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With a huge range of options available, choosing the right power rack or squat stand for your needs and training space can be a daunting task and also very easy to get wrong. We've summarised some of the common questions we frequently receive from customers, hoping to provide answers and more in this article.
A power rack or squat stand (also known as a power cage, squat rack or squat cage) is often the centrepiece of your home gym or commercial facility, with the rest of the strength and weightlifting equipment being acquired around the racks. Power racks enable you to perform full-body workouts, adding a range of exercises to your training routine in a relatively compact space.
A quality power rack will allow you to utilise free weights, which for us are the most effective way to build overall strength. This is supported by the increasing use of power racks in gyms of all sizes, as serious weight training is being included in more training regimes. Power racks allow for more movement than resistance equipment. For example, some of the accessories available with power racks are spotter arms, weight pegs, cable attachments and dip stations, to name a few. These accessories can unlock a host of core weight lifting exercises, from squats and bench press to overhead press and pull-ups.
Through a combination of the j-cups and spotter arms, barbell weight can be held from almost any position you need so that you can focus fully on the lift. Making the key lifts like squat, bench press and overhead press a whole lot easier to undertake, as you can also work inside the rack itself. Generally speaking, you want a rack was wide and tall as possible for the space you have to house it to give you the most workout flexibility. If you want to have the best equipment for your home gym or facility, a power rack is essential to take strength training seriously and maintain your safety.
The power rack design allows you to lift and squat very heavy weights without the need for a training partner as they should come with safety spotter arms. In the case of muscular fatigue or loss of control, spotter arms will protect users from the barbell weight, ensuring full safety by catching any falling weight.
At a very basic level, the design of a power rack consists of four steel uprights and two horizontal bars connecting the uprights, or a fixed base that is individually constructed. Not to forget, the all-important horizontal pull up bars that are situated at the top of the uprights, which can vary in thickness, design and placement on the rack.
Squat racks (or stands) are the classic choice for a home gym when you are looking for simplicity in your training. A good squat rack should be able to support a range of barbell strength and conditioning movements, but differs from a power rack, with a reduced max capacity and range of accessories. A squat stand is the most economical choice for a home training set up; these are often the first purchase before people upgrade to a full power rack. With some squat racks, you can build on them to add a pull-up bar or half-rack conversion set up.
A standard squat stand is a minimalist design that will require a small amount of assembly, comprising of uprights and base that will need setting up. J-Cups may be included as standard, but additional accessories such as spotter arms are often chargeable extras. Due to the slimline design of a squat stand, these racks have a lowered max capacity to maintain safety whilst training.
One of the most popular options for home gyms is a folding squat rack; this style of squat stand is a great choice for limited space options. For example, if your home gym exists in a garage where you might also need to park a car or store other items. We would always recommend speaking to a local builder or hardware store when fitting one of these racks, as they do require proper installation. Every home training space is different in terms of construction and environment; an expert will be able to ensure that the rack is installed in the safest way possible.
A quality power rack will allow you to utilise free weights, which for us are the most effective way to build overall strength. This is supported by the increasing use of power racks in gyms of all sizes, as serious weight training is being included in more training regimes. Power racks allow for more movement than resistance equipment, usually having more features at a much lower cost. For example, some of the accessories available with power racks are spotter arms, weight pegs, cable attachments and dip stations, to name a few. These accessories can unlock a host of core weight lifting exercises, from squats and bench press to overhead press and pull-ups.
With most free-standing power racks, you are going to need a reasonable amount of floor space and ceiling height available. It is strongly recommended you assess the footprint of the power rack before purchasing, also considering the extra width you'll need for the barbell and loaded weights. You can ask your supplier for the dimensions and quickly use a tape measure to plan out the space needed for the power rack.
Make sure you are confident on the location for the rack, as they aren't moved around too easily and most likely will need disassembling to be relocated. Power racks can vary in height, and there are some shorter designs available, but the average upright height can be around 7-8 feet, even higher with certain pull-up systems. It's essential to consider ceiling height before making a purchasing decision, not to restrict your pull-up training or have to return a used rack which can be expensive and tricky to return to retailers.
Aside from free-standing power racks and stands, we have wall-mounted (fold to the wall) power rack and squat stand options available to customers. These racks are designed to save maximum space in your training area. Providing a great workout when you need it, but the compact design allows for folded storage when not in use.
This style of rack is bolted to the wall, so no need to be concerned about stability or rack sway when loaded with barbell weight. These are huge favourites in home gyms and smaller fitness studios, as they allow for the most optimal use of space in tight areas. Again Faster has two styles of wall-mounted rack available, one in the more traditional squat rack style and one with taller uprights and pull-up bar system built-in.
We hope we have provided a few key points to consider when looking to purchase a power rack, as it can get confusing with all of the different options available. Overall, the core functionality is very similar amongst those on the market, although they vary a lot in features and quality. It's essential to do your research before diving into a purchase!
We offer a choice of three different options of rack spec, each product range with their own compatible accessories.
This includes the Evolution Series (50x50mm); designed for the home lifter and small PT style gyms, with a range of movements in mind. Our Evolution Racks include safety spotter pins and a choice of pull-up bar styles. These racks are generally seen as our entry-level range for people looking for cost-effective options without needing too many features.
Our popular Team Series (50x80mm) includes our widest range of racks suitable for both home and light commercial usage. This range includes two options for folding squat racks, squat stand and our new Team Power Rack. Compatible accessories include a dip station and safety spotter arms.
For our commercial gym customers, we offer our Competition Series (80x80mm) of Power Racks and pull up rig systems. Constructed with 11-gauge commercial quality steel, this range of equipment is designed to take a beating with the highest weight rating in our range. Our rigs and Competition Power Racks also include the largest range of accessories to allow you to customise your equipment to your requirements.
Bring your gym design to life with our 3d gym designer. Layout your space to exact size specification and experiment with different equipment layouts to maximise your training space.