Summary: Titan X-3 Monolift Review
Bang for Your Buck:
Features / Specs:
Where to Buy:
X-3 Adjustable Monolift:
X-3 Bolt-on Monolift:
If you're familiar with competitive powerlifting, then you already know what a monolift is. You may even train in one now, or have in the past. But for those unfamiliar with monolifts, let me explain.
A monolift is a piece of gym equipment traditionally used for squats that makes racking and unracking the bar as efficient as possible.
What Are Monolifts Used for?
The traditional uses and benefits of a monolift include:
There are other less traditional uses of monolifts, but I'll get to those later.
How Do Monolifts Work?
I'm going to get into my X-3 monolift review shortly. But first, I think it's important to explain the mechanism of how a monolift works:
Now that I've explained the basics, let me get into my review of the X-3 monolift attachment.
My In-Depth Titan X-3 Monolift Review
Usually a monolift is its own separate entity. It's a towering piece of equipment that costs thousands of dollars and basically takes up as much room as a power rack. For these reasons, a full-blown monolift rack is totally out of the question for almost every home gym owner, except for a handful of competitive powerlifters with enough space and extra cash laying around.
NOTE: The most noteworthy functionality that you get from a full monolift rack that you don't get from a monolift attachment, is that you don't have lean forward at all when re-racking. This is because you have training partner who operates the hooks and swings them all the way back toward you, so you can simply set the bar on the hooks. Of course, this benefit doesn't justify the $1000s needed to buy to buy a full rack for the average home gym lifter.
The beauty of the X-3 monolift attachment is that you get the essential functionality of a full monolift rack without having to spend $1000s or make room for another huge piece of equipment.
You just attach it to the appropriate height in the power rack, and voila--squat away!
If you do competitive powerlifting in a federation that uses monolifts, then it should go without saying that this accessory is a must-have.
However, you don't have to compete in a federation with monolift squatting to benefit. You don't even have to compete in powerlifting at all to benefit from. You just have to squat heavy and hard. If you do that, you'll love monolift attachment. And if you squat alone, it will add an additional layer of safety to your workouts.
Technically you could do more than just the above types of lifts with a monolift power rack attachment. Assuming you have an adjustable monolift attachment, you could do just about any barbell exercise that you would otherwise use regular j-hooks for. However, it wouldn't add any benefit and may actually make it more difficult. Accordingly, I only listed and discussed the more practical secondary uses of monolifts.
There are actually 2 slightly different versions of the X-3 monolift available:
What You Need to Know Before Buying the X-3 Monolift Attachment
There's some important things you need to understand and consider before buying this attachment:
Quality & Functionality: Pros & Cons
Before delving into the specifics, let me quickly outline the overall quality of this monolift attachment in terms of it's build construction and functionality:
As you can tell from the above points, quality and function is pretty good all the major items. However, it's not perfect.
Adjustable X-3 Monolift Attachment
The adjustable version of the X-3 monolift is the version of this attachment that I should have bought.
I got the bolt-on version, which I'll talk about later. And even though I still use an enjoy my bolt-on monolift, I could have made my workouts more efficient and gotten a lot more use out out of the adjustable monolift.
But it's my mistake because I didn't consider my options before purchasing. In fact, I'm pretty sure I didn't check if there were multiple options. If I recall correctly, I just saw there was a monolift attachment available, thought it would be cool to have and added it to my cart then and there.
Enough about my problems, though 🙂 Let me tell you about the adjustable version...
...First off, it's the same exact attachment as the bolt-on version EXCEPT for how it's attached to the power rack:
This is the way to go if don't always want the monolift in the rack. Although it's not a giant obstruction, it does take up some space. It reduces the depth dimension inside the rack by a few inches at the jaw of the monolift to about two feet at the very top of the attachment.
It's certainly possible to do exercises around it, depending on your routine. But depending on your exercise selection, it could potentially get in the way of your body or the bar, or at least make you feel more cramped than you'd like to.
The adjustability gives you the option to simply remove the monolift when you need the extra space to perform other exercises, or to install a different attachment.
Additionally, the adjustable design lets you quickly change the height setting of the monolift, up or down on the rack as needed. This comes in handy if you want to bench press using the monolift or if you're squatting with a workout partner that's shorter or taller than you.
The versatility made possible by quick adjustments, plus the ability to easily remove the attachment is why the adjustable version of the X-3 monolift would have been the best choice for my needs...
...Even though I didn't get the right version, it's not the end of the world. I still get some good use out of my attachment, which I'll talk about in the next section.
Bolt-on X-3 Monolift Attachment
The bolt-on version of the X-3 monolift attachment is secured to the rack with bolts, washer and nuts. It is meant to stay in the same position, once installed.
The benefit of this over the adjustable monolift is that it provides a bit of extra stability. There won't be even slight shifting or rattling of the monolift where it attaches on the uprights--whereas this is possible with the adjustable version and may lead to some scratching up the paint on the uprights over time.
However, the downside is that it's pretty much going to be in the same position inside the rack, all the time. That is, unless you plan on having your tools ready and take the time to uninstall/reinstall it. So, it's gonna be taking up space inside the rack, which can get in the way of other exercises where you want as much free space in the rack.
Also, if you have a workout partner who's much taller or shorter than you, they won't be able to use monolift for squats. Likewise, if you want to also bench with the monolift, as opposed to just squats, then you're out of luck here, too.
Again, you could adjust it as needed, but you'd have to keep your toolkit on hand and with removing and installing the hardware each time you want to change its position. But that's not feasible, in my opinion. And it's necessary if you have an alternative solution (i.e. the adjustable version).
To summarize, if you want the monolift installed on the rack at all times, at the same height setting, go with the bolt-on version. Otherwise, go with the adjustable version.
How Well Does It Work for Squats?
I mentioned above that I don't use the monolift to squat because I have the short X-3 power rack, and even the highest height setting is too low for me...
...However, it would be unfair to use that as a point against the X-3 monolift when answering the question of how well the monolift works for squats.
I want to give a give a fair assessment of how well it would work if I had a tall X-3 power rack (or, god forbid, if I shrunk and became short enough to use it in my current power rack).
So, I put my thinking cap on to figure out a way to squat in it to get an idea of how well it works for squatting. And I came up with a solution: wide stance low bar squats!
By using an extra wide stance, I could get low enough so that I was at the correct height to unrack the bar from the monolift.
So here are my findings based on a few solid workouts doing wide stance low bar squats with the monolift, using a challenging weight:
Using the X-3 Monolift for... Bench Press?
Although squats are the primary use of monolifts, there are secondary uses. The most common one is the barbell bench press, as well as any of its variations (i.e. close grip, incline, decline, etc.).
I didn't even consider the idea of benching in the monolift until after I got the attachment. But, I thought to try out it out on one of my bench days. And it worked great for me!
I was able to avoid the strain during the unrack, where you pull the barbell forward, away from the pins to over your chest. This can be a bit fatiguing on the front delts with heavier weights, and you might lose tightness/position in your shoulder blades if you're not careful.
The monolift fixes this by allowing you to set up so that the bar is already over your chest before lifting it off the monolift. Once you're setup, you simply straighten your elbows a bit to press the bar off and let the hooks swing away. Then you can begin the negative rep immediately.
I'm far from the only person who has discovered this. There are many lifters who are also proponents of doing this with their monolift attachments. Conversely, there are many others with good arguments against this.
One of the more convincing reasons for NOT using a monolift on bench is if you're a competitive powerlifter. This is because you want to train bench like you would in competition. And there aren't any powerlifting federations that use monolifts for benching.
Another good case against the monolift for bench press is if you're doing a max or near max weight. Generally, you shouldn't use such heavy weights without an actual human spotter. And if you do have a spotter, the monolift might interfere with them.
Possible X-3 Monolift Modifications
There are a couple different modifications you may or may not want to do, depending on your equipment and preferences. The vast majority of people reading this won't need or want to make either of these modification. But there's probably a few out there who will find this useful.
Removing the "Stop Bolt"
NOTE: I mentioned this above in the section about squatting. However, I wanted to included in it's own section since I know some people will skip over that part.
The stop bolt is the smaller bolt on the bracket, located right above the main hook bolt. The purpose of this bolt is to create a hard stop point that lets you get into a tight position for squats because the bar is in a fixed stable position.
However, some lifters prefer to have it swing back further, either because they want more room between them and the power rack uprights, or because they rock back and forth somewhat while getting into position.
If you want to do this, then it's as easy as not installing the stop bolts in the first place. Or, if you've already installed them, then you can simply remove them. Easy peasy.
Workaround for Installing Bolt-on Version Higher on the X-3 Short Power Rack
It may be possible to install it higher on the short X-3 power rack, so it's high enough for taller guys to unrack for regular (i.e. non-wide stance) squats. I haven't done this, but it seems possible.
Understand that this workaround requires you install the monolift on the outside of your rack. And if you're going to be squatting in the monolift outside the rack, you should also have a pair of X-3 spotter arms. Also, you should definitely bolt the rack to the floor to prevent the rack from tipping over, since the weight will have much more leverage being on the outside..
...If you're okay with that, here are the steps for implementing this customization:
- First, on the front uprights, remove the bottom bolts used to secure the left and right upper bracings.
- Next, get two 5/8" bolts from your local hardware store that are maybe an inch or so longer than the ones you removed.
- Finally, install these longer bolts through the side bracings and then install the top of the monolift on these longer bolts, where they come through on the front of the rack.
This custom workaround gives you the ability to install the monolift two holes **** higher on the front of the rack. This means you can increase the max possible height by four inches ****. You can use any of the holes above this because they are blocked by bolts that need to remain in place for other parts of the frame.
If I ever attempt to use this workaround myself, I'll be sure to update this page to let you know how it works and show you photos of the end result.
X-3 Monolift Attachment Assembly Instructions
Overall, the assembly/installation process is pretty simple and fast. You can assemble the adjustable version even faster than the bolt-on version.
When I get the chance, I will be including a video of me assembling the bolt-on monolift attachment and installing it on the rack. I still need to edit it, but I wanted to get the review posted. So stay tuned if you're interested in that.
X-3 Monolift Specifications
Below, I've included a list of the X-3 monolift's key specifications. Most of the specs are identical for the bolt-on version and the adjustable version. I will make note of any differences between the two versions.
Where to Buy the X-3 Monolift Attachment?
If after reading my X-3 monolift review, you have decided that this attachment is right for you, then you can do so on the Titan Fitness website. That's where you'll get the best price:
If you're still unsure about purchasing this monolift attachment, then leave a comment below with any questions you have. Chances are I'll be able to answer it and help you decide if this is a good purchase or not.