Let’s say you own a treadmill, adjustable dumbbells, and a pull-up bar. You are relatively fit but you intend to build a home gym where you can accelerate your workout, specifically your strength training.
However, you do not have thousands of dollars or a lot of room to spare. So a question pops out of your head: is there one thing that can help you target all muscle groups and get stronger?
If that sounds like where you are at the moment, then a power rack is exactly what you need.
A power rack is a type of weight training equipment that allows you to perform bench presses, squats, and a host of other exercises in between.
It also assists you very much like how a spotter does – keeping you safe while performing heavy lifts.
This article will help you realize that the power rack is going to be the star of your home gym.
To help you choose from a myriad of options, we identified the key characteristics to look for. It is the best way to separate the good products from the inferior ones, right?
You can also get closer to the perfect rack for your need by checking out our selection of the best racks on the market. Consider it as a final list from your personal shopper!
Let’s get down to business and start our power rack-hunting journey.
Top 5 Power Racks: Comparison Table
Interior Workout Space (Side to Side, Front to Rear)
A power rack is a big purchase which does not only require ample space but a significant amount of money as well. Therefore, you wouldn’t want to buy one hastily!
To avert the possibility of ending up with an expensive rack that you don’t even want to use, we are providing you with some important buying guides. Here are the important characteristics that you should examine to make sure you are getting a power rack that will perfectly suit your needs.
We mentioned about power racks being pricey pieces of equipment. If something costs a lot, it should be durable enough to withstand years of use.
However, ensuring its durability is not all about value for money.
More importantly, you need a sturdy power rack that ensures your safety while performing different exercises. Look for one that is made with high-quality steel. Ideally, the frame should be made out of at least 2.5″ 11 gauge square tubing.
Make sure that all components are built securely. Veer away from side frames that use bolt-on construction. Instead, they should be welded to avoid loosening up with time.
Whether you are a serious lifter or not, your rack should have sufficient weight capacity. In the first place, lower poundage rating usually indicates lower overall quality.
While 500 lbs. is decent, we recommend buying a rack with a capacity to hold 800 to 1,000 lbs. This way you won’t have to replace the rack if you get stronger, and you can feel safer if you accidentally drop the weights.
Power racks do not have standard sizes. More than anything, this is actually an advantage because you can select one that fits you perfectly.
Take note that identifying the exact spot where the rack will be placed is very critical. This is because the location’s dimensions will largely dictate the width and the height of the rack that you will purchase.
Don’t forget to also consider the space around the rack’s perimeter. There should be enough room for you to do a large variety of exercises without feeling restricted.
Another pivotal feature is the distance between the holes where the safety catches are inserted into.
It is typical for power racks to have holes spaced at 1 to 4 inches apart. However, what you should look for is a distance of 1 inch or 2 inches at most.
Why? Because you will be doing various exercises in the cage and these require that the safety catches be placed at different heights. You would want the cage to adapt to the type of exercise that you are performing.
High-end models have the “Westside hole pattern”, which have both 1- and 2- inch increments in the rack for better positioning. They usually cost more but they are definitely worth it.
This bar found at the backside of the bottom rack serves as an additional safety feature. It supports the overall balance and secures the entire structure in place. The last thing you need is a wobbly power rack!
However, some people find it annoying to have something that gets in the way of their feet in the middle of their workout. If you are one of them, you may look for models that provide an option to remove this bar (or ones that have a diagonal shaped bottom to prevent wobbling.)
For a power rack to be useful, you would need a few accessories. Be aware that some may or may not be included when you purchase a rack.
The essential ones include barbells, weight plates, and a bench.
On the other hand, accessories like pull up bars, dip bar handles, lat pull attachments, and a storage for your weights and barbells are optional.
You will also be pleased to know that some accessories are compatible with different brands.
People have different workout styles. Consequently, accessories that are must-haves for others may be unessential for some. It boils down to choosing which ones are important to you.
Best Power Racks: Reviews
Choosing just one product from a multitude of options can be quite confusing. This is especially true for something as valuable as a power rack!
Allow us to trim down those choices so you can just focus on the really good ones. We reviewed all the products available on the market and assessed them based on pivotal and supplementary features.
And so we present to you the best power racks for your home gym.
1. Valor Fitness BD-7 – Best Overall Power Rack
Leading the pack is the multi-functional Valor Fitness BD-7. Upon close examination, we completely understand why it is one of the most preferred power cages today.
Its durability is evident in its 2″ x 2″ frame made of 12-gauge steel. The 4 adjustable weight bar supports and the 2 safety bars are also made of solid steel chrome. They are equally solid and they greatly contribute to the overall quality of this cage.
There are 17 positions where you can rest your bar supports, making it adapt to different exercise requirements and user heights.
At the top of the rack, you have a pull-up bar that is approximately 81″ from the floor. It definitely feels solid and you can comfortably grip its knurled ends.
We love the plate storage capacity of the BD-7. There is a total of 4 pegs on the rear uprights, 2 on each side. Each peg is 8″ long, which is quite a lot of storage space.
The pegs can fit both 1″ and 2″ plates, giving you the flexibility to choose between standard and Olympic plates. All you have to do is pick up which plates suit your preferred intensity level.
A distinctive feature of the BD-7 is its lateral pull attachment which provides even more workout options. At the top, you can do lat pull down and tricep pull, while the bottom allows you to perform standing and seated row. Who wouldn’t love a single workout station that allows you to do all these?
While the pulley mechanism is not the smoothest, we still appreciate this feature because it increases the BD-7’s range of motion. It simply adds so much value to the rack.
Do you feel like pulling more than your own weight? A utility bar that stretches across the inside of the rack allows you to do that. Just position your lap under this foam covered bar so it can protect and hold you down. You can also use it for curls.
Although there is sufficient working space inside the cage, the lat pull bar attachment can get in the way when you are working your shoulders or chest.
If you want a versatile power rack that can be your partner in taking your workout to the next level, the Valor Fitness BD-7 is perfect for you.
2. Titan Fitness T-2 Series – Best Budget Power Rack
A product’s brand usually tells you what to expect in terms of quality and performance. Our runner-up, the Titan Fitness T-2, certainly lives up to its manufacturer’s prestigious name.
Although the T-2 is the lower end version of Titan’s T-3 series, it is certainly no pushover. In fact, you may even prefer it over its more illustrious counterpart, especially if you are just looking for a basic but efficient equipment.
Setting it up is relatively simple. It can be done in less than an hour, but additional hands are recommended. However, the instructions could definitely be better.
It has a wide opening that allows you to step in and out of the cage with ease. The inside space is also enough for you to perform a variety of full body exercises.
The rack has a maximum capacity of 700 lbs. which is more than respectable. Its 2″ x 2″ steel frame creates a solid presence that makes you confident of your safety while inside the cage.
There are 2 holders for your weight plates a few inches away from the rear uprights. When loaded, they contribute to the overall stability of the rack.
The safety bars are not to be left out. Made of 1″ thick solid steel, they can easily take weights that are dropped forcefully. They do live up to their safety tag!
You can choose from the 28 bar support positions depending on the exercise that you are performing. Given this range, you are sure to find a level that will ensure a comfortable and effective workout. The 2″ hole spacing is also good enough.
It has a 1.25″ diameter pull up bar positioned about 80″ off the floor. However, the knurling is a little too smooth for our liking. Sufficient knurling helps you have a good grip on the bar, which is critical in performing pull ups.
Overall, The Titan Fitness T-2 is a solid power rack that competently serves its purpose.
A good product does not always have to cost an arm and a leg. Our third placer, the PowerLine PP200X is concrete proof of that.
You shouldn’t have a problem setting it up. There is no need for extraordinary mechanical skills because the instructions are easy to follow.
Although the package does not include the necessary tools, all you need is an adjustable wrench or a socket wrench, both of which should be available in any household toolbox.
As you know very well by now, durability and stability are fundamental characteristics of a power rack. This 136-pound cage definitely chalks up points in those departments.
It can withstand up to 700 lbs. of weight capacity. The 2 heat-tempered liftoffs and 2 saber-style rods also have sufficient strength.
It includes a 1″ diameter chin up bar that is 41″ wide. We find the knurling a little bit too coarse. While it’s not necessarily bothersome, you may need time to get used to it.
The rack can adapt to various exercises with its 18 adjustment positions. The holes are 3 inches apart and although less than ideal, this spacing is still acceptable by most standards.
Like most products on our list, it also has a wide walk-in design, allowing unrestricted movement during exercises.
There is also an option to include lat attachment accessories. This allows you to expand the rack’s range of motion so you do not have to buy a separate equipment.
It is important to note that the PP200X does not have any plate holder so that is something that you need to buy separately.
One common observation is the paint coming off easily, although it comes with a small bottle of touch-up paint. Again, we consider this a minor flaw. We would go for a strong rack over a pretty one anytime!
In general, the PowerLine PP200X will prove to be a valuable asset in any home gym.
The fourth spot belongs to the competent but affordable TDS Power Rack.
Assembly is easy enough that a single person can do it without complication. Just remember to put everything in its proper place before tightening the bolts completely.
Several reviews mentioned poor packaging and paint scratches but we found nothing that would be unacceptable.
Once completely set up, you will most likely give yourself a pat on the back for purchasing this rack. Why? Because at the onset, you will know that considering its price, it is one solid piece of equipment. No wonder it can support up to 1000 pounds!
The more height settings a power rack has, the more people can use it. The fact that TDS has 31 holes is quite remarkable.
The holes are set 2 inches apart, allowing you to comfortably find the setting that is perfect for your target exercise.
Furthermore, these holes are labeled with numbers so you can easily identify which holes match each other for a specific height setting. It also helps in remembering the heights for different lifts. How can you not appreciate simple but very useful details like this?
You can rest your barbells on the solid J hooks included in the rack. In cases of a failed rep, a 1″ solid steel safety bar is ready to catch the released weight.
You can also include a chin up component in your workout with its built-in bar. Its 1 1/8″ diameter is just right for a nice grip, as well as the knurling on the ends.
For effectively fusing affordability and competence, the TDS Power Rack is highly recommended.
5. Body Solid Pro GPR378 – Highest Quality Power Rack
Coming in at number five is the Body Solid Pro GPR378. It may be more expensive than the ones listed ahead of it but it is definitely worth the price.
This is actually the best model we reviewed, but it sits at number 5 because of the high cost. The models above provide a better value for money.
Upon delivery, expect three boxes, one of which is really heavy. The packaging is good enough to protect everything while in transit.
It is generally easy to assemble, although Body Solid can do a better job with the instructions. This full cage is made of 3″ x 3″ 11 gauge steel frame. It is quite heavy at 225 lbs., but its weight is instrumental in making the rack strong and stable.
With its 800-pound maximum capacity, it can accommodate a wide range of users – from beginners struggling to clear an overhead press to experienced ones who lift weights that are several times heavier than their own.
While its 40″ interior width is slightly narrower than other racks in this list, its 34″ front to back working space is quite generous.
The manufacturer’s information lists its height at 80″. It might be a little lower than that but its difference is almost nil, except maybe for really tall users.
Its upright bars have 20 adjustment levels. They are spaced every 3″ so the perfect height may not always be possible.
It also has a 41″ wide chin up bar that you can use to work your back, rear shoulders, and arms.
This is one of those racks that does not have plate storage. Although it may be a slight drawback for some, most people wouldn’t mind because having a space for your plates is actually just an add-on feature. You also wouldn’t need the additional weight because the rack is very stable by itself!
Safety is one of the most important benefits of using a power rack. The Body Solid Pro GPR378 helps you have safe and effective workouts with its heat tempered lift-offs and saber-style safety rods. They are as sturdy as the frame so that’s another advantage.
To give you more workout options, it has a provision for a lat attachment and would fit all types of benches.
There is no doubt that the Body Solid Pro GPR378 can take years of abuse as your strength training partner.
6. TDS Short Power Rack – Best Short Rack Under $300
If you have been wanting your own full rack but your low ceiling makes you think twice, here is some good news.
We found the perfect one for you, the TSD Short Power Rack.
Let’s admit it – not all of us have the space for a home gym equipment as bulky as the power rack. A lot of us only have a few square meters to spare, usually in a basement.
At 6′ high, this short rack from TDS is perfect for low ceilings. While it is normal to assume that its height is a major disadvantage, it’s actually not.
It lets you perform almost all of the exercises that you can in a taller rack. If there is any limitation, it would only be in using the pull-up bar, especially if you are more or less than 6 feet tall.
However, you can always lift up your feet during pull-ups and make it work with other exercises, therefore its height shouldn’t be a dealbreaker!
You can perform a wide variety of exercises in this cage because of its 25 adjustment levels. The hole spacing is also decent at 2″ apart.
We love that the holes are properly labeled in bold numbers, making adjustments quick and easy.
Also included in the package are 1″ solid steel safety pins and J-hooks. Although they slide easily through the holes, it is normal to miss and end up scratching the glossy paint – another minor flaw that certainly does not minimize the efficiency of the power rack.
Despite being shorter, it boasts of solid overall construction. In fact, it has a maximum weight capacity of 1000 lbs. For less than $300, that’s a steal!
This TDS cage may be short in size but never in value!
Coming in at number 7 is one of Titan’s bestsellers, the T-3 Series HD.
You will not encounter any major challenges in setting it up. Titan even made sure that every bolt comes in individual sets, complete with washers and locks. That saves you time instead of rummaging through a huge pile!
For one, its strength is top notch. Given its 2″ x 3″ tubes made of 11 gauge steel, this cage is definitely sturdy. Are you a serious lifter who does 1000 lbs. or even more? The T-3 HD is up to the task!
You may notice that the paint scrapes off easily but you have to realize that power racks are primarily made to be strong and not pretty. If at all, it is a minor flaw that does not impact the performance of the rack.
When it comes to the cage’s interior, you have enough room to do your bench press, dips, and other strength training exercises. The side to side space is 42″ while the area from front to back is 24″.
Each person has unique workout goals and preferences. A personalized workout is more pleasing and more importantly, it yields better results.
The Titan T-3 HD has features that can adapt to your needs.
One of its unique characteristics includes its Westside hole pattern. Instead of having a uniform distance between the holes, they are strategically spaced for better customization.
The lower portion has 1″ spacing so you can adjust the level comfortably for your benching. On the other hand, there is 2″ spacing in the upper portion where you do your squats and overhead presses.
For your pull ups, it has two bars that you can set at different heights. You can also choose between 1.5″ or 2″ diameter bars.
You will also be pleased to know that it is compatible with non-Titan accessories so you can further tailor the cage to meet your needs.
The Titan T-3 Series may be a bit pricey, but its built and overall quality is comparable to other racks that are much more expensive. It’s actually a steal!
Rounding up our best of the best list is the a power rack from Rep Fitness.
A quick research will show numerous positive reviews for this cage. And we couldn’t agree more!
Assembly does not take long, thanks to clear and precise instructions. However, if you need further assistance, you can also check out Rep Fitness’ website for a step by step video tutorial.
You will appreciate that the parts are in great condition. There are no sharp edges or rough welds. If details like these are taken care of, you feel assured that you have a good rack in your hands.
It is protected by a matte black powder coating. There is a possibility of scratching this off considering all the adjustments and re-racking that you will do, but who expects a flawless rack, anyway?
Even the smaller parts are given careful attention. The j-cups are lined with a plastic material which works as a protection for the bar’s knurling. It also prevents rusting because of frequent metal to metal contact.
Although it is made of 14 gauge steel, the rack weighs 144 lbs. You can be confident that it is strong and steady enough to support your workouts. In any case, there are plate storage pegs to boost the rack’s stability.
The adjustment holes on the uprights are 2″ apart. For faster modification, there are number labels every fifth hole.
You do not need to worry about having sufficient room to move around while you go about different exercises. The inside width measures 44 inches while the distance between front to back uprights is 26 inches.
On the upper portion, you have two pull up bars, one with 1.25″ standard diameter and another with a 2-inch fat grip. It’s good to alternate between the two because it helps with grip and forearm strength.
This rack also has optional upgrades like a dip attachment and a bench which fits perfectly and feels really durable.
Given its 700 pound capacity, you can continue to use this rack as you get stronger. So go ahead and keep challenging yourself with the Rep Fitness Power Rack!
Before you can determine which product is perfect for you, you first have to know the types of power racks. Are there characteristics specific to one type that you are more interested in?
Once you come up with a decision, it would be easier for you to trim down your choices and finally select a workstation for your weight training needs.
Power racks are generally categorized as either a full-size or a half rack.
A full-size rack is also known as a power cage. It typically has 4 uprights, basically enclosing the user in a cage-like structure in most exercises.
However, it is also common to find full-size racks with 6 uprights, with the additional ones located at the back end to serve as a plate and accessory storage.
All full-size racks have safety bars that catch the barbell in the case of a failed rep.
A major consideration in opting for this type is the larger floor space that it requires. If full-size appeals to you more, make sure that you have enough area in your home gym.
A half rack, on the other hand, consists of only two uprights. It supports a barbell in certain variations of the squat, making it also known as a squat rack.
Due to lesser materials needed to make a half rack, it is usually less expensive than a full cage.
It also follows that a half rack has a smaller footprint and can easily fit into a corner of your home.
Top Power Rack Brands
If you will look closely, you might notice some familiar names in our top 10 list.
Given their years of experience and expertise in the fitness industry, there is no wonder that these brands stood out from the rest of the field.
A subsidiary of Valor Athletic, Inc., it entered the market in 2006. Although relatively recent, its extensive line of quality fitness equipment for home and light commercial use is enough to propel it to prominence.
Aside from cages and racks, it also manufactures equipment and accessories for strength training as well as fitness and conditioning.
Its products appeal to people who are after simple yet effective fitness equipment. These people aren’t necessarily looking for bells and whistles – just the basics that will help deliver solid results.
Consequently, Valor Fitness products are easy on the pocket.
Quality and affordability is always a favorable combination!
Titan Fitness is under the umbrella of Titan Manufacturing and Distribution, Inc. Titan Attachments sells pallet forks while Titan Ramps produce incline accessories for ATV’s, motorcycles, lawn mowers, wheelchairs, and more.
Aside from cages and racks, Titan Fitness also distributes strength training equipment like barbells, benches, dumbells, and weight vests. They also have gym equipment such as power towers, pull up bars, and boxing equipment.
For fitness and conditioning, you can check out their exercise bikes, aerobic steppers, and suspension accessories. What an extensive range!
Titan Racks are characterized by durable materials and solid construction. They also have sufficient weight capacity and good hole spacing. In addition, Titan is also known for superior customer service.
Obviously, a Titan Fitness equipment will rarely let you down.
What do you expect from a product manufactured by a 25-year old company that has remained reputable since day one?
It must be made from high-quality materials, carefully engineered by skillful teams, and supported by excellent after-sales services.
Its multi-station gyms, treadmills, free weight machines, ellipticals, weight plates, and other fitness accessories are preferred in both home and commercial settings. Don’t be surprised if you see Body Solid products when you travel across the country or even in different parts of the world because they are sold in 44 states and 57 countries. There must be a reason why they are really sought-after!
As for power racks, you have a wide range of products to choose from. Whether full cage or half rack, for home or commercial use, you will surely find the perfect product for you. However, its racks commonly have 3″ or 4″ hole spacing so that may be something that you would want to take note of.
Ultimately, their racks are very much worth considering.
Power Rack Workouts
Whether you are a serious lifter or a somebody who is new to strength training, you could use a few tips and workout guides.
The 5×5 is one of the most popular workout programs today. Don’t be intimidated because it is very simple, and not to mention, really effective.
It can help you lose fat, gain strength, and build muscle – exactly what you will find on anybody’s fitness goal list!
In a nutshell, this program requires you to perform 5 sets of each exercise, with each set consisting of 5 repetitions. These have to be performed for around 45 minutes each session for 3 days a week.
The objective is to try to get stronger by adding 5 lbs. of weight to each session.
It will help you gain functional strength in your entire body because of using compound movements instead of isolation bodybuilding exercises.
As you get stronger, you also build muscle in more areas that are targeted simultaneously.
Your body burns more calories required by high-intensity weightlifting.
Here are the exercises that you need to perform in the 5×5 program.
The squat exercises the thighs, hips and buttocks, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It also engages the lower and upper back, abdominals, and the shoulders and arms.
You can be confident that you are safe while performing squats with a rack. The bar hooks are set at mid-chest height while the safeties are positioned at your starting height.
The bench press works the chest, arms, and shoulder muscles by pressing weights upwards while you are in a lying position. A power rack allows you to perform this without the need for a spotter.
This is the move that will require you to lift the most weight and therefore, result in most benefits. In the deadlift, you lift a loaded barbell off the ground up to hip-level then back to the ground. It involves different muscle groups: the quadriceps, adductor magnus in the legs, gluteus maximus and hamstrings, and a lot more.
The overhead press works the upper chest, shoulders, and triceps while also engaging the abs, legs, and back. You use the rack instead of lifting the weight directly from the floor.
A barbell row is best for your shoulders, although it also works the core, lower back, legs, and biceps. A power rack helps you lift heavier weights without going down too deep.
The 5×5 Workout Program
The workouts are grouped into two:
Workout A: squat, bench press, and barbell row
Workout B: squat, overhead press, and deadlift
Remember that you need to do 5 sets of 5 repetitions per set. However, for deadlifts, you only need to perform 1 set of 5 repetitions. Because deadlifts and squats use very similar muscles, 1 set of deadlifts should be sufficient.
You need to perform these workouts three days per week, with one day off after each workout. Workout A and B need to be performed alternately. You will then repeat the cycle for the next weeks, and so on.
To make things easier to follow, here is an illustration:
Workout A (Monday, Friday): squat 5×5, bench press 5×5, and barbell row 5×5
Workout B (Wednesday): squat 5×5, overhead press 5×5, and deadlift 1×5
Workout B (Monday, Friday): squat 5×5, overhead press 5×5, and deadlift 1×5
Workout A (Wednesday): squat 5×5, bench press 5×5, and barbell row 5×5
If you are a beginner, you should start light. As you progress, you will be able to lift heavier weights with more comfort and confidence.
Focus on doing the exercises with proper form, which is important for minimizing the risk of injury and improving efficiency.
Stick to the exercise order. It is not listed randomly but on purpose. Following the order for maximum results.
Try the 5×5 workout program and get the best out of your new power cage!
Best Power Racks: Conclusion
Given the multiple workout options that a power rack gives you, there is no doubt that it is the most useful piece of equipment that your home gym needs.
Apart from being versatile, it is also very easy to use. There are not too many parts or complicated mechanisms.
Most importantly, a power rack gives you peace of mind to perform strength training routines as safely as possible.
We also love that power racks have plenty of customizable features. You can easily make adjustments depending on your workout preferences. You can also share it with the rest of the family, giving even more value for your money.
It may be easy to wonder if they deliver as advertised. Years of scientific evidence as well as personal accounts are readily available, so we say this with full conviction: they really do!
To make sure that you get the right rack, be sure to utilize our buying guide. Know the important features and decide on what works best for you.
Minimize disappointments by going for reputable brands such as Valor Fitness, Titan, and Body Solid. They have a solid track record so you can be sure that your rack is superior in terms of overall quality.
Better yet, try the Valor Fitness BD-7 and experience why it is the number 1 power rack on the market today.
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