When first setting up a home gym, there are two essential factors that you need to consider:
- Available space for your equipment
These two factors are equally important and while most people struggle with available space for a home gym, the available budget is often the main restriction. The reason gym memberships are a cheap and cost-effective way to workout is that gym equipment is expensive to purchase.
Gyms can pass this cost on and spread it out amongst gym members so that it’s a win-win for both the member (cheap access to equipment) and the gym (financial profit from membership fees).
When purchasing your own equipment, basics will include a barbell, weight plates, adjustable bench, and adjustable dumbbells. To progress further though, you’ll want to upgrade to a squat rack but a quick search on Amazon or Google will reveal that squat racks tend to be on the more expensive side…
Why Are Squat Racks so Expensive
A squat rack is a type of weight training equipment most commonly used for strength training. The natural progression in terms of strength and budget will see many lifters first get a squat stand (two freestanding pieces of equipment to support a barbell), then a squat rack, and finally a power rack.
A squat rack acts as a spotter for free-weight barbell exercises. It lacks the movement restrictions of other pieces of similar equipment like a squat stand and provides a more stable base and safer lifting area to allow for progression with strength-based exercises, primarily the squat, bench press, and overhead press.
Squat racks are expensive due to the fact that they provide strong security via a bar diameter, use high-quality materials like solid gauge steel, and are protected against oxidation through powder coat finishes. They also offer a pleasing aesthetic and rigorous quality control.
If you’re looking into squat racks then we break down below why they are so expensive, what factors you need to take into consideration if you want a cheaper squat rack, and also some of the key brands and alternatives that you should consider.
How To Choose a Squat Rack
When choosing a squat rack, there are a few key things you should take into consideration. Check them out below.
Size and Space
You should always take the size and space of the area you wish to place your squat rack into consideration. Ensure you will have proper space for the equipment. You don’t want to be in a cramped area while working out.
If you only have a small space, you should look into a folding squat rack. This will allow you to perform heavy weight training in smaller areas.
If ceiling height is the issue, look at the short power rack. This will allow you to work out if the ceiling is too low.
For beginners, the recommendation is a squat rack that supports, at maximum, 300 kilograms. For professionals, use a squat rack that supports 450 kilograms.
Each squat rack comes with safety bars. These anchor and connect to the squat rack to act as a spotter when using heavy compound lifts. They allow you to safely drop the weight when you fail a rep and prevent the rack from collapsing on you. These bars are also adjustable, allowing you to modify your workout routine as you progress.
Adding a resistance band allows you to add more intensity and modify the resistance curve for heavy compound exercises. If you want this, ensure you buy a squat rack that comes with resistance band anchor points.
An example of resistance bands being utilized on a squat rack can be seen in the video below:
Squat racks have all sorts of additional accessories you can purchase in order to enhance your workout regime. These accessories include benches, push-up bars, parallel bars, landmine attachments, and more. The more accessories that come with your squat rack, the more expensive it will be.
There are holes in a squat rack that allow you to move the safety bars and barbell pins. This modifies the height and will enable you to mix up your exercises so squat racks should have these as standard. These holes should not be separated by more than 5cm of space to allow for micro-adjustments and can come with either 1 inch or 2-inch diameters.
How Much Do Squat Racks Cost
The cheapest squat racks can be bought for $200-$400.
These generally come as a very basic rack without any additional accessories or attachments. Sometimes though, the basic rack can be all you need to get an effective workout so don’t be deterred by the cheaper models if you’re only a beginner lifting very moderate weight (below 200kg for most exercises)
The pricing scale, therefore, depends on a few factors which include build quality, size, amount of accessories, brand reputation, etc.
What Are the Best Squat Rack Brands
The below are a few squat rack brands that you should research and consider if you find squat racks are more expensive than you thought. These are the most popular brands and while some will have a high price for some of their racks, the quality and longevity provide excellent value for money in the long term.
Rogue uses solid steel for the manufacturing of its equipment. These products are top quality, with outstanding durability and sturdiness. They also have excellent customer service.
These are the more affordable pieces of equipment. While the equipment is good, it’s not of excellent quality. Additionally, their customer service is lacking. But if you’re on a tight budget, this may be the brand for you.
Rep Fitness is a new American company that has already become quite popular. Their equipment is priced excellently and is made of high-quality materials. They also have fast delivery and are an excellent choice for those on a budget.
Sorinex offers similar prices to Rogue. Additionally, they have quality materials, great warranties, excellent customer service, and fast shipping.
Legend Fitness has higher prices than its competitors, but it’s for a good reason. The quality of their equipment is excellent, and they manufacture their squat racks based on the customer’s personal taste.
Elitefts offers a wide range of prices in terms of squat racks. They have many different qualities and sizes. It’s a good brand for anyone, whether you’re on a budget or you can afford to splurge.
Squat Rack Alternatives
If you find yourself on a tight budget and need an alternative option, then we’ve provided a few squat rack alternatives below:
** Note – At some point in time when building a home gym, it’s almost essential that you upgrade your setup to include a squat or power rack so the below are simply exercise alternatives for the short term.
Wall-Mounted Pull-Up Bar
Pull-up bars are available in a wide variety of designs. Some screw to the wall, while others can simply be mounted on a door frame.
Prices vary, but you can find a good quality pull-up bar for under $150.
When choosing a weight bench, ensure that it is of excellent quality, stable, and safe. You can find weight benches in the range of $50 to $190. A weight bench combined with a set of adjustable dumbbells will allow you to expand your range of exercises but you’ll still be limited without barbell-specific training.
There are many different barbells and weight plates available to purchase. The pricing varies, usually from $45 to $80. The pricing depends on the weight, brand, and material used.
Barbells can be found for less than $200. You can use these with your squats.
Not to be confused with a squat rack. Squat stands are more versatile but lightweight pieces of equipment that allow you to rest a barbell at different heights but don’t have the stability of weight capacity to safely support heavy lifting.
You can get these for less than $200. They allow you to perform different exercises, such as barbell-specific training (including squats), and bench-based barbell work (bench press or overhead press).
A multi-gym is an all-in-one piece of equipment that allows you to train different muscle groups within the same piece of gym equipment. These machines are great for those short on space and beginners who are not yet familiar with free weight training.
Multi Gyms in general tend to be very limiting once you progress with your training and they usually don’t offer much benefit for intermediate-advanced lifters.
Wrapping it all up
There’s a lot more that goes into squat racks and working out than what first meets the eye. There are plenty of accessories, components, and other factors that go into making the purchase. These may also affect the pricing of the workout equipment, but the real reason squat racks are so expensive is due to the high-quality materials used, the protection against oxidation, and the brands.
When choosing a squat rack, ensure that you will have plenty of space. This means checking the dimensions of your room with the dimensions of the squat rack. Additionally, look into the weight capacity of the training equipment and any accessories you may want to purchase with it.
There are also a handful of brands out there you should research. These include Rogue, Titan, Rep Fitness, Legend Fitness, Elitefts, and Sorinex. Also, if you can’t afford a squat rack, there are other low-budget alternatives.
These alternatives include weight benches, pull-up bars, squat stands, and weight plates. No matter what equipment you choose to work out with, have fun and make sure you have a safe and healthy workout!