Last Updated on the June 8, 2020
Do you think about buying a power rack for home but you can’t decide yet? Well, within this post, I’m going to list the benefits and disadvantages of getting a power rack at home. So, in the end, you will know if this home gym equipment is for you or not.
What is a power rack?
The power rack has multiple names such as squat cage, power, or squat cage. It’s weight training equipment that looks like a simple frame, but it provides a safe environment to perform free weight barbell exercises. A rack is a spotter that doesn’t allow the drop weight on us. But, it enables us to lift the bar without movement restrictions. This way, we can perform barbell exercises correctly and safely.
A rack has four upright posts with holes in which we can place the horizontal bar catches at different heights. These bars or supports grab the bar in case of falling. Also, we can place J-hooks or other types of catches on the outside of bars that helps with other exercises such as squats. Most of the power racks come with different kinds of attachments such as weight plate pegs, lat pulldown, cable system, dip bars, and pull up bar.
Why have a power rack?
1. A safe place to work out without a spotter
Thanks to the support and the other catches, we can lift the bar from an optimal height. We can start the exercise safely and focus on the correct execution. The proper starting position also helps to put the bar back when we finish.
The horizontal bars function as a mechanical spotter. In case you can’t finish the move and have to drop the barbell, they will be there. Without them, we may drop the weight on ourselves, which may lead to severe injuries.
That is why a power rack is such useful workout equipment for home. We don’t need a spotter, and we can lift weight safely.
2. Do the best muscle building exercises
It’s a fact that the best muscle building exercises are the ones with the barbell when we can lift heavy. These are compound moves that engage multiple muscles at once, which leads to increased overall strength and muscle mass.
What are these exercises?
- Bench press and its variations
- Squat and its modifications.
- Military press.
And, because you can train in a secure environment, we are braver to challenge ourselves to lift heavier weights (1-2 reps). And, it’s a fact that the heavier weights you lift, the stronger you will be.
Related: Learn the power rack exercises
3. Versatile & Expandable
A power rack is suitable not just for barbell exercises, but there are many other practices we can do with the help of it depending on what types of attachments it supports.
- The pull-up bar is suitable for pull/chin-ups and their variations, and many bodyweight exercises for the abs.
- If the rack has a high pulley system, we can do different lat pulldown exercises, triceps extensions, and cable ab exercises.
- If it has a low pulley, we can do rows, leg exercises with ankle cuff, and cable biceps curls.
- If the rack cames with dip bars, we can do various dips that boost the size of the upper body.
To sum up, a multifunctional power rack let us do at least 100 types of strength training exercises.
Note: Not every power rack is expandable with various attachments. Some support only one or two while other racks can be turned to a complete home gym.
Cons of Power Racks
1. Bulky pieces
A power cage is large, and it requires much space to use it comfortably. When you consider buying a rack, add at least 4 feet around the footprint. That is necessary since we move around the machine to place the weight plates, etc. Also, add at least 1 foot above the rack to have enough space when you do e.g., pull-ups.
There are compact squat racks with smaller footprint and height, but because of that, you have less room to work out within the cage. And, that might be uncomfortable for big guys.
The price range is from a few hundred dollars to thousands. The price depends on the brand, used materials, attachment and if the machine is commercial graded or not. Unless you are a pro powerlifter, there is no need to buy the most super-duper rack for thousands of dollars. Between 500-1000 dollars, you can get a durable cage that is suitable for most of us.
Is power rack worth it?
Considering the power rack benefits it’s an essential piece of home gym equipment for home strength training that worth every penny. Without it, you can’t perform the most beneficial barbell exercises safely. Also, you can do a lot of types of activities. So, if you want to build muscle, get one.
However, what if you want to lose weight? Well, if your aim is weight loss, you’d better focus on your diet and do cardio workouts. But, there is a secret. The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism will be. So, weight training will also support your weight loss.
I may seem to be biased with the power rack. But I know from my experience the huge difference between training with and without a rack.
What should I look for in a power rack?
The most important features are the following:
- The maximum weight capacity to know if the rack suits to your strength.
- Dimensions to know if it fits your size and place where you’d want to use it.
- What sorts of attachments it has, and if it’s expandable.
- The stability of the construction.
- The length of the warranty (long years is a sign of quality).
Power rack vs. smith machine? What’s the difference?
The Smith machine comes with a barbell that is fixed on a slide with linear bearings. So, the bar is driven on a fixed route.
The power cage is for free weight training, and there are no movement restrictions. Because of that, it’s harder to handle the bar, but that activates a lot of other muscles to stabilize the motion.
Half rack vs. power rack? What’s the difference?
The full rack has for upright posts that linked to each other, so the equipment looks like a frame. That is why horizontal support bars are available, and the cage is stable.
The half-rack, also known as a squat stand, has two uprights with adjustable catches and a robust base to avoid tilting. It has no spotter bars, just catches. A half rack requires less space, but less secure than a full rack.