For every fitness enthusiast and powerlifter, it takes tremendous determination to earn those muscles of steel.
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Although we would like to believe in the efficiency of Smithsonian machines in simplifying the tedious workouts, there can hardly be an alternative to actual work to get real results.
Machines can only take you so far in your journey; as the real deal is to understand how you are working your body to build it in the right way.
And, for that, we have power racks: both for professionals and home gyms. Not only can it give you an advantage of intensely training at home, but also the benefits of working with free weights.
Which is precisely what you need to build those muscles. And if you’re looking for just the right power rack for yourself, then you’re definitely in great luck!
Today, we’re reviewing some of the best power rack equipment for squats out there, designed to bring you the maximum results of free weight training!
And for some huge bonus, simply keep on reading!
1. HulkFit Multi-function Adjustable Power Cage
For starters, the credibility of this equipment lies in its name itself. What’s in it you ask? Well, a 1000-pound weight capacity for one.
This extremely robust and heavy-duty power rack comes with an H-shaped base that ensures stability and safety. And, the best part about this power rack is that it comes with two strong steel safety bars crafted with J-hooks and two additional J-hooks as well!
What do we like about it?
Apart from admiring its capability of sustaining 1000 pounds of weight, we totally dig the fact that it comes with steel safety bars and extra J-hooks. Additionally, it also includes two dip bars with safety locks on them for complete safety during intense training.
However, there has been some confusion regarding whether this unit includes a lat-pulldown attachment as well, with come customers ending up being on the wrong end of the bargain. To put this to rest, the unit does NOT come with a lat-pull part (although we totally wish it did), and it’s to be bought separately.
The unit does come with custom fit J-hooks along with 2 extra J-hooks. You can easily use any weight plate with the 2” hole or less. The multi-grip angled-down pull up bars offer a wide range of workout styles.
You can efficiently perform all your power and strength training including squats, shoulder and bench presses, and deadlifts without breaking any sweat about the security.
However, it doesn’t come with weight holding bars or small bars on the back or base of the unit to attach your resistance band on to.
It does provide you with the comfort and ease of 2 diamond-design steps for perfect stepping within the cage, foam grips on the bars, and rubber feet to ensure stability. It is easy to assemble and takes much less space than other models
We greatly enjoyed a power-packed training session in this HulkFit power cage. And not that we turned green in frustration over the optional lat-pull, we definitely felt that the unit is worth the price you pay. It allows you to power train in peace and gives you all the benefit of a standard power rack.
2. CAP Barbell Power Rack Exercise Stand
One of the most functional, easy going and affordable power racks on the market today is the CAP Barbell Power Rack Exercise Stand. It gives you premium performance and a lot of bang for your buck!
It is a greatly versatile and adaptable training equipment that is built using a 3 step powder coat finish for lasting durability. And is the ideal solution to build some muscle at your home gym.
What do we like about it?
The dimensions for the power rack measure at 46” x 50” x 85” in entirety. The steel construction is constituted of 12 and 14 gauge double gusseted stainless steel that can sustain a maximum weight of 300 lbs.
We admired the versatility of the overall power rack. You can easily use it as a body-weight station or as an efficient equipment for resistance training.
The overhead work-bar on the power rack could be used for body-weight training, which makes it a suitable free-standing pull-up bar. We used for doing static pull-ups, levers, and toes-to-bar.
However, the only thing you have to watch out for is the base of the power cage which is not too stable. You will get a few wobbles there which don’t make it the best option for doing kips.
Make sure that you do not tighten the bolts until each bolt is in place. This will help the power rack to sit correctly and stabilize the structure.
We were able to do our squats alright: both front and back ones. You could also do your bench presses in it. But avoid doing any crossfit pull up swings on it.
You can rely on the bar catches while doing squats, deadlifts, curls, etc. It is also suitable for stuck pull-ups.We only wish it could tackle a bit more load. There aren’t any optional spotter arm or dips attachments; the unit also lacks safety rails or band posts.
Yet, for an “entry-level” training equipment we thought it did a decent job...as long as you don’t kip on it!
The CAP Barbell Power Rack is, overall, a pretty pocket-friendly option for all those are new to the power and strength-training game. It allows you to work it up on a few basic levels to introduce your body to power training.
Although you can get better options for intense workouts, it remains one of the simpler ones in the league that’ll provide you many benefits.
3. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Cage+
The Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Cage is being deemed as one of the most impressive gym training power racks that has hit numerous training stations. And it’s definitely here to stay!
With an 800 lbs weight capacity and other brand new optional attachments for J-hooks, dip bars, and weight plate holders, it is designed to offer you the kind of workout sessions that will turn you into a complete head turner.
What do we like about it?
We admire the heavy-duty “2x2” tubular steel frame construction” of this power cage. It consists of two 3-¼” long chrome lock on the safety bars that make the whole structure a lot more secure and easier to work with.
You can also avail the benefit of 19 adjustable levels on the safety bars and figure out what suits you the best. You’ll get a safety hole every 2 inches on the power rack.
Each of the two 23” “chrome dual mounted safety bars” on this power rack can hold a maximum weight of 800 lbs, and we can’t ask for something as sturdy as this entire structure. One could intensely work out on it to their heart’s content and at utmost safety that it offers.
One of the features that we really liked on this power rack is that it comes with the optional attachments of J-hooks, dip bars, and weight plates. This really changes the game for us as we can efficiently use the\ attachments for extreme resistance training and heavy weight lifting.
You can also do your pull-ups easily on the power cage as it provides you with a safe distance from the ground. It comes with chin-up and pull-up bars having multiple-positions adjustments.
However, for squats, it could get a bit tight in there, but overall it is pretty manageable to work with.
Also, a regular standard bar will not work on this power rack. We did try working with a 6ft bar which fits very tight. But since the weights hit the safety bars during squats, you’ll have to re-rack it, and that might take quite some effort due to the close placements of the weights.
Overall, this is one power rack that is going to be worth the kind of investment. It’s ideal for intensive strength training, which is just the thing for all you fitness freaks out there!
4. Marcy Olympic Multi-Purpose Strength Training Cage
The Olympic strength training cage from Marcy is a fantastic option for all those looking to get some serious workout sessions in their homes! It comes with a high and low pulley set and superior adjustable bar catches that deliver a genuinely impactful performance.
With features like an efficient pull-up station, dip bar attachments, leg anchors and weight storage functions, get set to perform some high-intensity upper and lower body strength training on this power rack!
What do we like about it?
This power rack unit has been manufactured using commercial-grade steel that ensures high durability that gives an enduring performance even under the most trying circumstances. The adjustable bar-catchers on the structure lets you confidently transition from bench presses to squats. It also makes for hassle-free replacements of barbells by the user.
Although, in our opinion, we would’ve appreciated an extra length on these safety/bar catches to get a bit more grip.
One of the most admirable features was the high and low pulley set that covers all requirements for high-intensity training of your upper and lower body.
It lets you target and work on your chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps, and abdomen using the cable pulleys.
The pull-up station on this equipment comes with “multiple hand grip positions” that lets you avail a variety of pull-up exercises. You also get 4 hand grip positions that help shift your workouts, allowing you to use the “wider grip for toning your back muscles” and the lower grip to work on your biceps.
However, we noticed that the dip-bars, which although are foam-padded for comfort, are non-removable or adjustable, are placed a bit far apart, and can’t be turned inwards. These don’t do much for triceps dip or even proper chest dips as it exerts a large amount of pressure.
The weight-plate storage will support light weights and cables efficiently, but avoid placing the heavier weights and barbells onto these shelves.
Overall, the Marcy Olympic power rack gives you all the value for the kind of money you pay for it. It is an efficient equipment for rigorous power and strength training that lets you work both on your upper and lower body.
4. Valor Fitness BD-7 Power-Rack
The Valor Fitness Power-Rack provides all that you desire from a superior training rack. It is an awesomely power-packed pull-up station that includes a proper lat-pull down attachment and plate loading carriage!
Apart from the BD-7 model, you could also opt for the BD-7BCC that comes with a cable crossover. Or if you want to further add to your BD-7 model go for the BD-CC2.0 that comes with the cable crossover alone.
But for now, here’s all about the BD-7!
What do we like about it?
The Valor Fitness BD-7 comes with a 2” x 2” 12-gauge steel frame construction and with “ knurled grips at either end,” offering an “in-cage” work-out space that measures 23.5” from front to back and 43.5” from side to side. It is equipped with 4 plate storage pegs measuring 8” inches each, and 4 adjustable robust steel-chrome weight bar supports.
Measuring approx. 83” from the floor, the unit can sustain a maximum weight of 350 lbs. The peg holes are ideal for doing squats using the squat bar holder, benching and a wide range of other power workouts.
You get 17 different positions for bar supports, ranging from 17.5” to 68” in height. The lat-pull down offers an efficient strength training session.
Overall, it is a pretty adaptable pull-up work station with a lat-pull attachment and chin-up bar, that give you all the benefits of a total body workout experience.
However, consider keeping a Teflon spray or graphite to coat the pulley system and cables. As, according to many customer reviews and our observation of the material, the coating on the cable may come undone, exposing the metal cable underneath.
Also, the quality of the rubber grommet could have been better. Because if it comes off, it could cause the metal ring to catch the pulley, preventing the cable to go back to its original position.
Apart from a couple of inconveniences that could be solved with a few practical tips and tricks, this power cage is a pretty nice unit for strength training that even provides you the benefit of a lat-pull. We liked how it fared for us and in our opinion, makes a good addition to any home gym.
5. Titan T-2 Series Short Power Cage
The Titan T-2 Short Power Rack is designed to fit and work efficiently in short-ceiling rooms, going as low as 6 ft in height. It offers all the benefits of performing bench press, military press, squats, dips, shrugs or curls.
It can sustain a maximum capacity of 700 pounds and comes with the pair of original Titan J-hook racks! It has a versatile approach and an uncomplicated form that we think are suitable requisites for anyone looking to introduce themselves to the initial steps of strength-training.
What do we like about it?
This is a simplistically designed power cage that, nevertheless, offers lasting durability. It has a sturdy metal 2” x 2” steel tube construction with a chin-up bar measuring 1-¼” in diameter and a total height of 71.5” of the pull bar (68.5”- opening 44”).
With a depth of 45”, it measures 26” inside from front to back and takes up a floor space of 48” x 58”. At such dimensions, you can easily use it in considerably small and cramped spaces with a low-ceiling.
The unit includes 1” round steel j-hooks from the band itself, offering 21 variable positions on the power cage that enables you to accommodate a wide range of different heights and perform several forms of workouts.
The power rack provides hole spacings of 1.25” from the bottom hole edge to the next top hole edge that is ideal for resetting the strong safety bars for those who need a comfortable height range. The jay hooks, we noticed, are basically bare metal and it’s advisable for you to place any thick rubber tubing around the hooks.
The storage weight plate rests on the back of the unit measuring around 1.25” in diameter and 7.5” in height. It can accommodate standard Olympic plates but not standard 1” plates.
The pull-up bar on the front of the power cage possesses two sets of wide cut pattern grips or knurling grooves. At around approximately 146 lbs, you can safely do your pull-ups.
However, the structure wobbles a bit. This could be managed with proper bolting of the base.
All in all, the structure works well for initial workouts and basic strength training. It could get a bit tight for the squats but should be manageable for the most part.
Although the Titan T-2 Series Short Power Cage delivers on its claims, we do think that for the price it demands you could just as well go for something with a few more features and advantages to it.
But if you are looking for something that could work in smaller spaces, then this could just be the thing for you.
7. Rep Power Rack
The Rep Power Rack comes with an amazingly stable construction and a solid steel chrome pull-up bar, lat bar and a low row curl bar along with 4 weight holder bars.
It includes a range of other standard accessories and a bunch of features that are aimed and designed to simplify your strength-training regimen to a great extent. This power rack also includes a high and low pulley set that efficiently works to strengthen and tone the muscles on both your upper and lower body.
What do we like about it?
The Fitness Power Rack is designed to hold up a weight index over 1000 pounds, although we wouldn’t recommend you to be so ambitious with its capacity.The structure possesses a 2” x 2” durable steel frame construction,
It comes with a range of accessories, providing you with all the advantages of a pull-up station, a set of high and low pulleys, and a lat-pulldown attachment.
However, you won’t get a leg bar on this device to hold you down, and we wish that the 2” adapters for the 1” bars worked better for holding the weight for the lat attachment.
Although they are sturdy, one would have to use a mini 1” clamp to hold the 2” adapters in place; and even one to place on top of the regular 2” clamp to secure the plates properly on each side. And this means, dealing with 4 clamps to change weights, which is a huge hassle.
The one other thing that we noticed is that the handles of the dip attachments on this is placed quite a bit apart which can cause a considerable strain on your shoulders if one doesn’t have significantly broad shoulders.
Apart from this, we didn’t have any issue with its performance or regarding the included accessories. The 1” plate holders also come with 2” adapter sleeves that can efficiently hold 2” plates.
The Power Cage provides you with 21 different positions for bar supports that range from 17.5” to 68” in height, with a distance of 1.58” between holes. And, the premium grade rubber feet ensure maximum stability for the rack even during intense physical training
We liked this particular rack only because of its pulleys and lat attachment systems that seem to work really well. Apart from this, the structure provides several useful accessories, delivering a decent performance, even if not the very best in the field.
Overall, in our opinion, it does provide the value for the money you pay for it, both feature and benefit-wise, if you overlooked a few minor flaws.
Guide to Buying the Best Squat Racks
It goes without saying that when it’s about gym and training equipment, one should only go for the best in quality and something that assures you of its reliability. This is because more than the number of features on an equipment, it is always of utmost importance to know how safe and secure the equipment is for the user.
The second important requisite about selecting a power rack is to find out one with the kind of features that would suit all your requirements the best. As consumers, we sometimes tend to get overwhelmed with a lot of features, most of which don’t come into play as such; but we end up paying for them anyway.
So, it’s important to know how to select the ideal power rack that would give you all the benefits of the sort of training you’re looking to avail of it.
And this is why we have brought an extensive guide to help you get just the right one for the purpose. Have a look!
What Exactly is a Power Rack?
To all those who are still confused about the kind of thing a power rack is, to put it simply: it is a physical training equipment that lets you perform free weight training workouts “using a barbell.”
The power rack and squat rack both allow unrestricted movements for workouts, supporting a completely natural training regimen for the entire body using free weight.
Why Should You Opt for a Power Rack Over a Typical Smith Machine?
Many ill-informed trainers can sometimes advise a beginner to work out on the machines rather than power racks. However, if you’re a beginner, it is of essential importance that you learn to train with free weights first, to understand how it affects your body when you’re introducing it to strength training. It is much easier to do so on a power rack, instead of a machine that might seem easy, but would seldom make it comprehensible for the user regarding their own requirements.
Also, working out with free weights would push your body to its limits, giving you a clear idea about its margin of resistance. It engages and hits just the right muscles that the particular regimen is created to target.
For, instance, when you’re doing squats, you’re mainly engaging and working on your hamstring muscles, quadriceps muscles, and your core muscle.
Performing a squat with a weighted barbell forces your body to engage all of these muscles while you learn to maintain your form and balance.
However, the exact workouts done on a Smith machine, especially from the beginning, will never give you the same benefits, as it allows movement only on a “fixed plane of motion.”
And, moreover, if the Smith machine gets locked into an unusual position or movement pattern, it could cause a lot of stress on the body instead of training the required muscles.
Training with free weights on a power rack or cage will help you build real solid muscles as you perform the “key functional movements,” such as squats, deadlifts, and rows with barbells. This is what lets you achieve huge muscle gains that last for a lifetime. You can train your body thoroughly, performing a range of workouts without any restrictions on a power rack.
Several power cages and squat racks also offer the benefit of an efficient lat-pulldown bar that works on your lat and back to strengthen these areas immensely.
Amongst the many different exercises that you can do on a power rack, some of the most vital ones are:
All in all, a power cage or squat rack is an exceedingly versatile equipment for strength training that considerably simplifies the tedious procedures of bodybuilding.
Power racks also ensure complete safety and security, as the lateral safety pins on it allow safe and secure handling and catching of the barbell. The multiple holding pins at different heights let you lift the barbell easily and safely without requiring a spotter.
What to Look For While Buying a Power Rack?
As mentioned earlier, there are several factors you should consider while getting a power rack. Apart from functionality, maximum weight capacity, strength, and most essentially, safety, some of the things that you should look for in a power rack have been discussed for you in the following section :-
Certain essential adjustments on a power rack to look for are J-hooks and spotting bar measurements that could offer all the necessary alteration levels to ensure a secure and safe workout session.
Ideally, you could look for measures about every 2” to 3”; the closer the holes are on the power rack, the more height adjustment levels you will get.
However, if the spacing of these holes is too far apart, it could get significantly challenging to get just the correct setting for hitting all the required muscles which could, in turn, cause strain and pressure. It is advisable to not go beyond 3” due to this.
One other beneficial aspect is, if you could get a substantial rubber lining in the spotting bars and j-hooks. This could ensure a comfortable workout experience and prevent banging or scratching of the steel and the barbell
2. Frame Strength
The structural coherence of a power rack is of utmost importance while choosing one for training at home or elsewhere. Steel strength is usually measured by gauge where the lower the value of gauge the stronger (and thicker) the steel would be.
You should look for the kind of steel frame that offers at least a 12-14 gauge construction. 12 gauge steel stands at 7/16 (.109375) inches or 2.778 millimeters in thickness. This is amply strong for even advanced bodybuilders and powerlifters.
And, while at it, do give a thorough check of the welding spots as well, to rule out any construction faults. Contact the company if you have any concerns.
3. Frame Size, Space, and Style
Cage interior dimensions are a ruling factor for times when you want to do some exercises inside the cage or regarding the size of the bench you would want to use in a power rack.
Take the available space in your workout room into immediate consideration. Usually, most power racks will measure 7” in height, so the height of your room ceiling becomes a requisite in this case. Also, consider how much space would be required to place your barbells.
Since a standard Olympic one will measure approx. About 7”, you’ll need to have at least a few feet on both sides to comfortably remove or add weights.
As per your requirements and room dimensions, you could select from 3 kinds of power racks namely, full power rack, the half power rack, and the foldaway power racks.
While full and half power racks are typically meant for arrangements with more floor space, foldaway power racks are ideal for smaller spaces such as garages or small rooms used as home gyms, as these could easily be mounted on the wall or folded flat against the walls when not in use.
4. Maximum Weight Capacity
In this department, we can only say that “the more, the better.” This is because as you train, you gradually gain weight in muscle mass and would require an equipment that could hold a substantial amount of bodyweight at all times, under every situation.
A maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds is usually recommended for women. Otherwise, for all who want to work it out above 300 pounds currently or in the future, it would be advisable to consider a weight capacity range between 600 to 1000 pounds on power racks for home gym purposes.
Stabilizers are the bars that run along the base of the power racks, helping to stabilize the structure and keep it in place. However, at times they might get in the way of your leg and feet movements while you’re working out, so consider getting something that comes with both optional and removable stabilizers.
6. Safety Pins
These are most important of all other accessories on a power rack. Safety pins should always be adjustable and movable throughout the entire length of the front uprights on the weight racks so that you could efficiently and safely perform floor presses, bench presses or reverse pushups.
Mandatorily check for quality and the “tensile strength of the pins” to be assured of their capability in safely catching the weight that you’re going to lift.
And finally, some awesomely useful accessories and add-ons that you can opt for to up your power training level on the power racks could be:
8. Anchor Holes
If you plan to do kipping pull ups or to use a standard Olympic barbell, or even attaching a dip station, it is mandatory for you to get a power rack that comes with the anchor holes to get these jobs done.
Anchor holes anchor the power cage to the base or foundation, or to the lifting platform that you plan on using, to prevent the structure from wobbling or rattling during workouts.
It is especially important when you’re doing extreme chin-ups or pull-ups. It ensures the safety and security of the structure.
Benefits of Using a Power Rack
Apart from all the advantages of using a power rack that we’ve already discussed for you earlier in the guide, it provides you with numerous additional ones, such as:
So this was certainly an “extensive” article on power racks regarding everything that there is to know about them.
We hope you liked our effort as much as we enjoyed putting all of it together for you!
We’ll be back with more...till next time!