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The 5 Best Power Racks (for Next Level Gains)

The 5 Best Power Racks (for Next Level Gains)

Are you sick and tired of just doing dumbbell or bodyweight workouts at home? Or, have you been looking for a way to amplify your workouts so that you can make more muscle gains? If you are looking for a comprehensive and effective muscle building workout program, consider adequate protein intake and consistent, heavy weight lifting (1). Also, maybe you’ve heard about the benefits of weight lifting with a power rack, but you are not sure which power rack is the best for your home fitness space. As you may know, these weight lifting racks can be huge pieces of equipment, so you want to choose the right one the first time!

In this article, we will review the best power racks on the market (both manufactured and DIY options). If you are interested in purchasing a weight lifting rack, we will lay out all of the essentials for picking the best one for you. Along with a complete breakdown of the five best power racks, we will look at the research and power rack reviews so that you can get a well-rounded analysis.

For those who do not have time to read through all the reviews, jump down to “The Rundown” section to get the skinny on key power rack specs which are discussed in this article. Once you have chosen your new weight lifting rack, save our sample workout to try on your new piece of equipment!

Power Rack vs. Squat Rack: What’s the difference?

In the fitness world, some people may think power racks and squat racks are the same thing, or they may use the words interchangeably. If you really want to sound like a weight lifting pro, make sure you know the difference between a power rack and a squat rack.

The Similarities

Woman Using Squat Rack For FitnessIn the most basic sense, weightlifting power racks and squat racks both allow you to perform exercises with various barbells and weight sets, rather than dumbbells and cable weights. While some power racks and squat racks can be part of a total home gym, most stand alone as singular pieces of exercise equipment.

Also, power racks and squat racks can also engage in similar exercises. With that, here is a list of power rack and squat rack exercises you can do on these types of equipment:

  • Barbell shrugs
  • Pull-ups and chin-ups (pull-up bar required)
  • Barbell curls
  • Bench presses (weight bench required)
  • Barbell squats

According to one study, researchers found that heavy weight lifting exercises such as the ones listed above are extremely effective for increasing muscle mass (2). Another study found that the extent to which muscles fatigue during strength training may determine how much they will bulk up after exercise. In other words, the more your muscles fatigue, the more they adapt and grow after you exercise. So, if you are looking to bulk up and have yet to implement heavy weight exercises into your home workout routine, it’s probably time to invest in a power rack or squat rack!

The Differences

Man Using Power Rack Lifting BarbellWhile they can help you do similar exercises, there are some differences between power racks and squat racks that you should know. With four vertical posts, a power rack is usually a cage-like structure that you must step into in order to exercise. On the other hand, a squat rack typically consists of only two vertical posts. That being said however, a power cage may take up more floor space than a squat rack.

In terms of safety, the power rack has more options or add-ons that you can purchase to make heavy weight lifting exercises safer. For example, many power racks give you the option to install horizontal safety railings between the vertical posts. These safety railings are great for catching a barbell if you accidentally drop it. As you may imagine, such safety features can prevent a barbell from hitting the floor (or hurting you).

For those looking for an all-in-one total home gym, a squat rack is more likely to be included in the home gym product, rather than a huge power cage. However, to make a power rack more versatile, add-ons and installations may be available for purchase.

Know Your Needs in a Power Rack

Before you read our comprehensive power rack reviews, make sure you think about your needs in a home power rack. So, here’s a list of things to consider:

Space Required:

Having a huge cage-like structure may take up a lot of horizontal and vertical space in your home. Also, don’t forget that the dimensions of these powers racks do not include the space needed for a 6 or 7-foot barbell. Obviously, a barbell (plus added plate weights) may extend well beyond the dimensions of the power racks.

Your Workout Needs:

While looking at these power rack reviews, think about what exercises you want to do on a home power rack. As you will see, some of these weight lifting racks have several attachments or the option to upgrade the equipment. If you want several types of workouts from your power rack, consider one that can be upgraded or modified. On the other hand, if you already have lots of home exercise equipment, you may just want a basic power rack.

Accessories Required for Use:

Aside from the possible add-ons you can get, make sure you take into account that most power racks do not come with weight plates and barbells. Undoubtedly, these are separate purchases and that will require extra space during exercise and in storage.

Now that you know what to think about when choosing a power rack, take a look at the Fitnessator’s top picks in power cages. Once you read the reviews, don’t forget to try our sample power rack workout detailed below!

Fitnessator’s Top Pick

RML-390F Monster Lite Power Rack by Rogue

RML-390F Monster Lite Power Rack by RogueWhy We Love It:

Like many other Rogue products, this Rogue power rack is built with a heavy duty and sturdy steel frame. As you will see in the highlights below, this power rack is extremely customizable to fit your needs. While some attachments on this Rogue power rack do require an additional purchase, there are some features that come with the basic model at no extra cost.

The Research:

If you want proof that Rogue makes high quality power racks, check out this scientific study. In this 2015 trial, researchers used the solid Rogue power rack to test the participants’ strength after supplementation. Of note, these participants were athletic college students who were asked to participate in several heavy weight exercises before and after supplementation. 

Details:

  • Constructed of a heavy-duty steel frame that is self-stabilizing, so no need to bolt it into the floor
  • Includes a basic pull-up bar for added chest workouts and arm exercises
  • Total product weight is 295 lbs
  • Dimensions: 48in x 49in x 92in
  • Price (Rogue Website): $795 however, additional attachments available but not included

Things to Consider:

As you can see, the basic Rogue power rack comes with a basic pull-up bar. Other attachments and upgrades are an additional cost. If you purchase from the Rogue website, however, the company makes it easy to pair your basic power rack with all the attachments (i.e. weight bench, safety bars, upgraded pull-up bar).

Customer Reviews:

In order to get the full picture, we looked at reviews from people who purchased both the brand new Rogue power rack as well as those who purchased the conversion kits for their older Rogue models. Per the customer reviews, those who bought the conversion kit found that the kit still gave them a sturdy and durable power cage. To prove the Rogue power rack’s longevity and durability, one customer shared that while their entire California home was burned to the ground from wildfires, they came back to find that their Rogue power rack was still standing amongst the rubble!

While this product is highly rated, some customers complain that the attachments are not as sturdy or solid as the main frame itself. Also, some customers complain that this power rack does not have sufficient holes to adjust the height of the barbell holders and safety railings. That being said, you may find that your barbell stand may have to be set slightly too low or too high for what you need.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you are looking for a more complete and versatile power rack, consider purchasing this power rack and the attachments as an entire package. For those who already have an older Rogue power rack model but are interested in an upgrade, you can purchase a Rogue power rack conversion kit for $355, perhaps saving you money instead of buying a whole new power cage. Also, since this power rack does not have to be bolted to the floor, you can use this weight lifting equipment without having to drill into your floor.

Fitnessator’s Runner Up

GPR378 Pro Power Rack by Body Solid

GPR378 Pro Power Rack by Body SolidWhy We Love It:

The GPR370 Power Rack is compatible with several attachments so you can expand the workout profile of this equipment. Compared to the Fitnessator Top Pick, the Body Solid power rack is a lighter version of the Rogue power rack.

Details:

  • Pull-up bar included with the power cage
  • Power rack contains mechanisms for a lat pulldown and dip attachment which are not included
  • Total product weight is 200 lbs
  • Dimensions: 82in x 46in x 49in
  • Price (Fitness Giant Website): $645

Things to Consider:

Since the Body Solid power rack gives you the option of several attachments and features, you may not need to purchase other exercise equipment for you home fitness space. For those concerned with safety, the Body Solid is compatible with “spotter arms” that can hold onto your weight plates from above and prevent the barbell from hitting the floor (or crushing you). If you are interested in heavy weight lat workouts for a muscular and toned back, this power rack can be equipped with a weighted lat pulldown installment.

Customer Reviews:

As with the Fitnessator’s top pick, customers claim that the Body Solid power rack is a very sturdy piece of equipment. According to several customers, the installation of this power rack was quick and simple (under two hours with for a one-person assembly).

On the other hand, customers complain that the four feet on this machine are coated in plastic and may be prone to chipping. Likewise, one customer had an issue where one of the feet did not click in, resulting in a slight wobble during use. 

Who Should Purchase This Product:

Since this product is compatible with various attachments, consider the Body Solid power rack if you want a total body workout. If you are a more advanced exerciser who understands how to change out the attachments and utilize all the workouts available on this power rack, consider purchasing the Body Solid power rack and the appropriate add-ons.

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention

Hammer Strength HD Elite Power Rack by Life Fitness

Hammer Strength HD Elite Power Rack by Life FitnessWhy We Love It:

With the Hammer Strength power rack, it is the most comprehensive because of various attachments that come standard with the product. Plate weights, barbell, power cage and weight storage racks can be included in the price.

Details:

  • Includes weight plates, barbell and weight racks
  • Available in various colors for personal taste
  • Total product weight is 884 lbs
  • Dimensions: 79.5in x 74in x 96.5in
  • Price (Life Fitness Website): $2499.99

Things to Consider:

If you would like to purchase this product via the Life Fitness Website, prices may vary based on location and certain delivery charges. Since this is a huge and heavy piece of equipment, consider having this piece installed by the experts. 

Customer Reviews:

As you can imagine with this heavy piece of equipment, the Hammer Strength power rack is rock solid. Customers say that having the weight plates stored on the rack itself adds to the stability. 

Besides the fact that many potential customers complain about the cost of this power rack, there are also some other issues to consider. According to customers, an 8-foot ceiling or higher is needed in order to use this product. If you wanted to extend higher than the rack during certain exercises, you may need to place in this in a garage where the ceiling may be higher.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

For those who want full body workout equipment in one purchase, the Hammer Strength power rack comes complete with all the accessories needed to use this power rack. If you are just starting to create your home fitness space, be sure to add this complete piece into the blueprints.

Best Power Rack for the Upper Body

Power Rack 1.0 by Ethos

Power Rack 1.0 by EthosWhy We Love It:

For those who like a little flare in their home workout space, consider the Power Rack 1.0 by Ethos. You can pick the color of this power rack so that it complements your home. Also, it is the only power rack that includes a monkey bar with several different grip positions.

Details:

  • Constructed of a heavy-duty steel frame and available in red or black
  • Includes a pull-up bar and multi-grip monkey bar so you can engage muscles in the chest, arms and back
  • Total product weight is 278 lbs
  • Dimensions: 52.7in x 37in x 85in
  • Price (Dick’s Sporting Goods Website): $699.99 

Things to Consider:

Since this power rack comes with both a pull-up bar and a multi-grip monkey bar, those focusing on their upper body should consider this power rack. With the Ethos power rack, you can get lower body as well as upper body workouts that highlight the arms, chest and various back muscles.

Customer Reviews:

Once assembled, most customers say the Ethos power rack is very solid and resists movement during use. That being said, however, read below for some notes about product assembly.

While other power racks may be easy to install, customers who bought the Ethos power rack encourage new customers to assemble this product with at least two people. Once all the pieces are assembled, then tighten the bolts. Because of that, you will need someone to help you hold up and secure all the separate parts! 

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you want massive gains in your arms, chest and back, consider this power rack. With this rack, it offers various upper body workouts at no additional cost. 

Best DIY Power Rack Models

Even though you may be turned off by the price of these manufactured power racks, seriously consider if making a DIY power rack is worth it. As with any DIY project, be wary about the safety, true cost and stability of your equipment. If you are still considering a DIY power rack for your home, here are some designs to consider:

Wood frame DIY power rack:

Unless you know how to weld, a wooden power rack may be the easiest design for most people. Keep in mind, you will need strong wood and create a design that won’t crumble during use.

Steel frame DIY power rack:

If you happen to be a welder, put your skills to the test and create your own heavy-duty power rack! Also, you can customize it by welding on various attachments for more workouts.

The Rundown on Power Racks

So, here is a quick way to compare all the power racks we reviewed in this article. Use this list so you can find the best power cage for your needs. 

Product Less than $700 Pull-up bar included in price Additional features included in price
Rogue Power Rack X
Body Solid Power Rack X X
Hammer Strength Power Rack X X
Ethos Power Rack X X X

 

Sample Workout: Power Rack

After reading these reviews, you can better determine which power cage is the best fit for you and your lifestyle. So, here is a sample workout to try. As you will see, our workout aims to incorporate full-body exercises for a great workout. Follow the step-by-step workout below so you can get intense muscle building. Since everyone requires a different amount of weight, you must determine how much weight to add.

Exercise Sets Repetitions
Barbell squat and use a standard stance 3 12
Pull-ups 3 15
Single leg lunge with barbell 3 10 (each side)
Weighted pull ups and alternate hand position if able 3 8
Bench press which requires a weight bench 3 5 (max out)
Barbell sumo squat 3 12

 

Before You Purchase

Obviously, power racks may be the key piece of equipment to springboard your mass muscle gains. However, the expense and size may not be suitable for everyone with a home fitness space. Before you purchase a power rack for your home, make sure to consider your budget. Also, consider available space, the workouts you want to perform and what equipment you already own. Take these considerations into account so that you can choose the best power rack for your needs.

Since power racks can offer heavy weight lifting exercises, always talk to your doctor about exercise. With their advice, you can determine what exercise is appropriate for you. While any exercise carries a risk, heavy weight lifting can be exceptionally dangerous and cause spontaneous injury.

In the past, have you ever used a power rack in your home or at a gym? Also, how versatile do you think a power rack can be? In your opinion, are power rack gains worth the expense? As a result of using a power rack, have you made gains?

6 Comments

  • Jason Torres says:

    I’ve always wanted a power rack. Nothing says “I take this seriously” like a power rack in your garage. Sadly, mine is pretty small so I wouldn’t be able to fit one in there. I’ve honestly never knew there was a difference between power racks and squat racks, because I pretty much do the same exercises on both, I just thought it was a power rack I was working on. It’s pretty versatile far as I’ve been able to use it. Just curious, do I need a pull up bar if I use a power rack that has a built in monkey bar? Do they work out different muscles in the arms?

    • Amanda Kostro RD, LDN & Professional Dancer says:

      Well, any hand placement on a pull up bar and monkey bar will work different sets of muscles, however, the difference may be minimal. If you place your hands the right on a monkey bar, you may be able to get a similar (if not the same) pull up exercise. So if you like one of the racks that come with a monkey bar rather than a pull up bar, you’ll probably be able to get the same exercises!

  • Lindsay Niles says:

    I’m definitely not ready to purchase a power rack. I’m wondering though, in your opinion, what do you think are the absolute must-have pieces of equipment in a home gym?

  • Halyna R says:

    I would be a little wary about using a power rack that is not bolted to the floor even if the manufacturer says that it’s stable enough without additional fixation. Would it still be possible to bolt the rack to the floor even if it’s not originally meant to be bolted down?

    • Amanda Kostro RD, LDN & Professional Dancer says:

      Yes, for most of the power racks, the manufacturer has inputs to bolt into the floor. If they do not have built-in features, you can always use something like secured sand bags to weigh the power rack down.

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