If you hang out with people who have a home gym, odds are that they will not shut up about their power rack. But if so many people glorify power racks so much, are they really that crucial to a home gym? In this article, we will explore this question thoroughly and see whether it really is the first thing you should get for your home gym. So, let’s get right into it.
What Exactly is a Power Rack and What Exercises can I do With it?
A power rack is the most common piece of equipment used for barbell exercises. It looks like a sturdy cage (hence the nickname “squat cage”) that holds heavy barbells at customizable heights. Power racks can be dangerous, and this is why they have several safety features in place. These include J-Hooks, safety bars, and spotter’s arms. So don’t worry about something breaking down and crushing your face. The equipment has been heavily tested so that this doesn’t happen. If you are worried about barbell safety, you can inform yourself more about it here.
What doesn’t usually get mentioned is the fact that you can actually do several exercises with a power rack, it isn’t strictly just for squats. It is made for compound exercises. Even though the power rack is most notable for doing squats and bench presses, you can perform a large variety of exercises that boost your building size and strength, due to them activating several muscles at the same time. With a power rack, you can also effectively do:
• Bench Presses
• Shoulder Presses
• Calf Raises
• Hanging Leg Raises
• Shoulder Shrugs
• Bicep Curls with the Barbells
• Barbell Rows
As you can see, there is a wide variety of exercises that you can do with a power rack. The bloated popularity of it only highlights the power rack’s usefulness for upper-body strength, especially since some even call squats the best exercise. In reality, you can strengthen a lot more parts of your body with it. This includes the back, shoulders, and legs.
How to Use a Power Rack?
As we have mentioned, there are several safety features that you can rely on when using a power rack. Utilize the J-Hooks and safety bars that are designed to hold that massive weight. To properly use the power racks, first set up the J-Hooks to an appropriate height (the height you choose will be your starting position when using them). After you have decided on an appropriate starting point, place the barbells onto the selected J-Hooks. Set the safety bar at a lower level just in case you fail a rep or start losing your grip, they will serve as a protective measure so you don’t end up injuring yourself. Before actually placing the barbells you should warm up a bit. The best start is to warm up with the empty bar. After you have warmed up, add plates one by one on each side. You have to do this in a balanced way constantly. If you add want to add 30 kg on each side, you should place the 20kg plates on both sides first, then the 10kg plates after. Never start filling out one side and then the other!
How Much Space Does a Power Rack Require?
A strong limitation that prevents everyone from buying a power rack is the space that it requires. Even small power racks take up significant space in the house. So, if you don’t have a lot of free space, getting a power rack and using it safely and effectively will be almost impossible. Some of the smallest racks you can get are measured at 2152mm (H) x 1513mm (W) x 1467mm (D). While a larger power rack will be measured at around 2200mm (H) x 2000mm (W) x 1470mm (D). A normal Olympic barbell will be around 2 meters long. So, if you are planning on getting a power rack, always make sure to have at least 2,5 meters of space available for you to load and unload your bar. It is definitely a demanding piece of fitness equipment.
So, do I Need it?
If you have the required space, and a will to improve yourself physically and get fit, then a power rack will help you achieve your goal in the most effective way possible. So, don’t hesitate, if you fill in the criteria, go get yourself a power rack and start working on those gains!