When world champion shot-putter Joe Kovacs first joined up with Rogue, he was still making his home right down the road here in Columbus, Ohio. Since winning his second Silver Medal at the 2020/21 Olympic Games in Tokyo, however, Joe and his wife / coach Ashley have relocated to a new home outside Nashville, Tennessee, which also required equipping a whole new home gym.
“We had a basement gym in Columbus,” Joe tells us, “but one of the hardest things here in Tennessee is that there aren’t many basements. So, our garage has become the new gym.”
As it turns out, though, Joe and Ashley were quick converts to the garage gym club, as they were able to work with Rogue on a new layout that made efficient use of the space without sacrificing any of their critical go-to equipment.
Here’s a closer look at some of the featured products in the Kovacs’s gym and the role they play in the regimen of a decorated Olympian.
Rogue RML-390 Fold Back Rack: “In a gym, the focal point of everything is the rack,” Joe says. “I upgraded to this Monster Lite folding rack so, just in case there are cold days when my wife does want to bring her car in here, we can pop the pin out, fold the rack in, and there is just enough room for her to pull her car in.” When stowed away, the RML-3W Rack takes up less than 6.5″ of space from the wall, so it really is ideal for garage use. It also includes four uprights built from the same 3×3” 11-gauge steel as our standard Monster Lite Racks, so the stability and durability aren’t reduced for the sake of space.
Rogue Adjustable Monolift – Monster Lite: “These things are absolutely amazing, especially in a home gym,” Kovacs tells us. “I use them for squatting, of course, but also for benching.” Each Adjustable Monolift set includes a pair of rack-mounted brackets with 0.75″ thick steel jaw hooks. These hooks are built with special counterweight handles at the top, so when you lift a barbell off the Monolift, the hooks will swing several inches back toward the rack and stay there. This clears up enough extra space to go straight into your workout, and also enables safe re-racking, as the slanted angle of the unloaded hooks makes it easy to guide the bar in, swinging the Monolift back into its original position.
Rogue Olympic Platform: “This is where maybe 60 percent of what I do in the gym happens; maybe more.” Rogue’s standard 6’ x 8’ Oly platform has a 2×2″ steel frame that bolts together with gusseted corners.The rubber surface is shock absorbing and will cause less wear and tear on your equipment. It also dampens the sound when dropping a fully loaded barbell. Joe’s platform also includes a custom graphic center section with his personal “THROVacs” logo.
Wall Storage Stringer: “One thing I’m really excited for in this gym is this new plate storage from Rogue; the wall storage. When space is important, having everything on the walls really helps.” Our 24” Wall Storage Stringers work with any Infinity or Monster Lite Plate Storage Posts, creating loads of convenient plate storage, easily accessible but also off the floor and out of the way.
Ohio Power Bar – ZEUS Custom Design: Joe’s Ohio Power was designed with Rogue’s ZEUS software system, and includes his custom THROVacs branding. Any Rogue customer can use the same tool to choose the color of their Power Bar as well as text and graphics on the shaft. The standard Ohio Power Bar includes a zero-flex 205,000 PSI steel shaft, quality bronze bushings, aggressive knurling, and a corrosion-resistant Cerakote shaft finish.
Belt Squat: While Joe has a Westside Barbell model, Rogue’s more recent Rhino Belt Squat follows a similar design, offering athletes the ability to get many of the lower body training benefits of squats and other workouts without putting unnecessary stress on the shoulders or lower back. “I’m seldom actually squatting with this thing,” Kovacs explains. “But as a shot putter, I like to put it around my hips . . . marching, doing all kinds of movements just to strengthen up some of the smaller muscles.”
Westside Scout Hyper: “I use this probably twice a week. It keeps the posterior chain strong, but most importantly it keeps your body healthy . . . a necessity for almost any home gym. I can’t see a reason not to have it.” Westside’s Scout Reverse Hyper can provide safe traction and pressure/tension relief in the lower back, and its patented groove folding mechanism shrinks it down to a depth of just 13” when stowed. It’s also considerably lighter and more portable than most traditional Reverse Hyper machines, making it easy to move, unfold, and lock-in before each use.
Rogue Dog Sled 1.2: “Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some fancy stuff here, but a sled . . . you can’t go wrong. It doesn’t cost that much money. You load up a bunch of weight, start pulling it . . . it keeps your hamstrings healthy, your back healthy. It teaches you how to grind. That’s a good go-to.” Joe’s personal preference is the Rogue Dog Sled, which can be paired with a half dozen different attachments for a variety of low and high angle push/pull training options.
Concept 2 RowErg Rower: This is Joe’s favorite machine from his least favorite part of the gym: Cardio Row. “You get a lot of calories burned, and get a lot of good workout in without taking too much wear and tear on the body. Can’t go wrong with the Concept 2.”
Joe and Ashley are regularly adding equipment to the garage as they set their sights on new records and a shot putting Gold Medal in Paris, 2024. Follow their progress at https://www.instagram.com/joekovacsusa