yet, but they hold up quite well with my body weight of 190lb.

Band Pegs and Band Peg Holes

Amstaff-TR023-band-peg-holes-bottom

Amstaff-TR023-band-peg-holes-top1

Amstaff-TR023-band-peg-holes-top2

There are 8 band pegs with 8 spring collars to keep the pins in place on the rack.

18 pin holes on the bottom, and 15 on top.

I haven’t incorporated bands into my training (yet) and I don’t have any bands to test out the band pins. But it’s great to know I have a wide option of holes and 8 band pegs to work with once I do.

Stuff I Don't Like

Power Rack Width

(See above).

No Plate Storage

It doesn't have plate holders attached to the rack, but at this price point, it’s no surprise. That means I'm going need a weight tree. I ended up getting 2 CAP standard weight trees, which I review here.

No Numbered Pin Holes

The pin holes are not numbered! Other versions of this power rack (Force USA) has numbers on the side of the rack to show what pin hole you’re using, whereas the Amstaff TR023 has none. A bit of a pain when I’m trying to set the left & right J-hooks and safety pins at the same level. In the future I’ll probably end up buying a metallic marker and writing in the numbers myself.

Overall

Amstaff-TR023-2

The Amstaff TR023 power rack is almost perfect.

It’s half the price of a Rogue power rack, and has a TON of features. The only issue I have is the width of the rack. It may not be a problem with others, and I think I’ll probably get used to using a wide power rack over time.

The Amstaff TR023 is great value for money, even if this is not a well known brand.

So I just purchased a home with an attached garage, and I'm going to turn it into a home gym! I haven't moved in yet, but I've been spending a lot of time planning out the garage gym. One thing I need to consider is what is best power rack for my needs.

After a lot of thinking, I've narrowed it down to the Rogue R4 or the AmStaff TR023 power rack (which is nearly identical to the Force USA PR rack) for my garage home gym.

I have considered the Rogue R3 Westside power rack, but I do not want to bolt the cage into the ground. Also, the depth of the R3 is only 30", and I'd like some wiggle room while doing my lifts. I also plan on doing power cleans inside the rack, and would like more space than 30".

I've also considered the Powertec WB-PR11 rack, but the hole spacing for the safety pins and J-hooks are too far apart (2.5" apart), which will make it a pain in the ass to get the safety bars in right position while doing bench press. It would probably end up being too high or too low for me.

Rogue R4 vs. AMStaff TR023 Power Rack

They both have some similar features, like band hole pins, enough depth to do power cleans inside the rack, and they both do not need to be bolted into the ground.

Here's a comparison table of the differences between the Rogue R4 & AMStaff rack:

 Rogue R4AMStaff TR023
ImageRogue R4 Power RackAmStaff TR023 Power Rack
Dimensions90"H x 43"W x 48"D84"H x 51"W x 57"D
Dip bar included?No - Extra $99.43 + $28.24 shippingYes
Chin up barSingle Pullup Bar on Front & Fat/Skinny Pullup bar on the backMonkey (multi-grip)
Barbell hooks24
Band pegs48 (according to the picture)
Price$1,095.85$449.99
Shipping$196.95$85.23
Taxes$0$58.50
Total Price$1,292.80 or $1420.47 with dip bar$593.71
Pro's-Discounted B&R bar & Bench if order Rogue R4 rack
-It's Rogue! Reputable brand
-Accepts Paypal
-Doesn't require much assembly (I think)

-Less than half the price of the R4 ($699.09 less)
-Includes dip bars
Con's-Dip bar has additional shipping costs
-May need to get additional stabilizer
-More assembly required (I think)
-Takes up more floor space
Notes-More people use Rogue fitness equipment
-Chain safeties does less damage on the bar
-I could use the $699.09-$800+ for other things, such as:
--horse stall mats for gym flooring
--bumper plates
--weight plate tree

-Can't find many reviews

One thing I noticed about the Rogue R4 rack is that it is very tall at 7'6" (or 90").

I wasn't sure if my garage's ceiling was high enough to accommodate the Rogue rack, that is until I remembered I took a photo of the garage while initially checking out the property.

(NOTE: I haven't actually moved in yet since I recently purchased the property and the closing date isn't until the end of the month)

With some educated assumptions, I've outlined the dimensions of my garage and concluded that YES, the Rogue R4 rack will fit!

Garage Home Gym - Rogue R4 Power Rack

It will be a few weeks until I move in, so I still have time to make a decision.

What it seems to come to down to is whether I want to spend more money to have peace of mind owning a power rack that is known to be a high quality, brand name product (Rogue R4), or save $700 and go with something that is not well known, cheaper, and probably good enough for my needs (AmStaff  TR023).

Decisions decisions...