The squat rack is a staple in any weightlifters gym! With its amazing versatility and ease of use, you'd be hard-pressed to find another piece of gym equipment you could get more benefit out of. This handy piece of kit allows you to build strength through incremental weight additions, all while being an extremely safe way to get in shape since there are bars to stop weights from falling on you.
Despite the name, squat racks don't have to be used specifically for squatting! Instead, there is a ton of exercises you can do with a squat rack which will suit any kind of training and a variety of different skill sets. So whether you're a beginner looking to get in shape, or an athlete aficionado trying to upgrade your workout routine to the next stage, here are our top 10 exercises to do on a squat rack:
Close Grip Tricep Press
Lie on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and grip the barbell with your hands around shoulder-width apart. They can be slightly closer than that, but don’t move them too close together or the set-up will become unstable and you’ll risk an injury to your wrists. Brace your core and squeeze your shoulder blades together to stabilise your body. Lower the bar slowly and press up powerfully. Then bring the bar back down towards your sternum. Keep your elbows close to your sides to emphasise your triceps and don’t arch your back. For added intensity you can rest the barbell onto safeties or spotters to push from a static position.
Hold the bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your hands facing away from you. Hang all the way down. Pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. Slight pause, then lower yourself all the way back down.
Barbell Overhead Press
Stand with your core tight. Hold the barbell just above your upper chest, hands slightly wider that shoulder width. Now think of an imaginary straight line drawn from the elbows through the wrists and hands and into the ceiling. Press the bar up along this path as the elbows extend, taking the same path back down to the starting position.
Hanging Leg Raise
Inhale and engage your abdominal muscles to prepare for the leg lift. Bend your knees slightly and raise your legs upward until your quads are parallel to the ground. Lower your legs in a controlled movement, exhaling as you go, until you're back in the starting position.
Choose an appropriate weight and place the barbell across your back. Step forward with your right foot and sink into a lunge, so both legs are bent with your back knee as close to the floor as possible. Drive yourself back up and repeat on the other side.
Barbell Bicep Curls
It's your rack so don't feel bad. Stand tall with your chest up and core engaged, holding the barbell with your hands just outside of your hips, using an underhand grip. Keep your chest up and your elbows tight to your sides, initiate the move by raising your hands slightly so you feel your biceps become engaged. While maintaining tension on your biceps, curl the bar up to shoulder height, then give your biceps a one-second squeeze. Start to lower the bar slowly, keeping your biceps tensed and engaged back to the start position.
Hold the dip bars and jump up, straighten your arms. Lower your body by bending your arms while leaning forward. Dip down until your shoulders are below your elbows. Lift your body up by straightening your arms. Lock your elbows at the top and then slowly lower down to the start position.
Hold the barbell with your hands palm down, just wider than shoulder-width apart and let it hang with your arms straight. Brace your core and squeeze your shoulders together to row the weight up until it touches your sternum, then slowly lower it back down again.
Barbell Back Squat
Safely load the barbell onto your traps and shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly out, core braced, and chest up. Initiate a basic squat movement — hips back, knees bent, ensuring they fall out, not in. Pause when your thighs reach about parallel to the ground. Push through your entire foot to return to start.
Barbell Bench Press
Finally the grandfather of chest. Lie on the bench, under the rack that holds the bar. Your eyes should be roughly aligned with the front of the barbell rack uprights. Your feet should be flat on the floor and relatively wide apart. Hold the barbell using an overhand grip, placing your thumbs on the outside of your closed fist. Your arms should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with the angle of your upper arms is about 45 degrees to the body. Remove the barbell from the rack, locking your elbows. Inhale while lowering the bar to your chest, at the nipple line. Exhale as you press the bar above your chest, extending your arms. Lower the bar so it is just above your chest.
We hope this list has shown you just how versatile and useful the squat rack can be and that it truly isn't just for squatting! With the sheer amount of exercises and muscle groups you can hit with the squat rack, it's no wonder that personal trainers and home gym lovers alike swear by this handy piece of equipment. With just one bit of kit, you can build up the majority of your muscle groups with simple workouts, including the quads, calves, glutes, and even core strength!
This list is just our personal favourite exercises to perform on the squat rack and the ones that will give you the most effective workout. If you feel like there's a muscle group you want to work harder on with your squat rack, we're sure there are plenty of exercises with the squat rack out there to discover that will suit your needs.