The well-built bodies of models and bodybuilders you see daily in advertisements maybe your dream body aspiration. But what most of us do is continue dreaming rather than working out! Those bodies are not built in a single day. They are the result of disciplined workouts spread across many days. If you are willing to work out like that then we have the perfect equipment for you, power racks. They are also known by the name, squat racks. If you have ever been to a gym, then chances are that you have seen them and then moved over to other equipment.
But if you are serious about bodybuilding, they can be your best buddies. Getting one for your home gym will be the best decision you could take towards your fitness regime. It is all-around equipment that will help you work out in many different ways with ease. It will let you do bench presses, overhead presses, squats, and pull-ups. In a nutshell, these power racks will be the only thing that you will need to power yourself up. Like all the fitness equipment, the fitness market is also saturated with different types of power racks manufactured by different companies.
They have their own merits and vary in quality in relation to the way they are manufactured. With the increase in price, they will be equipped with features that you may or may not need. The basic models are cheap and will have the basic things that you will need. In this guide, we are planning to explain all the types of power cages available with the features they have in common and the ones that make some standout. At the end of this guide, you will know what you really need out of a power cage. So, getting the best power cage will be easy for you.
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Best Power Racks – Top 3 Favorites for 2021
Power cages are a necessity for Serious Strength Trainers
Power racks are for serious fitness users. You remember those fit people with huge muscles, if you want to be like them then power racks are a must. From all the fitness machines we have reviewed, we can clearly call it one of the best machines to be in the home gym. It is surely worth the investment. If you are tight on budget and can’t buy many fitness machines, then go for this. It can cover up most of the exercises needed for the body.
Why is it the smartest purchase? Safety and results
People often ask whether it is the right choice to make. With the experience we had with many other fitness machines, there aren’t many machines around that will let you do multiple workouts all in the same equipment. At the end of the day, it will give you the maximum value for the money you invest.
What exactly is a Power Rack?
All this said, if you haven’t seen it then you are now blind on whatever we were talking until now. It is a piece of simple equipment that is not having many electronic adjustments to work with making it easy to use. Power racks are known by the name power cages and this name is attributed to it because of the shape that resembles a metallic cage. It is sort of like a mechanical spotter that will substitute the need of a human spotter.
Power racks can be seen in most of the gyms because of their popularity and usefulness. The one found in commercial gyms will be bigger in size. If you are looking for the best power racks for home, then choose something smaller that will easily fit inside your apartment. Throughout the guide, we will be focusing more on power rack for home gyms.
Why do you need a Power Rack?
In the fitness community, you can ask any experts and they will surely vouch for the power racks as the best fitness equipment. The proper utilization of power racks can be the key to building a better body. With the flexibility of working out with a lot of weight, it can surely be the best equipment you can get for strength training. To make things clear, we have listed out the reasons why you must choose power racks for working out in your home gym.
1. You can train without a spotter: Working out with weights is a dangerous game. If you are not using a spotter, there are chances where these weights can fall and injure you. With the power racks, handling weights has become a lot easier. It is easy for you to reach the threshold point during the workouts and if you have nothing to support you at that point you will find it hard to put down the barbells.
Spotters have the safety feature that will hold down the weights once you are done working out. The same kind of feature is also available on the power racks. The adjustable safety catches will hold the weights from falling on you.
2. You’re more confident, and you get the peace of mind you need when you workout: Imagine being served all your favorite cuisines but with a condition of tying a sword on a tiny thread above your head. You won’t be able to enjoy even a little part of the meal. Same way if you don’t have the safety features then the risk involved might take your peace off while working out.
We always try to push your limits and this can only be done if your equipment can keep you safe even in adverse situations. This is particularly useful when you are training to failure – A kind of training where you put your whole self into the training to an extent where you won’t be able to exercise more and reach the threshold point.
3. You can do a LOT of crucial exercises: Don’t think of power racks as something to do just the weightlifting. It can do a lot more than that. Many combination exercises can be done on it making your muscles grow really fast.
What Exercises can be done on a Power Rack?
Like we have said earlier, there are no limits to the kind of workouts you can do on the power racks. It all depends upon your conviction. If you are new into workouts then we have compiled a list of the most common exercises you can do on the power racks. Choose the ones you like.
- Bench press (along with the “close grip” version)
- Overhead press (along with variations like the barbell seated press and the overhead rack lockout)
- Rack pull
- Barbell curl
- Barbell bent over rows
- Inverted Rows
- Barbell shrug
- Upright row
Power racks can also be used for doing pull-ups and dips. To make these strength training exercises more efficient, the power racks are now coming with special attachments. With the pull-up bar and the dip bar attachments, there are many more exercises you can do like the ones listed below.
- Hanging leg raise
- Hanging knee raise
Don’t think of this as a finite list, there are a lot more things you can do with them. Some new models have the cable system included with them. With the help of this system, you can do exercises like the ones listed below.
- Lat pulldown
- Cable row
- Biceps cable curl
- Cable crunches
You must have got a rough idea into the potential of power racks. There is no way we can call it as some equipment that is used for doing a particular exercise. Even the basic ones you generally can be done better with them.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Power Cage
Power racks are not everyone. They have merits and few flaws. Some of the flaws might be significant for you personally. So, the choice of getting the best power rack is all up to you. We may not know your personal situations but will try to discuss the common disadvantages and advantages it has so you can easily draw out a conclusion on its usefulness for you.
Advantages of Power Rack
- Some of the exercises you can do with power racks can be done without it too. But what you will lack is the safety provided by the power racks. And that is the primary reason why you must get a power rack. Since you are working out with weights you must give top priority to preventing the weights from falling on you.
- The next big thing is that it will give a proper layout for working out making the workouts more productive. Higher efficiency in workouts literally means getting healthier faster. Who will take an alternate option when every workout you do gives better results when down with power racks. After all, we want better results in the least time right?
There are many reasons why you must get one for your home gym. We have listed out a few of them if you are skeptical about the benefits you will get with the power racks.
1. Safety: Heavyweights won’t fall on you and kill you
2. Strength-building efficiency: Increase workout productivity and see better results faster.
3. Versatility: Ability to do multiple exercise varieties all using a simple machine.
4. Extensibility: Power racks have the ability to modified with attachments. So the functionality can be improved the way you want to the time you want.
5. Confidence: Since the rack is here to protect you from accidental injuries the worry of working out with a lot of weights will be removed in no time.
6. The Peace of Mind: Like the chances of getting injured are way too less, you don’t have to worry much when your loved ones are working out on them.
Disadvantages of a Power Rack
All we have said until now is the praises of power racks but there are few cases where the power racks won’t be as useful as it might seem.
The worst of all is the cost of the power racks. There are cheaper ones available but if you want a power rack with all the features that you need then you will need to spend the extra cash for getting the best power rack you like. Even when compared to other fitness equipment power racks are expensive. Power racks are built like a cage and with all the functionality these offers. It takes up quite a lot of space from your home. Since people are living in cramped up apartments with limited space they usually find it difficult to arrange the space for power racks.
To know whether the power racks are not for you check out the list of few drawbacks we have found after reviewing them.
1. Cost: This might be the most expensive equipment you will be getting for your home gym.
2. Space: They will take up a lot of space so it won’t get inside most of the homes.
3. Setup Restrictions: Some of the power racks are made to be anchored down to the floor but this cannot be done in all the places where you keep the power tracks.
4. One Safety Level: There are many safety levels available on power racks which are a disadvantage when we compare it to the smith machine.
Can you get a squat rack instead of a Power Rack?
People often get confused when to make a choice between buying the power racks and squat racks. There are many misleading reviews found online that will make you feel like they both are the same. Squat racks are in no way the same as the power racks. Maybe we could call it like a half power rack. You can put the barbells in front of it and use it.
You can actually substitute the power racks with the best squat racks but a replacement doesn’t mean that you will be getting all the benefits you got with it. You may be able to use it but don’t think of replacing your power racks with the squat racks. If ever you buy it, only do it if you can’t buy the power racks but badly want its features.
1. Let’s start with how each one can be useful for you: Power racks are superior in the versatility they have when compared to many other fitness machines and similar equipment like the squat racks. With the availability of safety catches and adjustable pins, you are totally safe to do any kind of workouts with them. So, the number of workouts you can do with them is limitless. When it comes to squat racks, all you could do well on these are the squats. Above all, they cannot be added with new features like pull up bar attachments or dip bar attachments.
2. Now let’s talk about safety: This is the one single reason why most of the people make the purchase. There is no other equipment out there that can give you as much safety as the power racks do when working out with weights. Even the squat racks can’t come anywhere close to power racks. When you workout with weights, it is inevitable to have some kind of safety precautions to keep your body safe. If the barbells fall from your hand no matter which direction, the power racks will always catch it for you.
There are people who argue that squat racks also have the safety mechanism but sadly they will only catch the barbells if they fall in one direction. Besides that, squat racks don’t have the safety arms like the power racks so it is not a good choice for you to take instead of power racks when safety is a concern.
Squat racks are lighter than the power racks so it might not be capable of holding down the weight of barbells like the power racks. Think about this the barbells falls down and the squat racks also fall with it. Is that a good scene? So, it will be better for you to get the best power rack.
3. Some people say that squat racks don’t need as much space, so they’re better for smaller apartments: People usually compare power racks with squat racks and talk that they consume less space making it a better choice for small apartments. But this is not an accurate observation. They are of course bigger but not too much for a normal apartment. The startling difference is the height of the power racks which will require around 8 feet ceiling height minimum.
When it comes to comparing their space requirements, people only take the form factor of both the power racks and squat racks. They usually forget about the space you need to reserve for working out with them. Anyway, you can’t close it up in a room and say it takes up less space. Squat racks require extra space in front of the cage for working out. So, we can say that they both require the same amount of space to be kept in an apartment. And be careful when you drop the barbells they are heavy so make sure not to let them hit the sensitive floors.
4. Finally, there’s the matter of cost: Power racks are expensive and the cost you pay for it gives you a lot more benefits. When it comes to squat racks, they are cheaper but their weaknesses are too significant to use it as a substitute for the power racks. For example, squat racks don’t have the facility to keep the barbell so all you can do is dropping it down on the floor. With the squat racks, the only way to keep your floor healthy is either by replacing the floor every time it gets damaged or by buying expensive rubber padding where you drop the barbells.
Buying Guide for Selecting the Best Power Rack 2021:
Physical space limitations of your gym
Power cages are a solid structure designed to make working out with weights and other workouts a lot simpler. With these, a kind of structure it has the space it consumes is also greater. Power racks are made in different sizes but there won’t be anything in your gym as big as the power racks. So, finding a place for power racks is important. You can’t just keep it everywhere. Measure the area available with you and compare it with the space available within your home or gym space. This way you won’t end up with something that doesn’t fit inside your home.
What is the maximum rack height that you can accommodate?
Power racks are usually tall so make sure that your gym space is having good ceiling height. This becomes a major concern if you are thinking of setting it up in the basement. With the increased height, it can easily handle the amount of weight you put on it. Before making a purchase, make sure that the ceiling height of your gym area is enough for the equipment you are buying.
If your ceiling height is low, then the better option for you is to choose the squat racks. They will be able to do many things that power racks can do. They won’t have the stability or the weight storage capacity offered by the power racks. But if you have a small home, you don’t have much of a choice between them.
What is the maximum rack depth that you can accommodate?
If you are going for the best power racks available in the market and fitting these up with all the accessories these can have, then the power rack will be huge in size. This setup will be highly versatile and can be used for a lot of workouts but it’s going to take up a lot of space in your workouts area. If space is a concern, then this is not the place for you.
Always leave extra space around every fitness machine. This space is necessary to have a proper workout experience. When it comes to this equipment, the bigger the power racks, the better the power rack will be. So, all you need to do is get the biggest power rack that can fit inside your home.
What kind of stabilizer does it have?
You will be handling a lot of weight with the power towers so it is a good idea to anchor the power racks to the floor just the way they are meant to be used. There are specific models where the stabilizer of the power rack is found in the bottom. This will be helpful in keeping the power rack stable. Of course, this goes with saying that the material used for building it must be stable too. The stabilizer bars give extra stability to the power racks. There are some models which have removable power racks. Since you won’t be using it always, this won’t be a big concern.
What kind of accessories does it come with?
The more you pay the more you get out of the power racks. If you are going for the cheapest model, then you will only be getting the basic features. That will be enough for doing basic workouts. Expensive ones will be having more accessories so you can make use of them all. From what we have seen you will soon end up buying most of the extra accessories so it will better if you buy it during the purchase of the power rack itself.
1. Pull-up bars: These will help you do pull ups more efficiently than what you normally do.
2. Spotter’s arms: These arms can act like the real spotters so doing bench presses and squats will be too easy for you.
3. Suspension Safety Straps: The safety suspension straps can be set just below your safety line during workouts making it easy for you to push your limits.
4. Dip attachments: They are like the pull-up bar attachment. You can do the dips more efficiently with the dip bar attachments.
5. Landmines: This is a rotation device that can be used for adding the ability to do rows, cleans and the dead rows.
6. Hyper attachments: Core body muscles can be worked while inside the rack.
7. Reverse hypers extension: This can help you work out the glutes, lower back, and hamstrings with high intensity.
8. Lat pulldowns: Adding a cable system is useful for adding the pull down to your set of workouts. That can help you workout your lats.
Other Equipment You Will Need
Both the squat racks and the power racks don’t come with barbells so if you need to work out with them you will need to buy them later. Therefore, this must also be included in your budget. From all the barbells and weight plates that we have reviewed, weights made by Olympic weights are superior.
They are expensive but they are going to last for your entire life so it is worth the buy. If you have planned bench pressing in your workouts, then also consider getting a workbench for that. With all these things ready there is nothing much extra you have to do. Be disciplined and work your body out.
Is it easy to adjust?
It takes a bit of time to get used to the power racks safety pin system. They are safe but it will take to make adjustments to it. Because of this, if you need to make height adjustments in between your workouts then there will be a loss of time between each workout. It will be good to take the reviews of people who have actually used the product so that you don’t get any bitter experience from it.
Spotter arms and straps are important for improving the safety and stability of the machine. The best power racks have these features. These will be expensive but this is an essential upgrade.
Part 2: Design Considerations
Cage strength and quality of construction
For every equipment, the manufacturer adopts different techniques to make their product better. Some of them will become better and others will end up being bad. As a general trend for the higher price, you will get most of the best features with the power rack. Some of the important things that you must look for in a power rack are:
1. The metal used in its construction: The quality of the metal used will affect the stability and durability of the power rack.
2. Metal thickness: Lower gauge tends to be better for power racks. Having a gauge of 11mm or less can be seen as a good standard.
3. Total weight capacity: Go with power racks that have higher weight capacity. They will be having a stronger build.
4. Thickness, size, and shape of safety pins: Safety pins are made in different shapes either in a circular shape or square shape and come with 2 to 3mm size.
5. Type of frame base: The frame must be sturdy enough to hold your weight.
6. The surface area of frame footprint: Check whether you can afford the space it will take in the ground.
Part 3: The cost to ship the Rack
Don’t make the mistake of putting your budget by calculating just the cost of the power rack. There are many more expenses that come with the product and this includes the accessories and more importantly the transportation charge. It is a heavy fitness machine so thinking of bringing it on your own will be a daunting task. And when it comes to truck services, it is going to cost you some money for the weight.
The manufacturers who are selling the power racks online usually include the shipping charge with the price. It is easier to calculate the price that way. Anyway, calculate the whole cost out before making the purchase.
1. Less Expensive Options: I feel bad while saying this but if you can’t afford good enough fitness equipment, it will be better to stay put until you can afford a good one. Fitness machines are costly and the cheaper ones will not give you the intended result they need to produce. If you still take one remember they won’t be delivering the same result as the full-fledged one.
Check out our reviews for the best affordable power racks. They won’t be the best and will make many sacrifices but still will be capable of giving you the basic experience of using the power racks. Anyway having something to workout with is much better than not having anything at all.
2. Squat Rack: Squat racks can be seen as a miniature version of the power racks. They are not a complete alternative but can deliver some things offered by the power racks. The safety you get with power racks won’t be there with the squat racks. There are models that come with safety pins but sadly they cannot be adjusted to your discretion. In a simple sense, you can’t even compare the best squat rack with a lower level power rack. But yeah they are cheaper so if budget is a concern, you can go for it.
3. Squat Stands: They are a lot smaller than power racks. But they can be used the same way as you would on a power rack with barbells. The problem with the smaller size is that they won’t be able to keep the balance with heavyweights as the power racks would. So, extra care must be given when you want to workout with it. For safety purposes, sawhorses are used instead of safety pins.
If you can’t get a power rack, then go for the squat rack but don’t immediately choose this as an alternative. Squat racks are better than them. Take it for a really small version of power racks which have a smaller dimension. You can lift weights but chin ups and pull ups are all in a different world when with it.
4. Smith Machine: If you have visited gyms, then you must have seen the smith machines. They are not the perfect alternative to power tracks but sadly ignorant people still keep filling their gyms with these instead of getting the best power racks. Smith machines are in no way better than power racks. They do not offer the safety offered by the power tracks. Nobody has ever reported that they have got a better workout experience from the smith machines more than the power racks so stick to the power racks instead of these.
Part 4: Warranty & Shipping
Like power racks, squat racks are also heavy. So, expect to pay a little extra for getting it delivered to your doorstep. There will be people who are doing this for discounted prices so check them out.
1. Assembly: Power racks are huge equipment and they need proper assembly. Some manufacturers sell it partially assembled. Either way, make sure that the power rack is assembled well or else you will get it damaged or injure yourself. Check out the parts before making the shipment so that it will be easy for you to assemble it back.
If you can do it your own, then do it but if you find it difficult to do that then hire someone to finish off the task. Some manufacturers will include the assembly but at an extra cost of around $200. Don’t be a miser if you find yourself incapable to assemble it. After all, you don’t want your expensive equipment to be damaged.
2. The length of the manufacturer’s warranty: Power cages will usually last forever but if they have a long period of warranty, then you can at least be sure that they will last for a long period. Check out the strength of each power cage and find out which one will be better for you in the long run and make the decision.
3. Holes & Safety Pins: The safety of the power racks come with the quality of the safety pins and the holes. So, they must be just as good as the frame of the power racks. Different approaches are seen in making it perform the best. As a standard, make sure that the hole starts from 1 foot from the ground. With that kind of flexibility, you will be able to do a lot more exercises with it. The safety pins used for locking the weights must be at least 1-inch-thick and must be made of solid steel.
Each of the holes must only have 2 inches gap between them otherwise the positions available for you will be limited. Power racks have few parts and depending on the configuration you choose, they can be complicated or be simple. Most of the manufacturers give it off partially assembled. Don’t think of assembling it off yourself as it may become a stupid decision.
It will be easy for you to set up the partially assembled power racks but check out the parts carefully before packing it up to prevent getting confused during the assembly. The individual pieces are quite large to assemble so keep them close and look the guide properly for correct assembly. There are companies that also offer assembly together with the product.
This can make things easy for you. But that sweet service comes at the cost of extra cash. It will cost around $200 or more. If you want your expensive equipment to be assembled well and have no idea how to do it on your own, it will be the best decision to call the experts for the job.
Part 5: Buy from us with Confidence
We have been into the fitness regime for years and we have reviewed hundreds of products so far. Our experts know what they are doing and we prefer to deliver the best service to our customers. To us, your health is a top priority so the choices that we make here can be bought with at most trust. They will work the way they are promised. Even if you don’t buy it from us make sure to use our guide to make a good buying decision and get the best power rack for home.
There are no perfect fitness machines out there. All you can get is the right one for your body and your needs. So, making a random purchase won’t get you the best power rack. Find out your needs and match it up with the features of the power rack. Then buy the one that is affordable for you. The best 5 power racks we have mentioned here are all around best performers.
If you want a straight opinion, then you can select one out of them. Make sure that the power rack is stable and is built durable so that the investment you make on them last for years. Get all the accessories you will use together with the power racks. This way you will be covered for the years to come.