The Very Basics of Using a Squat Rack

Before going straight into lifting barbell squats, you should familiarize yourself with using the station itself: the squat rack.

Just like how you want to adjust the machines for a height that suits you, the same will apply here. In fact, it’s even more important you know the layout and setup here when it comes to safety.

Knowing you have the proper safety setup could save your life when you don’t have a spotter.

For starters, check to see if your squat rack is a four post or two post plus wall mount. Both are perfectly fine setups. It’s just a difference of checking if four posts are bolted in or two posts bolted (plus the wall mount bolt). No bolts? That’s not a very sturdy setup… things will be moving a lot… not safe, friend!

The next part of note is the type of pins to rack the bar. “J cups” are going to be standard, and the only thing that makes it complicated is how it’s inserted.

Very Basics of Using a Squat RackYou’ll want to put hold it sideways, place it all the way through, then lower it down to have it properly locked in place.

Finally, you’ll want to understand the safety system catch. Luckily, the mechanism is very similar to what you did with the J cup. It’ll either usually be metal tubing in between posts (with the four post setup), or safety spot arms (with the two post setup). And if it’s the safety arms, it is very much the same system of locking in as the J cups.

As a bonus, many power racks will have a pull up bar that you can do your hanging exercises off of.

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