DIY Power Rack – Learn How To Build A Squat Rack At Home

Power racks are one of the most used pieces of equipment, but if you're working out at home, you might not be able to afford one. Without a power rack, it can be difficult to perform squats or deadlifts, which can seriously impede your fitness progress. Don't worry though!, in this guide we'll explain how to make a DIY power rack so anyone can have a squat rack at home.  

A power rack or squat rack is an important piece of equipment if you’re serious about building strength. It allows you to lift heavier weights because it acts as a mechanical spotter, helping to protect you if you lose your balance or have to stop mid-rep. In addition, without a power rack, you'll struggle to perform essential exercises like squats or deadlifts.

A power rack in a home gym also has the added benefit of doubling as storage. You can hang weights, bars, and other equipment on the sides to keep them off the floor, and it gives you a clear space for working out. It allows you to perform multiple compound exercises and supports your bodybuilding.  

Power racks are big pieces of equipment and used to only ever be found in commercial gyms. For more info about just how big they are, read our complete guide to power rack height.

Then, the pandemic forced people to stay at home, people started looking for home solutions and found a wide selection of power racks suitable for use at home. 

Unfortunately, power racks can come with a hefty price tag, and not everyone can afford them. That's when people started to explore DIY options which allow you to create a solution at a fraction of the price. In fact, you can build a wooden DIY power rack for under $250.

You can build your power rack out of wood or metal, so there are two main options to choose from. Wood is much easier to manage but isn't as strong or durable as metal. Metal can also be a lot more expensive unless you're able to source some good-quality scrap. Whichever option you choose, you'll need help from at least one friend or family member to build your DIY power rack. 

DIY wooden Power Rack

DIY Wooden Power Rack 

To make a wooden power rack, you'll need the following materials and tools: 

Once you have the equipment, you will need to follow the instructions below. Note that these instructions will allow you to make a 7-foot tall, 7-foot deep, and 4-foot-wide power rack which is pretty standard, but you can customize the dimensions if you have limited space available. It’s worth ensuring that you have a flat, stable floor to assemble the rack on before you start.

  1. 1
    Collect The Materials  
    Most of the equipment can be picked up in your local hardware store or on Amazon. Make sure that you don’t pick up any warped wood because it will be very difficult to work with.
  2. 2
    Measure And Cut The Legs  
    Take the 8 lumber boards and measure out 7 feet. Use your table saw to cut them all evenly. These will be your legs and run across the top of the squat rack, so they must be all even. The legs should be 2-3 inches thick for stability.
  3. 3
    Mark The Spotter Holes  
    Take 4 of the legs and mark holes every 4.5 inches down the center. These will be where the spotter bars sit. Again, it's important that you measure these accurately and that they line up on both sides, or you won't be able to slide the bars in. 
  4. 4
    Drill The Holes  
    Use your drill bit to drill through the marked holes in the wood. Sand and clean up the holes so that your bar can go in and out of them easily enough.  
  5. 5
    Insert The Spotter Bars  
    Take the metal spotter bars and insert them through the wooden holes on each leg. Make sure they fit securely without moving too much.  
  6. 6
    Cut The Cross Section Bars  
    Take the lumber bars and cut 6 sections of wood 4 feet long. Use the table saw if you can and cut it accurately; these bars will be used to connect the two sides of the rack.  
  7. 7
    Assemble The Rack  
    It’s time to start assembling the rack using the screws and screwdriver. First, connect the cross-section bars to the legs and secure them in place, and then use the steel ties on each of the connections to hold it in place. It should be fairly simple to fit everything together at this point; just make sure the legs with the holes in are facing inwards and towards each other so you can fit your spotter barsIf your structure needs extra stability, you may need to add some cross-member support beams in each corner.  
  8. 8
    Check The Stability   
    With any homemade structure, you need to test it thoroughly. Start by stacking your weights on the machine and making sure it remains stable. If it all seems secure, then you can start using it. Remember, the max weight will depend on the quality of the wood you choose, but it won’t support as much as a metal power rack.  

DIY Steel Power Rack 

For a steel power rack, you’ll need:  

  • Steel tubing roughly 2.5 x 2.5 x 1/8 inches for the frame (roughly 50 feet of material) 
  • 1 inch steel rod for the spotter bars (roughly 9 feet) 
  • Steel nuts and bolts 
  • Metal saw 
  • Drill 
  • Welder 

You’ll then need to follow these steps: 

  1. 1
    Source The Materials    
    Look around for good quality steel in your hardware store or on Amazon and make sure it’s thick enough to bear the weight.
  2. 2
    Measure And Cut The Legs   
    Measure out 8 lengths of 7 feet in length for each of the legs and cut them to that length. Make sure they are all identical when you’re cut them down.   
  3. 3
    Measure The Cross Sections    
    Measure out 6 more lengths for the cross-sections and cut them to size. These should each be 4 feet long.  
  4. 4
    Cut The Steel Rods 
    Your steel rods will be the spotter bars. Measure them and cut 5 feet using the saw.
  5. 5
    Assemble 
    Assemble your power rack by attaching the legs to the various cross-sections, drilling holes, and using the bolts to hold them in place. Weld the different pieces of metal together until it is all secure. Finally, drill a 1-inch hole in 4 of the standing legs so your spotter bar can be installed.
  6. 6
    Test The Build   
    Test the quality of the build by loading weights onto the rack. If it holds, then it should be safe to use. If you need extra stability you may need to bolt it down. For more info, read our article on if it's necessary to bolt down power racks before use.
diy metal power rack

How To Add Attachments To Your Homemade Power Rack?

Attachments are used to add extra functionality to your power rack. This can allow you to do other exercises or just add storage onto the rack so you can save space in your home gym. The most popular fittings power rack attachments include: 

  • J-Hooks
    These are used to store your weights and barbells, so they don’t have to sit on the floor. You can buy hooks of various shapes and sizes, or build some pegs into the side of the rack.
  • Spotter Arms
    These are used to catch the weight if it falls off during a lift. These are a useful safety attachment, and you can make or buy them.
  • Pull-up Bar
    This is attached near the top of the rack so you can perform a full-body pull up exercise. You can make your own, or buy one. To learn how to make one, jump over to our guide on making a DIY pull up bar.
  • Dip-bar
    This is attached near the middle of the rack so you can perfect triceps dips. You can usually make your own. If you don't have a dip bar accessory, you can try some of these dip alternative exercises to round out your upper body.
  • Cable Machine
    This will let you perform all the cable machine exercises to train your whole body. You’ll need to buy this attachment rather than build it.
  • Leg Curl Machine:
    These are added to help you train your hamstrings and build stronger legs. You’ll need to buy this attachment rather than make it.

You will need to buy most attachments for your power rack because it’s really not worth your time trying to make them. However, you can make pull up bars, dip bars, or spotter bars out of steel rods if cut to the correct length.

You'll need to drill holes at the right level in the legs and attach them to the rack at the right height so you can use them properly. This may involve drilling holes in different places on the legs, so make sure they line up on both sides. Also, make sure you have enough clearance above your power rack if you are performing pull ups.

Other power rack attachments should secure into place fairly easily and will come with most of the necessary attachments.

DIY Power Rack build

Power Rack Platforms: Are They Necessary? (+ How To Build One)

Power rack platforms are used to help protect your floor and make weightlifting easier and safer. Power rack platforms sit underneath your power rack so that it isn't digging directly into the floor. For home gym owners, they are really beneficial and help you to protect your floor from damage.

They also protect your equipment from hitting the floor hard and limit the noise coming from the gym. Most importantly, power rack platforms provide a stable surface for you to lift on safely and reduce the risk of you slipping or becoming unbalanced when you’re working out.

If you’re lifting on anything other than concrete, you should really get a power rack platform, but the good news is that you can make one yourself. All you’ll need is 4 or 5 pieces of particle board (about 4x8 feet), a piece of thick plywood (about 4x8 feet), some construction screws, and a drill.

Layer the pieces of wood on top of each other and secure them together using the screws. The plywood should go on the top level to help with the sound insulation.  

Once you're done laying it all out, you should have a platform that is 8 feet by 8 feet and about 1 inch of the floor. It should provide plenty of room to fit your power rack on, but you can always make your platform smaller or bigger with more wooden panels if you need to. You can also add gym matting to the top of the wood if you want to make it a bit softer and quieter.   

Your power rack can then be attached directly to the power rack platform with screws.


Frequently Asked DIY Power Rack Questions 

How much does it cost to make your own power rack? 

A DIY wooden power rack will cost $200-$300 depending on where you source the materials from. A DIY metal power rack will cost slightly more, and it may set you back $400-$500 for the materials. However, if you're buying a new power rack outright, it will cost you $1,200-$1,800, so you can save a significant amount of money if you build it yourself.

How long does it take to make your own power rack?  

It will take 1-2 days to build your own power rack, but it may take slightly longer to build a metal power rack because the cutting and welding are a bit more complicated.

How much weight can a wooden power rack hold? 

A well-made wooden power rack can hold 500-800 pounds, but it’s worth testing it first to make sure it’s safe.  

Can you bench on a DIY power rack? 

Yes, you can move the spotter bars down so you can bench on a DIY power rack. Don't forget to check out our guide on how to set up a power rack for bench press!


Conclusion

Home gyms can be expensive, and doing things yourself can save you a great deal of money. Building your own power rack isn't too difficult if you're used to DIY and can save you some money.

Just remember that it isn't going to be as good quality as a new power rack, and it may be worth paying a little more for a new one. Hopefully, this guide has helped explain how you can build your own power rack so you can decide what the best option is for you.