A power rack (also called a squat cage) is unequivocally the most important and beneficial equipment purchase you will make for your home gym. It allows you to take your workouts and your fitness to the next level and beyond. Power Racks are incredibly versatile in the types and variety of exercise they provide, and they aren’t just for bodybuilders either.
Many home fitness enthusiasts use power racks for aerobic exercise training for Crossfit-like workouts, and they are also extremely beneficial for strength training that will gain you some serious muscle mass in multiple muscle groups at the same time.
Let’s take a look at what to consider when purchasing a power rack for your home gym, as well as several models that have been selected for their uncompromising quality and value.
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Putting a power rack in your home gym is one thing, but you also need to consider all of the equipment you will need to use it effectively. You need to make space for weights and Olympic Size barbells, and those barbells are a great deal longer than standard size.
If you don’t already have this equipment, it can be very difficult to choose a good power rack because you will not have any idea of what all will be resting on the rack on a regular basis or how much space it is going to need.
Obtain the dimensions of any power rack you are considering for purchase. Carefully measure your floor twice to see if that power rack will fit in the space where you wish to put it. Make sure you measure the height of your room floor to ceiling as well, as power racks aren’t exactly small pieces of gym equipment.
If the ceiling in your workout room is too low, you won’t be able to install a power rack in the space, especially considering you need enough clearance above to do chinups and pullups.
No one wants their gym equipment rubbing against their walls. Consider if there is adequate space in your workout room for an Olympic-size barbell to be lowered onto the rack. If there isn’t, you will find yourself having to move around awkwardly while hauling heavy weights and bars.
Make sure you visualize how you will use everything in your workout space to ensure you have ample space for all of your gear. There is nothing more irritating than going to the hassle and expense of purchasing a power rack only to realize you do not have room for some of the most essential accessories.
Do your homework ahead of time, and read up on all the information for accessories when you are considering which power rack to buy. Make certain that your power rack of choice includes all the accessories you want before you actually make a purchase.
The correct power rack size will vary for a man over 6’3” versus a power rack for a woman under 5’5”. You absolutely need to do your homework before buying to determine which power racks are too small or too large. Always look at dimensions, and make sure that the squat cage is large enough for you.
Most models that are shorter and narrower are generally less expensive, but it is more important to buy the right size power rack for safety and health reasons than to try and save money by purchasing a power rack that is not sized correctly to save a few bucks.
You definitely need to anchor your power rack solidly to the floor if you intend to do chin-ups and pull-ups. Not doing so creates a safety hazard in your home gym, and not taking the time to anchor your power rack properly is not worth the risk of injury to yourself or others.
That being said, not every power rack has the option to anchor it to the floor, so make sure you buy one with floor anchoring equipment if you intend to use it for pull-ups and chin-ups.
Once again, it is essential to do your homework before making a purchase. You need to know exactly how to use a power rack and be comfortable making all the adjustments yourself before buying.
There are power racks that come with built-in safety features that use pins, and for some people this makes adjustments difficult. The best practice here is to read up on the power rack you want and see what actual users have to say about ease-of-use for the unit you are considering.
There are power racks available that don’t need to be anchored to the floor, and instead come equipped with a stabilizer bar. At times, this bar can become a nuisance as it seems to get in the way on occasion, or seem like it could cause an injury during workouts.
Always determine if the power rack you are considering has a stabilizer, and if so examine it carefully to decide if you really want it or not. If it isn’t a removable option or at least flush to the floor, you may want to pass on that power rack.
The BD-7 from Valor Fitness is clearly designed with intense strength training in mind.
A squat cage that allows you to complete numerous exercises, this model can handle lat pulldowns, squats, military press, pull-ups, and many more.
Planning to bulk up? Want a good toning workout? This is the power rack for you.
A beefy, powerful steel frame holding a power rack together is important, and the added width and depth gives it additional stability and safety.
The frame width is also important when making adjustments to pegs or bar rests as you don’t want to be fiddling with tiny peg slots when you could be working out.
One of the best ways to stabilize your power rack is to store your plates right on the unit itself, and the BD-7 has tons of built-in storage space for your to take advantage of.
This also comes in handy when you are swapping weights on and off a barbell as you don’t have to lift from the floor or keep a separate weight rack around.
When your primary purpose it to suspend heavy iron weights off the ground all day, you need to be strong. That’s why the weight bar supports for this power rack are solid steel pegs, not hollowed out short lengths of pipe. You will never have to worry about the security or stability of your bar supports ever again with the BD-7.
Accidents happen when working out, and that’s why it is extremely important to have solid steel safety bars in place on your power rack.
These safety bars can help prevent serious injury when used correctly, and they also help you maintain proper squat form and depth when you are lifting as well.
An added benefit of this power rack is that it has a built-in lat-pulldown attachment that takes standard barbell plates, making it easy to use with the plates most likely already being stored on your power rack.
Lat-pulldowns are essential to properly developing upper body strength and tone, so being able to toss a few plates on the carrier and work your lateralis muscle groups quickly and easily is definitely an exceptional option.
This solid, well built power rack makes safe and efficient workouts a breeze, whether you are performing military press, squats, bench press, shrugs, curls, and many other exercises.
A walk-in design gives Atlas Power Rack plenty of side-to-side movement space to perform a wide variety of complete body exercises.
The built-in weight storage is ample, and the overhead bars are textured for better grip during chin-ups/pull-ups. All in all, this is a high quality, complete power rack package.
With a lock on design and chrome plating, these pins are designed to last a lifetime and retain their position in a rock-solid capacity.
Some people may find the short pins a little inconvenient when making adjustments, but overall they do make the power rack safer and more stable for storage and workouts.
Sometimes finding that ideal position for your bar rests is quite a chore. Not so with the Atlas Power Rack. Somewhere along these 28 positions you will find your “sweet spot” that lets you maintain proper form and fitness during your squats, shrugs, and similar exercises.
If you were concerned about not having sufficient room to store extra plates or barbells, you didn’t need to worry. The Atlas has two plate pegs for storage at the base, and it can easily accommodate your barbell with a full load.
Don’t take chances! Set those safety bars where they need to be, because accidents happen all the time in the gym. Having your safety bars locked in place means that if there is an incident, the damage and fallout will stay under control.
This power rack has the added benefit of being able to accommodate standard benches to allow you to further diversify your weight and strength training exercise routine. It is an exceptionally convenient option if space is at a premium in your home gym.
Kick your workout into high gear with a power rack designed for home users. PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack are widely used in many professional gyms, and you should take advantage of one for your home fitness as well.
With a wide walk-in design, this unit offers plenty of space for total body workouts.
Additionally, its 18 positions allow for a vast number of strength and weight training exercises as well. This one is tough to beat in terms of features and value.
When you are strength training with weight on barbells, you want to know that your lift offs are made of strong, dependable material.
These thick steel pegs definitely fit the bill, and you never have to worry about an equipment failure during your workout thanks to the heat-tempered design that can take a tremendous amount of use and punishment.
Lifting weights safely is what power racks are all about, and having two strong steel safety rods to prevent serious injury during accidents are a major component of a power rack’s safety. Make sure you set these rods in place at an appropriate height before every workout.
Brought to you by a pioneer in strength training products, CAP Barbell had developed its latest strength training offering, the FM-CB8000F Deluxe Power Rack.
Loaded with comfort and safety features, this power rack is constructed from a combination of 12 and 14 gauge steel with welded tube seams to provide additional strength and stability.
The overhead workout station is built from high grade tubular steel that has been fully welded to mounting plates with mini-gussets for extra-reinforcement and support.
Additionally, all frame ends are capped for safety and to prevent corrosion, and all steel components are powder coated and sealed. Better still, bar holders incorporate an ABS sleeve to prevent scratches while removing or storing a bar.
Best of all, the FM-CB8000F can be directly mounted to the floor using the built in mounting tabs for optimal stability during workouts. This may be considered a half rack, but it is definitely a complete package.
Nothing says heavy-duty like 12 and 14 gauge steel. Every inch of this half-frame is built to last, and it can take a tremendous amount of punishment thanks to its high quality materials. When choosing a power rack, it is essential not to skimp on the quality construction materials, and Cap Barbell definitely delivers the goods on this model.
When it comes to fitness equipment, scratches equal rust, pure and simple. This is especially true if your gym equipment is made out of high quality steel, as even the best steel rusts when exposed to humidity and evaporated sweat in the air.
Fortunately, this half-rack has a 3-step powder coating that is both scratch and rust resistant. Accidents happen, and equipment gets damaged, but this model is significantly more durable thanks to the applied coating.
One of the significant advantages of having a power rack at home is the ability to have a free standing pull-up/chin-up bar that is stable and versatile.
The overhead bar on this particular power rack is textured for better grip, and allows even taller users to get the full benefit of an overhead workout.
With plates on the weight storage and the entire rack bolted to the floor, this unit becomes extraordinarily stable even for users up to 300 lbs., making it an ideal platform for full upper body strengthening exercises.
In addition to making your weightlifting experience more convenient, built-in plate storage helps keep your power rack stable during workouts.
The solid steel plate holders for this half-rack are conveniently located on either side just below the safety bars, allowing you to easily swap plates on and off your Olympic-size barbell during workouts.
Anyone who has used resistance bands as a part of their strength training regimen knows that they offer tremendous benefits.
This power rack has three pegs conveniently placed to either side of its feet that allow you to balance resistance on your bar bell or integrate resistance bands with your existing workout regimen.
Few other power racks include this option, instead requiring you to purchase separate accessories, so this is definitely a value-add feature.
A versatile and well-engineered utility bench, this unit is designed to help you build strength with bodyweight exercises. Weider Power Tower is ideal for developing strength in your quads, hip flexors, and hamstrings thanks to its six-roll leg developer.
Additionally, the curl yoke helps develop a powerful upper body, while the built in safety spotters help you stay safe while you exercise.
This feature allows you to condition like a world champion, and maintain your physique according to the Olympic games equipment standards.
Convenient pegs to hold weight plates for various exercises and routines also gives this unit additional stability, which is a very real concern when performing a body weight workout on a standing rack.
Padded grips in multiple positions help you add definition to your biceps and forearms.
Develop our shoulders, biceps, and core while your hands rest comfortably on the padded grips.
Perfect for building up your triceps, chest, and shoulders.
An excellent mean for isolating your core to develop lean, sculpted abs.
Exercise in comfort on quality cushions that are built to last.
If I were purchasing a power rack for my home gym, even if space was at a premium, I would purchase the Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack. It is made of high quality materials, has plenty of storage space for additional bar bells and plates, and includes the lat pulldown accessory for a maximum variety of potential exercises.
I also like how it can be bolted to the floor for optimal stability, which would be a necessity in my home due to the number of pets and small children around. It may on the larger side, but even in limited space the integrated storage and quality of construction more than make up for the larger footprint.
If you are in the market for a power rack for your home gym and you don’t want to compromise on quality or features, you need to get a Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack. It has everything you need and some features that will grow with you as you travel further along your fitness journey. Further you can choose from the list of our best power rack & squats above.
A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!