Power Rack Alternative

Anyone got any ideas for an alternative to a power rack (for a home gym)? I’m thinking of something that performs the same function for the most part but isnt so damn big and immovable? I have an olympic bar and weights set and a good bench but I want to be able to work out without a spotter but stiil lift heavy and sometimes go close to or hit failure. I dont have the space for a power rack and I need something relatively portable.

Having given it some thought I was thinking of buying some “barbell stands” (six in total, two tall and four shorter). I thought I could use the tall ones to rack the bar on (in the usual place, near your head when you’re lying on the bench) and set the four shorter ones up around the bench (so when lying flat on the bench two would be either side of my head and two either side of my thighs) with two pieces of thick metal tubing resting between them (one on each side parallel to the bench). This would mean I would have an adjustable height rack and adjustable height “catchers” either side of me. I hope that I have explained clearly what I have in mind.

Anyone got any thoughts on this idea or better suggestions for an alterntaive to a power rack?

Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

I got a pretty decent Nautulus power rack for a couple hundred bucks. It’s got about five year warranty on moving parts and I think 30 on the rest. It’s got a pair of long arms that you can use to self spot. It also goes together/comes apart in three places, so you could take it apart, move it around, store it, etc. as needed.

How about a half power rack? That may be the same thing Shiggy is talking about. Two uprights with adjustable weight hooks and movable arms for spotting.

This is a good question. I have been looking for awhile. I saw a smaller and reasonable priced rack on the Walmart website. Don’t know how good it is. I have done searches on google. There are some out there who have built them using 2*6s.


I’d be careful with setting up the ‘catcher’ racks as you propose. If the uprights shift or the horizontal bar slips you could end up having a mishap. If you fixed the horizontals to the uprights that would be ok, i.e. welded.

Ironmind sell exactly the items you want. Vulcan racks for the tall rack which is height adjustable from bench to squat and Pillars of Power spotter racks. They are expensive (about same as a power rack) but bombproof construction.

Best thing is you can move around and pack em away. There might be a cheaper brand out there. And the dollar is low against the pound at the moment.

IMPEX SM3000 Smith Machine.

Navigate to [Products/Home Gym/SM 3000]

Smith machine with self-spotters, hi & lo pulley, pec dec, separate inc/dec bench. Uses olympic or std plates. Good starter piece

I agree that if you are going to go the upright/catcher route, go with Iron Mind’s…they really are bombproof. I doubt I’d trust anything else. But as mentioned above, they are about as expensive as a rack.

Thanks to all for your responses - they’re much appreciated.

Creed, thanks for yours in particular; as you say that is EXACTLY what i’m looking for! I’d better start saving.

use you current rack and make some sturdy boxes with ledges so the bar dosent roll off. very cheap. not very portable. you could get fiddly and make a series of stacking boxes…

You might want to check out the Portable Mini Power Rack at New York Barbell. You can find it under “Coming Attractions” on their website, and it will be available later this month. Cost is $149. The rack is 41 inches tall, probably a little shorter than ideal for squats, but could work paired with squat stands and would cover most bench work.
old dogg

I, myself have the Ironmind Pillar of Powers, and the Vulcan squat racks. They are very portable and compact. Yet I can easily hold 500 on the vulcan racks, and know they will hold 1,000 more. When not in use, I just easily pick up the pillars with one hand and place them by the wall. They are more expensive than other racks, but they are worth the money, and a good investment because they will last for many years of roughness to come. Good luck on your search.

Did someone just recomend a smith machine?

I don’t think thats quite what we’re after here.


I’ve decided to go for the Weider multi-gym with the pec-dec and get a “reebok step” for aerobics.

Seriously though, thanks to all for your responses. The “Pillars of Power” and “Vulcan Racks” seem to be the way to go. Thanks Creed for recommending them and Kyubert for reviewing them.