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Jim's Bodybuilding Guide - Intro
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Jim's Weight Lifting Guide - 1
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Home Gym Exercise Equipment

Choosing a Home Gym Guide - 1
Choosing a Home Gym Guide - 2
Choosing a Home Gym Guide - 3
Choosing a Home Gym Guide - 4
Total Gym Review
Total Gym Models Compared
Power Rack Review
Power Rack Exercises

Weight Lifting Power Rack Review

Weight Lifting Power Rack - Back To Basics

Thus far, in our series of articles covering home gyms, we covered some important factors to help you choosing an ideal gym. In it, I mentioned power racks quite a few times. Even though power racks aren't the "conventional" or even ideal choice for a home gym, it's way up on my wish list for a home gym.

So if I think it's so great, then why so few people actually buy it for their homes, and you only mostly see power racks in gyms? Well, simply, power racks aren't ideally suited for people in general (the majority of people) who're just after overall physical fitness. Power racks are better suited for individuals who're after nothing other than size, strength, and muscles.

Let's consider an average person's point of view: "if I'm just after fitness, better health, and more toned muscles, why the heck would I want a power rack?"

  • it's huge (takes up a lot of room)
  • I have to buy weights with it, and specifically olympic style weights and bars
  • I'll also have to spend money to get a bench of some sort (flat benches with incline are ideal)
  • I'm gonna have a hell of a time loading and unloading weights between exercises
  • and, heck, I might end up injuring myself

Gee, that doesn't sound too promising. ;-) Perhaps not for the average person, but for someone who has limited time to hit the gym, and who wants real muscle gains, the power rack is by far the best workout station in my opinion. Actually, funny thing is, the power rack is not even really a workout station - it's just a rack with some very basic, but nifty features that you can take full advantage of for gaining muscles.

Quick note: on average, setting up a power rack in your home will cost your about as much as buying a workout station. The trade off is convenience and ease of use for basic, multi-joint, power movements, and thus greater strength and muscle gains.

Power Racks - The Ideal Home Gym For Muscle Gains

I'm gonna tell you this ahead of time, the greatest setback (in my opinion) of having a power rack is that you're somewhat limited to the number of exercises you can do as compared to a machine workout station.

So, why do I keep on ranting about the power rack? Simply because it's absolutely the best piece of equipment you can own for helping you do the most basic, power movements (like squat, bench etc..) without needing a spotter. This is the very reason why I think the power rack is the ideal equipment to have at home for people who're after muscles. Other probably won't agree, but hey, this is just my opinion. ;-)

Understanding Power Racks Setup

If you've been to a gym, you've probably seen a power rack. But if you're not sure what a power rack is or looks like, here's a quick overview.

On the left is a picture of a Powertec power rack, and this is how power racks look like. They're quite large, usually around 6 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 7 feet tall.

It has a set bar bars on the sides that can be adjusted and used to hold the weight at different heights, or more importantly, used as a safety spotter for heavy exercises. It has these holders that look like upside down hooks in the front to hold the weights. Most power racks also has a chin up bar.

Sounds pretty simple right? What makes the power rack ideal, is that with a decent set of weights and a flat/incline bench, you can perform almost all the major, heavy duty lifts like the bench press, dead lifts, squats, jerk/press etc... These are the fundamental movements to build true muscle and strength, and fast.

So for this to work out, it's just as important to have a set of olympic weights and a good bench.

Click here for part 2: power rack exercises and review

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