A squat rack is not just one specific piece of equipment; it is an umbrella term for a whole class of training equipment. They come in different shapes and sizes, and for good reason as they cater to multiple different use cases.
Whether you’re looking for a squat rack for a home gym or commercial gym, you ought to understand the different types of squat racks out there so you know which is right for you.
The 18 different types of squat racks are:
- Independent Squat Stands
- Linked Squat Stands
- Squat and Dip Rack
- Wall-Mounted Rigs
- Quarter Rack
- Walk-In Squat Rack
- Incline Squat Rack
- Wall-Mounted Foldable Squat Rack
- Wall-Mounted Squat Rack
- Half Rack
- Double Half Rack
- Half Cage Squat Rack
- Power Rack
- Double Power Rack
- Competition Combo Rack
- DHS Squat Stands
In this article, I will discuss every type of squat rack you can buy, what key features they have, their pros and cons, and who they are ideal for.
1. Independent Squat Stands
What are Independent Squat Stands?
Independent squat stands are a class of squat racks that are made from two independent and separate stands. Each squat stand is constructed from a single vertical beam, with a J hook on top and a base on the bottom.
What are Independent Squat Stands Good for?
- Easy storage. The biggest advantage that independent squat stands have over every other type of squat rack is that they offer very easy storage with little hassle. This is specifically useful for when space is scarce.
- Light and moveable. The fact that they are light means you can put them together when you need to use them and completely move them away when you are done all by yourself. You do not need to worry about dragging your squat rack across the floor or getting someone else to help you move it.
- The distance can be adjusted to personal preference. Because they are independent stands, you can set the distance between them to your preference. You can have them wider if you have a narrow grip or a narrow stance for squats, or you can have them wider if you have a wider grip or a wider stance for squats.
What Are the Drawbacks of Independent Squat Stands?
- Not sturdy for racking the barbell. When you want to rack your barbell after an exercise like squats, the stands can wobble or topple if you are not extremely careful. Especially after you have done a heavy set, you want to rack the weight as soon as possible, but doing so too fast when you are using independent squat stands can cause them to shift or fall over.
- Can easily miss over the top. Independent squat stands normally have J hooks at the top. If you are a bit lopsided when you rack the bar, you may risk bringing the barbell over the top of the rack by accident.
- Lower weight limits. Independent squat stands will generally have a lower load tolerance relative to other types of squat racks due to the fact that the foundations are not bolted or supported with a big sturdy frame.
- A necessity for spotters for racking. Due to the fact that they are not as sturdy for racking the barbell, you may need to have a spotter to help you rack the barbell when you are done.
- No modular attachments. They generally do not provide many modular attachments such as safety arms or attachments for other exercise stations such as detachable dipping stations. This is due to not having an adequate foundation to be able to support their use.
Who Should Use Independent Squat Stands?
- Olympic weightlifters. Olympic weightlifters would benefit from using independent squat stands whether it is in the home gym or at an Olympic weightlifting training facility. They can set up the stands if they need to use them or move them out of the way when they perform the Olympic lifts (the snatch and clean and jerk).
- Budget home gym users. Budget home gym users would benefit from using independent squat stands as they are generally the cheapest of options and they are space-efficient.
- Crossfit and functional fitness gyms. Crossfit and functional fitness gyms often use a wide variety of exercises in their classes, so it’s useful to have equipment that can be moved around easily.
Recommendation for Independent Squat Stands
The Ant March Squat Rack is a very affordable set of independent squat stands that I recommend from Amazon. They are height adjustable from 40 inches to 66 inches.
What I like about the Ant March Squat Rack is that they are rated to up to 550lb or 250kg, which is more than enough for the vast majority of lifters and home gym users.
This set is ideal for the first-time home gym user who is on a budget but wants a squat rack that is easy to relocate.
For more squat racks that are ideal for small spaces, check out 7 Best Squat Racks for Small Spaces.
2. Linked Squat Stands
What Are Linked Squat Stands?
Linked squat stands are similar to independent squat stands but with the addition of a fixed-length beam that connects the two stands at the base.
Linked squat stands also generally cover more floor space at the base. The J hooks for racking the barbell are on top of the beams.
What Are Linked Squat Stands Good For?
- Suitable for low ceilings. Linked squat stands are suitable for facilities with low ceilings because they do not have full-height vertical beams. The vertical beams are adjustable and only go as high as you need for different lifts, so the squat stands can always be shorter than your ceiling.
- More stable than independent squat stands. Due to having a foundational beam to link the two squat stands together, there is a superior level of stability when racking a barbell when compared to independent squat stands.
- Generally light and moveable. They are generally light in weight and build so you can move them around just like you can with independent squat stands.
What Are the Drawbacks of Linked Squat Stands?
- Not width-adjustable. Linked squat stands are generally built with a fixed-length horizontal beam, which makes it impossible to adjust the distance between the vertical beams.
- Can easily miss over the top. Similar to independent squat stands, the height of the rack will always be shorter than you. When you rack a barbell after squats, there is a risk that you may miss the J hooks.
- No extra provision for pull-ups. Due to lacking an upper frame, there are no provisions for performing other exercises such as pull-ups.
Who Should Use Linked Squat Stands?
- Olympic weightlifters. Olympic weightlifters or Olympic weightlifting facilities may benefit from having squat stands that are movable so they can interchange between the Olympic lifts and other barbell exercises that require a rack.
- Budget home gym users. Home gym owners who are on a budget will find that linked squat stands are more affordable than full power racks. If you work out at home, you may also have limited space, which makes linked squat stands suitable.
- Crossfit and functional fitness gyms. Crossfit and functional fitness gyms may incorporate various exercises that require a lot of floor space in their classes, so having squat racks that can be moved is important.
Recommendation for Linked Squat Stands
I recommend the Powerline Squat Rack because it is height adjustable from 30 inches to 60 inches and the whole frame weighs a little over 50lbs, which makes it very easy to relocate around your setup.
I also recommend this set if you are looking for a rack to set up as a bench press rack as well. It can go as low as 30 inches, and most free-weight benches are about 18 to 20 inches high. You’ll still be able to easily rack the barbell when doing bench presses when this rack is at the lowest setting.
Even if you live in an apartment, it’s still possible for you to fit a squat rack. Check out my tips for putting a squat rack in an apartment.
3. Wall-Mounted Foldable Squat Rack
What Is a Squat and Dip Rack?
A squat and dip rack is very similar to a linked squat stand, except that the horizontal beam that connects the two vertical beams is adjustable in length. Also, the back of the top of the J hook has a short handle for you to perform dips on.
What Is a Squat and Dip Rack Good For?
- Suitable for low ceilings. Squat and dip racks are suitable for gyms with low ceilings. They very rarely will be taller than you or as tall as the ceiling in your gym room, so you can fit them in most rooms.
- More stable than independent squat stands. They are generally better than independent squat stands, as they have a base frame that joins the two vertical beams together.
- Generally light and moveable. They are generally light in weight and build, which makes them easier to move around when you need to.
- Can perform dips. They have a unique attachment at the back of the J hooks on the vertical beams for you to do dips on.
- Can adjust the width to suit you. As the horizontal beam that joins the two vertical beams is adjustable, you have the benefit of changing the width of the squat rack if you need to. This benefits people who have an ultra-wide grip on the barbell.
What Are the Drawbacks of a Squat and Dip Rack?
- Can easily miss over the top. Just like the independent squat stands and the linked squat stands, you can miss the J hooks when you rack a barbell if you are not careful.
- No extra provision for pull-ups. No upper horizontal beam at the top to connect the two vertical beams means you cannot do pull-ups on them. If this is the type of squat rack you have space for, you’d need to find other pull exercises to do, such as dumbbell exercises to work the lats.
- Low weight tolerance. Manufacturers who make these types of squat racks are aiming for the budget-conscious user. As such, they use lower-quality materials. These types of squat racks are also not heavy-duty in build, so they tend to have low weight tolerance.
Who Should Use a Squat and Dip Rack?
- Budget home gym users. Best for the budget home gym user who is very confident with using gym equipment and does not need a heavy-duty build.
- Beginners. Beginners will often not be able to bear large loads, so something as lightly built as a squat and dip rack will be suitable for beginners.
Recommendation for Squat and Dip Rack
The Uboway Barbell Rack Squat Stand is height adjustable from 36 inches to 55 inches. It is also width-adjustable from 24.8 to 42.9 inches.
I really like this particular set because it has a foam surface for the dipping handles, which makes them grippy for performing dips. The rack also has a T-shaped base to stop it from tipping over, which is a useful safety feature.
What Are Rigs?
Rigs are a class of squat rack that is often found in Crossfit gyms. They are normally constructed with large frames of at least six vertical beams, though they can be larger. This provides you with the ability to perform other exercises such as pull-ups, muscle-ups, and wall balls and lets multiple people use them at the same time.
Other modular attachments are available with rigs that enable you to do other exercises, such as matadors for doing dips. Rigs are fixed in their location in a training area because they are bolted to the ground, which gives them more stability.
What Are Rigs Good For?
- Safer to rack barbells after sets. As rigs are bolted down to the ground, they are very safe for people to comfortably rack barbells after sets without worrying about missing a J hook or wobbling the squat rack.
- Can perform other exercises. Rigs are generally built to allow modular attachments of other exercise stations so you can do other exercises like dips or wall balls.
- Sturdier and stable. Because they are bolted down, rigs are generally sturdier and more stable. This makes them suitable for heavy individuals who can lift a lot of weight or need a sturdy rack to support them when doing exercises like pull-ups.
- Can be more price-efficient than heavier-duty racks. For the amount of value that they can give, they can be more price-efficient. Buying a rig can be cheaper than buying multiple power racks, which may be more beneficial for the independent gym owner.
What Are The Drawbacks of Rigs?
- Requirement of bolting. They do require bolting to the ground, which may or may not be possible for some people. If you do bolt it, you may have to spend more money on materials to do it yourself or to have someone do it for you.
- Cannot move locations. You cannot move a rig once it is bolted down, which may or may not cause obstruction for other potential uses.
- Generally requires higher ceilings for use. Rigs generally are very high, so they tend to be suitable for outdoors or large facilities with high ceilings.
Who Should Use Rigs?
- Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters. Olympic weightlifting or powerlifting gyms can benefit from these. Rigs will be able to tolerate heavy loads done by Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters alike. Rigs are also sturdy enough that a rolling barbell will not knock the rig over if an Olympic weightlifter drops a weight.
- Crossfit and functional fitness gyms. Crossfit and functional fitness gyms use rigs in their facilities as they provide multiple exercise stations that multiple people can use at the same time.
- General fitness commercial gyms. General commercial gyms may also choose to have rigs to offer training stations for multiple people to use simultaneously.
- Strength and conditioning gyms. Members of strength and conditioning gyms often perform a lot of compound movements like squats and bench presses. Having a rig may be more cost-efficient than having to buy several squat racks.
Recommendation for Rigs
The Monster Rig 2.0 is a good quality rig from Rogue Fitness. Depending on how much space you have, you can go from 10 feet long to 24 feet long. It also has multiple variations so you can choose how you want the rig to be framed at the bottom and top.
You cannot go wrong with Rogue Fitness as it supplies many Crossfit boxes where the rigs are used frequently.
5. Wall-Mounted Rigs
What Are Wall-Mounted Rigs?
Wall-mounted rigs are rigs that are bolted to the ground as well as the wall as well. They also provide opportunities for modular attachments such as pull-up bars and dip bars to expand what exercises can be done with them in addition to squats.
What Are Wall-Mounted Rigs Good For?
- Can be more price-efficient than heavier-duty racks. Wall-mounted rigs generally do not have a lot of material in their construction and are less expensive as a result.
- Safer to rack barbells after sets. The extra support of the wall-mounted rig being bolted to the wall adds more sturdiness for when you rack a barbell.
- Can perform other exercises. The modular attachments that you can add to the wall-mounted rig make it very versatile by offering other exercise options. Good examples are dipping attachments for dips, jammer arm attachments (which you can use for a variety of pressing and rowing movements), and landmine attachments for landmine presses.
- More space-efficient than rigs and other racks. As you can mount these racks to a wall, you’ll have more room on your floor for deadlifts, sit-ups, and other ground-based exercises.
What Are the Drawbacks of Wall-Mounted Rigs?
- Require bolting into the floor and wall. They do require bolting to the ground and the wall, which may or may not be possible depending on what kind of space you’re building your gym in. If you do bolt it, you may have to spend more money on equipment to bolt it down or to have someone else do it for you.
- Generally requires higher ceilings for use. Wall-mounted rigs are often tall to begin with, but you’d also need to make sure you have enough clearance so you don’t bang your head on the ceiling when doing pull-ups or muscle-ups.
- Cannot move locations. Due to the fact that they are bolted, you do not have much flexibility to move them around.
- Do not come with storage solutions. Wall-mounted rigs generally do not offer storage solutions for weight discs or barbells.
If you need ideas on how to store barbells in your home gym, check out my favorite barbell storage tips.
Who Should Use Wall-Mounted Rigs?
- Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters. Wall-mounted rigs offer a strong and stable rack for Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters who may be squatting a lot of weight.
- Crossfit and functional fitness gyms. Crossfit and functional fitness gyms sometimes have wall-mounted rigs in their facilities as they provide multiple types of exercise stations within them. They also offer more floor space in the middle portion of the facilities.
- General fitness commercial gyms. General commercial gyms may choose wall-mounted rigs to offer a suitable training station for different people with different goals as well as to not take up too much space in the middle of the room.
Recommendation for Wall-Mounted Rigs
Rogue Fitness sells a commercial quality wall-mounted rig called the Monster Wallmount. You can tailor it to suit your facility’s needs. I like this product because Rogue gives you options for how many rack stations you want depending on how wide your setup is.
You can have between 1 to 3 squat racks, and you get a choice of a 2×2 to a 3×3 tube for the frames. If you are going to have a lot of heavy squatters from high-level Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters, then choose a 3×3 tube.
6. Squat Rack with Pull-Up Bar
What Is a Squat Rack with Pull-Up Bar?
A squat rack with a pull-up bar is similar to linked squat stands in the sense that it is constructed from two vertical beams with a horizontal beam that connects them.
The beams are taller with an extra horizontal beam connecting the two vertical beams at the top. The J hooks are detachable and are on the front of the vertical beams rather than the top.
A squat rack with a pull-up bar can generally be moved by one person, but it may not necessarily be easy to move.
What is a Squat Rack with Pull-Up Bar Good For?
- More affordable than heavier-duty racks. Squat Racks with Pull-Up Bars are generally more affordable than options such as half racks and power racks.
- Sturdy enough for racking heavy loads. Squat Racks with Pull-Up Bars are superior to squat stand variations as they have a large base frame. This large base frame compensates for having taller vertical beams and provides more stability.
- Can provide spotter arms. They often come with spotter arms for racking barbells if you fail a set. If the rack doesn’t already come with spotter arms, you can usually buy them separately.
- Better for taller lifters. As Squat Racks with Pull-Up Bars are taller than squat stands, they can be a better option for very tall lifters. Instead of the J hooks being at the top of the vertical beams, they are positioned at the front of the rack and are adjustable.
- Offer a pull-up bar. A central horizontal beam across the top of the two vertical beams offers a suitable station for doing pull-ups.
What Are the Drawbacks of a Squat Rack with Pull-Up Bar?
- Do not provide major storage solutions. Many only come with two storage pins for weight discs. Some quarter racks do not come with them at all.
- Frame may swing when racking the barbell or doing pull-ups. As they are generally lighter in build when compared to half racks or power racks, they may be prone to swinging when you do pull-ups, especially if you kip. This is less than ideal if you want to do pull-ups on a rack with a stable frame.
- May require bolting to the ground. They may require bolting to the ground, but they do not necessarily need to be.
Who Should Use A Squat Rack with a Pull-Up Bar?
- Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters. Quarter racks provide a simple middle-range squat rack solution for Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters. They are built with heavy-duty vertical beams with a pull-up bar that assists with stabilizing them for racking heavy loads.
- Home gym users. Home gym owners with a medium budget for equipment may find quarter racks to be a suitable solution. They also don’t take up as much space as power racks.
- Crossfit and functional fitness gyms. Crossfit and functional fitness gyms may find them a heavier-duty choice of a squat rack that can still be moved easily. However, I’d recommend not doing kipping movements on them unless you want to bolt them to the floor since they can wobble.
- Personal training studios. They may be the most appropriate commercial-level squat rack and also do not take up too much space.
Recommendation for Squat Rack with Pull-Up Bar
I particularly like the Rogue Fitness S-2 Squat Stand 2.0 because it has a larger base frame, which I think is important if you perform different types of pull-ups a lot.
This includes kipping pull-ups, which generate a lot of forward and backward momentum, because the squat rack can tip over if the frame is not large enough. If you are a Crossfitter or do a lot of calisthenics training, then this is a suitable option for you.
7. Walk-In Squat Rack
What is a Walk-In Squat Rack?
Walk-in squat racks are commonly seen in commercial general fitness gyms.
They have two parts to them. The first part is the top half of the rack where they have slightly diagonal vertical beams with hooks at incremental levels to rest the barbell. The second part is constructed like an open cage with safety pins for you to rest the barbell on if you fail a squat. These safety pins may or may not be adjustable depending on the brand and model.
What Is a Walk-In Squat Rack Good For?
- Very stable for lowering a barbell for squat failure. They provide a purpose-built frame specifically for the barbell for when you fail a set of squats.
- No need to worry about J hooks going missing. Due to not having removable J hooks, there is less worry for gym owners regarding them going missing. You would be surprised how some gyms owners occasionally find that a J hook is missing. Having fewer moving parts may mean maintenance checks are easier and less money is spent trying to replace them.
- Easy to change barbell height for training partners. If you are sharing the squat rack with someone, it is easier to adjust the height of the barbell on the rack without having to take all of the weight off. You may be able to get away with keeping the plates on if the weight is light enough or only taking some of the plates off so you can move the barbell up or down the rack one side at a time.
- No need for spotters. If you fail a set, the barbell will land on the safety bars. If you fail forward, the barbell will just fall onto a lower rack level.
- Easy, safe, and sturdy for racking barbells. It is very easy to rack a barbell on a walk-in squat rack without worrying too much about the squat rack wobbling.
What Are the Drawbacks of Walk-In Squat Racks?
- Hook separation may be too big. As they are manufactured with predetermined rack height increments, they may be awkward for some people who find that one height is too low and the one above is too high.
- May be difficult for people with a wide grip. If you have an ultra-wide grip on back squats, you may find it awkward to rack the barbell as you worry you may clip your hands.
- Safety pins may be fixed and too low or too high. Depending on your height, you may find that the safety pins, if they are fixed, are too low and may require actually dropping the barbell during a failed set. Similarly, they may be too high if you plan on wheeling in a free-weight bench to perform a bench press.
Who Should Use Walk-In Squat Racks?
- General fitness commercial gyms. Walk-in squat racks are typically best for general commercial gyms as some novice users may not realize the importance of having spotter pins.
Recommendation for Walk-In Squat Racks
The Taurus Elite Squat Rack from Powerhouse Fitness is a great walk-in squat rack with storage pins for weight discs. I recommend this particular model for commercial gyms that need a squat rack with a heavy-duty build.
Another aspect about this squat rack that I like is the material that the racks are made of because it will not damage the barbell’s knurling. This is particularly important if you want to maintain the longevity of your barbells.
It also provides 10 pins for weight storage, which is more than most squat racks. This will save you money on needing to invest in a weight tree.
8. Incline Squat Rack
What Is an Incline Squat Rack?
An incline squat rack is similar to a walk-in squat rack. It is constructed of two slightly diagonal beams with pre-fixed hooks for you to rack the barbell at different heights. Incline squat racks have hooks for the barbell closer to the bottom, but they do not have a caged area for safety bars.
What Is an Incline Squat Rack Good For?
- Can be used to rack barbells for exercises where the weight starts in a lower position. Incline squat racks provide hooks along the full length of the rack. You can change weights very easily on a barbell for exercises like Romanian deadlifts instead of having to add or remove plates with the barbell on the floor.
- No need to change J hooks. As there are attached hooks along the full length of the squat rack, there is no need to keep readjusting them, which saves a lot of time and hassle.
- Inclined beams and hook shape make it easy to unrack the barbell. Due to the way the vertical beams incline, unracking the barbell is very easy. The underside of the hooks is normally smooth, so the knurling of the barbell won’t scrape against it when you lift the barbell from its hooks.
- Easy to change barbell height for training partners. As there are J hooks all along the beam, setting the barbell to a different height becomes easy. All you need to do is to lift each side up or down to the desired rack level, as opposed to stripping the barbell completely and changing J hook heights.
What Are the Drawbacks of Incline Squat Racks?
- Not modular and cannot have add-ons. Incline squat racks are strictly used for racking barbells. There are no options for modular attachments for other exercises.
- Do not have spotter arms/pins. As there are J hooks all along the full length of the vertical beams, they generally do not have spotter arms or pins for you to put a barbell on if you fail a set.
- Increments in the hook heights may be too large. The distance between each J hook level may be too big. You may find that one J hook level is too high but the one below it is too low.
Who Should Use Incline Squat Racks?
- General fitness commercial gyms. Incline squat racks are suitable for commercial gyms that target the general population. They can double up as a rack for a bench press as well if you do not have a dedicated bench press station.
- Personal training studios. Incline squat racks are space-efficient, making them good options for smaller personal training studios.
- Home gym owners looking for a stable squat rack. You may choose an incline squat rack if you want a sturdier option for a squat rack without having to fiddle with adjusting rack heights or worry about missing a barbell over the top of a J hook.
Recommendation for Incline Squat Racks
The Body-Solid Olympic Multi-Press Rack is an incline squat rack that is rated to over 1000lbs on each level. This makes it very suitable for a commercial setting, where there may be a high frequency of use.
Being 74 inches tall makes this rack suitable for lifters who are under 6 foot 6. It is suitable for use as a bench press rack as well, so if you are limited on space, this is a good model to go for.
If you’re looking for a bench to go along with your squat rack, check out the Rep Fitness AB-3100.
9. Wall-Mounted Foldable Squat Rack
What is a Wall-Mounted Foldable Squat Rack?
Wall-mounted foldable squat racks are more of a modern invention. They are made of a large wall-mounted frame with posts that can fold outward to form a wall-mounted squat rack. These are more commonly seen in people’s home or garage gyms.
What Is a Wall Mounted Foldable Squat Rack Good For?
- Extremely space-efficient. These are extremely space-efficient as they can be folded away to take up virtually no space on the floor whatsoever.
- Very sturdy and stable for racking a barbell. When folded out to set up as a squat rack, they are very sturdy for racking and unracking as they are bolted to the wall and firmly planted on the floor.
What Are the Drawbacks of Wall-Mounted Foldable Squat Racks?
- Requires bolting into a wall. Wall-mounted foldable squat racks require bolting to the wall, and you may find that it’s not possible to install the rack on your wall.
- May be more expensive. They will generally set you back between $400 to $700, which isn’t as expensive as large squat rack setups but pricier than other options you may find from budget-friendly brands.
- May damage your wall when dropping a barbell on safety arms. If you use spotter safety arms with wall-mounted foldable squat racks, you may risk damaging the areas where the rack is bolted onto the wall.
Who Should Use Wall-Mounted Foldable Squat Racks?
- Personal training studios. Generally, a more dedicated commercial alternative would be better for personal training studios due to the higher frequency of use. But personal training studios may choose wall-mounted foldable squat racks if they are short on space.
- Home gym owners. This type of rack is perfect for home gym owners as you can get a lot of extra space to perform other exercises once you are done with the rack.
Recommendation for Wall-Mounted Foldable Squat Racks
The Monster RM-3W Fold-Back Wall-Mount Rack from Rogue Fitness is one of the more popular premium racks on the market. Depending on what your capacity is, it provides two options for a rack depth of how far out the beams come. When the rack is stored away, it takes up less than 5 inches from the wall, which makes it super space-efficient.
The depth of the rack is important to consider if you want to perform exercises inside the rack or need space for a spotter during a bench press. Having a deeper squat rack also makes it safer if you need to escape forward.
10. Wall-Mounted Squat Rack
What Is a Wall Mounted Squat Rack?
Wall-mounted squat racks are made from two vertical beams that are bolted to the ground about 1 to 2 feet away from the wall. They also have horizontal beams that are attached perpendicularly to the wall and a single beam that runs parallel to the wall and connects the vertical beams to each other.
What Is a Wall-Mounted Squat Rack Good For?
- More space-efficient. Wall-mounted squat racks may be more space-efficient than other free-standing squat rack options as they are bolted into the wall.
- More stable and sturdy to rack a barbell. Having to bolt them to the wall turns them into a more permanent fixture, which makes them very sturdy for racking and unracking the barbell.
- Requires less ceiling height than rigs. If you are looking for a wall-mounted option but do not have the ceiling height for a wall-mounted rig, a wall-mounted squat rack may be a better option. Rigs are 9 feet tall whereas squat racks are often about 7 to 8 feet tall.
What Are the Drawbacks of Wall-Mounted Squat Racks?
- Cannot be folded away. The wall-mounted squat rack cannot be folded away to create more space, unlike its foldable wall-mounted alternative.
- Requires bolting to the wall. The bolting process may require extra cost, and you may not necessarily have walls that you can bolt a large squat rack into.
- May damage the wall if the barbell drops onto safety arms. Dropping a heavy barbell onto spotter arms can pull the rack off the wall and leave damage behind.
Who should use the Wall-Mounted Squat Rack?
- Personal training studios. Personal training studios may benefit from having a wall-mounted squat rack as there is no need to fold it in and out. Plus it is generally a space-efficient option, which is beneficial for smaller training areas.
- Home gym owners. If you are a home gym owner, you may choose to have a wall-mounted squat rack outdoors or indoors. You will benefit from a minimal total footprint and will be able to use your space wisely. By having a wall-mounted squat rack, you have more space in the more central part of your gym area for deadlifts and other floor-based exercises.
Recommendation for Wall-Mounted Squat Racks
The X-3 Series Space Saving Squat Rack from Titan Fitness gives you a choice of rack height and rack depth. The rack height options are 80 inches and 90 inches. The rack depth options are 12 inches, 18 inches, and 24 inches.
I recommend this particular wall-mounted squat rack because it gives you the option to bolt the frame to the floor and offers additional side bracing for extra stability. This will require extra work, but it may be a preferred option if you perform pull-ups, especially kipping pull-ups, where you create a lot of forward and backward swinging.
11. Half Rack
What Is a Half Rack?
Half racks are similar to quarter racks in that they are constructed from a rectangular frame with a C-shaped base at the bottom. However, half racks generally have an extended frame that connects to the back of the vertical beams to provide horizontal pins for weight plate storage.
Half racks also have adjustable J hooks and a top beam that acts as a pull-up bar. Manufacturers will often have a specific weightlifting platform that inserts into these half racks. Half racks can also come with safety arms that can attach to the vertical beams.
What Is a Half Rack Good For?
- Provides good storage solutions. Half racks generally come with two pairs of vertical beams with the back pair of beams containing horizontal storage pins on the side for storing weight discs.
- Easy to rack and unrack barbells. Half racks are generally built with a strong and stable frame. Along with the high vertical beams, this makes it easier to rack and unrack barbells without worrying too much about stability.
- Can provide spotter arms for failed squats. Half racks generally have spotter arms for resting a barbell after a failed set so you don’t have to worry about damaging the squat rack.
- You can walk out the barbell for other exercises. The half rack is an open squat rack allowing you to perform overhead movements such as overhead press or push press.
What Are the Drawbacks of Half Racks?
- Requires a moderate investment. Half racks are generally built for commercial-level use and can be a more expensive item.
- Limited options for many exercises. Half racks are generally designed for barbell exercises and pull-ups but do not provide options for modular attachments such as a dip station.
Who Should Use a Half Rack?
- Commercial general fitness gyms. Half racks are heavy-duty, so they can be used for high-frequency use in a commercial setting.
- Strength and conditioning gyms. Half racks are probably the minimum you would want to choose for a strength and conditioning training facility. You may be dealing with athletes of a high strength level.
- Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters. Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters will do just fine with half racks as they are generally sturdy enough for racking higher loads.
Recommendation for Half Racks
The HR-2 Half Rack from Rogue Fitness provides two options: a pull-up bar height of 90 inches or 108 inches. It also provides a set of 4 storage pins for weight discs on each side.
I particularly like this model because it has Westside hole spacing, which means that the hole spacings are very close together, thus giving you the option to choose the perfect rack height for squatting or pressing.
12. Double Half Rack
What Is a Double Half Rack?
A double half rack is similar to a half rack, but it’s constructed from two half racks that are connected back to back to each other. This provides two training stations for exercising.
Double half racks are generally made from 6 vertical beams. The middle two have horizontal pins that provide a storage solution for weight plates.
Double half racks also have adjustable J hooks and a top beam that doubles as a pull-up bar. Some manufacturers will have a specific weightlifting platform that goes inside the rack. Double half racks also often come with safety arms that can attach to the vertical beams.
What Is a Double Half Rack Good For?
- Provides multiple exercise stations. Double half racks provide two training stations, which makes group training or training with a partner very useful. You do not need to keep changing the loads as you would if you were to take turns sharing an individual exercise station. You can also perform supersets of exercises that both require a squat rack, for example, squats and overhead press.
- Stable and sturdy for all users. Double half racks provide a large, heavy-duty structure that makes them very sturdy for high-frequency usage and heavy lifting.
- Provides good storage solutions. They provide plenty of horizontal storage pins for weight plate storage.
What Are the Drawbacks of Double Half Racks?
- Users may be put off by exercising simultaneously. As the half racks on each side face each other, it may be awkward when someone on the other side is squatting at the same time as you.
- Requires a high investment. Double half racks are huge builds, so you should expect a huge investment of both time and money if you are choosing this for your facility.
Who Should Use a Double Half Rack?
- Strength and conditioning gyms. This type of rack is perfect for strength and conditioning facilities where large groups of athletes train at the same time.
- Powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters. It would be suitable for powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting gyms for the same reason.
- Collegiate/university gyms. Double half racks are suitable for collegiate/university gyms where there is a large space available for training equipment.
Recommendation for a Double Half Rack
The Monster Double Half Rack from Rogue Fitness provides two options: a pull-up bar with a 1.25” diameter or one with a 2” diameter. It also provides a set of 4 storage pins for weight discs on each side and offers plenty of space between the two training stations, which is important for safety if someone were to escape forward into the rack.
Another aspect that I like about this model is that it also provides band pegs for anchoring your resistance bands for banded deadlifts. These are commonly performed among powerlifters and other athletes who need a lot of lower body power, and this rack is most suitable for those types of individuals.
13. Half Cage Squat Rack
What Is a Half Cage Squat Rack?
Half cage squat racks are similar to half racks in the sense that they are made from a rectangular frame with a base frame at the bottom. Half cage squat racks also have a shorter pair of vertical beams that are in the front of the squat rack, with a detachable pair of safety pins that can be set at different heights.
What Is a Half Cage Squat Rack Good for?
- Can walk out the barbell for other exercises. The half cage squat rack provides the same benefit as a half rack or any other open squat rack so you can perform overhead movements.
- Provides a more sturdy safety pin to fail squats on. The half cage squat rack also provides a similar benefit as the power rack where you have a much sturdier safety pin that is locked into a beam on each end.
- Safer to rack the barbell. As the half cage squat rack has tall vertical beams, you do not need to worry about missing a barbell over the edge of the J hook as you would with squat stands.
What Are the Drawbacks of Half Cage Squat Racks?
- Do not have storage solutions. They generally do not have horizontal storage pins for weight discs.
Who Should Use a Half Cage Squat Rack?
- Home gym users. The half cage squat rack is suitable for anyone who trains at home and wants a squat rack with a better capacity for catching a barbell with a failed set.
Recommendations for Half Cage Squat Racks
The Pro ClubLine Multi Power Rack by Body-Solid comes with a set of 3 storage pins for weight discs on each side. It also provides safety pins as well as anchors for resistance bands should you choose to use them.
I particularly recommend this model as it has J hook racks along the full length of the rack, which makes it suitable for bench pressing, squatting, and overhead pressing. There are also 6 regions along the base where you can bolt the rack, which is very important if you are going to use this in a commercial setting where it will be used frequently.
14. Power Rack
What Is a Power Rack?
Power racks are also known as power cages. They look cuboid in nature and have 4 vertical beams with horizontal beams connecting the front beams to the back beams at the bottom and a square frame at the top.
Power racks will often come with detachable J hooks and safety pins. Sometimes power racks come with safety straps instead of safety pins and another pair of J hooks at the front to create two exercise stations instead of just one.
What Is a Power Rack Good For?
- Provides more personal space. Due to the fact that you are squatting inside a cage-like structure, you may feel more confident about your personal space and not worry about someone accidentally bumping into you from behind.
- Provides a more sturdy safety pin to fail squats on. Having safety pins that are stabilized by vertical beams on both sides provides a superior spotting capacity if you fail a set.
- Can use safety straps instead of safety pins. You can use safety straps, which are an advantageous alternative to safety pins as the barbell will settle to the middle of the power rack and not roll forward onto you.
What are the Drawbacks of Power Racks?
- Expensive investment. They are normally a larger investment as they are more heavy-duty in their build.
- Difficult to move. As they are bulky structures, they are generally very difficult to move if you need the space. Even if you did move them out of the way, they may damage the floor.
- Requires a larger footprint. Power racks inherently take up a lot of space. You need to consider the size of the rack itself and the walking space around it for loading up the bar.
Who Should Use a Power Rack?
- Commercial general fitness gyms. Power racks are suitable for commercial use as the heavy build allows for high-frequency use.
- Strength and conditioning gyms. Strength and conditioning training facilities will benefit from using power racks, as they can cater to strong athletes.
- Powerlifters. Powerlifters or powerlifting gyms can use power racks, which have the ability to support heavy loads. Power racks also provide options for performing other exercises such as bench presses, pin presses, and rack pulls.
- Home gym users. If you have the space for a power rack at home and the money, this is a good option. It will provide you with the best safety features, especially if you are training alone at home.
Recommendations for Power Racks
The R-6 Power Rack from Rogue Fitness is one of the best power racks as it provides a set of 4 storage pins on each side for weight discs; a multi-grip pull-up bar so you can perform underhand, overhand, and neutral grip pull-ups; and an anchor for landmine exercises.
I recommend this model as it is made of 6 vertical beams, whereas most squat racks are made of 4 vertical beams. This gives you extra room to wheel a bench in and choose where you want to rack your barbell. You can rack the barbell right at the back of the power rack without crossing over with the racked weight plates.
15. Double Power Rack
What is a Double Power Rack?
Double power racks are constructed from two power racks put back to back and normally separated by a pair of vertical beams with horizontal beams for stability and storing weight plates. They normally have 8 vertical beams.
Double power racks can offer between 2 to 4 separate exercise stations depending on whether they have 2 pairs or 4 pairs of J hooks. In addition, they normally come with a pair of safety pins or safety straps for the barbells to rest on if you were to fail a set and need to drop it.
What Is a Double Power Rack Good For?
- Providing a high number of exercise stations. Double power racks can provide a high number of exercise stations. Up to 4 people can use the whole structure at any given time. However, they should alternate between each other.
- Heavy-duty option for more advanced athletes. The double power rack provides a very heavy structure for all of the users. They can manage heavy loads and rack them without worrying about the rack shaking or wobbling at all.
- Can use safety straps instead of safety pins. You can use safety straps which are an advantageous alternative to safety pins as the barbell will settle to the middle of the power rack and not roll forward onto you.
What are the Drawbacks of Double Power Racks?
- Extremely expensive investment. These are probably the most expensive type of squat rack that you can get and are exclusively for large training facilities.
- Need a lot of space. They have a large footprint as they also require lots of walking space around the whole double power rack.
- Requires bolting down to the ground. They also require bolting to the ground, which can cost you extra money since you may need to buy materials or pay someone to do it.
Who Should Use a Double Power Rack?
- General fitness commercial gyms. Double power racks would be suitable for commercial use due to their heavy-duty build. They also offer additional safety features, which can give gym owners peace of mind that their members will be safe when lifting.
- Strength and conditioning gyms. Double power racks also benefit strength and conditioning gyms because they provide a high number of training stations.
Recommendation for Double Power Racks
The Rogue RM-43 Monster Rack is designed perfectly for commercial use or professional sports use. It also provides modular attachments for other exercises as well as a multi-level set of pull-up bars.
It also has a lower horizontal beam for extra stability, whereas many other double power racks only have an upper horizontal beam. This is particularly important if you are conjoining power racks to create a double power rack.
16. Competition Combo Rack
What Is a Competition Combo Rack?
Competition combo racks are unique and were designed for powerlifting. They are constructed from a linked squat stand with J hooks on top of the two height-adjustable beams and a modular bench and modular safety racks for bench pressing.
Along the middle of these beams is also another pair of J hooks. These J hooks normally come with a rollable cylinder at the bottom so you can pull the barbell side to side and center it before use.
Most of these competition combo racks also have a mechanism that can tilt the vertical beams diagonally inward. This will be useful for taller or larger lifters who use a wide grip to hold the barbell.
What Is a Competition Combo Rack Good for?
- Specific to powerlifting competition conditions. This is good for replicating the conditions you would be in if you competed in powerlifting.
- Provides smaller increments in rack heights. Combo racks are generally very good at providing small incremental changes in rack heights. You can find the perfect rack height for your squat or bench without having to dip too low or bend your arms too much to rack and unrack the barbell.
- Adjustable beams for squatters with wide grips. The unique thing about the combo racks is that you can tilt the beams diagonally inward so you can grip the barbell at the very end of the knurling. This is great for larger or taller lifters.
- Rack heights can easily be adjusted with a heavy barbell on racks. These squat racks have a unique lever that makes it easy to adjust rack heights without needing to reduce the weight on the barbell.
- Sturdy safety racks for multi-purpose use. Combo racks generally come with safety racks to catch the barbell if you fail a bench press.
What Are the Drawbacks of Competition Combo Racks?
- Expensive investment. They are generally very expensive pieces of equipment, especially if they come from a reputable brand such as Rogue Fitness or Eleiko.
- Cannot perform other exercises outside of squat and bench press. You generally cannot perform any other exercises outside of squatting or bench press.
Who should use a Competition Combo Rack?
- Powerlifters. The competition combo rack was designed for powerlifters and powerlifting competitions. Any powerlifting gym should have one.
Recommendation for Competition Combo Racks
This competition combo rack from Rogue Fitness is an extremely sturdy combo rack that is certified by the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF). Competitive powerlifters will have no problem using this for training and competing.
From personal experience, the Rogue combo rack has rack height adjusters that are built very well and are not like many other combo racks on the market. The back of the J hooks is also built in a way that it will not damage the knurling of the barbell.
What Is a Monolift?
Monolifts are a relatively new invention that were created in the early 1990s by former powerlifter Ray Madden. They are a special type of squat rack specific to powerlifting that is used in some powerlifting federations.
They are constructed from a large base frame, two vertical beams, and a top frame with hooks that swing back and forth when you squat the barbell up.
The monolift exists to eliminate the need for walking a barbell out from a squat rack. Most monolifts need to be operated by another person. There are monolift versions or monolift attachments where the hooks automatically swing away when the barbell is elevated, but you need to walk the barbell back.
What Is a Monolift Good For?
- Extremely heavy squatters. The monolift caters specifically to lifters who can squat very heavy. It generally can tolerate the highest amount of weight when loading a barbell.
- Removes the need to walk out with a barbell. Monolifts remove the need for walking a barbell out as the J hooks move away from the barbell. Whereas with a traditional squat rack, you have to move the barbell away from the J hooks.
- Provides safety straps and chains in case the barbell drops. They also provide loops of straps to catch the barbell should the lifter ever drop the bar.
What are the Drawbacks of Monolifts?
- You cannot do anything else with it. Monolifts are designed for squats only. You can’t do bench presses, overhead presses, or other movements with them.
- You cannot relocate it. They are too heavy to be moved anywhere if you need space, so they generally stay where they are located.
- Extremely expensive investment. Monolifts are very expensive, which puts them out of reach for most people.
Who Should Use a Monolift?
- Powerlifters. Monolifts are beneficial for powerlifters who compete in a federation that uses monolifts.
- Strongman/Strongwoman athletes. Strongman and strongwoman competitors will also benefit from monolifts as they are also very strong and participate in heavy squatting events that may not require a walkout.
Recommendation for Monolifts
The Westside Mammoth Monolift sold by Rogue Fitness is one of the more popular monolifts in the powerlifting world. This model can withstand up to 1200lbs worth of barbell weight so it can cater to high-level powerlifters.
I recommend this model particularly because it offers a heavy-duty band peg option, which can be used for anchoring resistance bands.
18. DHS Squat Stands
What Are DHS Squat Stands?
DHS squat stands, also known as “Chinese” squat stands, are manufactured by a Chinese company called Double Happiness and are used by Chinese Olympic weightlifters. They are independent squat stands that look like very tall stools.
The unique thing about these types of squat racks is that the barbell does not make contact with the rack — instead, the bumper plates are physically racked. The benefit of this is that the barbell’s knurling does not get worn out, as Olympic weightlifters generally grip the bar with multiple grip widths and need aggressive knurling.
What Are Dhs Squat Stands Good for?
- Olympic weightlifters. They are good for Olympic weightlifters who like to perform squats or overhead variations.
- Saves the barbell from knurling damage. Rather than racking the barbell, you rack the bumper plates. This means that J hooks can’t damage the barbell’s knurling. Olympic weightlifters need to be able to access all the knurling on the barbell, specifically during the snatch, which requires a wide grip.
- Can be relocated to create space. You can easily move them into a different location so you have more space for Olympic lifts.
What are the Drawbacks of DHS Squat Stands?
- Extremely hard to find. They are not that popular, so you may have trouble finding a manufacturer who makes them.
- Does not provide safety pins or spotter arms. They do not provide a capacity for catching the barbell if you fail a set.
- Extremely expensive. They are extremely expensive for what they are.
Who should use DHS Squat Stands?
- Olympic weightlifters. These squat stands are exclusively for Olympic weightlifters.
Recommendation for DHS Squat Stands
These DHS Squat Stands have a wide base of support along with side wheels so they can easily be repositioned to a different location without worrying about scratching the ground or platform.
I like this particular model because it is easy to relocate them without having to pick them up or drag them across the ground, which may cause damage.
About The Author: Norman Cheung ASCC, British Powerlifting Team Coach
Norman Cheung is a powerlifting coach and an accredited strength and conditioning coach under the UKSCA. He has been coaching powerlifting since 2012 and has been an IPF Team GB coach since 2016. He has experience with coaching a variety of lifters from novices to international medallists and international university teams. Along side coaching, he takes interest in helping powerlifters take their first step into coaching. He currently runs his coaching services at strongambitionscoaching.com