power rack for strength training

Now that you have decided you're having a new home gym, have you decided what kit to put in? If you want to build your strength and you have the space then a power rack for strength training is a very worthy option. With the right attachments and accessories, a new power rack can support your weight training goals and to help you build muscle, strength, power and endurance. It's also more versatile than you probably think.

When you choose a power squat rack (aka Power Cage) do not be intimidated by the powerful and imposing frame. The frame is designed to help keep you safe as you perform your exercises and it can take all but the heaviest of weights (most frames can handle over 300kg on the bar no problem). Probably the main advantage is that you are safe train without a training partner thanks to the barbell safety straps or safety catchers. These are easily adjustable to whatever height you need support at.

Why Are Power Racks The Best?

If you want to build strength and muscle, then strength training using a half rack or power rack will be essential - especially if you train on your own. 

Mix It Up

Use the rack for compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, then use free weights for isolated muscles. This combination of rack and free weights will help not only your stability, core and balance, but it will help prevent muscle imbalances you often get through using machines only for a lot of exercises. Using the stablising muscles in your core, and around the key muscles that you are working out, will help you see gains as you increase the resistance.

Home Gyms

Depending on the space you have, and your ceiling height, a rack in your home gym makes a huge amount of sense. No need to anchor to the floor as they are heavy. But that weight means you can have chin up bars as part of the frame, attachments for anchors for resistance bands or battle ropes, landmine exercises and more. Of course you can then do your Olympic bar workouts too!

Safely Train

If you want to train on your own, there's no gym buddy to catch you if things go wrong. Properly set up safety arms and safety straps between the uprights and you can train with confidence - even on your own. As well as just training, if you want to train to point of failure, then a power rack's safety arms and j-hooks give you that extra back up. 

Build Strength

Start with just a bar and learn new techniques. Then as you become stronger and more confident, you can add resistance and then look at more advanced exercises - always safe in the knowledge the rack safety arms and straps are your 'safety net' if you're training on your own.


The power squat rack does a lot more than just squats! You can work your whole body with a range of exercises that use a bench, bar, pull ups, dips and more. Consider this when you are buying your rack as knowing you can add attachments will keep you motivated over time.

Power Rack Buying Guide

Some simple things to look out for and to consider before you jump in and buy the nicest looking rack you've ever seen!


Goes without saying - will it fit in? Make sure you carefully measure where you want to place your power rack. First and foremost, accurately measure your ceiling height especially if you want to be able to do chin ups with any built-in pull up bars. You will need to have around 2.6m ceilings for most racks - but there are still options if you don't.

Then look at the width and depth of the frame to make sure you have plenty of room - especially to be able to move around your gym. Finally, don't forget a 7ft bar (2.13m) also needs about 50-60cm either end of the bar for you to get the plates on and off the bar easily. 

Max Weight Capacity

Most power squat racks will be able to take the weight the users want to use. That's because most of us can't squat or lift over 150kg. The nature of 75mm x 75mm x 3mm steel uprights is that they can carry that weight when distributed across all corners and support beams. But just make sure your new rack will be able to support the amount of weight you want to lift. A weight capacity of at least 300kg is pretty much standard and more than enough for most mortals.

Your Safety

Making sure you can workout safely is pretty much the whole point of a power rack. Just make sure when you buy the rack you get the j-hooks and either safety straps (these go between the uprights) or safety catchers (these go at the front of the rack to catch the bar - like a half rack). Either way they all need to be easily adjustable and weight-rated. Check the actual rating of your rack (see above) which should be readily promoted as a "max weight".

Also, check on the attachments and how they fit the rack. Sometimes the band pegs or landmine attachments are difficult to add or remove and they will stick out from the frame.


If you know what you like exercise-wise, then making sure your rack has some attachments will be important. From different chin-up bar options, to tricep dip bars, landmine, band pegs or plate storage - just make sure the new rack offers those as additional extras (or if you are lucky as part of the price). Attachments are not just for the odd exercise, they add a degree of versatility to working out.


You can now opt to have customised rack colours and even brand plates. Companies like Exigo and Jordan will customise the colours when you order and whilst this means a 4 - 6 wait for your rack, you get to have that garish pink or cyan blue to match your decor - or to make a statement!

Office/company-wise - it gives you a chance to match other equipment or to start a new gym with some company colours, rather than a dull silver or black as default.

What Exercises With A Power Rack?

Believe it or not there are a huge range of exercises possible with a power rack. In no particular order :

  • Squats
  • Overhead Press
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlifts
  • Shrugs
  • Rack Pulls
  • Tricep Dips (if you have attachment)
  • Barbell Lunges
  • Bent over rows
  • Pull ups (if chin up bar included)
  • Knee to chest abdominals (using chin up bar)

One common method used by seasoned lifters is to work on the compound exercises first so you can give those maximum concentration and effort (maximising lots of muscles at the same time) and then do additional isolated exercises afterwards. Isolating muscles will allow you to then fully fatigue muscles, plus this will be lighter weights ensuring you are less likely to cause injury.

Other Equipment to Complement Your Rack

Whether at home or in a commercial gym, maximising all the possible exercise will require a few extras which we detail below. This will enable you to really create the total body workout.

Weight Bench

Flat bench or multi adjustable bench are all great to use with a rack. See our weight bench collection.

Olympic Weight Bar

You can use 6ft or 7ft, training or ultimate bar. Just check the j-hook positions with the sleeves of the bar first. See our Olympic bar collection.

Olympic Weight Plates

Whether you choose bumper plates or olympic plates is irrelevant, these provide the resistance for your exercises. Why not consider some coloured bumpers? See our Olympic weight plates and bumper plates collections.

Gym Flooring or Weightlifting Platform

Ideally the whole gym area will have a minimum of 20mm flooring and whether you choose to add further protection with some drop pads or a premium weight lifting platform, you can ensure your home gym or garage gym is set up the correct way.  See our weight lifting platform collection.

How You Can Get Stronger

Just owning a power rack or half rack will not be enough for you to see gains in strength, muscle or anything else! As well as your training technique and on/off days, you need to think about your nutrition and how to maximise gains by being smart in your weight training (But that's for anbother article).

So using your power rack as the focus for your training, how can you maximise your efforts in order to get the gains you want?

Correct Form

Whether you're squatting, military press, deadlifting or more advanced exercises like split lunges, your form is the most important part of your exercise. Ideally you will have a facing mirror and one at 90 degrees to your squat or lifting position. This allows you to check you have the right form whether that's a straight back, shoulders back, feet placement or any other specific form required for the exericse you are about to undertake.

Muscle Balance

When using machines it's easy to create a scenario where one arm or one leg becomes more dominant in the press or pull action. This leads to muscle imbalance (where one side is stronger than the other). Using a power rack with a bar allows to focus on ensuring that, when required, both sets of muscles are working in tandem e.g. both legs, arms or shoulders. 

This means in order to work towards a natural balance, statr wit ha lower weight and focus 100% on the lift, press or pull to make sure equal work is being exerted by both arm/legs/shoulders.

Keep Track

Most lifters keep a close eye on each session and write down their lifted weights and failures. You can buy dedicated small A5 record books, or just make one yourself. It is realyl important to do this as day to day you may not see the progress you are making, but looking back you will see the difference. Also, when you turn up for the next session - you know exactly what weights you need for which exercise.

Low Reps, Bigger Weight

When you perform low reps with a heavier weight, this is about building muscle mass or muscle hypertrophy. Ideally as you become more experienced, you will use 1 - 5 reps with pyramid sets with the weight being enough to create failure on the last rep of the last set. Note that if you fail each set this can create an overtraining scenario. This compromises muscle gains as well as potentially leading to injury.

Use Compound Exercises

Compound exercises are those that target a group of muscles during one exercise. Whether you choose to deadlift, squat or incline press, these exercises are more efficient in terms of time and building strength. They can also help you with muscle mass as you are training multiple muscles each time. Just make sure you maximise the workout by focusing on your form, lift properly and heavy.

Your Nutrition

Often forgotten, or at least an after thought. With all the workouts that the power rack is designed for, if you want to maximise your strength and muscle growth, making sure your nutrition is right will hepl you see the gains you want. From a high quality protein source, the right amount of carbs and vegetables and fruits, you also need to drink enough water and stay hydrated.

Change it Up

Every so often change your workouts. Change the time you workout as well as the way you workout. From switching to different exercises to mixing up the sets and reps a little, change is good. Your body will find it more difficult, so you will see greater benefits.