Posted on 15 May 2014
8 min read
If you’re thinking about – or in the process of – building a home gym, then investing in a good quality power rack is absolutely essential.
If you’re serious about weightlifting, forget wasting your time and money on that overpriced ‘Total Gym 5,000,000’, as, apart from looking like a futuristic torture device, this shiny bit of kit won’t do anything.
For real results you need to be hitting the big daddy compound exercises, and a power rack allows you perform heavy squats, presses, bench presses, pull ups, dips, in addition to many more accessory and ancillary exercises, in the comfort of your own home.
As well as being convenient, versatile and extremely easy to use, power racks are also much safer than a traditional squat rack.
A cage will provide lateral safety pins to catch the barbell if something goes amiss, allowing you to go hard and heavy on your own, and not end up arse-about-face like this idiot.
Ultimately the power rack should be the pride and place of your home gym, treated with the same reverence and respect as a 110 inch plasma TV, a pond full of Japanse Koi Carp, or a Ukrainian wife barely above the age of consent.
And unlike these objects (with the possible exception of an Eastern European bride), a power rack needn’t cost you an arm and a leg either.
These days you can get a good quality rack for well under £500.
So, to point you in the right direction for your purchase, here’s Gymtalk’s pick of the 5 best power racks currently available in the UK.
Dimensions: 130cm (L) x 116cm (W) x 210cm (H)
The Bodymax CF375 is one of the most popular power racks on the market – and for good reason.
It’s a doddle to assemble, very easy to use, and provides great value for money.
It comes with a chinning bar that has a narrow and wide grip as well as two adjustable bar catches and adjustable safety bars.
Plus, if you’d like even more exercise variety, for £379.99 you can upgrade to a rack with a lat/low pulley for rows.
The Bodymax CF375 is also surprisingly spacious, meaning you’ll have plenty of room to perform those heavy squats (and collapse on the floor in heap afterwards).
The safety pins are easily adjustable and cater for all heights – from your Warwick Davises to your Stephen Merchants (although clearly neither of these guys lift.)
The only downside with this cage, from my experience, is that it has a tendency to rock a little when performing pull ups (especially if you’re a heavy fucker like me).
However, this issue is easily solved by placing a plate on the base of the rack.
Dimensions: 131cm (L) x 124cm (W) x 210cm (H)
The look and build of the Bodycraft F430 is certainly impressive.
It’s made of sturdy solid steel and, unlike many other power racks which are designed for the home market, this one wouldn’t look out of place at a leading gymnasium.
It looks the tits!
The Bodycraft F430 is also a pleasure to use as it feels extremely secure and weighty whatever exercise you perform (unlike the Bodymax).
Heck, even a Crossfitter doing their best dolphin-having-a-seizure impression wouldn’t be able to budge this cage.
The optional dip and cable attachments (available as a whole package for £693.97) are also top notch.
The only issue I had with the Bodycraft F430 is that while using the dip attachment I felt a little cramped, which I felt hampered the full range of motion slightly.
Dimensions: 116cm (L) x 146cm (W) x 208cm (H)
The Brickhouse Fitness Max is another solid entry in this power rack comparison list.
It’s towards the cheaper end of the spectrum but nonetheless an excellent bit of kit.
It comes with two safety bars and four bar supports and boasts 21 variations for placing the support bars.
Also included is a lat pulldown and low pulley bar for performing rows.
This rack doesn’t feel as sturdy as the first two on the list while performing some exercises, which put me off a little I have to say.
Having said that, for what you pay, this is still a good quality rack, and great place to start if you are a beginner.
Dimensions: 162cm (L) x 140cm (W) x 217cm (H)
The Titan cage is the cheapest on the list and definitely provides excellent value for money.
It comes with two safety bars, four adjustable weight supports, and provides 18 height variations.
Again, like the Brickhouse Fitness model, the framework is a little on the thin side, which means this didn’t feel like the most robust of cages, especially when performing pullups.
In addition, I found the knurled grips quite annoying, but maybe this is just personal preference, as I tend to favour a straight bar for doing pull ups.
However, for what you pay, it’s difficult to complain, and overall this is certainly a good quality cage.
Buy The Power Rack Cage Multi Gym (Currently Unavailable)
Dimensions: 145cm (L) x 158cm (W) x 214cm (H)
The SportTech TP001 is proper heavy duty power rack – no messing around here!
This is the kind of the rack that wouldn’t look out of place in a Dan Green powerlifting montage.
It supports up to 300kg, which means it’s ideal if you’re a professional powerlifter with some space in your basement.
The cage is also as sturdy as it gets – due in no small part to the solid, girthy, highly durable framework.
It comes with an adjustable barbell and safety catches and supports up to 20 different height variations.
Also included is a multi-grip chin up bar and dipping handles, which are both comfortable, sturdy and easy to use.
For £549.99, you can also upgrade the SportTech TP001 with a high and low cable pulley system.
So, there we have it, in my view five of the best home power racks currently available on the UK market.
So, what do I recommend?
Well, a good place to start for anyone new to power racks would be the Bodymax CF375 Power Rack.
It’s a solid all-rounder that ticks all the right boxes and it’s one of the best power racks for home use.
You can’t really go wrong.
If you’re more serious about training and can already squat the equivalent of a baby rhinoceros, I would spend a bit of extra dosh and go for the SportTech TP001 Power Rack Cage Gym.
It’s a very high quality piece of equipment and the perfect investment if you’re looking to shift some serious heavy ass weight.
If you’re constrained by a budget then the Titan Power Rack Cage Multi Gym is probably the best bet for you.
Being a cheap power rack it’s not as sturdy or durable as the others, but it’s perfectly suited to a beginner and will let you perform every exercise you need to build muscle.
If you’re looking to buy one of these power racks there are a few things that you should first bear in mind.
If you choose to assemble the power rack yourself (and most of them aren’t difficult to assemble), be careful not to overtighten the bolts as this will warp the metal.
For most of these racks, the manufacturer will also offer the option to pay extra for a professional to assemble it for you, which is well worth it if you can’t tell the difference between a hammer and a screwdriver.
This may sound obvious, but before purchasing a power rack make sure you it will fit wherever you’re planning to put it!
In addition to floor space, ensure that your ceiling is high enough.
Bear in mind that you will need to allow a little bit more than the given height if you plan on performing pull ups, as you will need to allow for head space.
Also ensure you leave yourself enough room around the power rack to move about and load/unload weights etc.
Before departing with your cash, check how much delivery is.
You might think you’ve landed a bargain with your gym power rack, but if the shipping charge is half the price of the rack, you’re going to look a bit of a prat.
Ultimately, power racks are the perfect solution if you’re looking to perform routines such as Medhi’s Stronglifts or Starting Strength in the comfort of your own home.
Although more expensive than a squat rack, a power rack is a hell of lot safer and provides much more exercise variety, making it well worth the investment in my book.
To complete your home gym, all you really need is a bench, some dumbbells (check out our review of the best adjustable dumbbells), a solid work ethic, and you can kiss goodbye to that expensive gym membership for good!
Are you thinking of purchasing a rack?
Already own one?
What do you think is the best power rack on this list?
I’m excited to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!