You’ve seen those guys (and gals) down the gym, over in that section where there are bits of equipment that look like they’d be better suited to a torture chamber! You’ve also spotted how ripped they are too and fancy in on a bit of that action. You’re not entirely sure where to start or when you’d get a chance to discreetly try out the squat rack when there’s no one else around! Or maybe you’re just too downright busy to be able to get to the gym as regularly as you’d like and want to invest in a few choice pieces of gym equipment for your home set-up. The benefits of squatting are undisputed within the fitness industry, and a power rack as it’s also called is unquestionably one of the biggest and most important pieces of equipment you can own. It allows you to perform not just those all-important squats but bench presses, dips and pull-ups too and used in conjunction with your free weights, you will build serious muscle and super-charge your results. So let’s dive right on in and take a look at some of the Best Squat Racks available that will have you well on your way to achieving seriously impressive gains.
The Best Squat Racks
Our next recommended home squat rack comes from CAP and is a seriously budget-friendly option as well as having a small footprint too which makes it convenient for home use. It’s robust and durable and is constructed from 12 and 14 gauge steel that will withstand a weight limit of up to 300 pounds. It’s been engineered to last and has a 3-step powder coated finish for even greater durability along with reinforced double gussets. The weight limit is the most significant disadvantage of this CAP Power Rack, and if you are on the heavy side, or have ambitions to lift heavy, then you might find yourself outgrowing this gym rack. That said, it is versatile and can be used as both a body weight station as well as a resistance training tool, plus the overhead bar is perfectly adequate for performing those ever challenging pull-ups. As with all things in life, you do get what you pay for, and this is inexpensive, but it’s great if you are starting out, plus it is well constructed, and you get the double whammy of being able to positions a barbell and perform chin-ups on the same piece of home apparatus.
Fully assembled measures 46” x 50” x 85”
Constructed from steel comprised 12 and 14-gauge thickness
Powder coated finish for enhanced durability
Double gusseted for extra stability
- BrandCAP Barbell
- Weight61 pounds
Super budget friendly
Quick and easy assembly
Perfect for beginners
Only holds a maximum weight of 300 lbs so not a lot of progressions
We’re continuing this Best Squat Rack review with a proper beast of a power cage from the masters of professional and home workout equipment over at Rogue Fitness. This is their Monster Lite power rack, and it’s a serious piece of kit for those of you intended to progress your workout results and with ambitions of really lifting heavy. Cheap it is not, small it is not either, but it is a fantastic piece of kit that would work brilliantly if you have a garage set-up. It’s also sturdy and robust enough to be used in pro and commercial facilities. It’s highly customizable and comes in a wide range of color options from your classic black to a striking red and a bold and eye-catching bright green. The Monster Lite can easily be bolted to the ground for additional security although that’s not necessary and is constructed from 3 x 3 “ 11 gauge steel with Westside hole spacing. This 690 C set-up also conveniently comes with two additional 43” bars, one for pull-ups and a Beam featuring the Rogue nameplate.
Custom Rogue Powdercoat finish in 10 different semi-gloss colors
Standard sized footprint at 80” x 53” and just over 90” in height
Constructed from durable 3×3” 11 gauge steel with Westside Hole Spacing
Does not need to be bolted to the floor to remain secure
Variety of color choice
Quick and easy assembly
Standard sized footprint
Reports that some of the holes not correctly punched and require a bit of home DIY
Considering exactly what you are getting for your money, this is a great option up next from Fitness Reality that really has your back! Their 810XLT Super Max Power Squat Rack is designed in the cage style so you can walk in and out and it really is a solid piece of kit incorporating a squat rack with a multi-position pull-up bar. It can accommodate up to 800 pounds of weight which means it will definitely be able to support you with your gains and growth as you progress to lifting more challenging weights. Made from heavy-duty tubular steel, it also comes with two chrome mounted safety bars which are adjustable to 19 different heights providing your home workouts with a great range of diversity and positions to adopt. The inclusion of that multi-position overhead chin/pull up bar means that as well as fully working your legs and in particular your quadriceps, you can also bring your arms and shoulders into your program for a more expansive strength conditioning session. Whether you want to perform push-ups, bench presses, pull-ups, squats, bicep curls or shrugs, this Fitness Reality cage will be your new best gym buddy and invisible spotter!
Holds up to 800 pounds of weight
Features 19 different adjustable bar height levels
Comes with multi-position chin-up station
Features two sets of 23” long chrome dual mounted safety plates
- BrandFitness Reality
- Weight148 pounds
Impressive weight threshold
Sturdy steel construction
Easy to assemble and plenty of adjustable settings
Some issues with weight catch pegs
We’re back with CAP for our next Best Squat Rack review and this time we’re taking a look at their home power cage so if you are a lover already of power rack exercises or keen to find out, then this cost-effective full cage is a great option that won’t break the bank. You might even have some spare change left over to buy a couple of power rack accessories too to really turbo-charge your performance. Cap Barbell Full Cage Power Rack is a versatile and functional piece of home workout equipment which will enable you to carry out a wide range of comprehensive exercises including squats, barbell rows and shrugs, overhead press, bicep curls, deadlifts and so much more. Designed with heavy use in mind it will support you and your progressive lifting goals and is constructed from 12 and 14 gauge gusseted steel for added stability and durability. There’s also a pull-up bar incorporated so that you can further strengthen and work on your core and arms too. The powder coated finish is easy to wipe clean so no matter how much of a sweat you break out into performing your routines, this Power Rack will have your back, your front and also your pocket!
Multiple full body exercises can be performed using the Power Rack
Assembled dimensions are 43.63” wide x 47.5” deep x 72” high
Weight capacity of 500 lbs for catches and 750 lbs for pull-ups
Sturdy, robust and reliable 12 and 14 gauge steel tubing
- BrandCAP Barbell
- Weight109 pounds
Excellent value for money
Great for beginners through to advanced lifters
Instructions could be clearer
Last but certainly by no means least, we’re completing our round-up of the Best Squat Racks around with an offering from Merax Athletics. This is another excellent example of a full power cage design constructed from high-quality solid steel and chrome and offering superb value for money. Merax Athletics Fitness Power Rack Olympic Squat Cage comes with 17 adjustable positions to work with so provides plenty of diversity for performing various seated and standing barbell exercises, and you can purchase multiple Merax power rack accessories to make your fitness rack home workout more fun as well as challenging. It’s reasonably compact in size so an excellent option for a home-based gym and will enable you to get up and running pretty inexpensively. With a recommended weight threshold using the bar catchers outside the cage of 500 lb and inside of up to 650 lb, it offers plenty of scope for advancement and progression.
Heavy-duty steel frame construction
Multiple workout options including dips, pulldowns, and pull-ups
Fully assembled stands at 85” tall and 45” deep
Variable height positions ranging from 17.5” up to 68.”
17 variable positions for varied workouts
Full cage design perfect for intermediate to advanced lifters
Good footprint for a home gym
Manufacturers product description could be more explicit and more detailed
Squat Rack Buying Guide & FAQ
Sad to say that the vast majority of people, left to their own devices, don’t use gym equipment safely, which can lead to a risk of injury, which creates frustration and before you know it, you have a shiny new squat rack, taking up valuable space and doing nothing more than gathering dust! So we’re going to run you through a couple of key considerations to bear in mind before you part with your hard earned cash and stick yet another piece of equipment into your home gym that never gets properly utilized.
Things To Consider When Purchasing A Squat Rack
Space - Straight up, a squat rack is a bit of a beast! Ask yourself seriously if you have a big enough area to fit one into your home set up comfortably. Sure you can get more compact versions and ones which are both adjustable and multi-functional so perform several all-important exercise functions including doubling up as you pull-up and dip station, but you do need to have a dedicated space that’s fit for purpose so that your power rack isn’t an unsightly inconvenience.
Strength - Clearly, whatever power cage you go for it needs to be able to hold the weight of the barbell size you intend lifting and allow for progression too. As you advance with your training, you will want to increase not just your reps but also your weight. So the overall machine you purchase needs to be both durable and well-constructed from solid materials. That in itself will make the rack heavy. If you are also investing in something that functions as a pull-up or dip station, it also needs to be able to take your own physical weight too. So the strength and quality of the materials are of paramount importance.
Additional accessories - We’ve already touched on this topic, introducing the multi-functional element of investing in a good power rack that allows you also to do tricep dips, pull-ups, and bench presses too. You might therefore also want to purchase a couple of additional accessories too so that you can really get the maximum benefit out of your new workout station. Great add-ons that work incredibly well with a power rack and will compliment your strength and conditioning training include dip bars, plate holders, J-hooks as well as a rope anchor and of course a chin-up bar if your power rack doesn’t have one already incorporated. You can also, of course, buy extra weight plates and bars too.
Safety - Working out safely, respecting your body and knowing your limits, is so important. If you are exercising at home, without the supervision of a fitness professional or a partner to spot you when decide to time to take it up a notch, then it’s even more essential that you consider all the safety elements of squatting. The beauty of a power rack is that it acts in the capacity of a mechanical spotter. Of course, you also need to be adopting the right form and stance so that you don’t injure yourself, engaging your core and paying attention to your body. However, you also need to ensure that your home squat rack is properly set-up before you use it. Can it be anchored to the floor for extra stability? If you do intend to do chin-ups and pull-ups, it would be a good idea to ensure that it’s securely anchored. Have you inserted all your safety pins correctly? If it comes with a stabilizer bar, is it removable or flush to the ground so that it won’t get in the way and inadvertently lead to injuries? Always refer to the comprehensive set-up instructions that will come with your power rack and check out the plethora of resources online that will show you how to squat safely and improve your technique if you are working out from home. You are definitely going to want to squat heavier as you progress, that’s just the competitive streak in you! So squat safely to see those gains.
Squat Rack FAQ
Q: What Is a Power Rack?
A: You may also see a power rack commonly referred to as a power cage, a squat cage or a squat rack. Essentially it’s a piece of weight lifting equipment that functions in the capacity of a mechanical spotter for free barbell weight exercises while allowing the user plenty of free movement. Usually, they are constructed in an upright design with four sturdy posts and two adjustable horizontal supports on either side which might be pins or rails. Many power racks also additionally come equipped with various multi-functional attachments to enhance your overall workout including chin-up or pull-up bars, pull down cable attachments for isolating muscle groups like triceps plus extra pegs for safely storing weight plates when not in use.
Q: What Are The Benefits Of Owning A Squat Rack At Home?
A: For those of you who can’t regularly get to the gym, maybe perhaps because you work unsociable hours, are too busy with work and family commitments then a home workout set-up might be the only chance you get to a squirrel in some valuable training time. Or maybe you already go to the gym, but you really want to focus on your gains and compliment an existing workout program with extra home workouts. The power rack in a pro gym is popular, that’s for sure, so you might get frustrated waiting in line for your turn! Or, you may be new to squatting and just want to test the water in a discreet and anonymous environment first, before you go bowling over confidently to the squat rack in your local commercial gym! If any of the above reasons sound familiar, then you may already be contemplating investing in a home power rack. For sure, you will benefit from increased muscle growth and strength, not to mention give yourself a real confidence boost to boot! So whether you are self-conscious, in need of building your self-esteem, short on time to visit the gym, or not in a position to pay for a costly gym membership, then a home power squat rack could offer the perfect solution for you.
Q: What Muscles Does The Squat Rack Work?
A: There’s a reason why men and women love to squat. It’s because it’s such an effective compound exercise and by that, we mean that it requires the engagement of the entire body. While a squat rack will primarily train the muscles of the hips and buttocks, thighs and quadriceps to give you strong and well-defined legs it also works the back of the legs too, engaging your hamstrings as well as your calves for an overall full leg workout. Not only that, but squatting also strengthens the bones and ligaments, not just the muscles. A barbell squat which is going to be one of the most common exercises you perform on your home squat rack is a push style exercise and will also strengthen the lower back and your overall core. Throw into the equation a pull up bar, some dumbbells, and a tricep dip station, and you can use a power rack to work your entire upper body too with targeted chest, shoulder, arms and back muscles all coming into play.
Q: How Heavy Is The Bar On The Squat Rack?
A: Let’s talk about the average set up here as of course, you may have bought something different for your own home gym due to restrictions on the space you have available. Most people and certainly most commercial gyms will offer a standard size Olympic barbell for use with the squat rack which is a regulatory size of 7.2 feet and weight 45 lbs before you’ve loaded it with plates. Shorter and longer bars can be purchased, and for those of you on the smaller size, something below 6 foot might work better, however, remember that you are going to want to progress with your training so don’t sell yourself and your expectations short by investing in something that grows in line with your goals.
Q: How Much Do You Have To Lift To Gain Muscle?
A: While it may be tempting to adopt that whole “no pain, no gain” philosophy you have nothing to prove to anyone apart from yourself and the only person you need to be in healthy regular competition with is yourself! Yes, you need to challenge yourself and yes, to do that you need to take yourself out of your comfort zone and test your boundaries in order to make gains. What you don’t want is to load the bar so heavy that you're likely to burst a blood vessel! That’s not a good look in anyone’s book. It’s all about progression and challenging yourself by adding on incremental weights each time your workout to raise the bar so to speak! So lift a weight that is challenging yes, but not that is so heavy that you end up compromising your form and risk getting injured.
Q: How Many Times A Week Do You Need To Lift?
A: There’s much debate around with subject, and in reality, it very much depends upon your own physicality and to a certain extent your general lifestyle too, the amount of sleep you get, how good your diet and nutrition is and how long it takes your body to recover. If you lack in essential vitamins and minerals, sleep deprived, stressed and overworked, then your recovery time will be impacted, and you do need to give your muscles chance to grow and to recover. The rack workout on a squat station will continue to build muscle for up to a staggering 36 hours even after you’ve worked out so if you overdo it and return to lifting heavy again too quickly, you will be putting undue pressure on your body. Generally speaking though, if you are relatively fit and healthy and following a sensible nutritional program, three times per week is a good recommendation.
Q: How Often Should You Increase Your Weights?
A: Here’s where we might get a little bit more technical guys so stay with us as science is just as important as strength and technique when you are looking to increase your muscle mass. There’s a term used in the fitness industry called “progressive overload,” and this is what you want to initially avoid as it will just put your body entirely out of whack and render you incapable of getting out of bed the next day! When you are starting out you need to go slow and steady with your increments and get into a good rhythm that your body responds well to. Plateauing and a lack of on-going results can also be frustrating, but when you reach that point, you know that you are in peak performance and now you start building muscle mass, add on more resistance and upping the ante even further. Until then, the general rule of thumb is that you should increase your weights when you no longer have to put in any effort. When you can smash the reps and aren’t fatigued, and your muscles are nowhere close to being at the failure point. Building muscle takes time, and you need to listen to and respect your body. Set out your goals but don’t be in a hurry to get there. Enjoy the journey and give yourself a big old pat on the back as you make those all-important gains and smash those milestones.