A squat rack is one of the best pieces of equipment you can have for building strength. However, the sheer variety from squat stands to power cages and everything in between can make selecting the right setup for you overwhelming.
Don’t sweat it! In this article, my goal is to answer any questions you have on squat racks, compare the features of my favorite squat racks, and provide tips and pointers to help you not only make the best decision for you - but help you get the most out of your new fitness equipment too!
Why Use a Squat Rack?
There’s a reason squat racks are so popular. They’re incredibly versatile, making a wide variety of exercises possible. They often offer the option of adding on accessories which increases their flexibility. If you’re interested in strength training at home, they’ll offer unlimited lifting options all within one machine.
One of my favorite things about squat racks is they make free weight training with heavy weight possible. They often offer j hooks and spotter arms, making it safe and possible to do heavy strength training at home without a training partner for a spot.
If you’re looking to build muscle and strength, heavy strength training is the answer, and arguably the best companion you can have in your gym is a squat rack.
What to Look for in a Squat Rack
There are a few things you’ll want to look for in a squat rack. Here are the top things I recommend looking for when considering adding a squat rack to your home gym – versatility, safety, size, and storage options.
You’ll want to pick a squat rack that offers a frame to support a wide variety of exercises, as well as the option to add on accessories to complete even more exercises. Keep in mind even if exercise isn’t a part of your regular routine now, you may want to add it on as you get fitter and stronger.
You’ll want to pick a squat rack with options so that as you progress throughout your fitness journey, your squat rack offers the versatility to grow with you through your needs.
Safety is a huge factor when it comes to strength training at home. At the gym, there are often others as well as trainers nearby who can spot or help if a lift goes wrong. At home, you may not always have someone close by to help.
Choosing a rack that has maximum safety features will ensure you’re able to maximize the use of your machine without worry. Things to look for include whether the squat rack needs to be floor anchored.
Many racks designed for home use are designed to be floor anchored, whereas the more expensive, large, and sturdy commercial racks may not need to be floor anchored but also may not fit in a home gym or meet budget needs.
Another thing you’ll want to note is if the rack comes with spotter arms. Spotter arms will allow you to squat, bench, and more with a safety net below to catch the bar if you fail. If you plan to lift heavy, maxing out or lifting close to your max frequently, spotter arms are helpful to have at home.
One of the most important questions to consider is will the squat rack fit in your space? You’ll want to consider length and width as well as height. Remember, you won’t just want space for the rack itself but also room to safely move in and around the rack while completing exercises.
4. Storage Options
While storage for your plates and bars is not particularly expensive, a rack with storage options will save space and add convenience to your at-home lifting experience. Storage options typically include vertically or horizontally stacking plates. There may also be bar storage options included, which are ideal for safe storage when your squat rack is not in use.
Best Types of Squat Racks for Your Home Gym
Squat racks generally range from squat stands to power racks and everything in between. Here I’ll break down the three most common squat racks you’ll come across in your research to help you decide which type of squat rack is best for your needs.
1. Squat Stand
Squat stands are essentially an open power rack. Squat stands are great for those who enjoy the freedom of movement and plan to spend their work out in front of the squat rack itself.
Squat stands offer minimal safety features; for example, they may or may not include spotter arms, and include j hooks on the outside or front of the rack, taking away much of the safety and support you’ll get with a fully featured power rack.
However, squat stands are also going to be the cheapest option available, and they’re going to take up the least amount of space, making them ideal for many looking for a budget friendly squat rack to add to their home gym.
As far as versatility, squat stands will generally offer the least number of options for exercises, uses, and customizations.
Interested in purchasing a squat stand? Check out the Power Zone Squat Stand designed to take up minimal space in your home, and offer a great workout experience to those of all budgets and needs. This squat stand has a max weight capacity of 805 LBs, includes a pullup bar, as well as resistance band pegs to level up your workout.
One of my favorite features of this squat stand is it includes spotter arms to increase the safety of your at-home workout, as well as a single tier storage rack for your weights rack when not in use.
2. Half Rack
A half rack is exactly what it sounds like. It’s essentially a smaller power rack. Like a squat stand, it is also designed primarily for movements to be performed outside of the cage itself. Again, for those who prefer not to be closed in while lifting, a half rack is a great option.
Like a squat stand, this significantly decreases the versatility of exercises that can be completed on this rack in comparison to a power rack.
Between a squat stand and a half rack, the half rack is going to offer more options, stability, and safety features. For those who do prefer the open lifting feel and have the space and budget to accommodate a half rack the upgrade may be worth it in the long run.
Is a half rack the best option for you? Consider the Power Zone Half Rack. This half rack has a max weight capacity of 1000 LBs and is built with heavy duty steel construction.
It also includes a textured 3-tier grip pullup bar, as well as resistance band pegs to increase your workout options. This half rack includes adjustable spotter arms, as well as 3-tier storage to offer organization options for your weight plates.
3. Power Rack
A power rack is going to be the most fully featured squat rack available. Power racks are great for safety, ease of use, and the unlimited variety of exercises you’re able to complete on them.
A power rack offers not only the ability to lift outside the rack but inside the cage as well, which opens the options of what you’re able to safely perform on your own at home.
One of the features that made the power rack so popular is the spotter bars located within the cage essentially provide a ‘mechanical spotter,’ which makes lifting at home, without a physical spotter, as safe as possible.
The only negative when it comes to power racks is that they generally take up the most space and are the most expensive option. However, if you’re able to find the space in your home and budget, you’ll walk away with a squat rack that will support your fitness journey for years and years to come, without limitations.
Are you ready to take the plunge and invest in a power rack? It’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. Be sure to check out the Power Zone Power Cage.
My favorite feature of this power cage is the option to work out both inside and outside the cage, with the internal spotter bars built for maximum support during heavy lifts. This power cage has a max weight capacity of 1000LBs and is built with heavy duty steel construction.
This cage also includes an adjustable pull up bar with 4 different grip options, resistance band pegs, and storage options for your weight plates. If you’re looking for a rack that does it all, the Power Zone Power Cage is it!
Accessories to Add to Your Squat Rack
The great thing about the squat racks from Sunny Health & Fitness is they were designed with the option to add-on accessories.
We have a wide variety of accessories to personalize your workout experience, and each of them works with the squat racks I’ve shared above, Power Zone Squat Stand, Power Zone Half Rack, and Power Zone Power Cage.
Below are just a few of my favorite of the accessory offerings we have for our squat racks.
A landmine attachment offers the ability to mimic a variety of lifting movements and challenge your stability and core strength. This attachment can rotate 360 degrees, so you can use it in front or behind your machine.
Dip Bar Attachment
Dips are a great exercise to focus on the upper body. Use this dip bar attachment to strengthen your chest, triceps, back, and arms, or use these bars to complete core exercises like leg lifts.
Lat Pulldown Attachment
One of my favorite attachments is our Lat pulldown attachment. This accessory provides the option to latch at the bottom or the top for even more exercise options for late pull downs, bicep curls, or rows.
While you won’t need a squat rack to make use of this bench, it’s a must-have for increasing the use of your squat rack. This adjustable bench offers endless options, from standard or incline bench press to step ups or Bulgarian split squats.
You’ll not only be able to use this bench in tandem with your squat rack, but you’ll also be able to use it with dumbbells or bodyweight.
Ready to get lifting? I hope this guide helps you narrow down your choice to choose the best squat rack for your budget, space, and lifting needs. Be sure to check out our strength equipment for more ideas of what you may want to add to your new home gym.