In a previous article, I briefly discussed problems with some homemade squat racks I saw around the internet.
Not to be confused with safety squat racks, squat stands are simply holders for the barbell - generally speaking.
Safety squat racks have the self-spotting feature afforded by the horizontal steel safety racks made up of steel rods or "pins" on both sides of the weightlifter. The parts are usually are welded or bolted whole together.
Shown below is a commercial squat rack with the horizontal safeties.
The problem with commercial safety squat racks is that since they're assembled or welded permanently whole, there's no way to adjust it's width. You can't, for instance use an EZ-curl bar for above exercise equipment because the upright supports are fixed and located too far apart.
That's where freestanding equipment can offer you that advantage.
Advantage of Freestanding Squat Racks or Stands
Take freestanding squat stands, for instance. I've built a couple of freestanding wooden squat stands that can hold any length bar.
All you need to do is to position them as close or far apart as required so they can accommodate any length barbell bar.
Freestanding equipment like squat stands are generally much easier to transport and store. As a pair, they come in two smaller pieces rather than one huge bulky piece.
Are there freestanding safety squat racks available? Yes, there are, and here are a couple that are commercially available.
The first pair on the left shows just the safety racks. I doubt the stability of this exercise equipment though. I suspect the racks will easily topple when the barbell is dropped at either end of the rack's horizontal "pins".
The pair of squat racks on the right in the above photo is a combination of rack and upright stands. You will notice, however, that the safety rack's pin" length is too limiting.
It has to be. Extended much longer, a barbell could easily topple these pair towards the exerciser.
One advantage of these freestanding squat stands or racks is that they are vertically adjustable. The posts are made of steel square tubes with one tube inside another.
An adjusting pin allows you to raise or lower the inside steel tube's height. This is particularly beneficial to accommodate a variety of weight lifting exercises and/or to suit the weightlifter's height.
Considerations for the Homemade Adjustable Safety Squat Racks
Here's a summary of the considerations for the design of my homemade adjustable safety squat racks:
A freestanding pair of squat racks will be horizontally adjustable. The pair will allow you to adjust the placement of the racks so they can accommodate any length barbell bar. A freestanding pair comes in two pieces and much easier to carry or store.
The safety squat racks should allow you to dismantle it into parts and store away these parts in a more compact manner.
Steel is much stronger and doesn't deteriorate as easily as wood does. A collapsible structure made of steel will be durable enough to withstand frequent dismantling, assembling and constant moving in general.
- Easily assembled
Exercise equipment that require tools or is too difficult to assemble and dismantle will either remain assembled forever or, worse, will not be assembled for use at all.
The structure should include long horizontal racks that will allow the weightlifter to safely drop the barbell upon reaching exercise failure.
- Vertically adjustable
Just like in the above two pairs of freestanding commercial racks, the homemade adjustable safety squat racks should be made with square steel tubes. The catch of the squat stands and the self-spotting horizontal rack should move as a single unit when adjusted.
- Stable enough
The pair of homemade adjustable safety squat racks should have a footprint big enough so it doesn't topple over regardless of height.
(See Part 3 for the continuation of this article on how I constructed my own safety squat rack)