Squat rack Vs power rack; they have similar purposes, but there are some key differences in their design and function. As with all fitness equipment, it's essential to make sure you know exactly what you need before making a purchase.
There are a few differences to consider, so let's take a closer look at the squat and power racks and clear up any confusion.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Power Rack? (+ Exercise Variations)
- Pros & Cons Of Using A Power Rack
- What Is A Squat Rack? (+ Exercise Variations)
- Pros & Cons Of Using A Squat Rack
- Power Rack Vs Squat Rack (Key Differences Explained)
- How To Use Power & Squat Racks (Safely & Effectively)
- People Also Ask (FAQs)
What Is A Power Rack? (+ Exercise Variations)
A power rack is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can own in the gym. It can be used for bench press, squats, and shoulder presses, but it can also be used for pull-ups, dips, and curls.
But what makes it different from a squat rack?
The main and most obvious difference is their appearance. A power rack, or power cage, consists of four metal posts, resembling a 'cage.' A squat rack, on the other hand, is typically built from just two horizontal posts to support the barbell.
A power cage will allow you to perform a more effective and safer range of exercises than you can with a standard squat rack. Also learn about half vs full size racks in this article.
Here are some of our favorite exercises you can perform using a power rack:
Pros & Cons Of Using A Power Rack
What Is A Squat Rack? (+ Exercise Variations)
A squat rack is a pair of vertical supports for holding an Olympic bar in the upright position, ideal for performing squats. It is especially useful to help the lifter get into position and to help them lift more weight than they would be able to if they were to lift without the help of a rack.
Some of our favorite exercises using a squat rack include:
Pros & Cons Of Using A Squat Rack
Power Rack Vs Squat Rack (Key Differences Explained)
While both racks are designed to help you lift heavy weights, there are a few major differences between these pieces of equipment that you should know about before making a purchase.
Frame Size/Steel Gauge & Thickness
In terms of size, the squat rack is typically more compact than a full power rack, given that it consists of just two upright beams compared to a power rack's four.
Steel gauge and thickness will largely depend on which model you buy.
A safety power rack is a device that allows you to squat and bench press safely in the confines of your own home. It's basically a free-standing cage with a barbell holder. You can use your safety power rack to bench press safely without having to worry about dropping the bar on your chest.
Winner: Power Rack
Power racks are a lot more versatile than squat racks, which is why they are so popular amongst home gym owners.
You can use power racks to perform overhead presses, military presses, squats, bench presses, pull-ups, and more (see models for lat pulldowns here). Squat racks, on the other hand, are primarily used for squats and bench press variations.
Winner: Power Rack
Stability And Sturdiness
While this will vary by model, on the whole, a power rack is better for safety and stability than a squat rack because of the 'cage' construction.
Stability is important when performing heavy compound lifts like squats and benches.
Winner: Power Rack
Customization & Accessories
You can add a variety of accessories to both power racks and squat racks to increase the number of exercises you can perform:
Winner: Power Rack
The price range of both types of racks is huge. While cheaper options can be found for as low as a few hundred bucks, it is important not to solely focus on price. While buying 'cheaper' options can save you money in the short term, the quality of construction is likely to be inferior.
Winner: Squat Rack
For Use In Garage Gyms
This will depend on how much space you have available. If you have enough room, we see no reason why you should pick a squat rack over a power rack. Power racks are far superior in most ways and will make a great addition to a garage gym.
How To Use Power & Squat Racks (Safely & Effectively)
How To Use A Squat Rack
- 1Set the racking mechanisms at around shoulder height. This is where you'll rest the bar between sets and your starting position.
- 2Important! Before you start, set the safety racks just below where you intend to squat. Too high and you won't be able to squat fully, and too low will prevent the safety bar from catching the barbell in case of an accident.
- 3With the bar secured in the starting position, load on the required weight. Secure weight plates with collars.
- 4Perform your squat.
How To Use A Power Rack
When it comes to setting up a power rack for a squat, it's pretty much the same method as a squat rack. Instead, let's look at a few top tips for setting up your power rack for a bench press.
- 1Place a weight bench in the center of the power rack.
- 2Position the safety bars just above your chest. You don't want your chest area to get crushed against the barbell, but you also want to avoid hitting the safety bars on each repetition.
- 3Lie down and unrack the barbell. Slowly lower the bar as low as possible before pushing to extend.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can a power rack be used as a squat rack?
A power rack can be used as a squat rack. The versatility of the power rack, after all, is one of its major selling points. As long as you have the proper safety precautions in place, you can squat in your power rack.
Should I bolt the power rack to the floor?
There are two sides to this argument, and it all depends on how you intend to use the power rack. If you're going to be doing a lot of heavy squats and deadlifts, then bolting the rack to the ground is a good idea. You don't want the rack to be moving around if you're using a heavy load.
Alternatively, bolting to the floor may not be an option. Instead, ensure your power rack is position on a level surface to prevent toppling.
How deep should the power rack be?
The power rack should be deep enough so you can squat below parallel and have a little bit of room in front of you so you don't hit your knee on the uprights.
Do you need a mat under a squat rack?
If you're doing deadlifts and squats, or any lifts, really, you definitely don't want to be slipping on the floor when you're lifting weights. You might think that you don't need a mat under your squat rack, but it can really help.
Another reason is the mat is designed to protect your flooring and equipment from unwanted wear and tear and to minimize the risk of injury.
So what should you buy? If you're on a budget and working with limited space, consider a squat rack.
If you have the room and want to use heavy weights and perform a wider variety of exercises, a power rack is your best option.
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