Squat rack | The incredible story and evolution of the gym power rack

The Squat Rack is one of the indispensable tools in any gym that is worthy of its name, whether it is to train powerlifters, crossfitters, weightlifters or bodybuilders.

Unfortunately we notice a lot of confusion in the information about it on the net, our goal is to answer the most frequently asked questions of our customers on squat racks and provide advice for the purchase, starting from the birth and passing through the evolution of this extraordinary training tool.

The history of the Squat Rack

Barbells, haltèress, bench and squat rack. These four training equipment can be found in almost every weight room in the world. The squat, in terms of popularity, function and importance is one of the three most important lifting exercises in weight training.

With the rise of popularity, importance and evolution of the squat, the modern power rack has become a central element in any gym, wellness center, box Cross Training that respects.

The history of the squat rack is linked to the history of the related exercise. The squat.

In the early 1900s, the exercise we now call “squat” was actually simply called “bending on the knees”.

Since the squat rack had not yet been invented, lifting heavy weights on the shoulders was too difficult and the knee bending was often performed lightly during many repetitions, often causing many injuries.

But fortunately with time the exercise was not only named so in a different way, but it was also performed differently, drastically decreasing the cases of injury.

origini dello squat 2
bending no the knees

The athlete often stood with her heels together, toes out, and knees at an angle of about 45 degrees from her body. With her knees and toes in evidence, the athlete bent her knees to the point that they were practically sitting on her heels.

For the first time in 1921 the magazine “Strength” used the word “squat” to describe a a weight-lifting exercise.

Henry Steinborn

Henry Steinborn inventore dello squat moderno
Henry Steinborn inventor of the modern squat @media under Creative Commons license

German immigrant arrived in America after World War I, is recognized as the inventor of the modern squat.

When other athletes saw that with Steinborn’s exercise they could lift heavier weights and especially without injuries, the squat almost overnight became a standard among lifting exercises both in gyms and competitions.

The squat, however, without a squat rack has been for years a rather difficult exercise to perform, also by virtue of the difficulty of bringing the weight into position.

difficoltà del portare il peso in posizione squat
Difficulty in getting the weight into position @media under Creative Commons license

To lift the weight on the shoulders, many athletes performed a “Clean” allowing the weight to pass over the head and then lean on the shoulders.

For heavier weights, some athletes placed the Olympic barbell bar perpendicular to the floor, tried to slide the weight on their shoulders as they stood up, which was rather difficult and dangerous.

This method was popularized by Steinborn himself.

The birth of the squat rack

The squat rack, like many great inventions, was born out of necessity as much as anything else. This type of gym rack became a central element of fitness equipment in almost all gyms in the from the 30s of the last century, only a few years after the rise of this exercise was extraordinary.

Over the years there have been constant updates of the squat rack up to the present day.

The evolution of the squat rack has led us today to solutions such as the power rack. No longer just a single functional piece of equipment, but a multitasking tool that serves as a squat rack, bench, spotter and much more.

The modern power racks provide a really exceptional degree of security. This increased safety has made squat racks an essential element of the equipment stock of any modern gym that respects.

Why own and use a squat rack

Squat is the preeminent lifting of the lower body, no matter if you are a powerlifter, crossfitter or a person who is just trying to get in shape. The squat helps to increase overall strength.

A squat rack is indispensable because it allows you to load more weight is the truth. Before the advent of the squat rack, the athletes had to use a variety of less effective exercises to achieve their own training goals.

Owning such a rack, allows you to perform heavier lifts from a more comfortable position that allows the athlete in turn to gain in strength and functionality.

What to look for in a squat rack

rack Mighty CPS Sistema a pulegge


The first thing to look for in a squat rack, regardless of quality, features or flexibility, is size. If the rack does not fit the available space or is too short or too high, it is not the right rack.

Concentrate your time and energy on finding a rack that fits perfectly to your features, whether they are of space and height.

Quality of construction

The second thing to look for in a squat rack is the quality i construction. You should also consider the amount of weight and frequency of use that you will have to endure your new squat rack.

But planning based on how much you raise now, might be a mistake, better choose a product that is able to withstand your workouts and your lifting progression from here to 5 years. A squat rack, which possesses a superior build quality, is designed to last for many years.

Quality is important and becomes even more important as the frequency with which the product is used increases.

Thickness of the steel of the squat rack

When deciding on the quality of the squat rack, it is vital to consider the type and thickness of steel used in production.

Apart from the thickness and type of steel, there is another aspect to consider. The quality of the workmanship, since the structure is made of steel, the welding plays a very important role. A good welding can make the difference between a rack that lasts 2 years and one that lasts a lifetime.

The importance of welding

Particolare Fori Rack 1

The difficulty in knowing whether the welds are good has nothing to do with the aesthetics of the welds (a good weld should look like a seamless stack of coins).

Ease of use

Another consideration before buying a squat rack is the ease of use associated with the type of equipment. During the research and before buying, make sure that one of the features of the squat rack is the ease of adjustment.


There are also some security-related features that should be considered before purchasing.

For example:

  1. The rack can be anchored to the floor?
  2. It is compatible with j-cups?
  3. It is covered by warranty?

The truth is that the security provided by a squat rack is probably its most important quality and should be considered compared to almost all other features when purchasing a rack.

The most important thing to look for in terms of safety is that the safety rods can be adjusted to the desired levels.

A squat rack can be used as a sort of “spotter” and can allow you to lift heavy weights safely even without a spotter.

Multifunction rack

A key advantage of today’s racks is that most of them offer the ability to accomplish an almost endless series of exercises.

For example, many of the modern power racks have the ability to act as squat racks, bench, pull-up bar, dip and much more. But not always such accessories are included in the price, therefore remember to choose the right rack according to your training style.

Warranty of the product

The warranty information must always be present on the seller’s website as on our ecommerce, always remember to request reassurances and warranty clauses on the products purchased.

The different types of squat racks

Below is a brief list of the types of squat racks on sale and their features. A brief overview to allow you to choose carefully the best rack at the best price.

1. Power Rack

The first type of squat rack is the power rack.

Many of the safety features and accessories mentioned above are specific to power racks. Also known as squat cage or power cage, the power rack is a weight training equipment that offers characteristics and versatility such as to perform numerous types of exercises.

Curiosity : The power rack is often called a power cage because it looks like an animal cage that has lost most of its bars 🙂

Most people who train in a home gym have chosen a product like this, thanks to the possibility to insert many accessories to perform a huge number of exercises always different.

2. Half Rack

The main difference between the half rack and the power rack is the size and number of exercises that can be performed with this type of equipment.

We could say that the half rack is essentially just a smaller version of a power rack for people with less space and shorter ceilings…but it would be reductive, the half racks are usually cheaper and are great for people who do not like to feel locked up 🙂

3. Squat Stand

Squat Stand

The squat stand is basically an open power rack. By eliminating much of the power rack, all the security and versatility features offered by the power rack are also eliminated. Although smaller and generally cheaper than a power rack, a squat stand is not comparable to the capabilities offered by a power rack.

4. Resealable Rack

rack richiudibile da palestra

The resealable rack is the perfect invention for all those who train and at the same time park their car in the same garage

The folding squat rack does exactly what its name suggests, folds almost flush with the wall on which it is mounted. For anyone who has very little space but still wants the ability to perform the squat and other exercises, this machine is perfect.


As you can read, the story of some of the most iconic exercises of modern gymnastics and the tools that have helped them improve over the years, often go hand in hand. The world of fitness is a really beautiful world, and knowledge must be shared, to allow everyone to be able to train efficiently and safely.

Media source : Wikipedia under Creative Commons.

Historical images in this article are licensed under creative commons and freely usable.


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