If you are looking to set up an affordable home gym with the best power rack, there are a few ways to do it. If you are planning to use it more than a year, then it will pay for itself in comparison to gym memberships. You will also be able to do heavy power cleans and deadlifts, which are often not available or allowed in many gyms. Here is what I have setup in the past.
Setting up a Home Gym with the Best Power Rack
The first setup I had was with the PowerLine PSS60X Squat Rack. This worked great for basic bench press, overhead press and squats. It was simple to assemble and easy to store. Combine this with the Doorway Pull-up Bar and the Ultimate Body Press Dip Stand and you have a full circuit with very little space required. In fact, you could even set this up in a bedroom if you had to. I am kicking myself for selling my dip stand because I had it for over 6 years and probably would have lasted for life. I got the garage sale fever and couldn’t stop. Lesson learned.
In terms of bars and plates, you will find a wide range of prices depending on the quality. In the beginning, you can get away with a cheaper bar unless you are doing some Olympic lifting and throwing the bar down. I think that the Body-Solid 7 Ft Black Free Weight Olympic Bar is a great mid-range bar and will serve a variety of purposes. I originally bought a used bar off of Craigslist because it came with 300lbs of plates, but it was a poor bar and I eventually upgraded. I would definitely look for used plates because there isn’t any reason to purchase new iron. If you want to do Olympic lifts and feel manly by throwing the bar to the ground from over your head, I would highly recommend Rubber Bumper Plates which are hard to find used.
Upgrading to a Squat Cage
Once you start getting into heavier weights, you will want a squat rack to save you from crushing yourself under the bar. This actually happened to me while bench pressing with the previous set-up without a spotter. It wasn’t as embarrassing as when I smacked myself in the forehead while doing skull-crushers and possibly was knocked out for a little bit.
There are a variety of cages to choose from, and I always like the simplest ones. If you are on a tight budget, PowerLine will be the best because it’s affordable, sturdy and easy to assemble. Here is the model: PowerLine PPR200X Power Rack. If you have more money to spend and you are serious about your setup, then the Rogue R-3 Power Rack is the best choice. Rogue Fitness also makes the best lifting shoes in my opinion.
Now you are able to start getting into heavier safer squats and bench presses, with dips, pull-ups, deadlifts and overhead presses all covered. If you want to start building more grip strength and power – and you have an alley, street or yard – consider adding training ropes to your arsenal.
Another addition is to get a small sled to increase speed and power. One of my favorite exercise combinations was using the training ropes, and then pulling a small sled with plates piled on top, and chains with handles connected to it. You would explode back and pull like you were doing a power clean or high pull so it would slide across the concrete until you reached a certain point. The other option is called a Power Sled, which we called a Prowler in Crossfit. People have a love/hate relationship with this piece of iron. This was probably the most difficult exercise in that it’s fairly straight forward to do, but it takes everything you have until your
bones basically collapse in a sad heap. Extremely
important exercise for Football and contact sports. Work your
way up slowly with the weight unless you want the nickname
This setup will provide you with everything you need – and in many cases more than your gym – for a small investment that will pay off in savings over time.