If you've been visiting the gym for a while you'll know that there are a few pieces of gym equipment that people are always lining up for. One of the main offenders is the flat press bench, and another is the squat rack, or power rack.

Power racks are popular because they offer a wide range of training options. At first glance people figure the power rack can handle a fair chunk of their heavy lower body training e.g. squats, good mornings. What many people take a while to realize is that they can also throw out their press bench and chinup bar and do all of their heavy barbell training in the power rack. All the humble squat rack / power rack needs to be a complete training system is a dumbbell bench. Even a flat bench worth $115 will do! With the addition of the bench and a weight set your power rack has just become the most important piece of free weights training equipment you'll ever need to buy. You can take care of 80-90% of your training needs with the rack and bench set up. Most remaining exercises can be handled by adding a curl bar and some dumbbells. You can also add an optional hi-lo cable pulley system to the back of the rack if you're looking to isolate individual muscle groups.

If you take a look at all of the most popular strength training systems in use today (e.g. Stronglifts) you'll soon see that many of them require nothing more than a power rack and bench, along with a weight set. So lets put this system to the test and add up all the major exercises we could do with this piece of equipment along with an adjustable bench:

  • Flat bench pressand incline bench press
  • Narrow grip bench press
  • Triceps extensions (lying or seated)
  • Dips - using a removable dips station
  • Barbell curls
  • Squats
  • Good mornings
  • Deadlifts
  • Military press
  • Bent over rows
  • Pullups

The highlighted exercises being the 'anchor' exercises that you can build different training sessions around using the power rack. You can develop your calves by doing calf raises standing on a staircase, running on your toes more, spending more time out of shoes, even standing and walking on your toes before you leave the house every morning. Anyway all that's for another blog. As you progress with the power rack you can either add in some dumbbell training to hit the muscle groups from different angles, a hi-lo cable system for some more isolation work, or both.

So we've got all the major exercises covered, now lets talk about the safety aspects of the power rack cage. With its movable safety rails, you can never get trapped under the bar. If you miss that final rep, simply lower the bar and it will rest on the safety rails. You can set the safety rails to work at a height that suits you, and change the height depending on the exercise. The key point is that for any exercise performed in the rack you've got the safety rails backing you up every rep. If you lose your balance and fall back inside the rack, the front sections will prevent you from falling too far back. This is not only great for you, but great for anyone else standing behind you, e.g kids, pets, plus furniture and walls.

So there you have it, the all in one free weights training system that's safe, versatile, and barely costs more than a couple of years gym membership! You can view all our power racks, half racks and squat racks within our store. We also package them up with our most popular benches and weight sets to simplify things a little:

Power rack packages