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The Ultimate Guide to Power Racks

vervefitness July 17, 2020

Power Rack Buying Guide

Freeweights are arguably the best way to build muscle and strength. There are literally hundreds of freeweight exercises you can choose from and many have been in use for hundreds of years. Armed with nothing more than an Olympic barbell, some weight plates, and collars to keep the weights in place, you can develop a strong, muscular body. Strength training does not need to be complicated.

However, if you train with barbells, you need a power rack. Power racks should be considered an essential piece of equipment both for commercial and serious home and garage gyms. A power rack will not only make your workouts more productive and safer, they also increase the number of exercises you can do in a relatively compact space. Add an FID adjustable bench and, combined with a barbell and weight plates, you have everything you need for a successful workout.

With so many makes and types of power rack on the market, it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. This article will guide you through the functions and features you should look for and also help you understand how to put those features to good use.

What is a power rack?

A power rack, also known as a power cage, is a workout station that allows you to perform barbell exercise and some bodyweight exercises. Usually constructed from four or six pillars strong metal pillars plus adjustable horizontal safety bars, power racks are built to make exercises like squats, bench presses, and overhead presses safer.

Unlike a Smith machine, where the weight moves on rails or rods, a power rack allows the bar to move more naturally. This makes exercises performed in a power rack more functional which means the user must not only push up or pull down, but also balance and control the weight. This is not the case with the Smith machine.

While some power racks are freestanding, others bolt to the floor, and others bolt to the wall. Some, called half-racks, are open at the front, while others are fully enclosed, and the user stands inside the pillars. Strength training rigs are similar to power racks but are designed to accommodate more users and are popular with CrossFit participants.

Benefits of using a power rack

Considering their simplicity, power racks offer a wide range of benefits. Whatever your training goal, a power rack can help you achieve it. Those benefits include:

Convenience– power racks have adjustable J-hooks so you can position your barbell in the best place to start your chosen exercise. This will save you a lot of wasted effort and also make your workouts safer. 

For example, when squatting, you don’t want to rise up on to your tiptoes to unrack the bar, and nor do you want to half-squat it out of the rack before starting your set. The adjustable J-hooks means you can move the barbell up or down for much easier racking and reracking, leaving you free to focus on your set.

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