A power rack’s primary function is to serve as a mechanical spotter for free weight exercises, specifically exercises that involve barbells. You can use them for deadlifting, bench pressing, heavy rows, shoulder presses, bicep curls, and more. As a bonus, a power rack doesn’t restrict your movement how some similar pieces of equipment tend to do. They also often hold more weight.
Most power racks are comprised of four upright posts made of heavy-duty metal like steel with at least two horizontal safety bar catches (one on either side). The bars are adjustable to fit the type of exercise you’re performing or to best suit your height so you can work out without straining yourself by reaching too low or too high for your barbell. Some power racks will offer increased versatility, coming equipped with pull-up bars or space to add other attachments for various exercises. If you have the space for one and love weight lifting, a power rack is a worthy addition to your home gym.
Why should you buy a power rack?
A power rack is essential for barbell weight training, especially for lifts like squats, bench presses, and shoulder presses. If you’re looking to build your own home gym setup and you enjoy these particular lifts, a power rack is well worth the investment! Several options also come with the ability for more workout variety and include a pull-up bar and optional accessories or add-ons like a lat pulldown, landmine dock, low row attachments, and dip bars, to name a few. Finding one that fits your interests gives you the ability to do various effective workouts at home.
What should you consider when purchasing a power rack?
- Weight Capacity: Power racks are designed to have high weight capacities since they’re designed for powerlifting and need to support very heavy weights. Most will support somewhere in the 800- to 1,000-pound range on average. There are power racks that can support even more weight than that, so if you’re a really serious weight lifter, you may want to hold out for one of those. You will also find more affordable power racks that support less weight.
- Function: What type of exercises do you want to use your power rack for? Do you want to stick to classic barbell exercises or a more versatile array? These days, many power racks come with extra features and functions such as a pull-up bar, lat pulldown attachment, or cable crossover. These can be a great option to save money and space by not buying multiple types of equipment. If you want a power rack solely for powerlifting, there are still classic options that don’t have any extra features or functions. Some models may even offer you a choice between the two.
- weight plates, bands, or a bench, so you’ll have to supply them for yourself. Price: Like most types of big gym equipment, power racks can run pricey. Also, keep in mind that power racks won’t come with the barbell,
Should you get an expert to assemble your power rack?
It’s easy to add on the expert assembly to your order, but it doesn’t mean you need to. However, this is an important piece of equipment to assemble correctly so that you stay safe during your workouts. While most power racks have clear instructions and provide the hardware, some users found that they chose to use their own tools to assemble the equipment. If you’re lacking in tools or confidence in your ability to assemble a power rack, you may want to enlist an expert or a friend to help you out.
Fitness Reality Squat Rack Power Cage
This power rack includes options to customize it with accessories.
Pros: This power rack has a tested weight capacity of 800 pounds and is constructed with a steel frame. The cage has twin support braces for extra sturdiness. Safety bars are made of solid steel to support heavy weight. The pull-up bars can arc upwards for higher ceilings and a taller person, or they can bow down for lower ceilings or shorter heights. The pull-up bars have the option for wide, narrow, or hammer grip pull-ups. It has combination options to include a weight bench, a lat pulldown, or all of the above, making this a versatile choice to meet the needs of your home gym. The assembly instructions are clear and conveniently packaged with hardware separated by step number. It doesn’t need to be bolted to the ground to remain stable, making it a good option for a home gym.
Cons: While not having to bolt the cage to the floor is convenient, those who want the option don’t have it in this model. Since most of the pieces are assembled with bolts instead of welded, you should periodically check the bolts to be safe.
Bottom Line: This is a sturdy rack that can hold a lot of weight and fit in most home gym settings. While it’s not a commercial power cage, it can accommodate many of the lifts and movements you’re used to while in the comfort of your own home.
Fitness Reality X-Class Light Commercial Power Cage
This power cage is good enough for a commercial gym, but it's made for your own personal use.
Pros: This commercial-grade power rack has a weight capacity of 1,500 pounds. It has an optional lat pulldown setup that comes with a pulldown bar as well as a low row cable attachment. The dip bars and pull-up bars have a 600-pound max capacity, making them sturdy for nearly any user. There are two pull-up bars, so you can choose between a close or wide grip.
Cons: Safety bars are hard to adjust, and if you use them often, it becomes a real headache. There are no foot hold-downs for the lat pulldown, which can compromise form during the traditional seated lat pulldown exercise. The size of the holes for the power rack is 1 inch and limits the attachments you can add to it for more exercise variety.
Bottom Line: This power cage is sturdy and can support a lot of weight. The addition of the lat pulldown and dip bars make this a total gym. While this power cage allows for a wide range of weight training, cable, and bodyweight movements, note that few attachments or accessories are compatible with this rack.
CAP Barbell FM-8000F Deluxe Power Rack Color Series
This power rack is a great fit for both weight lifting and bodyweight movements.
Pros: Add a touch of color to your home gym with this 12- and 14-gauge steel rack. It comes with a pull-up bar that is made of tubular steel. The pull-up bar is an average 7 feet high that is comfortable for most users while doing pull-ups or other bodyweight exercises. The pull-up bar has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. The rack comes with two J-hooks, two safety bars, two posts for plate storage, and three band posts on each side, so you can add resistance bands to your weight training.
Cons: The safety bars have a max weight of 300 pounds, which is a bit on the lighter end. The pull-up bar should not be used with kipping movements or any type of swinging. It is designed for strict pull-ups or chin-ups.
Bottom Line: Many people love the space-saving design and versatility of this affordable rack. It does not have the weight capacity of larger, more expensive options, but for those lifting less than 300 pounds, it will be a great addition to the home gym.
Sunny Health & Fitness Power Zone Squat Stand Power Rack
A few design elements make this space-saving power rack more functional for greater performance.
Pros: Constructed from quality steel, this power rack holds 805 pounds safely and securely. The pull-up bar is angled for more versatile grips and is also adjustable for different heights. Its maximum height is just over 7 feet. The rack comes with two J-hooks, two safety bars, two posts for plate storage, and three band posts on each side to allow for resistance bands. Many enjoy the easy assembly of this power rack so they can get right into a good workout.
Cons: When using the resistance bands on the posts, you must have weights stacked on the posts to prevent the rack from tipping or moving. Overall, even though the max weight is a sizable 805 pounds, it does move around more than desired during lifts. When using the pull-up bar, you should avoid kipping or swinging movements. The dimensions of the rack posts and holes are a bit unique, posing a problem for adding on accessories that will fit.
Bottom Line: Design elements like an angled and adjustable pull-up bar make this space-saving power rack extra versatile. For such a small size, its weight capacity of 805 pounds is impressive. While it can support weight, certain movements are best done with weights stacked on the posts for stability.
HulkFit 1000-Pound Capacity Multi-Function Power Cage
This sturdy power cage is focused on function and allows for added accessories to diversify your workout.
Pros: Made with 11-gauge steel, this power cage is sturdy with a weight capacity of 1,000 pounds. The front of the rack has a multi-grip pull-up bar; plus, the crossbars can hold resistance bands or suspension systems. The rack comes with two J-hooks, two safety bars or safety straps, and two dip bars. The bottom rails have rubber feet to help them from sliding.
Cons: Assembly is not as easy as other brands and may require more tools than listed in the instructions and an extra helper. The weight plate storage rods are not included, nor do they work well on the power cage.
Bottom Line: This is a solid option for a sturdy power cage if you’re dealing with lots of weight. It’s a pretty straightforward product but lacks some of the all-inclusive features of other brands.
When building your home gym, a power rack is a worthy investment. Check out these options to find one that works well in your space so that you can lift weights comfortably and safely.