Squat Stands. Image credit: SAKufel.
Power Racks allow for maximal safety during lifts since they have safety pins to catch the barbell if something goes wrong. They also allow for plenty exercises since they usually have built-in Pull-up & Dip bars.
However a Power Rack takes a lot of space. Your ceiling might be too low. And moving your Power Rack is a pain each time you need that space for something else. A more practical & cheaper solution: Squat Stands.
Drawbacks of Squat Stands. Squat Stands need less space than Power Racks and you can find them at half the price. But Squat Stands have drawbacks too:
- Less Versatile. Squat Stands don’t work well if you Bench Press often. And you’ll need an additional Pull-up bar.
- Less Safe. Unless you use saw horses as safety pins to catch the bar, you’ll have to dump the weight when you get stuck on Squats.
- Bumper Plates. You need more expensive bumper plates if you plan to dump the weight. Otherwise you’ll break your bar & plates.
The only benefits of Squat Stands over Power Racks is that they take less place and are more mobile. They’re not cheaper in the long run since you’ll need extra equipment like a Pull-up bar or bumper plates.
Buying & Building Squat Stands. If you have the time & skills, build your own Squat Stands in wood. Otherwise I’d recommend the Ironmind Squat Stands. But at that price and if you have the place, a Power Rack is a better idea.
- Valor Fitness BD-3. Separate bar supports. Comes with short safety catch bars. Free shipping. But only handles 250lbs.
- PowerLine PSS60X. Takes more space since the bar supports are attached. But more stable. 5 star review. Free shipping.
- Ironmind Vulcan II+. Used at US Olympic centers. Adjustable for Bench Press. Optional Pull-up/Dip bar. Handles 1000lbs. But expensive.
- Homemade Squat Stands. Cost less than 50$ and takes 1 day work. Read this guide and this one (bottom). Check the pictures in this set.
How to Dump The Bar When Using Squat Stands. If you don’t use saw horses to catch the weight when you get stuck on Squats, you’ll have to dump the bar like Olympic weight lifters do all the time. 2 options:
- Dump Backwards. Move forward while dumping the bar backwards. Be quick so the bar doesn’t hit your back. Example. With Front Squats, you can drop the weight in front. Example.
- Dump Forward. Jerk the weight overhead to the front. Tricky since you might not be able to this with heavy weights. Check this video at 4:45.
Backwards is the safest way. Practice dumping the bar with lighter weights so you know what to do when using heavier weights. Remember you need bumper plates to avoid breaking your bar and plates.