Looking to build your own home gym but not knowing where to start?
If you’re serious about your getting fit and ripped, then a home gym is a very good investment. No more monthly fees or queues or waiting for your turn to use a machine. You can cut your travel time by simply heading home after work and doing your routine for the day. Plus, you can nix your excuse of having to haul your butt off to the gym to lift some weights.
However, building your own home gym can give you a raging migraine, especially if you’re on a tight budget. On one hand, you want to get the best possible equipment while on the other hand, you are limited by other factors like your budget and floor area.
Don’t worry. A lot of people looking into making their own gym ask these questions and they’re pretty legit concerns. Those gym machines do not come cheap. Of course, you want the best bang for your buck!
One of the dilemmas that often crop up is the choice between a squat rack vs. a power rack. If your routine includes weight training, then one of the two should be included in your grand plan for your home gym.
But which one?
Let us weigh in on the pros and cons of getting a squat rack vs. a power rack.
A squat rack is a device consisting of two vertical posts supporting a barbell. These posts usually have pegs for holding plates and hooks for storing the barbell, as well as “spotter arms” that will stop and catch the weight if you fail during a squat. This equipment is meant to support your weight while you do your squats.
A power rack or power cage is a weight-training device that is basically composed of four upright posts with two adjustable horizontal arms called “spotters” on each side that serve the same function as the spotter arms of the squat rack. Its chief advantage is the safety it provides by acting as a mechanical weight spotter for free weight training exercises.
They are also a lot more versatile than the squat rack in that you can do more exercises on it than just variations of squats. The power rack allows you to do dips, curl-ups, and pull-ups, among other things. Generally speaking, the fancier it gets, the more you will be able to do with it.
Now that you have an idea of how both equipment work, it’s time to weigh in on the pros and cons of each to help you decide which one you should get for your home gym!
Your moolah is practically useless even if you can afford an enormous rack with all the trimmings only to find out that it will occupy more than half of your living space and squish you and your bed in the other half. If you’ve got itty-bitty living space, as the Genie calls it, then you should choose your equipment accordingly.
Between the two, a simple squat rack easily consumes a lot less floor area than a power rack. If you have low ceilings, it is also better to go with a squat rack as power racks can be quite tall, especially the ones that come with features for pull-ups and chin-ups.
Ah, one of the chief considerations of a buyer and one of the biggest causes for buyer’s regret! What if you bought this rack and suddenly realize the other one fits your needs better? And the worst part is you’ve already spent half of your paycheck on it!
You want the best but can’t afford the best so what do you do?
Compromise can be a hard word to swallow but it’s a sad fact of life that these things don’t come cheap. If you are on a tight budget then it’s a no-brainer to choose something that will suit your financial status and your fitness goals.
In this case, the squat rack gains the upper hand over the power rack.
Compared to the power rack, the squat rack certainly is a lot less expensive in that it costs about half the price of the more versatile power rack. A simple squat stand with the basic necessities can cost as low as $75 while a good quality squat rack with fancy trimmings can cost as much as $300 to $500.
This is still a lot less than a power rack, though, which can cost an average of $800 and even more if you get the ones with added features.
Working out at home can give you a sort of freedom you will not find in the gym. You won’t have to wait for your turn to use a machine or even exhaust yourself further driving to and fro just to squeeze your fitness routine into your already busy life.
However, if you work out at home, chances are you are not going to have a spotter looking out for you during your free weight training exercises. Working out alone can be dangerous, especially if you are new to weight training. Without someone looking out for you, you could seriously injure yourself while doing squats and your strength starts flagging. If you are going to be working out by your lonesome, then you need to at least have some safety features in place to prevent this morbid scenario.
One thing that the power rack can certainly boast about is the safety it provides. No spotter? The power rack has your back with hooks every two inches or so as well as their own built-in spotters to catch the barbell should your strength fail. These added safety features ensure that you can squat and press all you want even without a spotter without having to fear that you will get squashed underneath your barbell if ever your arms betray you and suddenly turn into noodles.
A simple bar, constructed strategically in a certain way, can help you do more than just pull-ups. You can do kips, curl-ups, and even dips with just a bar hung between two posts. Of course, you have to make sure it is sturdy enough to support your weight as well as the things you plan to do on it but you get the drift.
The right gym equipment can definitely help you achieve a lot more.
While a squat rack will allow you to do different variations of squats, the power rack is also called a power cage for a reason.
In terms of versatility in the number of possible exercises you can do, the power rack wins this round, allowing you to do squats, bench presses, curl-ups, and pull-ups, among other things.
Deadlifting? No sweat. You can do that in a power rack, too!
The fancier the power rack gets, the more variety of exercises you can do with it.
And now, we come to the conclusion of this article. Which one is better?
In this battle between the squat rack vs. power rack, the power rack certainly has the upper hand as it offers you more features for your money. Not only does it allow you to safely work out by your lonesome in the comforts of your own home, you can do almost anything with it from squats to bench presses to chin ups without worrying if you will get squashed under the weight of your barbell if your strength fails you.
While squat racks are generally less expensive and take up less space than the power rack, the latter can give you a full body work out with all the safety features in place. It will also cost you less in the long run to buy a power rack that will allow you to do a lot of exercises compared to getting a squat rack, a pull-up bar, and a lot of other equipment for different exercises!
In the same way, you save a lot more space in your home gym if you buy a power rack that can enable you to do a lot of different exercises compared to getting a piece of equipment for different exercises.
What about you? Are you also considering buying a squat rack vs. a power rack? What are your thoughts on the comparison between these two weight training equipment? Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends to help them create their dream home 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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