Providing you have the space in your Home Gym, a Power Rack can be an effective machine to add to your arsenal. In fact, most home gyms utilize a power rack, as they’re much more effective than a multi-gym. In this post, I’ll be explaining the reasons why you should purchase a power rack for your home gym, in addition to finding the best ones available at the moment.
There are many benefits of using a Power Rack, which we will discuss below. If you’re new to weightlifting, don’t put off by the term, as you can use a power rack even if you haven’t unleashed your true potential yet. In fact, Power Racks are one of the most effective ways to build your compound strength.
We are going to start off at the very beginning, in case you aren’t too sure on what a power rack is, or the difference between a power rack and a multi-gym.
Gym Master Half Cage Rack
Technical Specification & Information
- Manufacturer: Gym Master
- Max Load: Tested to 200kg
- Dimensions: Height: 211cm. Overall Width: 121cm. Depth: 137cm
- Bars: 20 x 5cm Increments
Gym Master Power Rack Review
The Gym Master Half Cage Power Rack is a fantastic alternative to a complete cage. It’s a space saver, meaning that it’s the perfect addition to your compact home gym. If you exercise alone, the spotter bars can be used to ensure you are always safe, even when trying to beat your personal record lifts.
I can’t stress the importance of safety bars when working out alone, fortunately all of the best squat racks / best power racks will have these as standard.
It’s pretty easy to assemble, with all of the parts shipping in vacuum sealed packaging so nothing can get lost. It also includes a nice mini tool, which you can use for tightening the bolts on assembly.
Things we like about this power rack:
- The bar hooks can be adjusted easily, but provide fantastic support.
- It’s priced really well.
- It’s great if you want to build a home gym, but don’t have tonnes of space.
Things that could be improved:
- 200kg is sufficient, but if you get really serious about lifting you could end up maxing this figure.
- It’s ‘creaky’ when doing pull-ups.
It’s a great power rack, perfect for a beginner that’s kitting out their garage gym. You’ll be able to perform a wide range of exercises, just needing a barbell and a bench. If you’re an 100kg+ advanced lifter that’s already clearing 1.5x your bodyweight, you’re probably not best suited to this power rack. This is because you would be approaching the maximum weight load & although I’ve tested loading 227.5kg onto a barbell, if you’re exceeding the limits of something, it can lead to an accident.
Overall, it’s one of our favourite power racks for customers which are building their very first garage gym.
RIP X Half Power Rack Cage
- Compact Home Gym
- Quick Release Locking Bars
- No Assembly Tools Included
- Manufacturer: RIP X
- Max Load: Tested to 200kg
- Dimensions: Height: 211cm. Overall Width: 121cm. Depth: 137cm
- 20 x 5cm Increments
RIPX Power Rack Review
The Rip X Power Rack has been built to the same specification as the above power rack, measuring in with the exact same dimensions. It’s a little bit cheaper, which has attracted us to this rack… but it comes at a cost.
You won’t receive any tools for assembly with this one, which is how RIP X have tried to compete, pound for pound.
The tools probably aren’t worth the extra £20, but if you aren’t handy with DIY, it may be easier to just go with the Gym Master, as you could end up purchasing the wrong tools which would cost more than £20.
What I like about the RIP X Power Rack
- At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there aren’t many differences with the RIP X and GYM MASTER Power Racks.
- Other than the colours, these are identical power racks.
- I must say though, I think I prefer the black and white design.
Things that could be improved
- Again, the maximum weight of 200kg is going to be an issue for some advanced lifters. If you’re a beginner though, you won’t need to worry about this maximum load.
K Sports Squat Rack
- Manufacturer: K Sport
- Max Load: Tested to 250kg
- Dimensions:(HxWxD): 185x134x102 cm.
- Rack Weight: 23kg
K Sport Squat Rack Review
The first thing we noticed about this Squat Rack is that a spotter bar is included. That’s a rare sight for a dedicated squat rack, which gives it some brownie points.
You’ll notice right away that this isn’t a full power rack, but due to the versatility of this squat rack, I had to include it. The picture doesn’t do this rack justice, as it looks fairly narrow. You can fit a weight bench inside with ease, offering you the chance to do bench presses, shoulder presses & more. It’s built well with reinforced steel & has a load capacity which is higher than our first two full power racks, which is very impressive.
K sport have been building gym equipment for a while now, but their focus has always been power racks & Dip Bars. They have good reviews throughout their whole product range & this Squat Rack is no different, which is designed with their classic Orange & Silver livery. It looks good!
What I like about the K Sport Squat Rack
- It’s not every day that you see a squat rack with spotter bars. K Sport have ticked all of the boxes with this one.
- 250kg Max Load is impressive for a compact squat stand.
Things that could be improved
- This is harsh, as it can’t be improved without changing the whole design. However, you need to be aware that you won’t be able to target all muscle groups with this. For example, you will need to install a pull up bar elsewhere in your home gym.
- It’s heavy duty, weighing in at 23kg, which means that it’s not easily movable. Consider this if you have a Home Gym which you must negotiate around when not in use.
- The orange colours might stand out in your living room, but I’m nit-picking now!
Comparing the Above Power Racks for Your Home Gym
Which Power Rack is the Best?
|Pre-workout||My Rating||Max Weight||Cost|
|Gym Master Power Rack – Best Overall Rack||5||200kg||£399|
|RIP X Power Rack – Best Budget Power Rack||4.8||200kg||£399|
|K Sport Half Power Rack – Best for Low Ceilings||4.7||250kg||£289|
|Exigo Folding Rack- Best Folding Power Rack||4.5||250kg||£895|
|Primal Strength Stealth – Best Expensive Power Rack||4.4||400kg||£2,999|
What is a Power Rack?
A Power Rack has a few different aliases, often being referred to as a Squat Cage or Power Cage. In general power racks are made of solid steel, with you (the lifter) standing inside or around it working out.
Most of the best power racks have safety pin bars, which will act as a ‘spotter’, catching the weight if required during your reps. The most common exercise that’s performed inside a power rack is the Squat, although there’s a wider range of exercises that can be performed, such as:
- Lateral Pulldown
- Bench Press
- Shoulder Press
- Dips (specific racks)
One thing you’ll immediately notice about the above, is that they are all functional exercises which will increase the power of your core. Whilst they won’t give you a popping bicep independently, they will activate your core and give you a well-rounded finish.
The biggest selling point of a Power Rack for a home gym is that it allows you to train on your own, without the need for a training partner to spot the bar. I’ve also noticed that these power racks are becoming very popular in commercial gyms, as there’s a huge range of exercises which can be completed on them. It means they don’t have to purchase many unique machines, but instead they can dedicate an area for Power Racks. They’re ideal for gyms. They’re ideal for homes, too!
The higher end power racks will also arrive with Pull up bars at the top of the inside frame, which will safely hold your weight as you drag your trailing body upwards. If I were to list off the range of exercises you could perform, I would definitely be here all day, but I’m sure you understand that from the list above, alone.
Some Power Racks will also cater for Dips, providing dip bars alongside the power rack. These aren’t fixed, but they hook into the spacing which is provided on the gauge steel. The Pull Up Bar will also be provided, if it’s a feature of the rack.
Power Rack vs Squat Rack
Although they have similar names & are often confused with one another, a squat rack is completely different from a power rack.
A Power Rack will have 4 standing (vertical) bars, with the near two generally half the size of the rear two. All of the bars link together, meaning once it’s in place, you’ll need to physically dismantle it to move it.
This creates a cage atmosphere, which you stand inside whilst using the rack. The two shorer vertical bars offer stability and safety for the operator, with the Spotter Bar being fed through this & locking securely into the taller two bars.
Squat racks offer no ‘spotter’ feature, meaning that you’re on your own with the weight. This is because a squat rack only has two vertical bars, these are also often separated & can be moved around easier.
The above image should be able to assist further. As you can see, the squat rack is physically separated, whereas the power rack is a solid rack, which does offer extra stability, in addition to a few other features.
You want to know those other benefits, don’t you? Well this wouldn’t be much of a guide, if I didn’t explain.
In addition to the extra stability and security from the Power Rack being one solid lump of steel, that can’t fall over, Power racks are one of the best solutions to building a compact gym, in your own home.
You don’t need a workout partner with a Power Rack, as your spotter bars are going to help you through any tough periods. With a Squat rack, you’re going to leave a mark on the floor if you get into any trouble.
The weight capacity on a power rack is generally higher too. Now let’s get into the most important thing about why you should choose a power rack.
The range of exercises available. You can squat on a squat rack, aswell as Bench Press & Barbell Shoulder Press. This means that you’re going to end up looking a little top heavy, or you’re going to purchase extra equipment to help you hit those other muscle groups.
It’s not possible to be sponsored by Power Racks, but you’d think I was at this point! If you want a cost-effective, workout-effective, safety-effective machine, you know which one I reccommend.
This isn’t just lazy reviewing of an item I don’t own either, I own the BodyMax CF376R Half Power Rack, but I also added the extra lat pull down attachment onto this.
(You can’t do that with a squat rack!).
How much room do I need for a Power Rack?
Power Racks do take up considerable space, so ensure you’ve checked the measurements and dimensions before purchasing your power rack. Don’t be too concerned though if it dominates your gym space, as most of your workouts will take place inside of this cage.
You should also consider that your Olympic Bar will measure around 2.2m (7feet).
As mentioned above, I have the CF376R half rack, due to size constraints in my garage. I couldn’t fit a full cage in there, due to the garage ceiling having an odd shape. However, the above rack slotted in perfectly, and I’ve not looked back since. It was also exceptional value for money, which I’m always going to lean towards!
Every item has the dimensions on, so please ensure that you check what you can fit. A good estimate would be an area of 7ft wide with 5ft of depth. This would give you enough room to manouvre around the rack, too.
Benefits of Using a Power Rack
A power rack isn’t something which is going to wear over time and require replacing. At the same time, it isn’t an investment, but you’re always guaranteed a sale value at the end of your time with the power rack.
If you don’t plan on upgrading your home gym, there’s no immediate need to as power racks will last a lifetime, with many brands offering 10 year guarantees. It’s solid steel, so there’s really not that much that can go wrong with them.
You can purchase attachments for the power racks so that they can transform your exercises, providing lat pull downs, tricep pulldowns, bicep curls & a huge list of others. You may need to purchase a few attachments, such as a rowing accessory, or the rope for the tricep pulldown.
Which leads me onto the next one, price & costs. Once you’ve paid for your power rack, that’s it. No ongoing fees, maybe just a few accessories & attachments to increase your potential. However, this works out much cheaper than a gym membership & most Home Gym owners have saved the cost of their home gym within just two years.
You just can’t ignore the safety aspect of a power rack either. Quite often, I found myself training alone at my local gym & it always meant that I couldn’t push myself right the way to failure. It’s just not safe to do so.
If you’ve got the spotter bars set, there’s no risk in pushing yourself to failure, as the bars are sat just above your body, meaning that you don’t carry the weight of the lift on your chest itself.
There’s no feeling worse than getting a little dizzy when attempting your new personal best lift, luckily I’ve never dropped the weight or slipped… but I’ve heard numerous stories.
The convenience of having a power rack in your home is just amazing. You can tailor your workouts to how much time you have, without having to worry about the commute to, or from the gym.
Potential Problems with Power Racks & Cages
I’ve been singing from the rooftops about Power Racks, but I can’t ignore the potential problems that an aspiring customer may face with these.
Let’s get started with the price tag. They aren’t cheap. After spending between £300-£500 on your power rack, you still won’t be any closer to starting your workout. Well, you can do a few chin ups!
That’s because we need to factor in a Weight Bench, Olympic Barbell, Weight Plates & other equipment that you may find necessary. Although the latter aren’t very expensive, you will have to budget around £500-£800 for a proper setup.
Fortunately they’re pretty easy to assemble, if you’re someone that’s good at following instructions. Obviously, this depends on the brand you buy… I had no problem with the BodyMax manuals.
The next issue we’ve got is the demand for space. Power Racks are very hungry & want to dominate any area they are built within. If you’re fortunate enough to say that space isn’t a problem, you can jump ahead and start kitting out your home gym.
To round off my potential problems, it’s the spotter bars. Although they exist to keep you from harm, sometimes we need that motivation from our training partner to help make that one final push, especially when competing bench presses!
Do You Need a Power Rack?
This is the million dollar question, as you look towards the prospect of kitting out your home gym. Realistically, you aren’t going to be able to kit your home gym up with a machine dedicated for each workout, so a Power Rack does become an effective compromise. At Lift Bible, we recommend them as one of the best pieces of gym equipment that money can buy. Providing you purchase the correct racks on the market, it could be everything you need for an effective workout.
In the above instance, it wouldn’t matter if the rack took up the majoritiy of your gym floor, as it’s the only piece of equipment that you’ll need.
If you are interested in strength training, or want to take your beginner movements to the next level, the spotter bars are a must have, but the good news is that they are included on the majority of power racks.
For anyone looking to purchase a power rack, you should also take into consideration that you will require a weight bench, weight plates & a solid olympic barbell. This will help you to unlock your full power, with all of the gear required to complete a well rounded workout.
What is the best power rack to buy?
There’s quite a lot of choice on the market, and I’m fully aware that everyone is shopping on a different budget. Below, I will be highlighting my recommendations, providing the best power racks & I’ll be using my experience to advise & help you make an informed decision.
Although lots look the same, every power rack is different & will have different specification. Some are labelled as Heavy Duty, High Quality & Value for Money, but that’s not always the case in the fitness industry.
It’s important to look towards the future when you’re purchasing your current power rack. Although you might not have experience now, or don’t have the strongest of bench presses… it’s going to improve.
Don’t purchase a power rack which is almost at your max weight allowance. For example, if you can Bench Press 120kg at the moment, you want to be looking for a power rack which can handle a maximum weight of at least 200kg. If you stick to a power rack with (for example) 140kg allowance, you’re limiting your progression. Invest in yourself!
You literally can’t have a maximum weight that’s too high for your requirements, as it just means that it’s ready to handle whatever you can throw at it… or drop!
Most, if not all Power racks have adjustable squat rack bars, which will allow for you to move the handles up or down. These are important for allowing a wide range of exercises, in addition to allowing the spotter bars to be fine tuned for your current position.
When looking for a power rack, try to make it utilize all of the room that you can physically allow it. A larger rack will have all of the extras, such as chin ups bar, dip bars & safety bars.
I would definitely consider the manufacturer too, I wouldn’t worry too much about the quality of the steel, as home gym power racks are always built with between 7-12 level. They’re solid steel and they’ll handle what you throw at it, but at the same time they wouldn’t survive a HGV head on crash.
Are Power Racks Worth it?
Purchasing a power rack could well prove to be one of the best decisions you make in your fitness journey. They can really take your training to the next level, offering you all of the required exercises that you’ll need for a full body workout, at your convenience.
It’s not easy though, to find the best power rack for all of your needs. There’s quite a few on the market. I’ve managed to narrow the list down, providing the best racks on the market at the current time, in the UK.
Power Racks & Cages: A Summary
I’ve shown you some of the best power racks that are available for purchase in the UK, aswell as explaining if they will suit your needs. The truth is, a Power Rack will completely transform your exercise routine, offering you the option to work out at home, at your convenience. I’m a big fan of Home Gyms & a Power Rack is a must-have for any aspiring weightlifter.
You should now have all of the information which can help you to make an informed decision. Happy lifting, with your new power rack!