If you are conscientious about your exercise, to keep up your continued progress, a power rack is often the missing key.
Of course, you can easily avail one at your local gym, but often you may not find one there.
If you want to invest in a home gym, though, as such, a power rack is an important purchase that you could make.
One of the best advantages of a power rack is that, during weight lifting, while a having a spotter is ideal. It is not absolutely necessary.
Best Power Rack & Squat Rack 2018
A power rack is basically a cage with four posts and two horizontal bar catchers on either side that allows the use of a barbell without any issues. It allows a wide range of exercises- from bench presses to squats.
It is further important that you do not hit the dreaded plateau. A plateau is a stage when the improvement in muscle mass for rigorous exercises is stunted and to overcome this, further loads have to be added. You can go to the gym and take help from a spotter or call a friend over for help. But power racks are built for the very purpose of providing an independent workout session.
These power racks are equipped with safety bars. You could lift as much as you want without worrying about dropping it. Such as, while bench pressing, if you set the bars just above your chest, you do not have to worry if you pull a muscle and drop the barbell. Further, when using barbell squats, you can just position the bars at the proper level so that in case you get pinned, you can just fall forwards and crawl out.
Thus, while it is recommended to analyze your own limits while weight lifting, an extra safety net could never go amiss. It is often the case that the fear of dropping the bars does not allow to further your training. There is always that niggling worry at the back of your mind. Weight lifting is meant to be beneficial for both the body and mind and if you are serious about it, you will want to further your training with every session. A power rack offers you that safety.
How to Choose a Power Rack?
The power rack is often the most important part of your fitness regimen and for that, not only it should be sturdy, it should also offer you the flexibility for a wider range of exercises and should be able to hold a larger weight capacity. The weight capacity should be decided by your lifting goals. As such, it is worth spulrging a bit on one.
The ones with dip bar attachments can give your arms the best workouts. In case your power rack does not have a dip bar, you could purchase a dip station. Moreover, some of the racks have built in storage for weights that help with organising your gym and save your time that you could spend on setting up the weights.
However, while choosing a power rack, there are some factors to consider, not the least of which is space. You would require a ceiling high enough so that you can lift your head enough for chin ups and pull ups. Further, it would be wise to compare the dimensions of the power rack with the space that you have available before making the purchase. Not just the cage itself, you would require room for the other equipment including weights. The barbells themselves are of Olympic size. There will be several accessories as well that you would need along with a power rack. It would be inconvenient to have your weights rubbing against the walls.
Further, you would have to determine the size that you will purchase. The size of your squat cage should have ample room for you. The perfectly sized rack is different for a man taller than 6’3” than for a woman shorter than 5’5”.
You might have to further consider whether your power rack can be anchored to the floor. This option is not always available, so the safety issues should be determined. Often, instead, the power racks are equipped with a stabilizer. This may seem annoying at times and you should probably consider whether you want it or not. When it comes to adjustments, some power racks use pins for the safety system while others may not have that advantage. These pins are meant to halt the motion of the bar in case you accidently let go of it.
You should conduct a thorough research before making your purchase avoid facing these issues later.
Some of the Best Choices for Power Racks
Considering all these features that are available and have to be considered, I have categorized some of the most convenient choices.
1. Atlas Power Rack Squat Deadlift Cage with Bench Racks
For a price this reasonable, it is usually difficult to find a power rack built this sturdy. With a walk-in design, this rack offers lots of space for the lifter to perform a wide range of exercises including squats, bench press, military press, curls, shrugs and more. This mammoth design has a weight of about 137 pounds and has a weight capacity of eight hundred pounds.
This model is built of twelve gauge steel and the pull-up bar above allows a lot of positions; 28 in total, including kipping pull-ups, walking pull ups, standard pull-ups, etc. It has a length of 83 inches with the inside space being 26 inches. The safety bar is adjustable and this is convenient as both tall and short lifters can arrange it accordingly.
This also helps if you lose control of the bar. Further, this allows exercised using both free weight and body weight and the cage is often used for squats. Besides, various exercises can be performed both within and outside the cage, including, lose-grip bench press, rack upright row, inverted row, etc.
However, the heavier design makes shipping a bit difficult and the huge form takes up a lot of space as well. Moreover, the welding on the J-hooks is a bit rough, making a scraping sound when the metal is racked.
This model is perfect for a home gym. It’s sturdy frame is tastefully designed and offers a complete value for money.
2. PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack
Designed for moderate users, this rack can allow for 18 positions and weighs 136 pounds. It has a walk-in design with the dimensions of 44 x 82 x 46 inches that allows for ample space and which can room a variety of weights and free movement as well. Further, this model has two heat-tempered lift offs and saber-style safety bars.
The design is pretty stable and the user can do a large range of exercises like bench press, barbell shrug, overhead presses etc. Further, this brand has added some modifications like a lateral pull down attachment as well that can be purchased separately.
However, this model is not meant for serious heavy lifters. The weight capacity is not that high. The quality of the paint is low as well as it begins to fade away.
But for the average user, it can be easily stationed at your home. It is efficient in the sense that you can have your workout sessions at your own place and time and not have to wait for a spotter or a friend who would do that for you.
3. Valor Fitness BD-7 Power Rack with Lat Pull Attachment
This power rack could easily beat the weight machines at the gyms due to its safety bars that have been added and allows the users to complete their workout by themselves. The cage itself is made of two gauge steel with dimensions of two by two inches. It has a sturdy model with four plate storage plates at the back, one on either side. The pegs are eight inches long and can hold two plates with ease.
The bars themselves have seventeen different adjustable positions. But the best part is that this rack offers far more than just basic workout features. Other than the usual weight lifting, the bars are very adjustable, it has a chin-up bar. You can have a heavy work out and exercise even those muscles that have not been trained with the basics like rack-rail leg raise, many kinds of chin-ups like air walking and upside down crunches.
However, the weight capacity is only five hundred pounds and that is not appropriate for serious weight lifters. Valor further has several modifications that can be bought separately. But some features like the lap bar , bar pads and the pull-up bar as well have a knurled design for better comfort.
This one is good for a heavy abs workout and for partial reps as well. But for the low weight capacity, the safety features, as mentioned and even the options are amazing.
4. Cap Barbell Power Rack Exercise Stand
The Cap barbell is pretty entry level and is safe and functional but has features for which it can be used as a resistance training tool as well. It offers a variety of racking positions and the ones at the lower level offers superior support for bench presses. With a slimmer design, it is convenient if you have a shortage of space and funds. Despite being pretty basic, it has enough features for upper and lower body workouts, including a set of adjustable barbell support that offers many preset positions in the two primary uprights.
You can use the reinforced crossbar at the top for pull ups and chin ups and as an efficient anchor point for resistance training bands, abs straps or training rings as well. This even has a couple of weight plate stands that can store your barbells, but more importantly, they add weight to the rack to prevent it from tipping over.
The welded tube seams made of 12 and 14 gauge steel provides it with stability during unracking. The close hole positioning allows easy positioning of the uprights along any length and height. You can cover your bicep curls, upright rows, shrugs and barbell rows with the lower settings and the higher ones for squats and overhead presses.
However, the lack of safety rails, that can support the bar if you let go of it, is an issue. Further, to balance the rack extra support is required. This model is convenient for a lot of uses but is missing out on major support issues. If you can adjust to that, this provides a really good workout on a very low budget
5. Titan T-3 Series HD Power Rack Squat DeadLift Lift Cage Bench Stand Cross Fit
With a weight capacity of about 1000 pounds, this model is extraordinary with a sturdy but large design. The 11gauge steel and the 5/8” hardware is built to provide the utmost safety requirements. At the front, there is a pull up bar fixed so that you can sit at the center. This is helpful in the distribution of weight. The guide holes drilled into the rack supports lets you adjust the bars by 1” increment. This also offers a lot more positions to the weight plate pegs added at the base.
It provides a free-standing squat rack that, with some maneuvering can be used for overhead presses. The ample space between the uprights can be used to position a bench to do so, and it can also aid in flat, decline and incline bench presses. The J-hook bar supports that can be added either externally or internally can be utilized for several lower body workouts as well, like the stiff- legged deadlift, barbell lunges, and even back squat and front squats.
There are very few cons to this model, which is an improvement from its previous version in terms of weight capacity and other factors. Overall, despite the rather large frame which is not very space convenient, it is one of the best models for power racks that are available.
A power rack provides the versatility of exercises as have been mentioned and offers better stability and safety as well. It helps to maintain a proper physique and is very easy for independent use.
Even though the size is an issue when it comes to power racks, it can be adjusted and the pros of using a rack far outweigh the cons.
For muscle builders and weight lifters, these are a really handy purchase. And are far more convenient than regular trips to the gym. As well as the long waits for using each equipment.