As far as working out goes, squats are one of the most basic exercises one should master. Ideally, you’ll have access to a squat rack, which lets you build shoulder, back, and glute muscles in the most appropriate way.
If your gym doesn’t have a squat rack, or if you want to do squats at home, you can purchase a squat rack from a trusted online retailer. Alternatively, you can build your own, provided that you know the dimensions of a squat rack.
A squat rack can be as tall and take as much floor space as you want, but the largest squat rack for a home gym should measure 85 inches wide, 120 inches deep, and stand 95 inches tall.
Squat Rack Dimensions
The precise dimensions of a squat rack vary from model to model. Small squat racks can measure only 36 × 36 inches and stand 72 to 90 inches tall. Medium-sized squat racks take up substantially more floor space, measuring roughly 60 × 72 inches and standing 90 inches in height.
As for the largest squat rack you might need for your home gym or garage, it would measure 85 inches wide, 120 inches deep, and stand up to 95 inches in height.
The squat rack dimensions you go with depends on how much real estate is available in your home. A good rule of thumb to determine what squat rack to buy or construct is to leave at least 2 feet of clearance on all sides, including the top of the squat rack.
So, for the largest squat rack (85 × 120 × 95 inches), your home gym or garage would require at least 109 × 144 inches of free floor space with ceilings that are at least 107 inches high.
Squat Stand vs. Squat Rack vs. Power Rack
If you look at online gym supplies stores, you’ll most likely come across 3 types of racks to help you perform squats at home—namely, a squat stand, a squat rack, and a power rack. All 3 types have their set of advantages, so before deciding whether to purchase or build a squat rack from scratch, you should at least understand the basics of each type of rack.
A squat stand is the more simplistic type of racking system for doing squats. It is comprised of 2 vertical beams held in place by a crossbeam that extends toward the back of the stand. Squat stands are the cheapest rack option, and they don’t have as much space as squat and power racks.
However, squat stands leave very little room for growth since they cannot bear as much weight as squat and power racks. In addition, you will require a spotter to use a squat stand since it doesn’t assist in propping up the barbell in any way.
When visually comparing a squat rack from a squat stand, you may have trouble distinguishing one from the other. The main differentiating points between them are that the squat rack has a wider base, it has a greater level of customizability, and it has additional top bars on the front and rear to provide additional support.
Apart from using a squat rack to perform squats and shoulder presses, you can use a squat rack to do pull-ups. Squat racks can also be budget-friendly compared to power racks but can cost considerably more than simple squat stands.
Like squat stands, you will require a spotter to assist in keeping the barbell level when squatting. Also, the weight limit can be identical to squat stands but at a higher cost (unless you build your own).
A power rack is the beefiest type of rack available. It’s the widest option, has more metal bars to keep your barbell accessories in place, and they have adjustable horizontal bars to accommodate any user of any size.
Power racks are arguably the safest option of them all since their catch bars eliminate the need for a spotter. It can also support even greater amounts of weight than a squat stand and squat rack.
However, due to its larger build, you will have to allocate more real estate to the power rack to get it set up. Plus, power racks don’t come cheap.
Constructing a Squat Rack
Building a squat rack can be considerably cheaper than purchasing one from a name brand, especially if you’re willing to replace heavy-duty aluminum beams with wooden boards. You can check out different squat rack designs here, but if you’re on a budget of, say, $40 per Kristi Eramo O’Connell’s instructions, you can still build a basic squat rack.
Please note that I do not assume responsibility for any mishaps that may occur when you build your own squat rack, so please, be careful.
- 2 10-gallon buckets
- 2 60-pound bags of concrete mix + enough aggregate per the instructions
- 2 4 × 4 boards, measuring 8 feet long
- 6+ 6-inch lag bolts
- Handsaw or circular saw
- Sandpaper or orbital sander with sandpaper pads
- Paint (optional)
How to Build a Squat Rack
- Measure the distance from the ground to your shoulder to create the squat rack.
- Cut the 2 4 × 4 boards to the same length as the distance from the ground to your shoulder minus 1 or 2 inches.
- Draw a line 1.5 inches from the top of the 4 × 4 boards. Find the center and draw 2 lines from each corner of the top of the board, creating a V shape. Repeat this step on the opposite end of the board.
- Cut the V out to create notches that will support your barbell.
- Cut 2 more sections from the remaining 2 4 × 4 boards to create the squat rack. The sections should be about 18 inches shorter than the squat rack posts.
- Cut the top of the squat stand posts at a 35- to 45-degree angle to create a resting spot for the barbell when doing bench presses.
- Align the squat rack and the squat stand posts and connect them together using at least 3 lag bolts. Repeat this process for the posts on the other side.
- Mix enough concrete to fill both 10-gallon buckets at least halfway full.
- Place the squat stand and squat rack posts in each of the buckets and wait at least 48 hours for the concrete to dry.
- Sand every portion of the wooden posts until smooth.
- Paint the squat rack with at least 2 coats of paint (optional).
In this guide, I described the dimensions of a squat rack. The largest squat rack for home use would measure around 85 inches wide, 120 inches deep, and stand 95 inches tall, but you are more than free to make modifications based on what your home gym or garage can accommodate.
If you found this guide helpful, make sure you share it with your buddies on your socials, and drop a comment if you’re thinking of making your own squat rack.