The season’s coming to an end soon and it might be time to purchase some strength training equipment, but where do you start? Where do you get the best value for your money? What factors do you need to account for?
Squat racks (and/or power racks) are probably a staple of the strength equipment in functional weightrooms. They’ll offer a work-station that efficiently trains a large number of individuals. They also provide a place to safely perform large complex movements. I’ve been a part of designing several weight rooms in my career and each time racks are the centerpiece. The rest of the room is built around them.
There’s several racks to choose from, however, only a few manufacturers make great ones. I’ve put together a list of 7 with some brief thoughts. The only rack on the list that I haven’t used is the Elite Fitness E Series.
Here are some things consider before making your purchase:
Not everyone needs the same rack and your choice should be specific to your needs. Think about the who you’re training, how many athletes you’re training and the core exercises you want them to do.
Put the workout together in your mind. From a logistics standpoint, think about how the rack will allow you to possibly super-set/monster-set opposing exercises.
When you’re planning your budget, remember that you’ll most likely be needing more than one and don’t forget about shipping.
Carefully plan for square footage and height constraints.Be sure to check the ceiling heights in your weightroom. Some of the racks listed have a few different height choices. If the rack has a non-adjustable chin-up bar at the top, you’ll need clearance for the lifters head. Each of these racks has a standard chin-up bar option and some are lower than the top of the rack, so look carefully.
You’ll want something sufficient and practical for the population you’re working with. You don’t need the Mercedes Benz of racks if the group you’re training just got their license, for example, it’s not always necessary to purchase platforms with your rack (I’m not a fan of platforms, as they eat up important square footage in most rooms). The list below is from highest to lowest in price.
Each of these racks has optional add-on rack training attachments. A few of the companies like Powerlift and Rogers take their R&D further with things like Rope Pull Attachments and Grip tools. Even if you can’t purchase the add-ons now, you may want to have the option in the future. I’ve provided the webpage for each rack and you’ll be able to search for what you need.
1. Powerlift 6 Post Power Rack: $4,999.00
2. Rogers Athletic Pendulum Mega Rack: $4,449.00
3. Hammer Combo Rack: $3,897.00
4. Samson Multi Safety Rack Triple: $3661.00
The Powerlift 6 Post Rack, Rogers Athletic Pendulum Mega Rack, Hammer Combo Rack and the Samson Multi Safety Rack Triple are all double sided racks. They’ll take up the most room and they’re the most expensive. They’ll probably allow for the most work to be done efficiently.
I’m a huge fan of double sided racks if budget isn’t an issue. In the one instance when we purchased a Powerlift one sided rack, we immediately regretted it. During the workouts there was an obvious waste of time because we only had one functional side, all while the other side was still there taking up room.
They all have a great amount of storage and optional upgrades. If you’re interested in the Rogers brand, but you don’t see what you need, it’s worth calling them anyway. Rogers Athletic can fabricate their rack just about any way you could imagine and their probably second to none for customer service and product quality.
If you’re interested in the Samson Rack, I’d see if they’ll put chin-up bars on both sides. That’s the only hick-up I’ve had with that one and it should be an easy fix.
If you’re thinking about ordering from Hammer/LifeFitness, you’ll be on the phone for a while with some annoying salespeople. It took me over a week to get prices from them.
5. Hammer Half Rack: $1,789.00
6. Elite Fitness E Series 3 X 3: $849.00
7. Sorinex Dark Horse: $799.00
The Hammer Half Rack, Elite Fitness E Series 3 X 3 and the Sorinex Dark Horse are all at the bottom end of the price range. They’re all a great value.
I mentioned earlier how double sided racks allow for work stations on both sides. Usually they’re designed to do this while taking up minimal space. If your square footage allows for you to get any of the 3 cheaper racks and put them back to back, well, you just made a double sided rack for less money.
I’m a fan of the Hammer Half rack because you can put two back to back and it really doesn’t take up much room at all. The cost of 2 of these is still cheaper than the Samson rack.
All of these definitely aren’t your only options, but they’re a good place to start if your looking. I hope this sheds a bit of light on the topic and please take some time to share any experiences that could help others.