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Why the Squat Rack Just Can’t Compete with the Power Rack

Creating a home gym gives you the kind of freedom you never had at your local gym. It’s not just the fact that an average annual gym membership costs around $800, or the annoying gym politics that tend to arise amongst the regulars, it’s the fact that you have to interrupt your workout flow constantly to wait around for a machine. Your one hour workout now seems to have doubled in length, with a line that’s reminiscent of the last time you visited Disneyland. Some people thrive at the gym and get pumped working out with a bunch of strangers around. Lines are a good excuse for a break and a little gossip time and who cares if you end up spending an extra hour or so at the gym? A serious lifter will care.

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If you’re into lifting heavy, then you probably have a routine. You use the free weights for about an hour and then maybe you’ll do some body weight exercises using the pull-up bar or maybe decide to wait on a machine and tackle the dreaded leg workout. But if you’re in the flow of things and have to stop working out just to wait in line for a machine you dread using, it can be a major workout killer.  If you’ve had enough of the gym drama and you want to create a home gym, then you’re probably trying to determine which piece of equipment to go for, the squat rack or the power rack. Both pieces offer a challenging workout that will make investing in a high-end model worth the cost. But which type of rack can you benefit from the most? And which rack features the more challenging workout? To determine which one is the right for you and your gain goals, you’ll need to learn about their differences and similarities.

Common Mistakes when Shopping for Home Gym Equipment

 

Valor-Fitness-BD-33-Heavy-Duty-Power-Cage-picWithout doing much research, individuals who are eager to start their own little gym paradise tend to immediately jump at purchasing a squat rack, simply because they’re usually much cheaper than a power rack. But with the squat rack, you’re looking at a pretty limited workout when compared to a power cage. Some people also mistakenly think that a squat rack will take up less space than a power rack, but squat models actually take up a lot more room than you may think, while the power cage takes up a lot less. Always measure the space you intend to use as your home gym. If you want to buy a squat rack then you’re going to need to devote several feet to your workout space, not including the space required to place the actual model.

How the Power Racks Sets you up for an Independent Full Body Workout

Power cages provide the ultimate safety features during a workout due to the safety bars that are set in place and designed to catch a barbell if you’re unable to lift it or set it down. You can do more types of exercises on this kind of rack and it actually requires less room than a squat rack.  This is because you’re essentially working inside the power cage, while the squat rack requires you to work outside the rack as you lift.

How to squat

Most power racks feature built-in dip bars and pull-up bars so you can work your arms and abs. With the addition of the pull-up bar and dip bars, you can benefit from a total body workout. If you want to add even more variety to your exercise regimen, most companies produce attachments for cages that allow you to perform a whole new variety of exercises. Equipped with safety bars and a number of positions that range from eighteen to thirty, you can accurately place the safety bars based on your height and the type of lift you’re performing. If you’re doing a squat, place one safety bar at the top of your squat and another at the bottom, this way you’re protected throughout the entire movement if you can’t finish a rep. These bars make the power cage significantly safer than a squat rack. When using a squat rack, unless you use saw horses to catch the barbell, you’ll have to dump the barbell if you get stuck. And because dumping weights can cause a lot of damage to your floor you’ll probably have to invest in some bumper plates. Bumper plates are weight plates that are made from solid rubber so they won’t cause as much damage if they’re dropped. While the initial cost for a squat rack is cheaper than a power cage, you’ll end up spending more money in the long run for this type of set-up if you include the cost of bumper plates which are pretty expensive. You’ll also need to purchase dip bars and a pull-up bar, which aren’t part of the squat rack design.

Are there any Benefits to Owning a Squat Rack?

 

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The power cage is more versatile and will be less costly in the long-run. However, the cage can be a problem if you have low ceilings because they’re usually pretty tall and the extra height is needed for the user when doing pull-ups. They’re also tougher to move than a squat model. Since the squat rack is shorter, they’re more ideal for homes with low ceilings. Because you have to work out outside the squat rack you’ll need to accommodate the model itself and additional workout space as you lift. If you’re using bumper plates and plan to dump weight, then this is not the right type of equipment for you if you live in an apartment.

If you plan on purchasing additional attachments for your power cage, then it can also cost you more money in the long run, however, the attachments are not essential to your workout, but they can add some much-needed variety in order to prevent boredom or your body from plateauing. But because you can continue to add more weight to your lift every few weeks or months, you can continue to challenge your body, which is what prevents a plateau from occurring.

For a power cage, expect to pay anywhere from $200 for smaller models, to around $800 for larger models that are packed with extras. For the squat rack, the average beginning cost is about $75 for a very basic model and can go as high as $300.

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