Getting a squat rack for your home gym may be one of the best investments you can make for your fitness journey.
Known also as the power rack or power cage, this piece of gym equipment is known for its versatility-you can do dips, pull-ups, and more besides the weight training. Squat racks are also known for their safety features, which makes them ideal for fitness buffs who are planning to go at it alone without a spotter.
While they are certainly a great addition to your home or garage gym, squat racks don’t come cheap either. Of course, you want to get the most out of your investment.
From choosing the best squat rack to fit your needs-and your space-to what you need to keep an eye out for, this article’s got you covered.
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Amp up your gains this 2018 with some of the best squat racks for your home gym.
Squat racks are a great addition to your home or garage gym but you know us-we like to give you guys the option to buy in or opt out of all things fitness.
Squat racks are no different. Let us break down the pros and cons before you jump on the bandwagon and get yourself a fancy squat rack you probably won’t use. There is also a foam-covered utility bar you can use for curls.
One of the best features of the squat rack is safety.
Weight training is a dangerous business if you’re not careful with it. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories of athletes getting crushed under the weight of a barbell during a bench press or squat. This is why you need someone to look out for you especially when you’re new to weight training, a.k.a. the spotter.
The squat rack is designed to function as a mechanical spotter for those free weight training exercises. It has safety pins and notches on the posts which can catch the barbell on if it slips or if you’re having difficulties with, particularly hard routines.
It’s called a power cage for a reason.
Squat racks or power cages are not only good for squats-they usually come with an assortment of features that can help you do other things on it like chin-ups, pull-ups, and even dips.
Now, that’s a powerhouse of an equipment!
Unlike Smith machines where you will be forced to assume an unnatural position while training, squat racks are designed for free weight training.
Working out with free weights means that you use both the primary muscles needed to lift and push the weight as well as the stabilizer muscles. This translates to you getting stronger and building more muscles.
By far, the cost is one of the reasons buyers will balk at the purchase of a squat rack because they don’t come cheap. Squat racks can range from several hundred to a thousand dollars.
You’re going to have to fork over for all the additional equipment and an Olympic barbell set. Also, the fancier it gets, the more the price will soar.
A cheaper alternative is the squat stand but you’ll lose the additional safety features and versatility that comes with a fully-equipped squat rack.
Lawd almighty but the squat rack does take up an unholy amount of space.
If you’re living with limited real estate or a lower ceiling, you might want to opt out of that fancy squat rack you’ve been eyeing.
While it does occupy a lot of space, you can do a lot with it and won’t need separate equipment for bench presses, chin-ups, dips, etc. so you might end up saving space anyway.
Now that we’ve laid out the pros and cons and you still wanna get a new squat rack, let’s go to the things you need to seriously consider before buying one.
We’re not only talking floor area but ceiling height here.
Squat racks with additional features for pull-ups and chin-ups will need more overhead space or you’ll be pulling yourself up to a hole in your ceiling.
Not only that, you need to consider space for your weights as well as for freedom of movement.
The safety features are probably the top reason you’re going with a squat rack aside from the versatility and freedom you get with every workout.
Safety pins are an absolute must for your squat rack. You will also want to check out the hole-spacing between them so you can adjust them to the right height. The smaller the distance between the holes, the better. A distance of 1 inch between holes can give you a great deal of flexibility for adjustment while a 2-inch gap, not so much.
Where are you gonna put your barbell and all the plates you’re gonna use?
If you want to make the most out of your strength and energy for every exercise, it would be a great help if you got a squat rack with ample storage or weight holders on each side. Having the plates stored nearby in your squat rack means you can focus your energy on doing those weight training exercises instead of lugging your plates back and forth between your squat rack and storage.
You might think it’s still a long way off but we’re telling you this-if you’re serious about getting fit and working out, you’re gonna get strong fast.
For that, you’re gonna need equipment that can keep up with your needs because you’re going to need heavier weights. Your squat rack is not exempt from this.
Newbies are looking up to a maximum of 700 lbs. while more experienced weightlifters should be considering squat racks with a maximum capacity of 1,000 lbs. Squat racks generally have a weight capacity of 400 to 1,000 lbs.
Generally speaking, the higher the maximum weight capacity of a squat rack, the more durable it will be.
It might be tempting to get a squat rack with all the bells and whistles but it will not do you any good if you can barely use it.
When getting yourself a new squat rack for your home or garage gym, you should also consider the ease with which you will be able to set it up as well as use it. The better you know and understand your own gym equipment, the more you will be able to get out of it.
Aside from being able to do free weight training exercises with it without a human spotter, squat racks can allow you to do much more in it. For example, did you know that the safest way to do bench presses is in a squat rack?
Added features will help you make the most out of your squat rack but these can also hike up the cost of the unit itself. It is important to take note of these so you don’t have to fork over more cash for secondary expenses.
A squat rack can be anchored to the floor or it may come with a stabilizer, which usually gets in the way. If you are getting a unit that has stabilizers, make sure it will not get in the way of your exercises or one that stays as close to the ground as possible.
One of the major drawbacks of the squat rack, aside from its massive size and the space it occupies, is the cost. A good squat rack can cost anywhere from several hundred to a thousand dollars.
Consider your preferences and needs first and align it closely with your budget. You do not need to sell your soul for the chance to get fitter but do not compromise your safety and your workouts with substandard equipment either.
The Titan Fitness T-3 is a pretty popular choice for squat racks and with good reason! It is a very sturdy piece of equipment, although it is easy to assemble.
Although it was made to fit in spaces with low ceilings, it is pretty roomy inside and will not make you feel cramped while you’re using it.
For added versatility, you can also add a couple of accessories so you can do more in it.
Although it will wobble a little, you can just weigh it down with some weights and you’re all set.
Did your favorite squat rack make it to our list? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends to help them build their own dream home/garage gym!
I am Mike R.Bowen, founder of Fitness On The Weekend dot Com and my aim is to help busy people find time for fitness. We will give you actionable advice on how you can keep fit and healthy even on those busy days!
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