Step by Step Guide to Building a Basic Wooden Power Rack

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squat rack costA power rack offers much-needed variety to your workout because you can now lift heavy alone, using the innovative safety bar setup. For people serious about getting fit, working all of the muscles groups in a challenging way is necessary in order to continue building muscle. Often, the body will plateau at some point once it’s used to the weight you normally lift. If you’re finally able to bench 350 pounds and do so for a few months without increasing the weight, then your body will no longer continue to build muscle and burn calories and fat. A power rack offers the type of workout a heavy lifter needs, without the fear of dropping a barbell. Racks can make a home gym complete in a way that most weight lifting machines cannot, especially bulky combo weight machines sold by such companies as Nautilus or Body Solid. These machines often include a low weight capacity and don’t allow you to continue to progress, which can feel pretty limiting, given the cost.  While you can expect to to pay thousands of dollars for a fancy weightlifting machine that can only be used for six months, power racks can be used for several years and cost only a fraction of a Bowflex machine.

Materials Needed for your Homemade Power Rack

power rack cost

A good quality rack is going to cost you. Usually, this cost ranges anywhere from $200 to $550. If you desperately need a rack to achieve the type of body you’ve always dreamed of, there are ways to get around the price so that the rack should only cost you about $150 in materials. If you’re good with your hands making your own power rack can be a very fun and satisfying project. You can build it with as many holes as you want, which allows for bars to be placed in a number of positions and you can purchase a variety of attachments to give your rack a truly customized feel.

Many models of squat racks on the market are overdone and too expensive.  Online, with a little research you can find plenty of great designs for homemade racks that won’t cost a fortune to build. You may even have a lot of the materials needed lying around in your garage. This is an option that’s much cheaper than the commercial alternatives and it’s also a fun family project.

Building the Basic Power Cage Frame

This simple design that uses wood instead of steel tubes and allows you to scale the rack to the designated space you have available. You’ll make three separate rectangular frames that will be fitted together after completion. To start, grab a couple of 2x6s, then cut two 2x4s. You’ll be cutting the squat safety bar and the upper support beam. Take care measuring prior to cutting. If you have low ceilings you’ll need to take into consideration the height of the user in order to avoid injury when doing pull-ups, so the length of your 2x6s is up to you, but the length we used was eight feet. The squat safety bar should be placed low enough for the user to move all the way down in a squat position without being tight on space.

Both the squat safety bar and the top support beam are cut at forty-three inches. The top support beam should be secured using a couple of bolts that are drilled through at each end at a forty-five-degree angle. The squat beam only needs to be secured with one bolt at both ends.

power cage attachments

For the last step of the frame, cut the bottom support beam at fifty-six inches. The beam should extend well beyond the sides of the rack for additional support during pull-ups. This should also be secured in place with a couple of bolts placed at both ends using a forty-five-degree angle.

The basic frames should now be built. You should stand it up and eyeball exactly where you’ll want to place pull-up bar flanges. Again, if you have low ceilings be extra careful with your measuring. There should be enough room above the bar for you to pull your chest above the bar and not worry about hitting your head on the ceiling. When adding the flanges, secure a flange to one side, then screw the pipe in for easier installation. Next, screw a flange on the other side, then secure it to the frame.

Put the frames together on the ground, beginning with the pipe. Now you can add a back support beam. The beam should be cut to whatever length measures between the two fifty-six inch support beams on the bottom.

You should now have the basic structure and framing completed, but hold off on doing any pull-ups with this rack, it’s not quite ready. All that is left to do is add a few extra brace and support beams. The length you cut these beams can be done based on the size of your frame, if you decided to go bigger or longer, based on the free space in your home. For the particular rack size frame we made, we used two forty-five degree braces that ran from the back support beam to the frame’s main vertical structure. For the support beams, one is identical to the bottom back support, located at the top of the structure. The other beam was installed so it could connect the top of the frame.

If you do Crossfit, then you’re probably familiar with plenty of pull-up moves that can make even the sturdiest rack wobbly, including kipping pull-ups. So in order to prevent injury during a particularly strenuous exercise, bolt your rack to the wall for much-needed safety and stability.

bumper plates for squat rack

The last thing that needs to be added is the squat bar holder. For frame size, we decided to cut ours at ten inches and secured it in place using a couple of bolts. We decided to keep the look of our power cage fairly simple, but if you want to paint it or even stain it, you definitely can. Doing only adds to the customized feel of this cage.  This is a very basic design that anyone can do and it can definitely give you the type of spotter-free workout you’re looking for. When making this power rack, you can also add some gorilla glue for added toughness. If you decide to build it with no glue, be sure to retighten the bolts before the first use.

Power Cage Weight Capacity

This rack can easily handle four hundred pounds.  Pull-ups and ring dips should handle about 350 to 400 pounds no problem. Built tough this wooden cage is a little unique, compared to the traditional steel models you’ll see for sale, but overall it’s a fun project that allows you to get creative and build a power rack based on your fitness goals, workout preferences, and height. Later on, once you have the budget for it, you can check out some major power rack manufacturers such as Valor Athletics or Powerline and find some modifications, accessories or attachments that are compatible and complimentary to your setup. Since you built it with your own two hands you’ll definitely have more appreciation for this piece of equipment and you can even add more features to it as ideas come to you.

Step by Step Guide to Building a Basic Wooden Power Rack
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