Have you ever been intimidated at the gym? Maybe you were intimidated by someone who seemed more fit than you or someone who could lift more weight. Maybe you want to expand your workout by trying heavier weight, but haven’t built enough confidence to try it out at the gym. If you’re just the average person trying to build some muscle, how can you even compare yourself to the bodybuilders who do four hundred-pound squat repetitions on the power rack? Or, maybe you already workout at home but you’ve hit a plateau and are looking for ways to intensify your home workouts.
Those big free weight racks for heavy-weight squats and bench presses may not seem right for you, but you can gain confidence in yourself with an at-home power rack! Not only can you improve your fitness and physique, but you can also gain coordination, balance, and confidence in your abilities. Having a power rack available at home may be the best way to do that.
What are the best power racks out there?
In this article, we look at several name brand power rack manufacturers and picked out their best models. These power racks can be great tools to enhance your home workouts and build your fitness skills. Make sure you also read our buying guide to power racks and our tips. We even have links to DIY power racks (but builder beware).
One thing to consider before you continue reading: Power racks and heavy free-weight workouts may not be right for everyone. Lifting more weight than what is appropriate for you can lead to injury or worse. Check with your doctor before engaging in any exercise routine (especially if you will work out at home alone). You should also consider seeing a fitness trainer who can teach you how to properly perform free weight exercises safely prior to buying an at-home power rack. Safety is of the utmost importance when weight lifting. The next priority: Proper care of your equipment. We have some tips on how to care for your home power rack.
What exactly is a power rack?
When you think of weight lifting, you may think of huge bodybuilders in a cage-like contraption grunting and slamming their heavy barbells down on the rack when they’re done. That cage structure is a power rack. Power racks tend to have four main posts with metal bars running along the floor and at the top of the structure to connect and secure the four posts. It resembles a cage or even the frame of an old telephone booth. You may also notice bars or railing-like structures that you can position higher or lower on the main posts. These adjustable “railings” are for safety. In case of emergency and you drop a barbell, the adjustable bars can catch the barbell instead of having it hit the floor (or crush you).
Different power racks may offer different safety features and other means to adjust the rack. These safety features can allow you to engage in exercises without a spotter, however, having a spotter is always a good idea. In fact, having a human spotter may actually help you perform better while weight lifting (1). Power racks are basic yet versatile contraptions that can help you engage in various exercises. You can perform squats, deadlifts, rack pulls, and pull-ups if it comes with that attachment.
Power Rack vs. Squat Rack
Don’t get a power rack confused with a squat rack! Squat racks are not a cage-like structure and often lack some safety features of a power rack. For an in-depth review on several squat racks, click here. Power racks are also often confused with a Smith machine. A Smith machine can provide similar exercises as free weights in a power rack, however, the Smith machine has a gliding bar built-in for increased safety. The Smith machine can be more stable since the exerciser does not have to balance the barbell themselves. While the Smith machine can activate similar muscles as comparative exercises on the power rack, there can be significant differences in the amount of weight and repetitions someone can do on each contraption (2).
Doing a free weight barbell exercise recruits smaller stabilizer muscles that are needed to help balance the weight. These muscles are not as recruited from the safety features of a Smith machine. The smaller stabilizer muscles help you build better functional and overall strength.
Owning a power rack will allow you to build more muscle, strength, athletic ability, and overall body power. They allow for big compound barbell exercises that will allow all of this to happen.
What exercises can I do on a home power rack?
Again, for many people, power racks can look very intimidating, but with a little experimentation and confidence building, a power rack can be a valuable addition to your home workout area. Here’s a list of some exercises you can do on most power racks:
- Weighted bar squats
- Bench presses (weight bench required)
- Barbell shrugs
- Rack pulls
- Barbell curls
- Pull-ups and chin-ups (if pull-up bar is attached)
As you can see, there are several strength training exercises (and more) that you can do on your own personal power rack. If you are interested in purchasing versatile exercise equipment for heavier weight lifting, check out our list of name brand power racks below to consider. Don’t forget to read our buyer’s guide and tips on how to incorporate a power rack into your home workouts:
Best Rogue Power Rack
RML-390F Flat Foot Monster Lite Rack
This power rack has an impressive reputation dominated by 5-star customer reviews. It is made in the USA as a stand-alone product, or it can be converted if you already have certain Rogue power rack models.
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- Constructed with a self-stabilizing base so you don’t have to bolt it into the ground
- Comes with a FREE pull-up bar (basic bar)
- Total product weight is 295 lbs. Dimensions: 48in x 49in x 92in
- Rogue website Price: $795 + Shipping (based on location) + (optional pull-up bar upgrade + weight bench + weight plates not included in price)
Who Makes It:
Rogue Fitness is a US-based company that believes in the “Industrial Revolution 2.0” where they can create a brand that offers high-quality products while ultimately giving back to their local community. Rogue Fitness does all of its manufacturing in Columbus, Ohio. They understand that having a factory in the US can be more costly, however, they are dedicated to proving stable, long-term jobs to the people living in the community.
The Bottom Line:
If you already have certain Rogue Fitness power rack models, there is a cheaper conversion kit available, which may be a cost savings to you if you are interested in this model. For those who do not have a power rack already, you can purchase this heavy-duty product while supporting Ohio workers. Also, since this power rack does not have to be bolted in the ground, you can install the equipment quicker, easier, and have more options on where you can put this large rack.
Best Body Solid Power Rack
At 200 lbs, this power rack by Body Solid is a lighter version compared to the first power rack on the list. This product is compatible with lots of Body Solid add-on pieces so that you can diversify your workout for years to come.
- Heavy-duty steel frame with a scratch-resistant coating
- Includes a FREE pull-up bar
- Able to attach certain lat pull machines and dip machines for extra arm and back exercises
- Total product weight is 200 lbs. Dimensions: 82in x 46in x 49 in
Who Makes It:
Body Solid is the maker of this product. The company’s main goal is to eliminate the hassle, expense and travel times associated with going to the gym. It’s true, the gym really can be a drag! With Body Solid as your commercial gym equipment source, you can bring gym quality fitness equipment into your home.
The Bottom Line:
This product is a great choice for the intermediate or more advanced weight lifter since you can purchase several add-ons to diversify your workouts.
Best Titan Power Rack
Power Rack Squat Deadlift HD Lift Cage Bench Rack
This power rack received 4.5 out of 5 stars from 300 customer reviews. Over 100 questions have been answered about this product, so you have peace of mind knowing that you will have lots of information available at your fingertips during your search!
- Max free weight capacity is 700 lbs
- Includes a FREE pull-up bar
- Includes weight holders for storage and added stability for the product
- Total product weight is 107 lbs. Dimensions: 48in x 48in x 83in
Who Makes It:
Titan Fitness strives to make “low price, high-quality” products. Aside from power racks, they sell kettlebells, battle ropes, and plyo boxes to add variety to your workouts. In October, Titan Fitness joins the fight against breast cancer. Consumers can purchase their “Lift Pink” equipment and apparel. According to their website, 100% of the net proceeds from their Lift Pink products will go to the DeAngelo Williams Foundation.
The Bottom Line:
This lightweight power rack can pack a punch! For some, this 107-pound rack may be quite manageable to position into your home fitness area. This product could be great for both novice weight lifters and heavyweight champions because of his 700 lbs max weight capacity. This product also has mechanisms to put on counterweight in case you are concerned with stability while the rack is holding a lot of weight during your exercises.
Best Ethos Power Rack
Power Rack 1.0
This power rack received 4.7 out of 5 stars on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website. Unlike the other power racks on this list, you can pick the color! This product is also the only one that comes with a monkey bar attachment that can give you different workouts.
- The steel frame comes in black or red and has a scratch-resistant coating
- Includes a pull-up attachment
- Includes a monkey bar attachment that offers several grip positions to work different muscles
- Total product weight is 278 lbs. Dimensions: 52.7in x 37in x 85in
- Dick’s Sporting Goods Price: $649.98 + Shipping (weight bench + plate weights + barbell not included)
Who Makes It:
Ethos makes lots of conventional fitness products like plate weights, dip horns, weight benches, and kettlebells. They also manufacture safety accessories for heavy weight lifting like barbell collars, gloves, and pull-up assists. For other exercise equipment, check out their weighted vests, resistance bands, and recovery balls. You can find Ethos products on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website as well as other fitness outlets.
The Bottom Line:
This basic power rack would be a great option for someone new to heavy weight lifting and new to using a power rack. While it offers a few attachments with the original purchase, this product ultimately allows you to safely perform basic power rack exercises like a barbell squat or bench press.
Best Power Rack Cage
810XLT Super Max Power Cage by Fitness Reality
This power rack received a 4.5 out 5-star rating. This product has over 550 customer reviews, so you can get a lot of feedback on this power rack.
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- Max weight capacity is 800 lbs
- Includes a pull-up bar
- Total product weight is 148 lbs. Dimensions: 78.7in x 13in x 10.2in
Who Makes It:
The Fitness Reality motto is “Real People. Real Results.” For the past 10 years, they strive to make products that can fit a diverse population with various fitness needs. Fitness Reality is a division of Paradigm Health & Wellness. This is a California-based manufacturing company that makes fitness equipment for several well-known brands like Ironman and ProGear. They also make jungle gyms for children under the Ironkids brand.
The Bottom Line:
Not only is it highly rated by consumers, but it also is moderately priced compared to the other options on this list. With its high max weight capacity of 800 lbs, even serious heavy lifters can make gains from this power rack.
How to Buy the Best Product
After reading about the best power racks from several brands, you can see that power racks are somewhat similar but may have minor variations. That makes it hard to choose! To narrow down your list, you need a clear understanding of your unique power rack needs. Plus, they’re expensive! Before investing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in installing a power rack into your home, you’ll need a clear picture of the full costs of the product of your choice. Here is a guide to help you make sense of the various factors involved in choosing the ideal power rack for your needs:
Type of Workouts You Want:
All the power racks mentioned above offer the basic power rack exercises like squats and bench presses with the right add-ons. Others can provide several more exercises for a total body workout. If you currently have minimal equipment in your home fitness area, you may see this investment as a money saver since you can build on the basic power rack model. The power rack can be the cornerstone of your home gym set up.
You may not need other equipment with the power rack frame and a few attachments. For others who already have several exercise machines, you will have to determine what types of exercises are still needed and what new exercises the power rack can provide for you.
Take into account that the power racks sold online tend to just be the basic frame with a pull-up bar and safety bars. That’s usually it. If you’ll be doing weight training, you need barbells, weights, clamps, weight benches, and other accessories. All that can really add up! If you need ideas on some cheaper ways to reach your fitness goals, check out this article.
As we have mentioned, these power racks can be super-pricey. Think about how you will pay for these products. Can you purchase it at full price? Would having a power rack in your home replace the cost of a gym membership? Could you save a little money each month and do other exercises until you can afford a power rack?
Space and Footprint:
Not only are these products more expensive, but they’re heavy and big! Make sure to measure the space in your home where you would put the power rack before you buy it! Don’t forget to measure from your floor to ceiling, because these power racks are tall. Another thing to keep in mind: If you add on any attachments or are using 6 to 7-foot barbells, make sure you have enough room to use all of that. If it has a pull-up bar attachment, make sure there is enough head clearance space between it and the ceiling. The space needed when using a power rack tends to extend well beyond the basic frame.
Tips on How to Maintain Your New Piece of Equipment
- No matter which rack you finally choose, you’ll need lots of space to use it in. Remember to account for any attachments and barbells you may use on the equipment. Another thing to consider: Make sure you have ample room to move around the rack. You may need to move large plate weights on and off of the barbell, so make sure you can safely maneuver. All of that needs space!
- With your exercise equipment, you’ve gained a new job: keeping it clean! While the steel on the power rack may be scratch resistant, be sure to clean and maintain the attachments as needed. Not sure how to clean your equipment? Here are the essential products you’ll need:
- Gym equipment wipes (these are easily found online or in commercial gym equipment stores)
- Disinfecting surface wipes or sprays (i.e. Lysol)
- Fitness equipment polish products (i.e. Spintech)
- You can make your own equipment cleaner by combining 1 cup white vinegar, ½ cup baking soda, and 2 cups hot water in a spray bottle. Spray this mixture onto the equipment and then wipe it dry with a clean towel.
- Don’t attempt major repairs on your own! Instead, check with the user manual or give the customer service line a call if you have questions about maintaining your power rack. This is a best practice that will ensure the longevity of your machine.
- Don’t forget to keep your barbells, free weights and plates clean and properly stored as well. Never drop your weights on the floor, as this will damage the floor, equipment, and even your furniture. Remember, dropping free weights is noisy and might scare the people you live with! Also, just because most power racks have safety bars to catch a barbell doesn’t mean you should drop your barbell willy-nilly!
- For those who have children or pets, storing free weights and plates safely is a special concern. One solution is to keep your fitness area locked, so children and pets can’t access it. Alternatively, you could lock your weight plate rack in a closet. Weights are serious, heavy equipment, so always be careful when working out with them!
DIY Power Rack: Best Choice for You?
If you’re new to the weight lifting and free weight world, you may be turned off by these high-priced power racks that take up a lot of space. If you are a weight training expert, maybe you think you can make a DIY power rack that you can tailor to your needs. Many DIY power racks cost about $400, which may appeal to some consumers.
There are many blogs and websites that show you how to create your own power rack, but be careful! Unless you have serious carpenter or welding skills, you should probably stick to commercial products. Power racks need to be constructed to withstand heavy weight and be structurally sound. Creating an amateur DIY power rack that collapses on you during use is both impractical and dangerous. Regardless, if you like to build things yourself, we have a few links from people who have done it. Most DIY power racks are constructed of wood or steel. Again, even if you like DIY projects, most people should probably refrain from building a DIY power rack!
The Bottom Line Your Power Rack Purchase
Power racks may seem intimidating, but you can learn to use them and implement them as a mainstay in your home workout routine. This versatile equipment can help you add variety to your workout while gaining coordination and confidence in your physical abilities. As you can tell from the list above, however, power racks are big investments and big contraptions, so really analyze your needs in a power rack.
If you find yourself uncertain about which power rack to choose, revisit this article and go through the buying guide once more. Look through our product reviews and explore the brands. Make sure you take into account all the accessories you will need with the power rack so that you can get exercising as soon as the items come in! Free-weight exercises on a power rack will build balance, confidence, and use muscles you may have been ignoring in the past.
Have you ever been intimidated when working out in public? Have you ever been nervous to try free weights with barbells and plate weights? Tell us all about your power rack and weight lifting experiences in the comments below.
A friend of mine (bodybuilder, about 198 lbs) is looking for a cheap Power Rack, which should meet the following criteria:
– not too big
– relatively inexpensive
– good possibilities for ring or sling trainer use
I promised him I would help. You definitely seem to have some knowledge about what you are writing. Congratulations at this point!
I hope you can tell me one of the above models (or others), which also have the above criteria. I am looking forward to your response!
Since your friend is trying to get a moderately priced product, consider the Titan T-2. This is similar to the Titan HD, which is currently unavailable the last time I checked. This one is moderately priced (compared to other models) and can hold 700 lbs. With some Titan models, you can add counter weight to make sure that the rack is stable. Also, your friend could consider a squat rack, which usually takes up less floor space that an entire power rack.
Is there a guide to know the best way to do these exercises and avoid injuries?
While we don’t have a how-to guide for power racks, we would suggest seeing a personal trainer in order to learn how to properly use such machines/equipment. Also, make sure your doctor is aware and approves of your desired exercise routine. If you are a beginner to weight lifting, we also suggest having a workout buddy to monitor and help you during the exercises.
I just want to become fit and have six packs but I seriously want to avoid any injuries so should I buy a smith machine or a Power Rack ?
I totally agree that a DYI power rack is questionable — I get trying to save money, but not at the expense of your health! And to answer your questions…yes I get intimidated working out in public! I’m a newbie and I feel like people judge my knowledge and abilities 🙁