Man-preparing-to-squat

Anyone who has ever approached the weights section at the gym knows that learning how to squat is no mean feat. Making sure you are working all your muscles correctly without putting yourself at risk of injury (or just toppling backwards) takes time and practice.

And whether you’re a beginner or a pro, having the right equipment is essential in helping you to build strength and power. This is because in order to progress, you’ll need to reach rep max before you move onto the next weight increment, which can often mean needing a spotter bar to catch the weight when you can go no further.

Squat racks are also particularly useful as they allow you to load your weights safely and securely without you needing to lift the barbell over your head – a risky and dangerous move. Of course the range of equipment available is huge and sometimes it can be tricky to know where to start.

Read the guide below to find out what squat rack would be best suited for you and the sort of features you might like to consider using in your training regime depending on your focus.

 

I’m new to squats – what do I get?

New to squatting? You’ll need to focus on technique and form. You can do this without a squat rack at first and then you can move onto weighted exercises when you’re ready.

Most barbells are weighted; you might find just using a bar without any weight plates added is enough for when you start out.

Another option is to use a medicine ball or kettle bell.

Top tip: If you’re planning on getting a power cage further down the line, you might want to consider getting a 7ft Olympic Barbell to start out with (without any weights) as anything smaller won’t be wide enough to rest on the cage.

 

I’m ready for a squat rack – what do I get?

So in the interests of squat safety, form and rep max strengthening, you’ll now need to get a squat rack. There are different types and which one you get depends on how far you want to take your strengthening.

 

When looking at squat racks, consider:

maximum weight capacity – as this will determine how much you can squat with;

width – as this will determine which barbell you get as well as what weight plates you’ll need to get;

spotter height – fixed or adjustable – as this will determine how low you can go.

 

It’s also best to check if the squat rack you currently have your eye on can take both standard and Olympic bars.

 

What are the different features on a squat rack?

All squat racks have:

• A rack that securely holds the barbell at just below shoulder height so that you can safely load your weights on and off. This rack also allows you to dip underneath – avoiding any dangerous over-the-head lifts.

• A spotter or safety bar – this catches the barbell when you reach rep max and can no longer push up with the weight. It is a safety feature and should sit around 1inch below your fail point.

Different squat racks are also different widths. If you are lifting less weight, then you will want a smaller barbell and then therefore a squat rack that isn’t too wide.

If you are lifting a heavy weight, you will need a stronger barbell – usually a 7ft Olympic Barbell – and then you will also need to make sure your squat rack can handle the amount of weight you are squatting with.

If you are progressing and aim to work your way up to heavier weight as you go, you will be looking to get an adjustable squat rack with adjustable spotters that can handle both standard and Olympic bars, as well as a heavier load.

 

Squat racks – a buyer’s guide

Choosing a squat rack can be tricky and when your training regime is at stake, you want to make sure you get it right. Below, you’ll find our helpful guide on Squat Racks which takes you through each type detailing points such as adjustability, weight capacity and who the piece might be suitable for.

 

Mirafit M1 Squat Stands with Spotters:

mirafit-squat-racks-with-spotters

• Great for beginners and intermediaries

• Adjustable width for a range of barbells

• Can be used with both standard and Olympic Bars

• 15 rack levels

• Weight capacity – 200kg max

• Spotter adjustable – 48cm-71cm

Points to consider: if you’re already squatting with 150kg plus, you will want to consider a squat rack that can handle heavier weights.

 

Mirafit M1 Squat & Dip Rack – Spotter Fixed:

squat-rack-mirafit-spotter-fixed

• Great for intermediaries

• Adjustable width for a range of barbells

• Can be used with both standard and Olympic Bars

• Weight capacity – 250kg max

• 13 bar rest positions

• Can be used for dips

• Spotter height fixed – 76cm

Points to consider: fixed spotter height – some squat rack spotters are able to go lower than 76cm so if you want to progress even further, you may want the spotter to be adjustable.

 

Mirafit M1 Squat & Dip Rack - Spotter Adjustable:

squat-rack-with-adjustable-spotter

• Great for beginners and intermediaries

• Adjustable width for a range of barbells

• Can be used with both standard and Olympic Bars

• Weight capacity – 250kg max

• Can be used for dips

• 13 bar rest positions

• Spotter height – 63cm-93cm (adjustable)

• Can be used for dips and bench presses too

Points to consider: This is a great all-rounder and allows for progression as well as upper body strengthening. Add in a weight bench and you can bench press too. Consider the lowest spotter point – 63cm. Those who are already squatting regularly may want to go lower than this.

 

Mirafit M1 Multi Use Weight Lifting Rack:

Squat-and-weight-lifting-rack-mirafit

• Great for intermediaries

• Can be used with both standard and Olympic bars

• Adjustable lower spotter with 5 Levels (5cm Gaps) - Ideal for bench pressing

• Weight capacity – 250kg max

• Angled bar rest for safe lift and return of the barbell

• Spotter height - 51.5cm to 71.5cm (adjustable)

Points to consider: Perfect for both squats and bench pressing, this is a fantastic piece of equipment. Consider the spotter heights – 51.5cm to 71.5cm. These spotter heights are suitable for someone who is already squatting at a good level but if you want to reach a really deep squat, you may want to choose a rack that can go lower.

 

Mirafit M2 Semi Commercial Walk In Squat Rack with Spotters:

mirafit-squat-rack-adjustable-spotters

• Perfect for intermediaries and pros

• Suitable for use with 7ft Olympic bars

• Side storage poles suitable for 2" Olympic weight plates

• Weight capacity – 300kg max

• Can be used for squats and bench presses

• Spotter height adjustable – lowest spotter height is 25cm

• Adjustable bar heights

• Walk in rack means you have full freedom of movement when squatting

Points to consider: This is great for intermediaries and pros – and isn’t out of place in a commercial gym setting. Make sure you can comfortably squat with a 7ft bar as the width is not adjustable for smaller and (therefore lighter) barbells. Perfect for those wanting a really full and deep squat, the lowest spotter height is 25cm.