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Do you want to know if your squat rack can stand up to the amount of weight you’re lifting? Here’s how much weight you can expect your power rack to handle.
Most power racks have a rackable weight limit of 500 to 1500 lbs. Only a few cages can handle less than 500 lbs. while others can handle more than 1500 lbs. Most racks should be bolted to the floor to reach this limit safely. Even the cages with a 500 lbs. limit are enough for most home gyms.
Find out how much weight different racks can handle and what is a good rack for you below. Or you can click here to find my favorite rack for home gyms.
Power Rack Weight Limits
Of course different power racks have different load limits. Let’s take a look at the differences between the different models on the list.
But first off, what does load limit actually mean?
Power rack load limit: How much weight (barbell+plates) you can put on the J-cups before the rack gets damaged/unsafe or worse. In other words, the ‘rackable’ weight limit.
|Titan Fitness||T-2 Short||700|
|Titan Fitness||T-3 Short||1100|
|Titan Fitness||X3 Short||1500|
|Rogue||RML-390C||+-1200||No official numbers available|
|Rogue||RML-490C||+-1200||No official numbers available|
|Rogue||R-3 Shorty||+-1000||No official numbers available|
|Rogue||R-3 Standard||+-1000||No official numbers available|
|CAP||Full Cage Rack 6'||500|
|CAP||Full Cage Rack 7'||500|
From that chart we can see that the racks sampled in this list have an average load limit of about 930 lbs. Many racks have a load limit from 700 to 1200 lbs. so that average makes sense. That doesn’t means any random rack will handle 900 lbs. As you can see, there are plenty of racks that handle less than 900 lbs. Some have a load limit that’s well under 500 lbs. Having a lower load limit than you need is a problem. There is no downside to having a higher load limit than you need except you might have to pay a bit extra.
As you can see, Rogue fitness doesn’t give load limits for their racks. If it was a no-name Ebay brand that would be cause for concern. However, Rogue is about as far from that as you can go. Their products are always rock solid and can be trusted. They are confident their racks can handle anything you can throw at it.
So for that reason, it’s reasonable to assume that the R-3 can handle 1000 lbs. and up. The RML series is built stronger with bigger upright posts, better construction, bigger bolts, etc. That means that it’ll easily handle 1200 lbs. and probably more. Those are educated guesses from looking at comparable power racks, combined with the reputation Rogue has.
I think it’s obvious that you should be quite careful with which rack you buy. There is a big range of load limits. The lowest limits are not actually too difficult to reach on the squat. A 300 lbs. squat isn’t bad but it isn’t exactly world record worthy either.
The power rack I recommend for home gyms has a 700 lbs. load limit, which is enough for the vast majority of people. It feels sturdy and doesn’t break the bank. Click here to find more information.
Which Power Rack Is Strong Enough For a Home Gym?
Which weight limit should your home gym power rack have? Of course it’s easy to say: less than you lift. OK that’s pretty obvious but there is a bit more to it than that.
The load limit indicates how much weight you can put on the J-cups before something gets damaged. That doesn’t mean you should go right up to that limit for a few reasons.
- Load limit is usually measured with a static bar. That mean you put the bar on the J-cups and then load up the weight plates. When you put the bar down from a lift, the weight has some speed. That speed translates in extra load the rack has to absorb. So when you’re close to the load limit and set down the bar too fast, it could damage something.
- Load limit is related to sturdiness (although not completely). Usually a power rack that is built stronger can handle more weight and will feel sturdier. When you’re getting closer to the load limit of a power rack, many of them will start feeling shaky and unstable. The higher the load limit, the more weight you can put on it without it getting shaky.
- Not all brands load limits are equal. There is no standardized test for testing power rack load limits. Some brands might have stricter testing than other brands. In general you’d expect the more expensive brands to be stricter but it’s difficult to really know this.
For those reasons I’d recommend to get a rack that can handle at least 30% more weight than the maximum you intend to lift. This will give you a bit of headroom so you don’t have to be super careful with every movement. Also, take into account the strength gains you’ll make in the future. If you’re still progressing, make sure you take future strength gains into account.
For example; you squat 300 lbs. now. However, in 3 years you want to squat 450 lbs.
450 lbs. +30% = 585 lbs. That means you should look for a power rack that has at least a load limit of 585 lbs.
Besides that, the power racks that have lower load limits (500 lbs. and lower) are not the highest quality in general. Even at normal weights some of them don’t feel too stable and over time, racks that are shakier don’t get better. It’s better to go with something a little better so you can enjoy it for a long time instead of wanting to replace it within a year.
So, whatever you’re planning to lift, it’s a good idea to buy a power rack with future lifts and longevity in mind.
What are J-cups? J-cups are the two hooks that can be mounted on the upright posts of a power rack or squat stand. J-cups are used to rest the barbell on while not using it. Gravity holds the barbell in place and the little hook helps keep the barbell from rolling off. The top is open however so you can easily lift the bar off.
How much does a power rack cost? An entry level power rack will cost from $230 to $350. A mid-range cage costs from $350 to $700 while High end racks costs $700 up to $1300 or more. Most people will be best served with an entry level rack that costs about $300. Unless you lift really heavy (500lbs+), a more expensive rack is not necessary.