It is the most intimidating piece of equipment in any commercial gym. It was the first time I stepped into a commercial gym’s free weights section. I was 17 years of age and had been training for six months. These men were huge and gaining incredible weight. I was anxious. I was nervous when I saw the large dumbbells and barbells that weighed more than 40kg, as well as all of these pieces that I didn’t know how to use. The corner was occupied by four men who gathered around what I later discovered to be a “power rack”. I found this contraption frightening. It had vertical posts, horizontal bars, and weight plates that were stacked on either side. Don’t worry if this is you. It’s something we’ve all experienced and I’m here for you.
It’s like a playground to lifters
Because it can safely lift heavy weights, the power rack is an excellent tool. The power rack can be used for many purposes, unlike traditional gym machines. It can be used for deadlifts and bench presses as well as back squats and front squats. It is like a playground to lifters. Instead of climbing frames and sandcastles, you play with weights.
Let’s take a look at the power rack. It is essential to understand the different parts and how they are used for your Weight Training journey.
Each exercise requires that the barbell be placed at a different height. This will ensure maximum safety and minimize energy consumption to position the barbell correctly. Pins can be either straight or L-shaped and hold the barbell in its place. They are also known as bar catches by gym members. Common errors: Setting pins at different heights, placing them in an incorrect way, and not being able to retrieve them from the post. It is frustrating. Every pin is not created equal. You will need to adjust the pins, especially those that are heavy-duty, before you can take them out.
The power rack’s unique feature is its ability to allow you to do heavy exercises without risking your safety. Safety bars are included with every power rack. These safety bars are particularly important for bench presses and squats. They act as an emergency escape. If you fail a repetition, you have the option to abort the barbell or release it from the safety bar. This tool would have saved my 17-year old self the pain of having to bench press with my sternum under a barbell.
Common error: Setting it too high. The Bench Press should be at the same height as your chest. It should be just above your barbell, so it doesn’t get in the way. You also want to make sure you don’t hit the safety bars with each repetition. You want your squat to be at the same depth as the area you will be squatting. To get an idea of the right height, use your warm-up sets.
Barbell training is made easy by the power rack. It also offers weight training options in true playground fashion. Every power rack usually has a pullup bar attached to the top. This is useful if you are looking to do deadlifts and pullups in the same workout. Some gyms may even offer handles for dips. Power racks with high-end features can even be equipped with resistance bands attachments that you can wrap around the barbell for a unique training stimulus.
Here are 5 ways to avoid making funny faces in the gym
I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve done things in the gym. Sometimes I look very stupid. You should avoid common pitfalls when training on the power rack. These are my top five tips for power rack safety, and etiquette.
- Barbell math is important: Make sure you are correct. It is obvious that each barbell should have the same weight. My bench pressing experience was so intense that I nearly tipped the barbell over onto one side. This is a sign that my brain can switch off in the heat. Barbells typically weigh around 20kg. You should stack the barbell with 10kg to the left and 10kg to the right if you are going to do squats using 40kg. It’s not difficult, as you might think.
- You should load and unload evenly. This is for athletes who are strong enough to lift weights over 100kg. Do not load the bar by simply adding 20kg to each side. There is a real risk of the bar tipping. This is something you should keep in mind as you unload the bar.
- When you are trying to re-rack your weight, it is important that you face the pins. Face the pins to make it easier for you when you’re done with your set. For example, do the back squat. The bar should be placed on your shoulders. Next, move forward and backwards. This will make sure that the barbell rests on the pins on each side. It is frightening to think of how many times I have seen people try to face the opposite direction, struggle with the pins, or even miss one.
- No bicep curls on the power rack. I don’t have anything against biceps curls, and I even broke this unwritten rule about gym etiquette. But this is unnecessary. When you do simple isolation exercises such as tricep extensions or bicep curls, make sure you’re not in the power rack. It’s very convenient. However, people will be mad at you. These exercises can be done without a rack. You can do back squats without a rack. This is why you might get a strange look from the big quad-sized powerlifter. This brings us to the final tip. Although it isn’t a requirement, it ties in with gym etiquette.
- You can share the power rack: This is one of the most popular pieces of equipment at the gym. It is safe and efficient, which makes it a favorite among lifters. Lifters spend a lot time on the power rack. You might be able to do Push Presses, Romanian Deadlifts, and Back Squats in one weight training session. For 45 minutes, you might be on the power rack. You might consider sharing the power rack with others in the gym to help them get their training done.
This is the equipment you need to build strength and muscle mass
Yes, the power rack can be intimidating. It can be a great piece of equipment to build muscle and functional strength if used correctly. Imagine performing a back squat while constantly having to grab it from the ground, place it on your back and lift it up over your shoulder. This would be inefficient, and I’d probably get gassed before I could attempt my first squat. These key tips will help you avoid putting yourself and others in danger.