LIFTING weights is one of the easiest ways to get into shape so we’ve picked out some of the best squat racks to help you workout safely at home.
Read on to find out how they work and how to use one correctly.
What is a squat rack?
A squat rack is basically a support frame that helps you to lift weights safely and get into the right position more easily.
It has a strong, wide base that supports two vertical arms where you can rest the barbell while you get into position between them.
There are also one or two horizontal bars across the top to connect the two vertical arms. These help to make the frame more stable, and you can also use them for pull ups.
You can get a paired down version known as a squat stand, which doesn’t have the horizontal bars at the top. These are generally cheaper although they can’t hold as much weight.
For serious weightlifters, there are also power racks or power cages, which have four vertical arms.
The enclosed frames mean you won’t be able to do some movements but because these feature catch bars, which stop barbells from dropping on you or rolling away and injuring other people, you can use them without a spotter.
How much is a squat rack?
The price of squat racks can vary enormously depending on what fittings it comes with, how sturdy it is and how much weight it can handle.
They can start from as little as £100 and go up to thousands of pounds.
We’ve rounded up a range of different price points below, and included power racks as well as squat stands.
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Domyos weight training rack
This fully adjustable rack measures 212cm (H) x 116cm (W) x 112cm (D) and can support a maximum weight of 175kg.
The chin up bar across the top can support up to 110kg, which means you can add even more power to your pull ups with weights.
Plus, it has brackets on the H leg that you can use to secure the rack to the floor.
Domyos weight training rack
Decathlon's Domyos range of sports equipment is well-priced and well-rated.
This squat rack can be used for weight training with weights, dumbbells, and guided weights.
It also works as a full-on gym for squats, chin ups and pulley hauls and measures 216cm (H) x 121cm (W) x 166cm (D).
GYM MASTER heavy duty half power cage
This power cage is ideal for bench presses and squats, as well as dips and weighted pull ups.
It has two chrome safety bars and two chrome barbell rests (plus two adjustable dip bar accessories) and can hold a maximum 200kg barbell.
It measures 211cm (H) x 121cm (W) x 137cm (D) .
Hardcastle adjustable squat rack
This squat rack ticks the value for money and safety boxes thanks to spotters that can be adjusted across seven different levels to suit your height and the exercises you're doing.
Measuring 163cm (H) x 123cm (W) x 96.5cm (D), it's much more compact than a full power cage.
It's compatible with 1" & 2" Olympic barbell bars and has 13 rack levels and 10 width settings.
Pro Fitness squat rack
This budget-friendly squat rack measures 201.5cm (H) x 117cm (W) x 114cm (D) and can support weights of up to 150kg.
It’s wide enough for Olympic-sized bars, which makes it a good budget-friendly beginner to pro option.
The barbell rest is also fully height adjustable to make it even more versatile.
K-Sport squat stand
This durable rack can support a hefty 280kg of weight, making it one of the strongest we’ve featured.
It measures 193.5cm (H) x 114cm (W) x 112cm (D), with a slanted bar hook system that can support your barbell at different heights without you having to make adjustments between exercises.
It can even be used with a bench for bench presses.
GymGear squat rack
For a seriously premium home gym, try this squat rack.
It measures 212.5cm (H) x 172cm (W) x 128cm (D) and has plenty of space for storing weights. The rack supports nine different height positions and there’s also an adjustable safety bar.
JX FITNESS squat rack
BSSR3 Bulldog series squat rack
Measuring 250cm (H) x 125cm (W) x 120cm (D), this premium squat rack is a serious piece of kit designed for Crossfit gyms.
The rack is fully adjustable for height and you can store weights at the base to make it even more stable.
It comes in two finishes: powder coated or galvanised.
This squat rack is not only height adjustable but also width adjustable, making it even more versatile.
It measures 144.8cm (H) x 101.6cm (W) x 106cm (D) so it’s quite a bit smaller than some of the other squat racks and you can’t do pull ups.
However, it can handle up to 200kg of weight, which means it’s suitable for most beginners.
How high should a squat rack be?
Before you use a squat rack, make sure you adjust the height to suit you.
The holders for the barbell should be at a level just below your shoulders when you’re standing up, so you can rest the bar on top of your shoulders and lift it off the rack by standing up straight.
If your squat rack has spotter bars - and the best squat racks should have them for extra safety - these should be set to just below the lowest point you can squat to with the bar on your shoulders.
That means if you need to drop the barbell for whatever reason, the spotter bars will catch the barbell, but it won’t get in the way when you do a normal squat.
How to use a squat rack
Once your squat rack is adjusted to the right height, you need to set up your barbell.
Make sure the centre of your barbell is in the centre of your squat rack so it’s evenly weighted on both sides when you step in for your lift.
If you want to add any extra weights, now is the time to do so as well.
When you’re ready, step under the barbell facing into the rack and, with the bar resting across your shoulders rather than your neck, lift it up and off the frame with the help of your glutes.
Step back one leg at a time so you’re a step away from the frame and adjust your feet so they’re waist-width apart, and your knees will point in the same direction as your toes when you squat down.
Then breathe in, push your hips back and squat down. At the bottom, your weight should be in your heels and you shouldn’t lean forward or backward.
With the help of your glutes, stand back up again, keeping your body firm.
Repeat the process for as many reps as you’re comfortable with and then after your last lift, step forward into the frame and allow the supports to take the weight of the barbell. Once it’s firmly in place, step out from under it.
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