When considering absolute essentials for a home gym, a barbell, weight plates, and adjustable bench are a great place to start. Once you’re ready to take your training and home gym set up more seriously though, the next logical progression is a squat stand or power rack.
Power racks are neither a small investment nor small in size. Therefore, before selecting one, you need to know the space needed for a power rack as it’s not just the rack dimensions that you need to consider.
How much space do you need for a power rack?
For a standard power rack, the space you’ll need should be at least 8ft x 8ft. This is to accommodate a standard 7ft bar, 4ft bench, and space to perform lifts. You will also need to consider ceiling height as you’ll need a minimum of 7ft height clearance with most power racks measuring 6.5ft high.
The above is just a general guideline, in this article, we’ll cover how much space you’ll need for a squat rack as well as additional space that you’ll need for attachments and accessory pieces of equipment.
How Much Space Do You Need for a Power Rack?
Power racks come as full racks, half racks, and squat racks or stands. Each of these types of power racks has a different dimension to take into account. You will need to consider the depth of the frame itself and an additional 18 to 24 inches for usage.
For power racks, you will need space to walk around the sides. Allow an additional eighteen inches on each side of the power rack to remove weights and adjust the rack’s arms.
You will need at least twenty-four inches of depth in front of the power rack, so you have enough room to set up barbells or pull-up bars. The same area is needed behind the rack for spotters and added room to add plates to your barbell.
What Are the Dimensions of a Power Rack?
You will need a space that is at least 65 x 72 inches for full and half power racks. This allows for room to walk around the rack to remove and add weights. Additionally, added room in front of the rack gives you enough space for a bench or area to lift in front of the rack.
Another row of columns to hold plates may come as an option on your power rack. With three columns, the depth requirement typically increases by 12″.
Let’s look at some common full, half, and squat racks on the market and their specific dimensions.
|Width requirements (inches)
|Depth requirements (inches)
|Height requirements (inches)
|Hulk 1000 Full Power Rack
|Fitness Reality Half Power Rack
|F2C Max Load Squat Rack
Full and half racks have similarly sized bases for stabilization, but squat stands are smaller because of the decreased height. If you are looking at a full squat rack with the option for a third column, remember the depth of space you will need will increase by at least 12 inches.
How Much Space Is Needed Around a Power Rack
Power racks need more space than any other piece of equipment and take up more room in a gym. This is one of the main reasons why gyms don’t have more squat racks (despite squat racks being smaller in size). Room is left around these racks to adjust the arms and add weights to the bars being used. The space needed around the power rack is an additional 24 x 18 inches.
The usable depth should be an additional 24 inches deep, according to most recommendations. This will allow for plenty of room to move when the bar rests after an exercise such as deadlifts. Additionally, this space should be kept clear when not being used to decrease the potential for injury.
Height Requirements for Power Racks
The vertical space required for a power rack varies depending on the type of rack you choose. A standard rule is to have at least 12 feet from floor-to-ceiling, but this can vary based on what equipment you are using (and this should also be factored in for racks in an apartment). Squat stands, for example, have a height of only 46 inches, while full power racks reach nearly 81 inches.
Remember to allow at least 24 inches from the top of your equipment to the ceiling. There should be enough clearance for exercises like pull-ups.
** If you weren’t aware already, you can also purchase short power racks which come in at a height of 72 inches and under. Mirafit in the UK has the M200S rack while CAP has a 6ft (72 inches) power rack available for those in the US.
Should Power Racks Be Placed in the Front or Back Row?
The type of power rack that is most commonly used is a full-sized power rack. This rack should be placed in front of other equipment because it takes up more space than other items like dumbbells or kettlebells stored on shelves after they’re used.
Because of the depth requirement of a full-sized power rack, it should be placed in the front row of equipment. There should be an ample amount of room to add and remove plates and benches.
Additionally, the front of a power rack should not be placed in a common walkway, as the constant moving and removing of benches can cause a potential tripping hazard.
How to Optimize Your Space for Weightlifting Around a Power Rack
The space in your weightlifting area can be optimized based on the number and type of exercises being performed. For more usable space, provide free weight equipment such as:
Free weight equipment can be compact and stored on a stand when not used. This reduces the space needed and increases the number of exercises that can be performed in a limited space.
For example, if you perform deadlifts or squats on a power rack, then the space available to those performing exercises will need to be increased. Offset this extra space by providing barbells or dumbbells alongside power racks, as exercises with those free weights don’t need much extra room.
Should You Put in Two Racks for Convenience?
Most starter gyms and home gyms, in general, will start off with some form of a squat rack or squat stand. It’s rare for people to initially have a power rack as an initial piece of equipment due to the price and size requirements that come with this piece of kit.
Therefore, over time most home gyms will end up with an upgraded power rack alongside (or in place of) the initial starter rack. In these instances, it’s better to consider whether or not you have space for two racks.
Convenience is going to play a key role here as most high-end power racks will come with additional attachments like cable pulleys, landmine attachments, and even a smith machine functionality – depending on your model.
This all-in-one functionality often makes a secondary rack obsolete and a waste of space. While it usually seems a good idea to keep the initial rack, this can be put to better use as the additional space can then allow for more functional equipment like a leg press/hack squat or free weights section. You can even sell this on due to squat racks being more expensive pieces of gym equipment.
Overestimate Space When Setting Up a Gym Layout
If you’re unsure how much space you’ll need, it might not hurt to err on the side of caution—plan for the maximum space to fit all of your essential equipment. I say “essential” because a multi-purpose power rack is going to be much more functional and beneficial than a preacher curl bench or seated calf raise machine!
As mentioned earlier, if a minimum requirement for a power rack is a space of 8ft x 8ft, we’d always recommend giving an extra foot of space around the rack just for the comfort of use. You want to have space to add more attachments as well so always overestimate space to allow for expansion in the future and also to avoid being left short on space once your rack is fully set up!
The video below gives an excellent demonstration of the space needed for a power rack with a setup demonstration.
A power rack is the main addition to a home gym (in my opinion). Having a power rack allows you the flexibility to hit all key compound lifts as well as acting as the center point for your gym setup. The only issue is that power racks are not small in size…
The space needed for a power rack is at least 8ft x 8ft for a standard power rack without additional attachments like a lat pulldown or dual cable stack. Therefore, we’d use 8ft x 8ft as an initial guide and this should then be adjusted based on any dimension variations for the specific rack you are considering.
As mentioned earlier, you can also look into short power racks for low ceilings as this is a great option for those very short on space like a shed gym or apartment gym setup.