Half Racks, Squat Racks & Stands

The cheap, space-saving yet versatile alternative for your home gym

Squat racks or half racks are effective powerlifting training solutions and are similar to power racks. Instead of having four uprights, they only have two. These are typically bridged at the top with a cross member that nearly always features a chin-up bar. This not only adds functionality but it also makes the setup a lot more solid, which is critical when performing squats.

Half Racks Half Rack Systems Squat Stands Attachments

  • Compact footprint
  • Heavy duty construction
  • For beginners & advanced trainers
  • Safety mechanisms
  • High functionality
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The best quality squat racks and stands in Australia – Sam’s Fitness

In my highly biased opinion, I believe we stock the best squat racks in Australia. The ATX® squat racks have the option of adding a lat tower attachment. This will allow you to do both high and low pulley exercises like lat pulldowns, seated rows, and bicep curls. Combined with the barbell functionality, their squat racks offer a completely free weight training experience without taking up too much precious space.

In the early years, weight trainers would have to improvise, but thankfully now you don’t have to risk death and injury by using something that was not designed for a specific task. However, I do issue a strong word of warning – buying cheap squat stands for lifting heavyweight can be deadly! If they utilized poor quality materials and combined it with a poor design, they may fail or simply fall over after barely completing your last rep of squats.

The Ironmaster IM1500, while not offering the lat option, has a built-in weight plate and barbell storage. This is often overlooked when browsing for a home gym setup. It is not until you have got your gear built that you realize you need storage for your plates and barbells.

Squat stands were a very late addition to our range. I was never a big fan of their safety aspect, especially considering the relative affordability of squat racks and power racks. However, shortly after the ink on our deal with ATX® dried, the ATX® Squat Stands were one of the first products I ordered. Not only are they built from the highest quality materials – the thick steel tube adds a lot of weight to the stands which enhance its stability – but they also have built-in spotter arms. These can be adjusted for your safety during your squatting and bench pressing.

The other advantage of a squat stand is, if later on, you have the luxury of more space, you don’t need to sell them. You can buy optional base support that converts them into a squat rack.

The only downside of the ATX® 800 Series Squat Stands is obviously their price. They actually cost more than some of our Base Power Racks, but I refuse to sell anything cheaper. In my opinion, these cheaper racks are accidents waiting to happen. But if you are tight on space, they are worth their weight in gold.

Squat StandsFrequently Asked Questions

Are Squat Stands safe?

If used correctly squat stands are safe. However, if not set up properly, or used incorrectly they can be dangerous. If your squat stands do not have safety spotters, I would strongly advise against training by yourself. Especially if bench pressing.

The ATX-SQS-650 and ATX-DICO-SQS stands both have adjustable spotter arms. They even have a brace that can be added for further stability. When used in the correct manner, both these squat stands are just as safe as any half rack.

Can you use Squat Stands for Bench Press?

For you to be able to bench press in a set of squat stands, both the j hooks and spotter arms will need to be adjustable. This will enable you to place them lower on the stands to ensure that it is safe to perform the exercise. You will also need to set the stands wide enough apart so that you can roll your bench in and out.

Before you purchase squat stands with the intention of bench pressing, it is best to confirm that the bar supports can be adjusted low enough.

The other piece of advice is that I would strongly recommend benching with a spotter if the squat stands don’t have spotters. Or if they are light weight.

Are Half Racks safe?

Half racks are safe, when used correctly. Probably not quite as safe as a full rack, but they do have their advantages. The footprint on half racks is usually a lot smaller than a full power rack. They will also tend to be a little less expensive as well.

Some of the downsides of a half rack are they are usually a little less stable due to only having the 2 uprights. They also might not be able to handle as much weight as a full rack. To ensure the half rack can be as safe as can be, make sure you always use the spotter arms.

As a rule, if you have good quality gym equipment and you are using it as it is designed you are safe. The main cause of weight training injuries and incidents is from people doing dumb things – like trying to lift too much weight.

Do Half Racks need to be Bolted Down?

Some half racks need to be bolted down while others do not. This is where it is important to buy a good quality half rack manufactured by a reputable company. Due to their more compact nature, a poorly designed half rack that is not bolted down could be dangerous.

The base model ATX-HRX-620 half rack does not need to be bolted down. It’s height, depth and design have all been engineered so that it can be used sitting on its custom rubber feet – no bolting required. The spotter arms are also designed so that they will not becoming a tipping hazard.

How to Squat in a Half Rack?

Make sure you adjust the position of the J-Hooks to just below shoulder level. This will make it easier to re-rack the barbell.

Within the rack, and make sure you are facing into the rack, stand under the bar with your feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring the bar rests on your upper back/traps. Place your hands behind the bar with a narrow grip. Hold it at an even distance on both sides and lift it off the J-Hooks. Take a couple of steps back.

It is extremely important that you do not step beyond the spotter arms. Keeping your chest up, squat down pushing your knees slightly to the side while moving your hips back.

Always make sure to set up safety pins at the correct height. Do a squat with just a barbell to see where it stops at the bottom position. Place the spotters a little lower than that. Hopefully you will never need to use them, but they are there to catch the barbell if it falls.

How to use a Half Rack?

A half rack is just a different type of squat rack. The half rack only has two posts compared to a Power Rack which has four. The half rack can be used pretty much in the same way as a Power Rack. You just need to be that little bit more careful when performing lifts as you have a little less room for error.

As the half rack will only have shortened spotter arms, you do need to make sure that they are setup properly when in use. The spotters need to be set at the right height for the exercise you are doing.

Most half racks these days also come with chin up bars. Some brands like ATX offer an extensive range of attachments that you can add for additional exercises and functionality.