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Best Power Racks | Home Gym Guide 2017

front squat working out with heavy weights

After writing my most recent post on power towers, I wanted to go ahead and create something related to the best power racks that you can choose from to use in your home gym for compound exercises.

Having your own power rack at home opens up a world of possibility when it comes to the different exercises that you can do a lot more easily and with more overall versatility.

With one of these pieces of workout equipment, you can do everything like:

Upper body workouts

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Overhead Presses
  • Bench Presses

And a wide variety of other weightlifting and strength building exercises.

Finding your own squat rack to use at home can be pretty tricky, especially considering how many different options there are available out there to choose from.

In this post, I want to talk about my recommendations for the best squat rack that you can use for your home gym as well as an in-depth buyer’s guide to help you make the right choice.

Scroll to the bottom part of this post for the buyer’s guide if you need some more help choosing a specific one of my recommendations.

The Best Power Racks

Valor Fitness BD-7

Valor Fitness BD-7

The Valor Fitness BD-7 is my top recommendation when it comes to the best overall power rack that you can use in your home gym.

The BD-7 is designed using a sturdy steel frame that allows you to get your heavy workouts completed without having to worry about the durability of the rack that you’re using.

The frame is 2” x 2” in size, and it becomes a little bit bigger with the bottom platform as well as any extra attachments that you add on.

To help keep your workout space clean, the BD-7 comes with four different 8-inch storage pegs that you can use for keeping your plates on and out of the way when you’re not using them.

There are 4 steel adjustable-weight bar supports as well as a pair of steel squat safety bars to help keep you safe when you’re working out with heavy weights.

One feature I really love about this rock is that it comes with a lat pull attachment, so you can target different muscle groups without having to rely strictly on barbell workouts.

With the top bar, you can easily do some upper body workouts like chin-ups and pull-ups, without having to spend extra money on an accessory for this.

When it comes to capacity, both the squat bar holder and the safety bar catch have a 500 lb capacity, and the lat pull has a 250 lb limit, allowing you to lift really heavy with the rack still being able to accommodate you.

To help keep everything sturdy, the feet extend further out from the “cage”, offering stability and support during your lifting sessions.

I would recommend the Valor Fitness BD-7 as the best squat/power rack if you’re a beginner or intermediate lifter looking to take your workout routine to the next level in your home or garage gym.

Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max

Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max

The Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max is what I stumbled onto when I was looking for the best cheap power rack, so it’s definitely what I would recommend if you’re on a tight budget and you’re still looking to build a home gym.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need thousands of dollars to build a home gym on a budget, and you can definitely get started with a much more reasonable amount.

In that case, the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max is what you should check out if you want to start doing some heavy lifting at home without having to spend too much upfront.

The frame takes advantage of a solid square steel design giving you plenty of lateral movement when you’re inside the cage as well as offering ample support for the heavy weights that you’re lifting.

You can choose from 19 different adjustable-height levels depending on where you want to position your safety bars, and the bars can be used with the standard 7’ Olympic barbells as well as any others that will fit the width of the rack.

At the top, there is a multi-position bar that you can use for doing chin-ups or pull ups, meaning you don’t have to buy your own chin-up bar separately.

For squats, bench presses, and any other workouts when you need the support of the safety bars, there is a weight capacity of 800 lbs, making this a really suitable choice even for very heavy lifters.

To help with your safety when you’re doing some heavy lifting on your own, you can choose to either use the rear lock-in stability bars for squats and presses, or you can use the safety catch bars for shrugs and to prevent the barbell from smashing on to the floor if you need to bail inside the cage.

Combining this rack with a dedicated adjustable bench will really help to improve its overall versatility and allow you to take advantage of a wider range of different workouts.

I would definitely recommend checking out the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max if you’re looking for a cheap squat rack that you can use in your home gym for a wide variety of different compound lifts without breaking the bank.

PowerLine PPR200X

PowerLine PPR200X

The PowerLine PPR200X features a simple and straightforward design, making this rack a good choice if you’re looking for something basic yet practical to use in your own home gym.

There is plenty of room inside the cage itself, giving you lots of space for both vertical and lateral movement depending on the workout you’re doing.

One thing I really like about this model is that the stable feet actually come out towards the back of the rack, rather than from the front, and I find this to be a better design if you’re going to lifting right out front of the rack where you won’t accidentally stumble over the bars.

It comes with a set of liftoffs, for workouts like squats and presses, as well as safety rods, to help prevent a barbell from smashing into the floor if you need to bail.

For adjusting the safety bars there are 18 different positions that you can set them up in, giving you a lot of versatility when it comes to height and vertical adjustments for things squats, rack pulls, and shrugs.

At the upper section is a pull-up bar that you can use for pull-ups and chin-ups, and there is actually some knurling on both sides of the bar that gives you a better grip during your workout.

As for the maximum weight capacity, you can expect to load up to 700 lbs on this rack, so it’s a suitable choice for intermediate and near professional lifters.

Another thing I really like is that the frame comes with a 10-year warranty, with just a simple one year warranty on all of the other parts.

This is a sturdy, well-built, and practically designed power rack, so I would definitely recommend taking a look at the PowerLine PPR200X if you’re looking to add a squat rack into your home gym that you can use for years to come.

XMark Multi Press

XMark Multi Press

The XMark Multi Press is something you might want to consider if a full power rack might be too much for you, or you just don’t have enough space in your home for one.

The XMark Multi Press takes advantage of an open design, rather than the standard cage design of my other recommendations, so it’s better suited for small spaces.

Keep in mind that with a squat rack like this one you can still do a wide range of compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and presses, you just don’t have the full cage design to completely rely on.

The XMark Multi Press features a very simple design overall, with just 2 upright bars as well as a pair of adjustable safety spotter hooks.

It is designed with a sturdy steel frame, end it even comes with a scratch resistant powder coat finish giving it quite a contemporary look.

The rack itself comes with 9 different positions that you can load the bar on, as well as a 400 lb capacity, making it a great choice for beginner lifters that haven’t yet progressed beyond that weight limit for squats or presses.

For workouts like deadlifts, you’re going to want to set up everything on the floor in front of the rack, which isn’t that much of an issue to begin with.

One thing I really like about the XMark Multi Press is that it comes with Olympic plate weight storage, so you can keep your plates organized on the rack itself without having to buy an additional plate rack to keep everything on.

For those of you with a small home workout space that still want to be able to easily do workouts like squats and presses without a full rack, I’d recommend taking a look at the XMark Multi Press.

Power Rack Buying Guide and Considerations

When it comes to building strength and being able to take advantage of a wide range of compound exercises at home, having your own power rack is a great long-term investment if you’re someone that takes fitness and weightlifting seriously.

However, given the size and weight of the rack along with the different weights that you’re going to need, there are quite a few factors that you want to consider before simply buying just any random rack.

The Space in Your Home or Garage

For starters, you need to consider how much space you have in your home gym or garage, and whether or not there’s enough room for you to install a rack.

Along with the rack, you’ll have to have room for weights, the bar, safety pins, and other weightlifting equipment that you’ll likely pick up, such as a bench.

Be sure to check the dimensions beforehand and then measure your workout space so you know exactly how much room you have to work with before you go ahead and buy something.

Other Accessories

When you get a power rack, all you get is the frame.

Along with that you’ll need to grab safety clips, a bar, and of course all of your weights.

These additional accessories need to be factored into your budget as they’re essential to effectively using the rack for lifting.

Benefits of Using a Power Rack

The benefits of a power rack are plenty.

Sure, there are a lot of people that would rather stick to machines because they’re easier to use and not as technical, but I find that a squat rack offers the most versatility and efficiency when it comes to lifting weights and getting stronger.

The problem with just using machines for your workouts is that the machine actually does a significant amount of the work for you, so you’re not activating nearly as much of your muscles as you could be if you were using free weights.

Lifting free weights enables your body to more effectively use the different stabilizer muscles that you have, strengthening both your core and the rest of your muscles, while giving you an exceptional workout.

Anybody looking to become stronger, bigger, leaner, or even if you just want to get some definition, sticking to a power rack is bound to be your best choice in the long run.

Here are some of the other benefits that are worth considering:

Versatile Workout Routines

I think that one of the most important benefits of using a squat rack in your home gym is that you can use it for a wide range of different exercises to build different muscle groups all over your body.

Along with things like squats and deadlifts, you can also use a rack for bench pressing, chin ups, dips, overhead pressing, curls, and quite a few other exercises.

All of these different workouts will help you to build strength without having to rely on machines or even dumbbells to get a good workout in.

Even if you’re someone that’s into CrossFit or any other high intensity training routine, the rack allows you to do so many different workouts that you will quickly realize that you don’t need much else than a rack, bar, and some weights.

Promotes Compound Lifts

In my opinion, compound lifts like squats and deadlifts are some of the best workouts that you can do, and it’s not easier to do them if you have your own rack at home.

These lifts target muscles throughout the entire body without focusing on just one or two specific muscle groups.

Without a rack, it’s very hard to do some squats with a heavy enough weight, so whether you’re looking to get a six pack, lose weight, or just get stronger, having the rack allows you to do compound lifts that can ultimately aid in these goals.

Customizable and Safe

One more benefits that I want to mention is that using a rack is actually really safe and many of them can be customized depending on your personal preferences.

For example, most models come with safety pins that you can set to a specific height so that you don’t get crushed under the barbell or have to drop it completely to the ground if the weight is too heavy.

These pins, or bars on the side depending on the model using, will also stop a heavy barbell from crushing your feet or chest and prevent it from damaging the floor if you accidentally drop it.

Choosing the Right Rack

Check Your Workout Space

The first thing you want to do is quickly measure the dimensions of your current workout space and make sure that you have enough room to fit a rack inside.

Along with the width and height of your home gym, you also want to check the height.

Keep in mind that it won’t just be a bare rack you’ll be using, you’re going to need room for all of the different weights as well as some spare space around you depending on the different workouts that you’re using the barbell for.

When it comes to the height of your interior space, make sure there is a little bit of extra room above the rack for when you’re doing different exercises like pullups or chinups, so that you don’t accidentally bash your head into the ceiling.

Once everything is installed, there isn’t much movement so as long as you have enough space for the rack, an Olympic-sized barbell, and all of your weights, then you’re good to go.

Other Accessories

I quickly touched on the different accessories you might want to check out up above, but some other things you should consider picking up include pieces of equipment like:

  • Mats (if you’re doing deadlifts and you don’t want to drop the heavy barbell onto the floor)
  • Chin up or Pull up Bars
  • Shelves for your weights

Along with those smaller accessories, here are some more heavy-duty pieces of equipment you’re going to need to pick up along with a rack:

Barbell

To do any of the workouts I talked about up above, like deadlifts or squats, you’re going to need an Olympic-sized barbell that you can add the weights on to get your workout done.

There are quite a few different options available to choose from when it comes to the best barbells, and I would personally recommend going with an Olympic sized one as they’re the most popular and you can use them as a benchmark for all of your workouts.

Plates

To actually get stronger when you’re using rack and barbell, you’re going to need to pick up some weight plates.

These are the heavy plates that you slide onto the end of your barbell if you want to get stronger by lifting it.

The plates range in total weight quite a bit, with smaller ones available from 1-5 lbs, ranging up to 45 lbs or even higher depending on your needs.

I recommend picking up a few different sets, such as some 5s, 10s, 25s, 35s, and 45s, and upgrading or switching out the plates whenever you find necessary.

If you’re on a budget, I recommend checking online on websites like Craigslist to see if anybody is selling their old plates for a much better deal than if you were to buy something new.

Bench (Adjustable)

The final larger accessory I would recommend picking up is a weight bench, and specifically an adjustable one.

With an adjustable weight bench you can use it for workouts like bench pressing along with adjusting it into a more angled or upright position for workouts like seated shoulder press and incline bench press.

This really helps to improve the versatility of your rack and opens you up to quite a few more different workouts that you can do at home to get stronger.

Rack Attachments

Once you have picked up all of your necessary accessories, there are also a few different attachments you might want to consider.

These attachments will also help to improve the versatility of your rack by making it easier to use and giving you a few more workout opportunities.

Some of the different attachments I recommend include:

  • Chin-up bar
  • Extra safety pins
  • Dip attachments
  • J-hooks for easy squats and presses


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