A good squat stand or power rack is something that can take your training to the next level and help you achieve things that would otherwise be impossible. There are many options available, each with its own benefits to help you reach your goals.
Types of stands & racks:
This is the most common type of rack found in gyms. It features safety rails at the bottom, as well as different heights for you to easily re-rack the bar at any time. It’s ideal for anyone training alone, as well as those planning to use it for more than one exercise during a session.
Squat stands are a pair of vertical bars with V-shaped sections on top to hold the bar. This is the most basic type of squat stand and is a version of what you’ll see at many powerlifting or strongman events.
It’s best suited to those who aren’t worried about the issue of failing mid rep and simply want a way to begin their set. It is also a better option if you’re working with limited space.
What are the benefits of stands & racks?
Squat stands and racks allow you to perform exercises with substantially heavier weights than you would be capable of if you had to clean the bar to your shoulders first. This makes them an essential piece of equipment for increasing strength.
Building muscle mass
Using a stand or rack when you lift means you will expend less energy getting set up, so you can focus more on fully contracting your muscles on each rep, which is essential for progression.
Other things to consider
The weight difference between a squat stand and a power rack is massive. Give this serious consideration if you have any weight limits where you plan to store or use the item.
There is a considerable difference in size between a squat stand and a power rack. If you have any limitations in terms of the space available to use or store the item, it is strongly advised that you opt for a squat stand.
Comfort may not seem an issue with a squat rack, as it isn’t something you lift or wear. However, you still need to be sure that the rack or stand you choose has a height setting that will comfortably allow you to start and end your sets without issue.
The level of stability of a squat stand or power rack can be affected by a number of things, including its height, width, weight, and quality, as well as whether or not it needs to be bolted down. There is a great amount of difference between the two styles as well. Make sure you select the option you feel will comfortably allow you to perform your desired actions in a safe way.
Level of ability
Your ability level is important to consider when purchasing a squat stand or power rack, as it will determine things like the amount of weight you are going to use, how experienced you are at performing the exercises, and how likely you are to need more safety features. Make sure you weigh all of this up before deciding on which option to go for.
A power rack will normally allow a user to perform a great deal more exercises than are capable on a squat stand. While squats might be your primary consideration when buying the item, make sure you look at which other areas of your training your purchase may be able to assist you with as well before making a decision.
Both squat stands and power racks can have adjustable features. The height of a squat stand itself will be adjustable, to ensure it is suitable for a wide range of users. Many power racks will also have adjustable safety bars, so you can set them to a level you are comfortable with.
Whichever option you go for, make sure you can set its adjustable features to a level you are happy with and able to use before purchasing.
A spotter can sometimes be needed to move a squat stand out of the way at the beginning of a set, while they are also much more likely to be needed to help you re-rack the weight, as there are no safety features.
A power rack with adjustable safeties will give lifters without a spotter the ability to set the bars right at the bottom of your rep. That way, if you can’t complete a rep, you have the opportunity for a short pause before potentially being able to complete it.
This makes the presence of a spotter an incredibly important consideration when deciding between a power rack or a squat stand.
Used with additional equipment?
Power racks will often come with features such as dip or pull-up bars, while all types of rack and stand can be used with a bench. In order to make the most of the space it will be taking up, make sure to check what else you can do with your product, as well as if it is compatible with any benches you already own.
Squat stands are considerably easier to store than a power rack, so this is something you need to give serious consideration to if storage space is a concern for you.
With these being high priced items that will take quite a beating, make sure the option you select comes with a warranty that gives you confidence it is going to last you a substantial amount of time.
While there are no cheap options, some are more expensive than others. Make sure to set a clear budget from the outset, so you don’t waste time analysing a product you can’t afford.