T Nation

Squats With No Power Rack

I am fairly new to working out, I was following starting strength over the summer and got my squat up to ~275-285lbs for 3 sets of 5 reps. I then was forced to stop working out until the middle of December as the gym I went to closed down. Now I started working out again at home but I had no way to squat, so I had been doing very little leg training. My problem is this I’m training for a fitness test near the beginning of June and I need to get up to around 225lbs for 15 reps (330 1RM) (I did 15 reps last test in September), however I have no way to train squats at home as I have no power rack/squat stands. All I have is a bench a barbell, dumbbells (the adjustable kind), and around 220lbs. I’ve tried front squats but I cant clean enough for any reasonable leg workout. What can I do to train squats I’ve regressed greatly, about a week ago I managed to make it to a gym and squatted about 225x5 and my legs were cramping up. Is there any way I can improve my back squat with the stuff I have access to? I have a feeling its not going to happen but maybe you guys can think of something :).


Try sawhorses or milkcrates.


also, if i understand your plan which you touched on, you plan to just keep adding reps at 220 cause thats all the weight you have? once you get over 5 reps or so, calculators arent too accurate. high reps make you good at high reps.

hang the dumbbells on the bar for more weight.

I might try out some of those homemade racks how sturdy would they be?

Yes, I want to try to get back up to 225x15(so like 220x16), but I might end up buying more weights depends if I see myself having a gym membership this summer again. Also when doing the test they let you go up pretty high in reps as long as its reasonable (no more than like 20 or so), I understand the unreliability of the 1RM calculator, and in my own goals I do have a proper understanding of what I can do.

Just a side note I have noticed that 1RM calaculators can be fairly accurate if you train for strength even if you go into higher rep ranges. For example, last time I maxed in bench I could do like 215lbs and when tested repping 135lbs the calculator came up with 225 as my max (I did like 20ish reps) so not that far off.

Just buy a membership. Memberships are ridiculously cheap these days - hell it only costs me 10 bucks a month to go to a gym that isn’t even too terrible.

Any of those racks would happily hold 225. My rack is two 4x4’s set in the ground with slightly slanted carriage bolts to hold the bar. I’ve loaded 450 lb on it to see if it could take it, and it did.

Oh, and good luck on your competition.