The right squat rack is a key piece of exercise equipment for the serious weightlifter. Any squat rack you are considering should be sturdy, provide stability and be safe to use. We have identified our Top 5 Squat Racks for those looking to make a purchase.
In making our recommendations, we focused on three key things:
- Safety, safety, safety – squatting can be dangerous if you don’t have the right equipment and aren’t careful.
- Value for the money – you work hard for your money; we want to workout your body not your bank account!
- Durability – if you have to buy a new one every few years, or can’t get a replacement for a defect, it’s not worth it.
For those interested in looking at other options we also have a few other squat racks, squat stands or combination benchpress/squat racks that can be used in a home gym or, in some cases, in a professional gym (click here to browse other squat racks). Whether you are a beginner or a serious weightlifter, we have a squat rack that will meet your need!
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TDS Power Rack / Squat Cage
Here’s a rack that gave me just what I needed – something basic, simple, looks good, and keeps me safe while pushing the limit.
This is great if you’re just starting weightlifting as the TDS won’t let you break your neck or bank.
Made by gym and fitness manufacturer, New York Barbells, you can trust that whatever they put out has their stamp of quality as they’ve been around for almost 4 decades!
Built with 2″ heavy gauge square tube construction, the TDS is a super solid rack that can hold more abuse than you think. It comes with heavy duty, commercial grade J-hooks and 1000lbs max rating on the adjustable safety pins, and standard chin/pull up bar that’s perfect for building those upper back and shoulder muscles.
I also appreciate the shorter build at 72”. If you’re planning a gym for your basement, you won’t find anything at this height, trust me, I’ve looked. And with 25 different adjustments, this rack is as versatile as any full height rack. As an entry level rack, the TDS is definitely a great start to training hard and heavy.
You are getting a full power rack that is also backed by a Lifetime Guarantee.
Below I’ve written about the good stuff and not so good stuff.
What You Should Know
Putting it together
While the supplied instructions aren’t all that great, the rack is fairly easy to put together. Just follow the diagram and remember to finger twist the nuts and bolts while putting it all together.
Once the frame is in place, go ahead and tighten them up with a socket wrench. Directions are simple, JUST READ THEM -I do recommend you assemble everything then tighten to bolts – about an hr by myself
The good stuff
As mentioned before, what I truly appreciate about this rack is its ability to accommodate lower ceilings. For those building a home gym in their basement, the TDS fits perfectly at 6 feet.
Bear in mind that its low height does not mean it’s small. In fact, I’m 5’10 and it still feels pretty ‘roomy’ when I stand around inside. The rack is also super sturdy. I’ve read users dropping 500lbs on the adjustable spotter pins with no signs of instability.
Both commerical “J” hooks are also able to take on heavy weights. Having this security made it easy for me to go heavy on compounds like squats and bench presses.
Also, another good tip, to make the rack especially sturdy, just load up on a couple of storage plates at the back. I’ve stacked a few 10s and performing chin/pull ups is certified wobble-free.
One of the things I look out for in a rack are the hole spacings on the uprights. With 2″ in between holes, I’m able to make increments just enough for my bench presses. That’s a huge plus compared to other racks.
The not so good stuff
A lot of the bad stuff I’ve read about this rack is pretty superficial to be honest. If you find bad ratings, it was probably given by someone who bought it thinking it was regular in height, but then realized it was too low for them.
The only thing that’s problematic is the limited ROM (range of motion) while doing pullups for taller folks. I’m 5’10 and I find that I need to bend my knees, but even so, I can’t get above the bar as my ceilings are too low.
Finally, the J-hooks aren’t as easy to adjust. It’s not something that’s too bad, but I do spend more time on it than I would like when switching positions.
Should you buy this?
There are only 3 categories of people who would buy this rack.
1) you intend to build a home gym in your basement which has low ceilings
2) you are between 5’3-5’8 and have about 10 inches of clearance before your head touches the ceiling.
3) You are 1+2 and want a basic rack that ultimately beats all the other entry level racks in terms of quality and features.
I fall into the first category, and it’s a rack that had surpassed all my expectations. For the price I got, it was literally the best entry-level rack I’ve ever tested.
Where can I buy it?
The average price floating around the internet is about $400. You can get them from either Barbells4me or Amazon. Obviously go with the one that gives you the best shipping rate. Hopefully this rack will still be available before you finish reading this.
Our Top Squat Rack Recommendations
We understand you! You want a squat rack but it’s an investment you want to make sure is worth it. We are here to help you make the best decision for yourself, providing you with our view of the pros and the cons of each product.
Our Top 3 recommended squat racks follow and offer great value for the price:
A comparison of the three recommended squat racks below along with helpful information to make an informed comparison then buy the best squat rack for yourself:
Top 3 Squat Racks: Brief Reviews
Here are the highlights from our reviews for each product.
XMark Fitness Adjustable Squat Rack:Gym Quality At Home
The X-Mark Fitness Adjustable Squat Rack is gym-quality but made for the home. It is designed for the heavy lifter in mind and works well for all users, even beginners! While it is the most costly, there is a reason for that – it is the BEST squat rack for the home. It’s key features are:
- It is backed by a LIFETIME in-home warranty
- It is made with heavy duty 11-gauge 2×3 commercial grade construction
- It has the largest capacity – 1200 lb. maximum load
- It is built with safety in mind with 2 adjustable safety spotter hooks
We gave it our highest rating of five stars because it performs well on the dimension we think matter:
- Safety: the adjustable safety pins and heavy construction make it safe and easy to use;
- Value: given that the average gym-quality squat rack will cost you well over $500, this is a great value for the money;
- Durability: its heavy-duty construction and lifetime in-home warranty mean that this squat rack is built to last.
Adidas Squat Rack:Commercial Grade for the Home
The Adidas Squat Rack is built for commercial use but works very well as part of a home gym. It is designed for durability and can hold a large amount of weight for the more advanced lifter! It is slightly less costly than our top recommendation and also represents a quality squat rack purchase. It’s key features are:
- It is backed by a two year limited warranty
- It is made with sturdy, large-diameter steel tubing
- It has a large capacity of 600 lb.
- It is built with oversized bar catches
We gave it a rating of four stars because:
- Safety: the oversized bar catches and heavy construction make it relatively safe (note: we would prefer to see bar catches as with our #1 rated option);
- Value: it is designed for commercial use and cost less than $300;
- Durability: its large-diameter steel tubing construction mean that this squat rack is built to handle whatever weight you throw at it.
You can’t blame someone for getting confused and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there when it comes to getting a good workout. Every month there seem to be new exercises being touted by men’s magazines and workout websites, new blogs claiming to have a better workout than what anyone else is doing, and new equipment being peddled as the best way to transform a workout.
Sometimes properly using classic equipment really is the best overall solution. There’s a reason that equipment is classic and is used by a wide variety of professionals. This is where the power rack comes in. If you want to really be able to build yourself into the ultimate you, then don’t dismiss this classic piece of gym equipment and what it can do for your home workout.
Just What Are Fitness Power Racks?
Power racks, also sometimes referred to as squat racks or just “the rack,” are where serious bodybuilders and gym rats go to not only work on squats and building up their legs, but also embracing a wide array of other exercises that can help power past the plateaus that way too many individuals run into when working out.
Whether the goal is toning the body, building up muscle, or blasting past current strength limitations, the power rack proves its usefulness again and again with a wide variety of workouts.
What Exercises Should You Perform?
Squats are obvious, so we won’t spend a lot of time going over that. Fitness power racks are built for helping individuals properly practice squatting at home or at the gym, and can be set up so even when trying to max out, there are emergency stops where the weight can be dropped without hurting the individual working out.
There’s no need for a spotter and the rack can be adjusted to emphasize a different range of motions. Those are huge individual benefits.
Even beyond squats, racks can easily have a bench added to them, allowing for a bench press. By setting the safety bars at different heights you can restrict your arms from locking on the way up or down. This keeps your muscles constantly working and constantly in motion, making them work all the harder and delivering even more reps than a conventional bench press.
Many individuals also like what a power rack has to offer in way of support when practicing a dead lift. With the safety bars set low, there is no bouncing it off the floor or sudden drop. The first series of reps can be done at one height while the next set comes at another, focusing on an isometric approach to tackling the leg muscles and giving you a much better workout as a result.
The cages that make up a power rack are sturdy in how they are built, allowing for a wider variance in exercises and helping individuals to push themselves more at home than they otherwise would be able to.
What Are The Best Power Rack Companies?
This is a tough question to answer because honestly, there are many really excellent squat racks produced by a variety of exercise equipment companies. This is a standard not only for gyms, but for truly serious lifters who want a home gym capable of helping them take it to the next level need quality racks, as well.
The key is to look at the overall ratings each one receives, and find one in your budget range. While the number of choices can be a little overwhelming, the good news is that this also means there are many different great options to choose from and still get your money’s worth.
Just a short list of trusted providers include:
– EliteFTS– Keiser– Body Solid– Legend– Marcy– Powertec– Powerline– Parabody– Sorinex
This doesn’t mean that a company outside this list is necessarily inferior, but this list just goes to show how many quality companies make excellent home racks that will work perfectly with your gym.
What’s a Good Price Range?
Honestly, the price range for a good rack varies quite a bit. Don’t fall for the trap of cheap or inexpensive “squat racks” that are a shadow of the full thing. You want the full dead lift cage that allows you to push the weight because it can spot for you as opposed to an inexpensive but ineffective scaled down version that doesn’t offer nearly the safety nor the options.
There are some serious racks that are in the low thousands of dollars, but there are also many good ones that can often be found on sale for $500 or less. Checking on holiday sales or looking for a deal that eats some of the shipping expenses is a great way to find a terrific deal on the rack you want for your home gym.
Where Should You Buy Your Rack from?
There are many people who like the idea of being able to check out a piece of exercise equipment in person, and there is something to be said for that in a lot of situations. However, all of that being said, Amazon.com really is a godsend when it comes to finding the best deals on quality racks and being able to order with confidence.
There is no other marketplace that not only has an enormous number of different power racks in one place where you can compare rankings, ratings, and setup, but also see what the best deals are. Maybe a store half way across the country is offering several hundred dollars off on a sale that you never would have known otherwise.
You can read every single review, figure out which racks are most popular, and see prices so you can order based on quality and your budget. That’s a pretty dang good deal.
Key Benefits Of Doing Squats
Compound exercises are well-regarded in the fitness world as being able to build muscle rapidly. What is the reason for this? These exercises target multiple muscles at the same time and, therefore, optimize the working out process. Squats are one of the most effective compound exercises of them all and that says it all about the value they provide.
Let’s take a look at the key benefits of doing squats in this day and age. Those who are not incorporating these in their workouts are losing out without a doubt. It is a must for those who want to see results.
Build Fantastic Lower Body Strength
What is the main purpose of squats in the first place? The goal is to work the lower body. This is going to work all of the lower body at once in different percentages. The entire leg is going to get a proper workout from top to bottom and that is hard to beat with any other movement.
The movement is going to ensure different muscles in the leg are going to be engaged to get the weight up after it has been lowered. This is vital for those who want to ensure they are not missing spots in their leg. Yes, the squats are not going to do the trick alone, but it will be more than enough as the foundation of your workouts.
Your core is often underrated with this movement, but it is going to gain in strength like never before. A strong core means more weight is going to be lifted while doing the squat. The core keeps the body in line as the movement is completed and that matters a lot or you would fall on your back.
The core being engaged is excellent for those who want to develop overall stability and balance.
Increase Range Of Motion
This should not be ignored as the body will have to learn how to carry weight in various positions and this is great in the long-term for overall strength development. Why not go with squats and be able to increase your range of motion with ease? The body is going to be put under a lot of stress and that is normal when it comes to engaging the core.
Those who are wanting to increase their range of motion have to go with this option as soon as they can.
These are the key benefits of doing squats in this day and age. Those who are not getting on top of this are the ones who will never be able to maximize their potential. Squats are fantastic because they are going to engage the body in general and help in the ‘real world’ as some would like to say.
Picking up things and being able to carry them is always important and that is where squats do come in handy. They build the body up in a manner that would otherwise not happen and/or would take very long.
A home gym that doesn’t have a high quality rack isn’t a complete gym. If you want to get the most out of every workout and get into the best shape possible, then you need to look at a good squat rack to complete that home setup.