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There are so many options for squat racks and power cages that it’s easy to get lost wondering what makes one great and another not so great. I’m here to share my experience with the IFAST Fitness Power Cage with Lat Pulldown, which I’ve tested for more than 50 workouts.
So is the IFAST Fitness Power Cage with Lat Pulldown worth it? The IFAST Fitness Power Cage with Lat Pulldown is worth it for casual lifters who want an affordable, customizable power rack. It’s easy to assemble and the overall quality is decent. However, it’s not reliable enough for advanced or competitive lifters, and the pulley system cannot handle anything over 20lbs.
If you want a 12% discount, use the code “powerlifting” when checking out.
That said, there are several things I do like about this rack, so don’t write it off entirely — it still might be a good option for you. But you should get a better understanding of how well it performs before you make a purchase.
In this article, I’ll provide:
- A detailed overview of the IFAST Fitness Power Cage
- The pros and cons of this power cage
- The key features of this power cage
- A look at what other athletes have to say about this power cage
- Alternative power cage options
IFAST Fitness Power Cage: A Detailed Overview
IFAST Fitness is a brand that sells equipment directly on its site, as well as select items on Amazon.
The power cage is marketed as a multi-use solution, loadable up to 1,000lbs, and includes a high pulley and low pulley cable system. It comes with a mixed-grip pullup bar and removable dip bars.
While IFAST Fitness doesn’t list what type of steel is used for this particular power rack, other power racks it sells are made with 2×2 steel. This isn’t quite as beefy as 2×3 or 3×3 steel but is still fairly stable and is on par with what you’d get from other budget brands.
The target customer would be able to perform a variety of exercises such as pull-ups, lat pulldowns, and seated cable rows and accomplish a variety of goals with this piece of equipment.
I may not be the target market since my workouts are very specifically powerlifting oriented, but my style of lifting certainly put it to the test and showed me some key things I’ll share with you below.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Power Cage
When shopping for a power cage, there are several things you need to consider before pulling the trigger and spending any money on one:
- Exercise Goals
- Preferred Cage Dimensions
- Attachment Universality/Specificity
Any equipment you buy should support the goals you are chasing. In simple terms, I’m not going to buy a treadmill if my goal is to add 100lbs to my squat. I need to focus on the features and benefits that support my goals, both short-term and long-term.
If your goal is just to be able to squat a little each week, do some pull-ups, and have a power cage that offers several use cases and options, something like the IFAST Fitness Power Cage may be a great option.
If you are a competitive powerlifter with working squats sets over 300-400lbs already, you may want to shop for a power rack that caters to heavy weight and reliable safety features such as the ability to bolt it to the floor. But you may not need to waste any time with extra frills or other attachments.
Finally, if you want an all-in-one home gym solution that centers around a power cage, allowing you to not only load up a barbell at a variety of heights but also add attachments for dozens of exercise variations, plate storage, and pulley attachments, you’ll want to shop for a power cage that allows for that level of customization.
Take a moment and define what you want and need from your workouts, and then target a power cage that caters to those goals.
I’ve actually done some personal shopping for power cages in the past, and this was the biggest issue I had — they vary (a lot) in available dimensions.
The dimensions of a power cage are important first and foremost because of limitations on where you can set it up. Some brands offer a lot of customization, where you can define how wide, deep, and tall your cage is. Others have a single option.
In my case, my home gym is in my basement, but I have 7.5’ ceilings instead of the standard 8’ ceilings. Most of the cages I shopped for are too tall for this environment.
For other lifters, the consideration may be width and depth. If you prefer to squat with the assistance of a spotter, you’ll want to measure the size of rack you and your spotter can both fit in and shop for no less than those dimensions.
Some bigger lifters or lifters with wide squat stances might also prefer larger cages, making it especially important that you measure and define your requirements before you add anything to your cart and check out.
With the higher price point of power cages, it’s important to know the cage will fit where you envision building it and that you’ll comfortably fit inside it when you use it.
If you don’t have enough room for a full power cage, consider a squat rack instead. We reviewed 7 of the best squat racks that fit in small spaces.
I touched on this above, but not all power cages are made the same, and not all accessories for power cages fit every power cage.
What I mean by that is that many power cages are the foundation used to add other accessory equipment. For example, many power cages allow you to add dip bars, pull-up bars, hinged pressing arms, leg extensions, belt squats, cable pulleys, resistance band anchors, plate storage, and more.
With the right rack and accessories, one could build a truly impressive multi-functional piece of equipment that serves all their training needs.
As you shop, you’ll find power cages that have their own, specific add-on accessories that only fit power cages of the same brand. If you get Brand XYZ’s cage, you’ll only be able to use XYZ brand’s accessories.
On the other hand, some brands have made power cages that allow you to use accessories from a variety of other manufacturers and vice versa.
If you are a brand loyalist and know you want to exclusively buy and use products from a single brand, you are probably in good hands identifying that brand, finding the appropriate products, and going all in.
For others, the advantage lies in being able to piecemeal together all sorts of cool add-ons and accessories to your power cage, so universality is more important.
Whatever you choose, it’s most important to decide early what you are looking for in the short term as well as the long term so that you aren’t surprised down the line when it comes time to add to your power cage.
IFAST Fitness Power Cage With Lat Pulldown: Pros
There are three main benefits to the IFAST Fitness power cage:
- Easy to set up and use
- Can fit under low ceilings
- Included attachments offer lots of variety
Easy to Set Up and Use
I really hate building stuff I bought online, whether it’s furniture, kids’ toys, or gym equipment. So I was very pleased with how easy this power cage was to set up.
With the exception of the pulley system, the instructions were clear and concise. When I laid out all the pieces, it looked a little daunting. But using my own set of socket wrenches and pliers, it only took me about an hour to get it all set up.
From there, using the cage day to day is super easy. I have a young son who enjoys exercising with me every once in a while, and we end up moving the safety bars and J-hooks all over the rack, but there’s really no hassle or lost time with this setup.
Each time I use it, the barbell J-hooks can be easily adjusted, simply by twisting them 90 degrees to the side and pulling them out of the holes drilled into the power cage itself. The safety bars and dip bars on the side can be adjusted in exactly the same way. Getting going on my squat workout is a breeze.
Can Fit Under Low Ceilings
Best of all in my case is that this cage is just over 7’ tall, while most cages are 8’-10’ tall. Since I have low ceilings in my basement, where I have space to build out my home gym, this cage is a perfect height.
As I imagine we all have limits to what we can fit in the spaces we have designated for our home gym, this is a huge plus in my opinion. Not many lifters need a full 8-10 feet on their power cage, so I appreciate that the IFAST Fitness Power Cage comes well under that.
In addition to ceiling height, you’ll also need to consider the overall dimensions of the room where you want to put your power cage. We worked with an architect to create various floor plans for small home gyms to show you what’s possible in gyms of different sizes.
Included Attachments Offer Lots of Variety
Finally, I appreciate the variety and flexibility that comes out of the box with this power cage. From the included pulley system to the pull-up bars and dip bars, there’s plenty you can do with this power cage beyond simply squatting.
For example, this power cage has been a great way to allow my son to start to get familiar not only with squats but with pull-ups, dips, and cable exercises, too.
Unfortunately, that’s about the end of my list of positive things about this rack. I’ve noticed far more things that I don’t like about the rack as I used it day after day for my powerlifting workouts.
IFAST Fitness Power Cage With Lat Pulldown: Cons
There are several drawbacks to the IFAST Fitness power cage:
- No way to mount it to the floor
- Pulley system can’t hold much weight
- Limited height settings
- Weak J-hooks
- Limited availability of attachments
No Way to Mount It to the Floor
The top of my list of cons is that there’s no clear way to mount this cage to the floor. I’ve seen way too many videos online of gym equipment tipping over for one reason or another, so I greatly prefer to use equipment that is bolted to the ground it sits on.
While I could find a creative workaround on my own and make a couple of trips to a home improvement store to get some parts, I’d greatly prefer if the IFAST Fitness Power Cage had its own clear-cut method of attaching it to the floor.
Pulley System Can’t Hold Much Weight
The biggest issue with the rack is the pulley system. I don’t imagine many people would buy the rack just for the pulley system, as there are much better options where pulleys and cables are the core focus. But it does seem like a big component of this product and really, really misses the mark.
As soon as you load more than two 10lb plates onto the pulley system, you’ll notice the arm at the top of the track bows and bends with every rep.
In the few instances I tried to push it to 50-75lbs of total load, it became clear that any continued use like that would permanently bend and destroy the upper arm entirely. This drastically reduces my exercise selection drastically drops to exercises I can do with very light weight, like single-arm tricep kickbacks or single-arm tricep pushdowns.
You shouldn’t assume this pulley situation is only an issue for big strong folks that already use heavier weight. I’m very confident any gym-goer of any experience level would quickly outgrow the capabilities of this cable system.
Limited Height Settings
I couldn’t get over the limited height settings I had to choose from. The product description boasts 12 different height settings, but they’re set in 4” increments.
When it comes to squatting, I really need more settings between my chin level and my sternum. Otherwise, the barbell is either uncomfortably low or too high for me to comfortably unrack and walk out a squat. I’m confident this will be a similar issue for any lifter who doesn’t perfectly align with one setting or another on this power cage.
Next, is the J-hooks themselves. Not only do they frustrate me with their limited adjustability for my preferred height, but they bend and sag under a loaded barbell.
I can’t be sure if they were like this when I got them or if it’s a result of the J-hooks holding up a barbell loaded with 400-500 lbs week after week. But I’ve noticed that when the barbell sits on the J-hooks, it always rolls forward to the end (farthest away from the rack side), putting more leverage on them and making me think they’re bending even more than they were bent before.
This partly messes with my head, making me feel like they could bend out of shape and drop the barbell while I’m resting between sets, or worse, when I’m re-racking the barbell.
The product description says this rack is rated for 1,000lbs, but I don’t know if that means the safety bars will handle 1,000lbs, if the J-hooks can handle it, or if that represents some other limit it can handle.
Whatever they claim, I’d never load more than 500lbs onto a barbell sitting on these J-hooks.
Limited Availability of Attachments
Finally, because of the specific 2×2 size of the cage materials and the 1” pre-drilled holes, there are no accessory attachments from other brands you can add to this rack.
Whatever IFAST Fitness offers on its site is all you’ll ever be able to use. If you want a cage that allows for expansion and customization, this one is far from that.
IFAST Fitness Power Cage: Key Features
There are 2 key features of the IFAST Fitness Power Cage that stood out to me:
- Competitive price point
- Good for casual lifters
Competitive Price Point
I mentioned earlier that I’d done some personal shopping for power cages in the past, and the price points are all over the place. Generally speaking, most of them are well over $1,000.
I was skeptical when I saw the very low price point of the IFAST Fitness Power Cage, assuming the quality would be absolutely terrible. However, I found that it’s truly good enough to get the job done for most lifters.
I would say that my very specific, powerlifting-focused workouts, and the heavy weights I use for those workouts, are what really push this cage to the limits.
But for anyone else (generally loading less than about 350lbs on a barbell), you get a power rack that enables you to do squats, bench presses, and other squat and bench press accessories for a much more affordable price.
If you’re looking for an affordable barbell to go along with your power cage, check out my 10 favorite budget barbells.
Good for Casual Lifters
Continuing my previous thought, I really do think this cage is a good option for anyone who lifts within a reasonable range of load (i.e. about 350lbs).
Compared to more expensive options, this power cage really does give you 80-90% of the value you’d get in other cages. It really just starts to show its issues when I use it because I’ve loaded 500lb barbells on it week after week as I’ve tested it.
As I mentioned earlier, IFAST Fitness says that this power cage can hold 1,000lbs, but I do question the validity of that statement. However, since most folks wanting a home gym aren’t competitive powerlifters like me, I feel perfectly confident recommending this cage to recreational lifters who won’t be lifting more than a couple hundred pounds.
What Do Other Athletes Have to Say About the IFAST Fitness Power Cage?
The IFAST Fitness site has collected zero reviews for the power cage. The power cage does have 4 reviews on Amazon, but none of them offered a detailed write-up, just a star rating.
It’s important to note, though, that the company is still relatively new and in a very competitive industry. But with the limited info available, it’s hard to get a sense of what anyone else’s experience is like with this piece of equipment.
Best Alternatives for the IFAST Fitness Power Cage
The thing I love about Rogue Fitness is that it has a bunch of options of power racks, so you can find something that fits your needs. Compared to the IFAST Fitness Power Cage, I really like the RML-390F Monster Lite Rack.
The price point is similar to the IFAST Fitness option, but with the confidence of being backed by a brand that makes its equipment with U.S. steel.
While this option does not include the cable system, the quality and durability of it far outweigh the very few benefits you get from the one included with the IFAST Fitness power cage.
I like how closely this Fitness Reality Squat Rack compares to the IFAST Fitness power cage. Both are available on Amazon, but the Fitness Reality Squat Rack comes with the option of adding the lat pulldown mechanism separately or in a combo package.
Most importantly, the price point is very similar, but you get some added features that you don’t get with the IFAST Fitness power cage.
For example, the Fitness Reality squat rack has 19 available height options, so you get better customizability for where you can set your barbell. The cable system can also hold much more than 20lbs while the IFAST Fitness one cannot.
Additional Squat Rack and Power Cage Resources
- Putting a Squat Rack In An Apartment: Complete Guide
- Squat Rack vs Power Rack: Differences, Pros, Cons
- iFast Fitness Magnetic Exercise Bike Review
I’ve been harsh on the IFAST Fitness Power Cage, but the truth is most lifters will get all the benefits they want out of it. However, if you enjoy a more powerlifting-specific style of lifting like I do, where heavier weights are required, more durable equipment is needed to facilitate those workouts.
I can’t recommend the pulley functionality of the IFAST Fitness Power Cage to anyone — it’s truly junky. So as long as you aren’t putting heavy emphasis on the pulley functionality, you can get just about everything you want out of this rack.
For those interested in using their power rack as a hub for every imaginable accessory, you’re better off honing in on options that allow for better modular add-ons and a more universal application of accessory equipment. The quality of those options tends to be higher as well, so you’re on a good path if that’s your direction.
For me, the bottom line is that there are lots of other options out there at a similar price point, with the same functionality, that have much better reviews and customer experiences to give you confidence in the products as you consider spending your money on a power cage.
About The Author
Adam Gardner is a proud resident of Utah, where he lives with his wife and two kids. He has been competing in powerlifting since 2016 in both the USPA and the APF. For the past three years, he and his wife, Merrili, have coached beginning lifters to learn the fundamentals of powerlifting and compete in their first powerlifting competitions.