Back in the day, I’d never look at a garage as a blessing from heaven. Almost everyone in the neighborhood had one and it was simply a place you parked your car in along with storing other junk we had at home.
Got a garage? Big deal. Fast forward to when I discovered my love and passion for health and fitness and all of a sudden the garage space looked like paradise as I started filling it with workout equipment and weights.
But not everyone is fortunate to have a garage they can convert into a home gym, especially now that we’re all confined to living in cramped spaces as the cost of homes keeps rising even with the ongoing pandemic…
...or you have a garage but it’s so disorganized, it might take half your entire life span to clear it out completely -- look, the point is you’ve got little space.
And putting up a quality home gym setup in a small home, let alone being able to squeeze in huge equipment like a power rack in your limited workout space, can be a daunting challenge.
However, it’s not impossible!
Fortunately, there are a number of power racks and squat racks sold in the market that are specifically designed to address this concern, with smaller footprints and the ability to be folded out of the way.
The real issue would be how to figure out which ones are made with quality and durability without having to dip your hands in your well-guarded savings… but you wouldn’t have to worry about that either because I’ve gone ahead and did plenty of research for you.
Below I’ve compared a number of sturdy power racks ideal for homes with limited spaces available in the market today along with my personal favorite.
But first things first…
How Big Are Power Racks?
Knowing how wide and how tall this type of equipment can normally get significantly helped me to visualize how and where to make it fit in my home gym.
Comparing a power rack’s width and height to your space’s ceiling height and barbell length is important since it’s not just about choosing which one would best fit in your little fitness corner, but will also ensure that you’re buying a rack that’s compatible with your barbell.
Lastly, it helps to know whether you’re comfortable in performing certain lifts with the power rack you choose.
Power racks can come in different sizes but majority are built to have an opening width of around 46” to 50”; some get as narrow as 40” and are made for short barbells.
Consider your body frame, your barbell’s width (if you’ve got one already), and the space in your home gym when you’re browsing for power racks.
To many, an inside depth of 36” is the sweet spot for power racks with more than just enough room for most basic lifts and exercises. But if you have limited space in your home gym, a 24” or 30” depth power rack would still be a good choice.
What power racks with narrow depths don’t have compared to those between 36” to 42” is the option to add more exercises to your routine. Depending on your build, a 24” depth power rack could be too tight for you and even “good mornings” would prove difficult to rep inside it.
Also, let’s face it, bigger racks are way more aesthetic!
This type of equipment usually has a height that ranges from 80” to 86”, but a few can be as tall as 91” depending on the manufacturer.
But you’re probably asking, how does the height of a power rack affect your choices? Well, if your home has a low ceiling, your height, and if there are certain exercises you need in your routine.
If you’ve got a low ceiling, say below 7 ft., you’d need to limit your choices to smaller racks.
Take note of whether you’ll be putting gym flooring or mats (which I’d personally recommend), which may be ½-2 inches depending on how thick they are. These can lessen your headroom once you put your power rack in place.
Lastly, if you’ve got a low ceiling but still opt for a slightly taller power rack, keep in mind that there’s a chance you’d need to do certain lifts outside the rack if you’re at risk of hitting something if you do inside it.
Ironically, this would also be the scenario if you opt for a shorter rack and you’re planning to do overhead presses.
In addition, you might not be able to do pull ups if you’ve barely got any headroom left. Other than that, other exercises won’t be a problem.
Lastly, you need to factor in your height because you don’t want to keep hitting your head on the top brace if you’re tall or you can’t reach it for pull-ups if you’re shorter than average.
These are just guidelines and it’s recommended that you carefully measure those mentioned rather than just eyeballing it.
What Else Should I Consider When Choosing A Power Rack?
One other key point to consider when buying a power rack.
Another important thing to check is the hole spacing of the power racks you’re interested in.
A rack’s hole spacing can determine how accurately you can adjust vital accessories and areas in your rack like the safety pins and j-hooks. The hole spacing should help you to lift safely and not force you to lift off from a position that can compromise your form, AND increase your risk of injury.
Look for a power rack that has a hole spacing which allows safety bar placement just below you lowest point in relation to your range of motion. Safety should always be a priority.
What About Wall-Mounted Racks?What you need is an empty space and some floor space to store it once it's folded away. Wall-mounted racks are also less expensive and window-shopping for one isn’t that different from choosing a full power rack since the same factors apply. You just have to pay more attention to the quality used since you want it to hold its own weight on the wall aside from the weight you’re putting on it.
Wall-mounted racks are a great alternative to full-size power racks -- they can be folded out of the way and need less space, ideal piece of home gym equipment for a small place. They’re especially great for athletes who have a home gym in the garage but still need to park their car inside at night, or for athletes who’ve renovated a small room into their home gym and would like to use a variety of equipment.
If You’ve Got Limited Space, Then I Recommend…
Here are the best racks I found that are suited for small spaces.
1. Sunny Health and Fitness Power Zone Squat Stand Rack Power Cage
This Power Rack is my personal favorite. It’s been a few years since I purchased it but it still looks and feels like new. It’s also pocket-friendly and worth every penny I spent on it.
It has a width of about 53” and a height of 87”, and has a heavy duty frame that can support up to 800lbs. This power rack takes up less space than other power racks available in the market and is great for small home gyms.
I also like that it has safety latches as spotters so I’m at ease when I’m squatting heavier weights. In addition, it’s great for Olympic-style weightlifting with its storage racks and option to use Olympic bars.
This Power Rack is being sold for as low as $229 and that’s pretty hard to beat, given its durability and the weight it can hold up without issue, it would pretty hard to find a great affordable power rack with solid build quality to compete with it.
2. Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack
A wall mounted and full retractable power rack, the Rogue RML-3W is one of the best options for those who need a sturdy mount rack that not only folds securely but also looks pretty awesome.
Standing at more or less 90” height, you can choose between an inside depth of 21.5’’ or 41.5’’ for the rack. It also comes with a pull-up bar that’s easy to attach and detach.
The Lite J-Cups that it comes with might wobble around depending on your exercise but it’s not much of a deal breaker as the rack itself is super heavy duty even when you load it up with a couple hundred pounds.
It’s recommended that you install your flooring or mats prior to setting the Rogue RML-3W Rack because the uprights sit on the flooring once you pull it out.
You can buy this rack from its official website or on Amazon with prices that range from $475 up to $555.
3. CAP Barbell Full Cage Power Rack
The CAP Full Cage Power Rack boasts of being a “serious piece of strength equipment” that’s designed for the most grueling workouts. It also advertises safety and convenience as a main feature with safety catches and bars installed to make sure your barbell doesn’t roll away when you set it down and to give you added support when lifting heavy sets.
You have the option on whether to get it with a 6’ or 7’ height and the rack’s width sits around 43’’. It also comes in several colors if you want to add a bit of vibrancy in your home gym.
Some people have complained about the weight catches moving around and the absence of plate holders that make it wobble unless you have the rack bolted down.
You can get the 6’ CAP Full Cage Power Rack for $299.99 and the 7’ variation for $329.99 to $349.99 online. For what it’s worth, this full rack is a pretty good choice for those that have slightly bigger spaces in their home gyms but aren’t willing to spend over $400 for one.
4. Body-Solid Best Fitness BFPR100 Adjustable Power Rack for Weightlifting and Strength Training
The Best Fitness BFPR100 Power Rack can carry up to 500lbs of weight and can be considered one of the better alternatives for garage gyms if you’re looking for something strong and sturdy while on an under-$300 budget.
It has a height of about 83’’ and a width of 47”. According to its official description, this rack comes with 23 adjustment levels that are spaced 3 inches apart. It’s also made to be best paired with other Best Fitness components and accessories.Some users have noted that it rusts easily though, so it’s recommended that you clean it at least once a week. Other than that, a solid power rack like this priced at $249 is hard to beat
But Do I Really Need A Power Rack?
The more important question is… Do you want to learn how to lift heavy free weights without anyone having to spot you?
If the answer is a resounding YES then yea, you pretty much need a power rack.
Having a power rack in your home gym can level up your workouts since you don’t only get to do exercises that involve barbells and free weights, you can also do a number of bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, and hanging leg raises to name a few, you can also get a power rack with a lat pulldown and do exercises like the bent over row, single arm cable row, triceps pulldown and many more.
Depending on the power rack that you get, you can attach several accessories and resistance bands to make your workouts more versatile. Long story short, you get a compact all-around gym machine, I added a bench to mine so I can squat and bench on the same day, pretty versatile if you ask me.
Given the situation the world is in, going to the gym might be a no go and having a power rack at home can solve your workout concerns and be the key to lifting some weight off your shoulders (no pun intended).
But, really, if you want to improve your strength and grow muscle without spending on gym fees, getting a power rack for your home gym can be a great option to look into.
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