Whether you lift weights to stay fit or to compete, there is a very good chance that you will want to possess a power rack at some point.
Power racks make everything about weightlifting super convenient and most who take weightlifting seriously know this.
You can perform nearly any significant barbell movement with a power rack, whether it is the squat, the military press, the bench press, or variations of these.
Power racks are not all made the same however, and in order to get the most out of a power rack you will need to decide which one is best for you.
10 Featured Power Racks
Most power racks are severely lacking when it comes to weight capacity. Most of them simply cannot handle the kind of weight that satisfies most weightlifting needs. This is especially true when it comes to competitive weightlifting.
The first thing that makes HulkFit’s power cage stand out above other power racks is its very impressive weight capacity. Being able to handle up to 1000 pounds, HulkFit’s power cage can be used by anybody anywhere. Whether you are new to weightlifting or need a power rack for competitions, you’ll have your solution in HulkFit’s power cage.
Most power racks come with two and only two j-hooks. While this is acceptable and common, HulkFit’s power cage comes with four j-hooks. This is a nice thing if you need some more j-hooks on hand for another power rack that you might own.
HulkFit’s power cage also comes with specialized grips that you can use for dips as well as pull-up exercises, which makes it a little more versatile than other power racks, which usually do not have these grips.
Unfortunately, the grips are not very sturdy on HulkFit’s power cage. While a lighter person could probably perform dip and pull up type exercises on it without it shaking, the cage will struggle when a heavier person performs these bodyweight exercises.
As convenient as power racks can be, there are very few that offer a lot of walk in space. This can result in feeling a little too constrained or surrounded when performing exercises inside of them.
One of the best things about Fitness Reality’s power cage is that it is a bit more wide than most other power racks. This allows for a lot more walk in space and will also allow you to feel a lot more free when performing exercises inside of it. This is especially useful if you plan to use Fitness Reality’s power cage for bench pressing, as you will notice a difference with the wider walk in space.
You also get a decent amount of attachments with Fitness Reality’s power cage. If you have them on hand, you are able to connect j-hooks, dip bars, weight plate holders, landmines, and lateral pull down bars. Very few power racks contain this many attachments.
The only thing that sets Fitness Reality’s power cage back from being perfect is the fact that its weight capacity is lacking, especially for those who want to use it for competitive weightlifting. Its weight capacity is only 800 pounds, and while this weight capacity will work for most, it will certainly not match up to anybody who lifts weights competitively.
Most power racks are a cage-like structure, and this can be intimidating for people who are new to weightlifting. Not only can it be intimidating, but some of them can constrain movement because of how they are designed. This is especially true for power racks that do not have much to offer when it comes to walk-in space.
Cap’s power rack solves these problems while still somewhat maintaining a decent weight capacity. It resembles a stand instead of a cage, which eliminates the walk-in space issue immediately. You will not need to worry about feeling surrounded when performing exercises with Cap’s rack.
Something else you will not need to worry about with Cap’s exercise stand is when you perform pull ups and other bodyweight exercises on it. Most other power racks will shake quite a bit when you perform these kinds of exercises on them, but this is not the case at all with Cap’s exercise stand.
There is one glaring issue with Cap’s exercise stand, and that is the weight capacity. While most power racks have a capacity of around 700 or 800 pounds, Cap’s stand only has a capacity of around 500 pounds. This will decisively alienate certain weightlifters who are in need of power racks with heavier capacities.
One of the biggest issues with power racks, exercise stands, and power cages is that they do not have attachments. In most cases, all you get is a platform that you can put a barbell on and maybe bars that you can perform dip or pull up related exercises on.
The BD7 by Valor Fitness provides solutions to any issue you may have when it comes to the versatility of your power rack. Not only do you get a very spacious power rack that has much more walk-in space than most other power racks or cages it also comes with attachments that will allow you to perform other exercises other than barbell or bodyweight exercises.
Putting these attachments together are completely optional and not necessary as well. This improves the BD7’s functionality even more. If you own a gym or want to possess everything that your favorite gym contains in the comfort of your own home, the BD7 has everything you need.
There are two things that you will need to watch out for when it comes to the BD7. First, you will need a lot of space in order to set it up if you want to include all of the attachments. This makes it a challenge when it comes to putting it in a room of the house. Not only will you need a lot of space, but you will need a lot of different tools to put the BD7 together if you intend to include all of the attachments.
A common complaint about power racks that are designed like cages is that they can be a constraint of sorts. They also tend to have limited walk-in space and this is something else that can take away from the overall value of power cages. This can get some to turn to squat stands, but the problem with those is that they have limited weight capacities.
HulkFit’s squat stand solves both of these problems. It is designed like any other squat stand, which allows plenty of walk-in space compared to their power rack cage counterparts. And unlike most other squat stands, the rack has a 1000 pound capacity. This makes it ideal for anybody who wants to lift heavy weights in the comfort of their own home as it does not take up a lot of space.
You also get spotter arms with HulkFit’s squat stand. They possess the same 1000 pound capacity as the j-hooks do, which means that it is possible to perform all kinds of barbell exercises on it and not just the squat or military press.
If you were intending to use HulkFit’s squat stand for bodyweight exercises such as dips or pull ups, you might want to look elsewhere. While it is possible to do these kinds of exercises on HulkFit’s squat stand, it does tend to be a little less stable than you might want it to be.
The one universal downside to any given cage-type power rack is that they do not provide a lot of walk-in room. While they usually have very heavy weight capacities, are easy to put together, and provide a lot of other options for exercise, it is easy to feel constrained when performing exercises in one.
Unlike most cage power racks, the Powerline by Body-Solid does not share this kind of trait. It provides plenty of walk-in space, being 46 inches wide. This gives you the durability and capacity of caged power racks but the convenient space of most squat stands, marrying the best of both worlds.
It is also easy to move the safety spotter bars of the Powerline. The safety bars come in the form of rods, which you can easily place inside of the holes of the rack, making them much easier to set up than most safety bars.
Competitive weightlifters will need to look elsewhere if they were interested in the Powerline, since all of this convenience comes at a cost. That cost is the weight capacity. Being able to handle only 600 pounds, it is designed for novice weightlifters more than any other group.
If you are looking for a power rack that also features a few select cable exercises as attachments and you do not have an entire room’s worth of space to put it in, you’ll want to pay attention to what Marcy’s power rack system has to offer.
Being an all-in-one station, Marcy’s power rack system has everything you need for both upper body and lower body exercises. It contains a pulley on the top which you can use for lateral pulldown type exercises as well as a pulley on the bottom that you can use for arm exercises.
These features are included in the traditional power rack, which also provides bars for dip and pull up bodyweight exercises. You literally get everything you could possibly want with Marcy’s power rack system and you’ll never need to go to a gym again if you have one in your home.
However, Marcy’s power rack system is designed for people who do not lift a lot of weight. The average weight capacity of most standard power racks is around 600 pounds. Marcy’s power rack system only supports a little more than half of this. If you are even an average weightlifter, you will need to look elsewhere when it comes to barbell exercises.
Anybody who is looking for a power rack that can be used in competitions or for the home will be very impressed with what Fitness Reality’s X-Class power cage has to offer. Not only does it contain pulleys on the top and the bottom of the rack, it also contains bars for pull up and dip bodyweight exercises.
The X-Class also yields a very impressive weight capacity, with its safety bars and j-hooks containing a capacity of an astonishing 1500 pounds. If you are setting up power racks for a gym that targets powerlifters, the X-Class has what you need.
There are a couple of things that you might need to watch out for with the X-Class, however. The first of these has to do with the safety bars. Just like most power racks, the holes into the rack are numbered, but it is extremely difficult to align the massive safety bars. This is a price that needs to be paid, given the 1500 pound capacity.
You might feel surrounded or uncomfortable inside of the X-Class as well. Because it contains so many attachments that are not separate from the rack, you are forced to be around a lot of equipment when walking inside of it.
“All-in-one” power cages can be overwhelming to step in, especially if all you want to do are barbell exercises. You need to watch out for the pulleys on the top and bottom, you might crash into the dip bars on the side when taking the barbell for a squat, the walk-in space may not be wide enough, among other things.
Cap Barbell’s power rack comes in the form of a squat stand, which eliminates the often crowded design of most power cages. However, it follows the same concept of the power rack. It still contains j-cups and safety catches just like power racks do, only everything is made much more simple.
It is still possible to perform pull up exercises on Cap Barbell’s rack, as well. The pull up bar also yields an impressive weight capacity of 300 pounds, making it possible for practically anybody to perform pull ups on it.
Something that you need to know about Cap Barbell’s rack is that it is not designed for expert weightlifters who are trained to lift very heavy. While the pull up bar has a weight capacity of 300 pounds, the j-hooks and safety catches also have a weight capacity of 300 pounds, which is well under the average for most power racks.
It can be very, very difficult to find a power rack that you can use for advanced or competitive weightlifting. If you are the type who squats anything over 600 pounds, good luck finding a power rack that can handle any weights over that amount.
TDS’s power rack solves this problem in a big way. It yields one of the highest weight capacities that any given power rack can yield. It has a capacity of 1000 pounds, which means that you will take no risks when loading up the barbell with a lot of weight plates. It will stay on TDS’s power rack with no problems at all.
The steel safety bars of TDS’s power rack are very easy to use as well. Taking the form of rods, they will fit right into the holes of the rack with no issue at all. There is very little adjusting that you need to do here, and this is very convenient.
You can even add your own lateral attachments to TDS’s power rack if you want. There are holes on the side beams that you can add attachments to. Adding these is optional as well, making it a little better than all-in-one power racks that practically “force” you to deal with their attachments.
There is only one thing that might turn you off with TDS’s power rack, and it has to do with attachments as well as the ability to do dips or pull ups. There is no lateral attachment on the bottom, and it does not contain any bars where you can performs pull ups or dips.
Why should you own a power rack?
Free weight training is one of the best things that you can do when it comes to improving your fitness.
The best free weight exercises utilize barbells, and a power rack allows you to perform nearly any barbell movement that counts when it comes to fitness.
Whether it is the bench press, the overhead press, or the squat, or nearly any variation of those exercises, a power rack will allow you to perform all of these.
This is why you should own a power rack: You’ll be able to perform all of the barbell movements necessary for optimum fitness when you own one.
Power racks: A buying guide
Different power racks exist for different purposes, and it can be difficult to detect which one is best for you.
Here are a few things that you should consider before purchasing a power rack.
Are you using your power rack strictly for weightlifting?
A lot of power racks also contain devices that allow you to perform other kinds of movements.
Consider cable movements, for example. Many lifters utilize cable training as well as free weight training to improve flexibility, among other things.
There are a good amount of power racks that allow you to do that as well as bodyweight exercises such as dips or pull ups.
It’s up to you to determine whether you need a power rack that allows these other movements or not.
Do you need a power rack for your home or some other place?
Power racks that are designed for the home are a little different than power racks that you can build and set up in a gym or some other establishment.
Different settings call for different kinds of considerations, and this is something that you should be aware of.
If you are an advanced weightlifter but need a power rack for your gym, you’ll need to consider the fitness level of the people who go to your gym, for example.
How much space do you have for the power rack?
Another thing that you need to understand is that some power racks take up more space than others, and this is another thing that you need to think about before purchasing a power rack.
You’ll need to compare your room’s space to the dimensions of the power rack or else you are going to have a tough time.
Something else that you should factor in are the weight plates and the barbells that will be accompanying the power rack.
You’ll be much more prepared to buy a power rack once all of this is figured out.
What level of weightlifter are you?
Something else that different power racks contain are weight capacities.
This is why you should be aware of your own strength and experience when it comes to weightlifting.
You could come across a power rack that you really enjoy and contains features that you know will help you, but if you see that it only has a limited weight capacity you might change your mind very quickly.
Weight capacities should be the first thing you should look for in a power rack if you lift heavy weights.
Frequently asked questions
Q: What is a power rack used for?
A: Power racks are used for nearly any given barbell exercise, with some devices for bodyweight exercises and cable related exercises. They function as a platform for the squat and the military press, but you can also use them for the bench press. You can also perform variations of these with a power rack.
Q: Is it necessary to bolt down a power rack?
A: While it is not necessary to bolt down a power rack, it is a good idea if it is placed in a gym where many people are performing barbell exercises on them. The impacts from reracking the weight loaded barbells will move the rack a bit, especially if heavy weights are used, so bolting down the rack is typically a good idea even if it is not necessary.
Q: How much weight can a wooden power rack hold?
A: Do not underestimate the strength of wood. If you are using lumber that is strong and thick, most wooden power racks can hold similar amounts of weights than any given steel or iron power racks can hold. Again, the lumber should be strong and thick.
Q: What can I use as a squat rack?
A: One of the most suitable replacements for a squat rack is the power rack. Another thing you can use as a squat rack is an olympic lifting platform, which is typically designed more for olympic weightlifting than anything else. You can also possibly use a smith machine, if you lower the cable barbell in the machine and are able to put in a standard barbell.
Q: How can you bench press without a rack?
A: Although it is possible to perform the bench press without a rack, it is still possible. If you possess a workout bench but not a rack, you can still use a workout partner as a rack of sorts. Have the partner hold the barbell over you, get under the barbell, and you’ll be able to perform the bench press. There is one limitation to this, and that is the weight that you can use, however. You’ll obviously need a partner.
Q: How can you squat without a rack?
A: Performing the squat without a rack is possible, but it is not easy. Not only will you need a decent amount of upper body strength, but you will probably be limited in the weight that you can squat. To perform the squat without a rack, you’ll need to pick up the barbell off of the floor, press it overhead and behind your back, then you can perform the squat. Again, you are limited in the weight that you can work with when it comes to this.
Whether you are interested in free weight barbell training at the home or need something that allows one to perform free weight barbell training in the gym, you will want a power rack.
One thing that you need to know about power racks is that they are not all the same.
Different power racks have different weight capacities as well as attachments that you can use, and these are just a few things that you should consider when buying one.
Despite all of this, power racks are still a staple when it comes to building your home gym or putting an additional platform in the gym that you own.