The Best Folding Squat Racks of 2022 - SI Showcase - Sports Illustrated

2023-01-03 12:59:59 By : Ms. Hui Zou

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When building a home gym, many people start with cardio equipment like a folding treadmill or elliptical, but a squat rack makes it really feel like a commercial gym. While the name can be deceiving, squat racks are extremely versatile pieces of gym equipment. Beyond squats, you can use them for shoulder presses, bench presses and as a dip station (with the right attachments). You can also use them as a stable anchor for resistance bands, and many come with pull-up bars. Squat racks also make lifting heavy weights at home safer, since many of them have spotter arms that allow you to drop the weight if it becomes too much to handle. Iron Dumbbells

The Best Folding Squat Racks of 2022 - SI Showcase - Sports Illustrated

Unfortunately, most full-size squat racks are quite large and aren’t really practical for your home gym unless you have a lot of extra space. Folding squat racks are a good solution, though—and one that doesn’t require much compromise. While the best folding squat racks take up way less space than their full-size counterparts, they function almost the same way. And they’re less expensive, so you might have some extra room in your budget to purchase additional attachments to really customize them to your needs.

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve rounded up the best folding squat racks, from wall-mounted options to standalone versions that don’t require installation. We also put together a comprehensive guide on what you should look for in a squat rack to help you decide which one is best for you.

If you’re not planning to move your squat rack, mounting it to a wall can increase stability and save some floor space. The REP Fitness PR 4100 Floating Squat Rack is a heavy-duty option that’s made of 11-gauge steel and can hold up to 1,000 pounds when mounted properly. It comes in two depth options: 21.5 inches and 41 inches. The smaller version folds in on itself, while the larger size folds out and flat against the wall. When folded, the 21.5-inch rack takes up six inches of space from the wall, while the 41-inch version takes up 24 inches. The folding mechanism is secured with four heavy-duty pins. When you’re done with your workout, you just take the pins out and fold the upright bars. 

The PR 4100 Floating Squat Rack has Westside hole spacing, so the holes are one-inch apart in the bench press and pull areas to allow a more targeted barbell height, and two inches apart everywhere else. If you want to add on to your setup down the line, the PR 4100 is compatible with various extension attachments, like Spotter Arms, a Dip Station and Drop-in Dip Attachment. It also works with the Landmine Attachment, which allows you to use your barbell for presses, rows, Russian twists and single-arm bent over rows. This squat rack doesn’t come with a stringer though, so you’ll have to buy one separately or make your own out of wood.

This is a great option for anyone who wants to mount their squat rack to the wall instead of standing it on the floor. It's also a good choice if you have limited floor space or put your squat rack in the garage and still need room for your car.

Purchase REP Fitness PR 4100 Folding Squat Rack

The Force USA MyRack Folding Squat Rack is a freestanding modular power rack that doesn’t require wall mounting. Unlike mounted versions, which are often half-size racks, this is a full-size folding squat rack. It’s made of 12-gauge steel and holds up to 2,000 pounds. There are 54 numbered adjustment points on the front and rear of the uprights, and 10 attachment options (sold separately) that allow you to configure it hundreds of different ways.

Add-on options include J-hooks, a monolift system, spotter arms, weight plate holders, band pegs and more. You can also purchase a matching barbell and weight bench at the same time if you want the full setup. The rack adjusts via pop pins, so once it’s assembled, you can set it up and break it down in less than a minute. The upright bars fold onto the rack, cutting its horizontal footprint in half when you’re not using it. While bolting it to the ground can add to the rack’s stability, it’s not necessary if you want to be able to completely move it out of the way.

This is a good option for anyone looking for a more compact full-size rack. While this rack takes up more space than folding wall-mounted options, it’s worth it if you want a full-size rack and have the room for it.

Purchase Force USA Myrack Folding Squat Rack

If you want to put your squat rack in your garage gym, you'll likely need a folding option that’s extra compact. This Retractable Power Rack from Fringe Sport takes up only 25 inches of space from the wall when in use and five inches when it’s folded and stored. It has two 11-gauge steel uprights that measure two-by-three inches each and have Westside spacing in the bench zone.

The Fringe Sport Retractable Power Rack comes with an adjustable pull-up bar (ranging 70-88 inches from the floor), a pair of J-cups and mounting brackets and pins. It may not be the right fit for powerlifters since the weight capacity is the lowest on the list (800 pounds max), but it’s an excellent option for beginners or anyone who wants to make strength training a regular part of their home workout routine. This folding squat rack doesn’t come with stringers, so you’ll have to purchase a pair separately or make your own.

This Fringe Sport folding squat rack is great for anyone who wants to set up their home gym in the garage. It has a five-inch depth when retracted, so you can still fit your car in the garage when it’s not in use.

Purchase Fringe Sport Retractable Power Rack

Squat racks aren’t cheap, but you can get the Titan Fitness T-3 Series Folding Power Rack for less than $500 without sacrificing features. This affordable, yet still high-quality, folding squat rack has an 11-gauge steel construction with Westside hole spacing throughout the bench and clean pull zone. It operates on a pin-and-hinge system that makes it easy to fold, and when stowed away, it measures only five inches from the wall.

At two-by-three inches, the uprights are a bit narrower than others, but the rack can still accommodate up to 1,100 pounds. The Titan T-3 comes in two rack heights (82 inches and 91 inches) and two depth options (21 inches and 41 inches). You can mix and match as you need to get the ideal height and depth combo for your space. The system also includes a single pull-up bar and a pair of reinforced J-hooks.

The T-3 Series folding rack is the best choice for anyone shopping for a foldable squat rack on a tighter budget. This fully functioning squat rack has the same high-quality construction as others on the list, but at a lower price point.

Purchase Titan Fitness T-3 Series Folding Power Rack

The PRx Profile Pro Squat Rack from PRx Performance not only includes a pull-up bar, but also a versatile multi-grip option that lets you do any pull-up variation you want, from wide-grip pull-ups to close-grip chin-ups. It has a half-rack construction, with two 11-gauge powder-coated steel uprights that can hold at least 1,000 pounds. When folded, the slim design takes up just four inches of space.

There aren’t as many attachments available as some of the other options, but it does have Westside hole spacing to adjust the height in smaller increments. It’s also available in two height options: 90 inches and 96 inches. The 90-inch version can accommodate people up to six feet, two inches tall, and the 96-inch model works for those taller than that. When choosing, just make sure you have the right ceiling height to accommodate the rack (and your height when you’re doing pull-ups). It comes in ten colors, and all mounting equipment, including J-cups, is included.

This foldable PRx squat rack is good for anyone who wants to include multiple variations of pull-ups in their daily workouts. It doesn’t have as many attachments as others, but it’s an excellent option if you just want the basics in an extremely compact design.

Purchase PRX Profile Pro Squat Rack with Multi-Grip Bar

If you want to use your folding squat rack for CrossFit WODs, you’re probably looking for one with a pull-up bar that has enough clearance for kipping pull-ups. And since Rogue Fitness is the official sponsor and supplier of the CrossFit games, the brand makes sense. The Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack—a foldable version of the popular Rogue Monster Lite—has a quick-attach pull-up or kipping bar that can be adjusted as needed. It has two laser-cut, 11-gauge steel uprights with Westside hole spacing for multiple height adjustments.

It comes in two depths: 21.5 inches and 41 inches. (Keep in mind that if you want to do kipping pull-ups, you may want the larger rack.) When folded, both versions take up less than five inches of space from the wall. In addition to the pull-up bar, the Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack comes with J-cups to hold your barbell in place. You can also purchase additional accessories, like spotter arms, plate storage bars, dip bars and leg rollers. While this foldable squat rack comes with mounting brackets for the upright bars, the price doesn’t include stringers. You can add a set of 11-gauge steel branded stringers to your purchase, though. The RML-3W is backed by Rogue’s lifetime warranty.

This folding Rogue squat bar is best for those doing CrossFit WODs, especially if they involve kipping pull-ups. The wall-mounted construction and extra clearance space are ideal for dynamic movements.

Purchase Rogue RML-3W Fold Back Wall Mount Rack

In addition to space, there are many factors to consider when choosing a folding squat rack. Stability, construction, dimensions, weight capacity and ease of folding are some of the most important. You'll also want to think about how easy they are to fold—after all, that’s the biggest perk of this type of rack—and whether or not they come with additional features like a pull-up bar and/or spotter arms. Here are some factors to consider to narrow your choices down.

Stability is key when it comes to getting the most out of your squat rack. You want to make sure it won’t rip off the wall or topple over when you set your barbell and/or weight plates on it. You also want to make sure it won’t wobble or shake when you’re in the middle of a workout. There are some freestanding options, but most are mounted to the wall.

For these mounted options, it’s important to use stringers—or horizontal boards that are screwed into the studs—to ensure they’re stable enough. Some folding squat racks come with stringers, while others require a separate purchase. In some cases, a folding squat rack may not have a compatible stringer, and you’ll have to use a wooden beam to make your own. While this sounds complicated, it’s actually pretty straightforward: You just have to find the studs in your wall, position the wooden beams so they’re firmly attached to two adjacent beams and then mount your squat rack. This may be more cost effective than purchasing steel stringers, but the trade-off is that it requires more effort (and time) from you. Decide what feels doable and most convenient to you before choosing a squat rack, so you know what you’re getting into.

Most folding squat racks are made with 11-gauge or 12-gauge steel. The thickness of the steel actually decreases as the gauge gets higher, meaning that 12-gauge steel is thinner than 11-gauge steel. Because of this, lower steel gauges are heavier duty and can typically handle more weight (and stand up to more wear and tear).

There are some commercial squat racks that are made with seven-gauge steel, but they are typically more expensive and not necessary for home use, depending on how much weight you lift. Both 11- and 12-gauge constructions should be suitable for most people. If you use a lot of heavy weights, you might want to consider an 11-gauge steel option, just in case.

When it comes to dimensions, look at the specs, including height, width and depth. Check how much floor or wall space the folding squat rack requires, both when it’s fully expanded and when it’s retracted. Measure your room or garage carefully, and make sure there’s enough space to accommodate the rack you choose and that you can comfortably move through your workout.

You’ll also want to think about the depth options if the squat rack is available in multiple sizes. Some squat racks have 21- and 41-inch versions. While the 21-inch squat racks take up less space when fully expanded, they also set you up closer to the wall, so they can limit your movements a little bit. For example, you can’t do kipping pull-ups on the shallower depth racks, so if that’s something that’s important to you, you’ll want the larger version. Think about the overhead clearance too. In addition to making sure your ceiling is tall enough, you want to consider whether or not you’ll have enough room to do regular pull ups, if that’s a goal of yours.

Also think about the dimensions of the uprights. They typically start out at two-by-two inches, but go up to three-by-three inches for heavier duty racks. If you’re not lifting a ton of weight, and you don’t need your squat rack to store tons of weight plates, two-by-two uprights should be plenty. If you anticipate heavier lifts, you might want to choose a three-by-three option, just in case. It can be beneficial to do some research on attachments prior to making this decision, too. Some attachments are compatible with different size uprights, so if you have your heart set on one that fits on a three-by-three, you don’t want to get the wrong size rack.

Folding squat racks have a maximum weight capacity that can range from about 800-2,000 pounds. When deciding which squat rack will work for you, don’t just think about the individual barbell’s weight; consider plate storage and accessories, as well. If you want to store all your weight plates and build out your system over time, you’ll want to get a machine that can handle the full capacity. When in doubt, opt for the higher weight capacity, since it will give you more room to grow and isn’t necessarily more expensive; it just depends on the model you pick.

The folding mechanism of your squat rack is important, too. The last thing you want to do when you’re starting or ending a workout is whip out tools or fight with hard-to-adjust pins and levers. All the squat racks on our list have pull pins or hinge systems that let you fold the rack in seconds. And when folded, they have a significantly smaller footprint. Most of the wall-mounted options take up only four to five inches of space when retracted, so you have room for other equipment (or your car if you’re mounting your rack in the garage).

Spotter arms are attachments that act like a spotter when you’re lifting heavy weights. If you’re working out by yourself and the barbell gets too heavy and you need to drop it, you can safely let it go on the spotter arms. Some squat racks come with spotter arms, but you may have to purchase a pair separately. If spotter arms aren’t included, we highly recommend adding these to your setup. If you have to buy them as a separate attachment, make sure you’re factoring that into your budget.

Hole spacing is important for versatility. The closer the holes are together, the more height variations you’ll get from your rack, since you can move the attachments up or down at smaller increments. Most squat racks have Westside hole spacing, which means the holes in the uprights are closer together near the bottom (or bench/pull area) of the rack and further apart toward the middle and top of the rack. Usually, the holes in the bench area are one inch apart and the remaining holes are two inches apart, but this can vary among squat racks. These extra adjustment points allow you to get precise positioning of your barbell when you’re doing squats and other exercises. If a squat rack doesn’t have Westside hole spacing, it’s not a dealbreaker; just be aware that you’ll be more limited in how many height adjustments you can make.

Folding squat racks are pretty bare bones—meaning they have everything you need, but don’t come with a lot of special features. That being said, there are some things that set some apart from others. For example, some folding squat racks include a pull-up bar, while others don’t. To take it even further, that pull-up bar could be standard or multi-grip for different types of exercises. Some squat racks include a handful of attachments, while others come with J-hooks and nothing else. Certain features aren’t necessarily better than others; it just depends on what you’re looking for.

Price is an important consideration in any purchase. The folding squat racks on our list range from about $500 to just over $1,000. Keep in mind that price is for the rack only; it doesn’t include the barbell, weights or any of the attachments and accessories. When working out your budget, decide what you want your complete setup to look like, and then figure out how much you should spend on the squat rack alone based on that. Also consider whether you’re limited to certain attachments from the specific brand, or if you can pick and choose from different brands based on your budget.

When choosing a folding squat rack, you want to make sure you’re comfortable with the warranty coverage. Some racks, like the Rogue, are covered by a lifetime warranty, while others cap out at one year. Of course, the more coverage, the better, but you don’t have to skip a squat rack due to the warranty length alone. You just want to make sure you’re factoring it into your decision.

In addition to warranty length, you'll also want to read the fine print. Most warranties are limited in some way—meaning they won’t cover everything that goes wrong with your machine. There are also certain things that may void a warranty. For example, some brands might not cover damage from off-brand barbells or attachments. Read the fine print so you know what’s covered and how you have to use your squat rack to make sure you stay covered throughout the entire warranty period.

In addition to all of the features above, we also considered quality, size and availability of attachments when narrowing down our picks for the best folding squat racks. Here’s how we broke it all down.

Quality is always on the top of our list. Folding squat racks are more compact than their full-size counterparts, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice construction. All of the picks on our list have a heavy-duty steel construction that can withstand regular use. They’re also expertly crafted with strong welding so they won’t fall apart prematurely. In addition to the quality of construction, we also considered the accessories and attachments that come with the squat rack, and made sure they’re high quality too.

If you’re looking for a folding squat rack, chances are you’re trying to save some space. With that in mind, we looked for squat racks with a minimal footprint, both when fully expanded and when folded. However, we didn’t want you to have to sacrifice functionality for size. All of the squat racks we chose are still extremely versatile and have the opportunity for expansion—you can add more pieces or attachments down the line as you see fit.

Most of the options are wall-mounted, since these are the types of folding squat racks that take up the least amount of space, but there’s a compact freestanding option on the list, too. If you prefer not to mount a fitness machine to your wall, or you live in an apartment and can’t drill holes into the wall, the freestanding rack is a good option.

Most folding squat racks come with J-cups to hold your barbell in place, and some have a pull-up bar worked into the construction. Other than that, many of the attachments are sold separately. When choosing the folding squat racks that made this list, we didn’t put too much emphasis on the attachments they come with, but rather the available attachments you can add down the line. All of the options are compatible with a complete line of attachments that expand the type of strength training exercises you can do.

We also considered whether or not the squat rack has a universal construction. For example, many uprights are three-by-three or two-by-two inches. Because of this, you’re not necessarily limited to the brand’s attachments; you can use any that are suitable for these dimensions.

A squat rack can help you reach your fitness goals, but there are specific benefits beyond that. They’re extremely compact, yet still allow you to pull off a wide variety of strength-training exercises. They also add an element of safety to your at-home lifts, so you can feel more comfortable doing weighted squats at home without having someone else there to help you.

A full-size squat rack takes up a lot of space. For example, our top pick from our best squat racks guide requires 52.4 x 71.4 inches of floor space, and many are much larger. If you don’t have that much room in your home, a folding squat rack is a good solution. Many of them mount on the wall and take up only four to five inches of space when retracted. You can often choose between depth options that range from 21 to 41 inches when fully expanded, too. This gives you some additional flexibility to find a folding squat rack that fits your space.

Unlike other squat machines, squat racks aren’t only for squats. They’re versatile pieces of equipment that allow you to do a wide range of workouts. Most squat racks come with two uprights and a couple of J-hooks. Just these two attachments allow you to do a variety of exercises, from squats to bench presses to overhead presses. If your squat rack also has a pull-up bar, you can do pull-ups and chin-ups, and/or attach a TRX system or resistance bands to expand the possibilities even more.

Most squat racks are also compatible with a wide variety of attachments—like pulley systems, dip bars and lat pulldown bars—that make them even more versatile. These attachments cost extra, but you can always add on to your machine over time as your needs and goals change.

Regardless of your level of experience, lifting weights alone can be risky. If you’re doing weighted squats or bench presses without a spotter and you fail a lift, you can find yourself in a really dangerous situation. A squat rack with spotter arms, safety bars and/or safety straps serves as a spotter, so you can safely drop your barbell when you’re lifting alone. For added safety, it’s a good idea to also get a weightlifting belt and the right training shoes.

A full-size squat rack is a large piece of equipment that can be difficult to fit in your home gym. If you’re looking for a low-profile squat rack that offers versatility and similar function, a folding squat rack is absolutely worth it. They take up less space, while still allowing you to work through a wide range of exercises.

This depends on your budget, but our folding squat rack top picks range from just under $500 to a little over $1,000. Keep in mind that many of these don’t include additional accessories, so factor that into your overall budget if you’re planning to expand your squat rack down the line.

Folding squat racks are versatile pieces of fitness equipment that can really elevate your home gym without taking up a lot of space. There are wall-mounted options and freestanding versions, each of which can help you meet your goals. Dimensions are important, but you also want to think about stability, ease of folding, available attachments and weight capacity. The best folding squat rack for you not only fits into your space—it also meets your specific needs.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.

The Best Folding Squat Racks of 2022 - SI Showcase - Sports Illustrated

Fixed Barbell Lindsay Boyers is a functional nutritionist, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in online media and product testing, mostly in the nutrition, fitness, sleep, and lifestyle spaces.