Imagine your plate weights and dumbbells, neatly stacked on weight racks where you can easily access them. Weight lifting becomes a breeze as you spend less time maneuvering your weights and more time working out!
A weight rack is a perfect solution for organizing your weight lifting equipment. Otherwise, you might have to fetch weights from all over your home gym’s floor!
But which rack is best for you? It can feel overwhelming to search for the correct weight rack product with so many options to choose from. This guide will walk you through the process of purchasing the best weight rack for your needs.
Before you know it, your weight lifting routine of squats, bench press, and the deadlift will be streamlined and easy thanks to your great rack.
In this article, you’ll learn about the various types of weight rack products, what to look for in a weight rack, our favorite weight rack products, and how a weight rack can help you up your lifting game. With a quality weight rack, your home gym will take a dramatic step towards offering you the organized exercise space you need to achieve your fitness goals. Ready to learn everything you know to make your purchase? Let’s get started.
Weight Racks: Types and Features
Look for weight racks in any search engine and you’ll find a plethora of products available for sale. There is an endless number of designs and features, making it hard to choose the right one for your needs. Here is a guide to what you can expect from this piece of gym equipment:
Types of Weight Rack Products
There are a few basic types of weight stand products you’ll find. The two main types are the weight plate rack and the dumbbell weight rack. As you can imagine, the weight plate rack is designed for holding weight plates and the dumbbell rack is for holding your dumbbells. However, there are also specific Olympic weight rack options for those who have Olympic weights.
Another popular type of weight rack is wall mounted weight rack products. These can help you save floor space but offer less flexibility since you can’t easily move them. In addition, you must make sure that your wall studs are sturdy enough to handle the weight before you install it.
Pro Tip: The main difference between regular weights and Olympic weights is that Olympic free weights have 2-inch holes while standard weights have 1-inch holes. So, Olympic weight rack products feature posts that are 2 inches in diameter, meaning that your standard weights won’t fit on this type of rack.
Features on Weight Rack Products
There are various important features on weight rack products that you might want to take into account when making your purchase. Here are the main features you should know about:
Some free weight racks also feature a spot where you can store a bar or two. This is great if you have more than one bar and you need a spot to keep your extra bar, rather than storing more than one on your squat rack or bench press rack.
Not all weight tree racks are designed the same way. Some can hold much more weight than others, so consider adding up the weight of your free weights before purchasing your weight rack so you can make sure it will hold all of your weights.
Another concern is the space between bar posts. Consider that your weights with the largest diameter, for example, 35s or 45s might not be able to hang on the same side as your 25s. So, especially if you have a lot of heavier weights, you must consider the arrangement so that weights have enough room to hang.
Type of Weights Held
Weight racks can hold different types of weight including Olympic weights, standard weights, free weights, and dumbbell weights. If you’re looking to buy a dumbbell weight rack, make sure you also check out our article specializing in this type of rack.
Most weight trees come with protective rubber feet that will keep your floor from getting scratched up. Make sure you check for these before making a purchase.
Many weight rack products double as exercise stations. For example, you can sometimes find squat racks, bench press racks, or weight benches that also feature weight rack space for your weight plates. Alternatively, weight rack cage products also serve a dual purpose and can be used for squats, bench press, and more. Weight rack cage products also offer important features that can keep you safe while lifting. For example, you can see some of these power racks offer weight rack features.
Despite the advantages these dual purpose products offer, chances are you’ll also need extra storage space in the form of a basic weight rack. For those needs, read on to learn about the best weight rack products.
The Best Weight Rack Products
What are the best weight rack options on the market? We’ve scoured the internet to discover the products that are most highly regarded by consumers and offer the features you need in your home gym.
Livin3’s Top Pick: A Budget-Friendly Weight Plate Rack
This plate weight rack is simple, sturdy, and offers plenty of posts to store your Olympic plate weights. Offered at a bargain price and with an impressive number of positive reviews, this weight stand gets the job done. Customers love that there are so many posts to organize weights. The middle post, while small, can still hold clips or small plate weights, such as 5 and 2.5-pound plates.
- Steel construction
- Features rubber feet to protect floor
- Offers 7 posts to store weights
- Weight capacity of 500 pounds
- Small footprint: 22 inches long, 19 inches wide and 37 inches tall
- For Olympic sized weights
The Bottom Line
If you want maximum posts to organize your weights and a simple, durable design that won’t break the bank, the CAP Barbell Plate Rack is perfect for you. Just make sure you have Olympic weights to go with it, as the posts are 2 inches wide.
Livin3’s Runner Up: Marcy’s Dumbbell Weight Rack
Looking for a dumbbell weight rack? This choice offers a heavy duty, attractive product that won’t blow your budget either. The slanted shelves make it easy to store, view, and select from your dumbbells while working out. They design the shelves to hold the weights firmly in place, even while slanted. Customers love the rack, so why not give it a shot?
- Made of steel
- Rubber feet protect the floor
- 3 shelves with slant hold several pairs of dumbbells each
- Accommodate a wide variety of dumbbells
- Weight capacity of 800 pounds
The Bottom Line
The quality and price combined with rave reviews make this a no-brainer first choice for those who need a dumbbell rack. If you’re seeking a dumbbell weight set with rack, consider opting for this high-quality rack and purchasing a set of dumbbells separately. You’ll love the design of Macy’s rack that’s easy to use, attractive and durable.
Livin3’s Honorable Mention: Olympic Weight Rack
Need something with a tiny footprint that will help you get a few plates weights up off the floor? This attractive, small weight rack can do the job. As a bonus, you get a great storage spot for your barbell.
- Attractive silver finish
- Steel construction
- Features rubber foot pads to protect your floor
- 4 posts for weights and 1 bar rack
- Dimensions: 25 inches long, 24 inches wide and 32.4 inches tall
- Olympic sized posts that are 2 inches wide
- Weight capacity of 300 pounds
The Bottom Line
If you don’t have too many weight plates to hold and you’d prefer a simple rack, this one will do the job. It’s affordable, durable, well-loved by customers, and makes a great choice for beginning weight lifters. The only complaint customers say about this model is that it scratches easily. There’s plenty of space between the posts, meaning you can easily fit your large diameter plates on the same side of the rack.
Olympic Weight Tree: High Weight Capacity
Loved by customers, this Olympic weight tree may mean you have to pay a bit more, but you’ll get your money’s worth. If you need a weight rack that can handle heavier plate weights, this is the best choice. Loved for its design and high weight capacity, Fitness Reality’s X-Class weight tree also holds 2 bars, keeping all of your lifting equipment neat and organized.
- Steel frame with chrome plating to avoid scratching
- Holds 2 Olympic bars
- 6 posts that are 8 inches long each, easily holding 3 plates or more
- Dimensions: 26.5 inches long, 22 inches wide, 41.4 inches high
- Designed for holding Olympic weights with 2-inch holes
- Weight capacity of 1000 pounds
The Bottom Line
A bargain given its high weight capacity and ability to hold up to 2 bars, Fitness Reality’s weight rack is a great choice for more advanced lifters.
How to Choose a Weight Lifting Stand
Now that you know all the relevant details about some of the best weight stand products on the market, how do you pick?
Opt for a weight rack that checks all of these boxes:
Look at materials when you purchase your weight rack. It’s best to opt for racks made of steel that can put up with the heavy-duty use you’ll give them. Take a careful look at the weight of the product to get an idea of how stable the rack will be.
Also, double-check for rubber feet that will protect your floors and keep the rack stable when you’re moving your weights around. Finally, consider the finish. While mostly an aesthetic concern, some finishes resist scratching better than others. For example, painted finishes might be prone to scratching, while chrome rarely scratches as easily.
Pick a rack that meets your budget requirements. If you only have $50 or so, there are still options out there. But, if you can afford something better, then consider spending a little more so you can get better construction and increased weight capacity.
You might think 500 pounds capacity sounds like a lot, but when you add up your plate weights, you might fill that requirement more quickly than you think. You should also always be thinking of room to grow. Hopefully, as you lift weights, you’ll build your muscles.
One of the best, scientifically proven ways to continue to increase your strength and build muscle is to constantly challenge yourself by lifting heavier loads, breaking your muscles down and causing them to regrow (1, 2). The secret to muscle growth relies on progressive overload. This is gradually increasing the resistance so, over time, your muscles adapt by becoming larger and stronger. So, that means you should have growth in mind when you purchase your weight tree.
What makes up 500 pounds? All it takes is the following free weights to get up to 500 pounds:
- 4 forty-five pound plates
- 4 thirty pound plates
- 4 twenty-five pound plates
- 6 ten pound plates
- 8 five pound plates
For a beginner, that’s plenty. But, as you move up, or if you’re already an experienced lifter, you may need a weight rack that can accommodate more.
The Right Kind
What types of weights are you hoping to organize? Choose the weight rack that will work for your needs, whether they’re dumbbells or plate weights. Also, if a spot for your bar is a must, make sure you choose a model that includes a bar stand.
Don’t forget to double check if they design the rack for Olympic or standard weights. Standard weights won’t fit on Olympic racks because the posts will be too wide for their 1-inch holes. However, both Olympic and standard weights fit on standard racks. Keep in mind that Olympic weights will fit loosely on standard-sized stands.
What Weights Should You Purchase for Your Weight Rack?
What sort of weights do you need for your rack? If you’re building your home gym from scratch and will also purchase weight plates or dumbbells, you can read our buying guide on weight plates and dumbbell sets.
When it comes to your weight plates, just make sure they’re compatible with the rack you’ve chosen. For example, if you’ve opted for the Olympic rack, then be sure to buy weight plates with 2 inch holes. If you buy standard plates, they won’t fit on your rack.
Also, read the information carefully about the weight plates or dumbbell sets that you’ll buy. Some come individually or in pairs and others come in sets. It’s often more economical to buy a set when you’re starting out. Then, you can add on individual weights and sets of dumbbells as you need them. Also, if you’re purchasing weight plates, remember you’ll also need a bar. Otherwise, you’ll have great plates, but no way to use them.
Exercises That Feature Weights: How to Use Your Weight Rack
With plates weights and a bar, or some dumbbells, or both, you can get a full-body workout that targets every major muscle group in your body. What are some of the most popular exercises featuring the dumbbells and weight plates you have sitting on your weight rack? Here are some of the most popular exercises you can do using your weights and how they’ll help you build your dream body:
Sculpt your chest, shoulders, and arms when you do the press. However, studies show that the hardest-worked muscles by this exercise are the pectoralis major, deltoids, and the triceps brachii. For this exercise, you can use a flat or inclined weight bench. Then, load the bar with plate weights from your weight rack and grip the bar so that your arms are about shoulder-width apart. Lower the weight under control to your mid-chest, then push the bar up until your arms are completely extended and then bring the bar down to your chest to complete one repetition. Make sure to stop just short of locking out your elbows. When you lock out a joint, not only can you possibly damage it, it takes the tension off the muscle you’re wanting to work.
To work your quads, glutes, and calves, there’s nothing like squats. This is a full-body exercise that also engages your core and smaller stabilizer muscles. When you squat, you put your body into a defensive position which releases natural hormones like testosterone and growth hormone and these assist you in gaining strength and muscle. However, besides the big muscles like the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, this exercise also engages your core, knee, hip extensors, and ankle flexors (1).
To perform this exercise, you’ll load up your bar and place it behind your neck across your shoulders. Grasp the bar with your hands. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, inhale and perform a sitting or squatting motion, lowering your hips and imagining your sitting in a chair. Don’t let your knees go beyond your toes. At your lowest position, your legs should surpass parallel with the ground just slightly. Keep your core tight and exhale as you drive upwards pushing through your feet into the ground. A helpful tip to fully engage your muscles when squatting is to picture pushing the Earth away with your feet as you push upwards.
If the squat is the king of exercises, the deadlift may be the queen. This is another full-body motion that recruits pretty much every muscle in the body from your neck all the way down to your feet. The deadlift is a great exercise for your whole body, but it is particularly good for your back, contrary to popular belief. In fact, it can help eliminate back pain in some cases, studies show.
How do you do it?
Load the bar with weights so that lifting the bar poses a challenge. Then, bend at the knees and waist similar to a squatting position to grasp the bar, keeping your back straight and your head up. Use an overhand grip with your hands placed just outside your legs. Then, stand up, pulling the bar and fully engaging your core and legs until you’re fully erect and your shoulders pulled back. Leave your arms fully extended and lockout at the top by slightly pushing your hips forward and clenching your glutes. Then, using the same technique, lower the bar back down under control to the ground again. Keep your core tight throughout the entire movement. The muscles of your core act like a natural weight belt to protect your back, but you need to keep them engaged.
This exercise typically uses dumbbells, although you can also perform bicep curls with a bar and plate weights. The best variation of the bicep curl involves the use of an inclined weight bench. This increases the range of motion, which, according to this review, suggests that you use more muscle fiber and energy when performing the exercise.
To do this exercise, grab dumbbells of an appropriate weight. Then, let your arms hang down. Then, pull the dumbbell up to your shoulder while engaging your core to ensure that you don’t use a swinging motion. Squeeze your biceps at the top to force more blood into the muscle fiber, then, lower the dumbbell again slowly. Make sure to get a good stretch at the bottom to complete the full range of motion.
Also featuring dumbbells, rows are a great way to get a back workout. Try these rows using two dumbbells of equal weight. Bend your knees and waist, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be hanging. Then, keeping your back straight, pull your arms up, bending at the elbow until your elbows go just above your back. Be sure to squeeze in between your shoulder blades when you reach the top. Keep your elbow pulled tight into your body and avoid having them flail out to the side. Imagine a bar running down the middle of your back and trying to squeeze your shoulder blade around it. Avoid having your head drop down too low. As the set goes on, and it becomes more difficult, your head can start to drop. Make sure to avoid this so you don’t risk straining muscles in your neck.
Tricep Overhead Extensions
Target your triceps with this excellent dumbbell exercise. Grab a heavier one from your weight rack and hold it between your hands palms facing up, forearms facing out. Then, raise your arms up above your head. Slowly, lower the weight behind your head, bending your elbows. Slowly raise the weight again by extending your arms. Make sure to get a good stretch through the triceps as your lower it behind your head and stop just short of locking out your elbows at the top.
With your weight rack fully stocked with quality weights, a weight bench, a dip bar station, and other basic home gym equipment, you can perform all the above exercises, helping you achieve your desired level of fitness. Sure, it’s an investment to purchase all of your own gym equipment, but so are gym memberships. At least if you purchase your own equipment you can avoid the drive to the gym, the lines, and the hassle.
The Bottom Line on Purchasing a Weight Rack
Purchasing a quality weight rack to store your plate weights or dumbbells is a decision that will make your home gym infinitely more organized and enjoyable to use. The more you enjoy working out, the more likely you are to do it! So, a quality weight rack is a great investment for your home gym.
Make sure that when choosing, you consider all the important aspects of the rack such as the material it’s made of, how much weight capacity it offers, how many posts it has, the spacing and what type of weights it accommodates: Olympic or standard. Don’t forget to also consider your budget so you don’t overspend. Luckily, there are many quality affordable weight rack options on the market so you can keep your weights organized on the cheap.
Do you have a favorite weight rack that you’d recommend to all of your weight lifting friends? Tell us about it in the comments below.