Using barbells for strength training is one of the easiest ways to lift the heaviest weight possible and complete a variety of combination workouts. However, this piece of equipment can be difficult to handle on its own, especially when it is loaded with lots of weight. Whether working out at the gym or at home, having either a power rack or squat rack is essential for allowing you to efficiently and safely complete each set. This guide explains the difference between both of these types of equipment so that you can decide which one best meets your needs.
Often referred to as squat stands, squat racks can be used to complete both squats and bench presses. They are typically designed with two vertical posts attached to some type of supportive bottom frame that rests on the floor. Each metal post is adjustable, so you can place the barbell in the ideal starting position for your height. When doing squats, you should be able to position the bar so that you only have to crouch slightly to lift the bar up and over the stand. You can also lower the bar and place a bench between both posts for completing bench presses.
The main benefits of using a squat stand are space and cost. When compared to a power rack, this piece of equipment is much more compact, making it ideal if you are building your home gym. Due to the smaller size, it is also easier to move and set up. Additionally, squat racks come at a much cheaper price tag.
Most squat racks are designed without safety bars on the bottom, requiring you to drop the bar to the floor if you are unable to complete a movement. Without a spotter, you can potentially hurt your back or even drop the bar on your feet. You are also limited in what exercises you can complete with a squat rack.
On the other hand, power cages have four vertical posts with supporting posts on the top and bottom. Safety pins are incorporated into the design to help catch the bar in case you are unable to finish a set and need to drop the weight. Many models have dip bars and pull-up bars built into the rack. There are also adjustable holes on all four racks, which allow you to adjust the bars and add other accessories.
With a power rack, there are many more exercises you can complete, including deadlifts, dips, pull-ups, ab raises, and more. This equipment is much more reliable for handling heavy weight, and you can add on additional holders, resistance bands, pulley kits, and more to incorporate even more workouts.
Power racks are often more than double the size of a squat rack, making them less than ideal for smaller spaces. They are also much more expensive, especially if you consider the cost of any extra accessories.
Completing a full workout with barbells is difficult to do without either a squat stand or power cage on hand. When building your gym, purchase the equipment that best fits your needs and the space available.