A power rack is an expensive piece of equipment, but you can’t beat the versatility it gives you
A power rack will replace tons of individual pieces of smaller equipment, saving you money in the long run and providing you with the potential for a pro quality workout without having to shell out a fortune for separate machines.
If you have a power rack, you understand what makes them such a vital investment for any home gym.
You may feel tempted to stick to your old ways when it comes to your workouts. There may be certain workouts you excel in, because they target your favorite zones and provide you with the results you want.
Many things, like deadlifts and squats, can be improved with the use of your power rack if you change your workout strategy.
A few minor adjustments can take an average workout to a higher level, improving your outcome and helping you achieve your goals faster.
Never Skip Your Warmup
Never jump right into your power rack. One of the biggest mistakes people make is that once they become comfortable with their workout, they can jump right into it if they don’t add a significant amount of weight.
The truth is that the weight has nothing to do with it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in great shape – before you work out, you need to warm up. If your muscles aren’t primed, you’re more likely to cause damage than you are to build definition. This can cause complications for you over time.
Set aside at least ten minutes for a short warmup before you start.
Every personal trainer will tell you to deadlift in a different way. Some people wing it, determining what’s most comfortable for them. Doing your deadlifts the wrong way is not only dangerous, but it could be preventing you from seeing the results you want.
For high efficiency deadlifts, you should keep a narrow stance with your head at neutral.
The bar should be level with the middle of your foot. Bend your knees until the bar is level with your shins, with your shoulders in a direct vertical line above the bars. Hold the bar low, and keep your hips high. You should lift your chest without contracting your shoulders.
When you pill the bar, keep it close to your body, trying to pull back instead of pull up. Planting your heels firmly on the ground will help you maintain your center of gravity as you lift and lower at a fast pace.
Low Bar Squatting
Everyone does high bar squats, but what about low bar squats?
Changing up your squat game can help you increase the amount you’re lifting.
Since you’re getting better leverage, it’s safer for you to up the amount of weight you use when you’re lifting low bar, which is the same way powerlifters do it.
The key to a low bar squat is mastering your stance. You need to keep your upper back nice and tight, with the bar evenly spaced behind you.
Your hands and your forearms should form a perfect line, and you should never use your hands to support the bar. Always aim to keep your thumbs over the bar, rather than under it.
Your chest should be lifted up and pointed forward, and you need to maintain that position.
Never retract your chest.
With your shoulders and elbows down, your knees out, and your shoulders tilted back, move your feet out wide. You’ll want to distribute your weight onto your heels and the center of your foot – never balance on your toes.
If you have a hard time, try curling your toes to prevent you from using them as balance points.
The bar should be low on your back, you need to keep your back as neutral as possible. A very slight curve won’t injure you, but an arched or rounded back can be dangerous.
When you hit the bottom of your squat, propel yourself back up with your gluteal muscles at the same time you raise your chest.
Use Your Rack to Bench Press
Turning your power rack into a bench press is simple – just buy a decent bench. There’s no reason to have a full range of bench press equipment when your power rack serves the same purpose.
A bench alone is far less expensive, and you won’t have redundant equipment filling up your home gym.
Keep your forearms level with the floor when you have the bar at your chest, holding the bar in your palm without closing your fingers. Your eyes should be right beneath the bar when it’s racked. Heave your chest up with a big arch in your back without lifting your glues from the bench.
With your legs tight, squeeze the bar and press it straight up, with your elbows up against your ribs.
Multitask as much as possible
Your power rack makes it safer and easier for you to compound your movements.
You won’t be able to juggle weights while running in place and doing pushups, but you can add heavier weights to things like military presses and rows to up the ante.
Try to focus on your upper body and your lower body at the same time whenever possible.
Beginners may find it easier to isolate and alternate between certain muscle groups, and while this is generally an effective strategy to prolong the length of a training session, there’s such thing as a happy medium.
Utilizing your legs more while you’re working on your upper body, and simply holding a pair of adjustable dumbbells while you’re working on your lower body can amplify the effectiveness of your workout.
Your primary focus should always be on the main muscle group you’re using.
For example, when doing calf raises with dumbbells, make sure the dumbbells you’re holding aren’t the max weight you can carry.
If at all possible, try to engage your lower body and your upper body at the same time, but don’t place an equal amount of burden on both.
Postpone your isolation movements
Some people believe that isolation movements are a great place to start, because they aren’t so physically demanding.
Beginning your workout with extensions, calf raises or curls seems like a great way to get hyped up, but you’re running the risk of wasting the rest of your workout by doing so.
Isolation movements encourage muscle fatigue.
The repetitive motion will drain the muscle of its energy reserves, making the rest of your workout a lot harder. Pumping your muscles too early on isn’t a good idea.
Instead, save your isolation movements for the end of the workout. You’ll be using your muscles in synergy to complete full movements. At the end of your workout, isolating them will help serve the finishing blow. You’ll get the remainder of their potential out.
Try to start heavy and finish light to evenly deplete your stamina.
Build up to supersets
It’s normal to want to rest for a while in between activities, but doing so can cause your momentum to fall.
If you bounce from one thing and go directly to the next, you’re not only increasing the effectiveness of your workout, you’re also encouraging your body to burn fat for extra energy.
Losing weight through anaerobic exercise, such as lifting, is difficult but not impossible. Supersets maximize your fat burning potential.
If you find it difficult to go without breaks, try alternating your schedule.
It may be taxing to go from one arm exercise to the next without stopping, but alternating between arm exercises and leg exercises without taking a break will still give your muscle sets some time to recover in between exercises.
For example – if your arms are starting to become weary from benching, you can go directly into a lower body workout to take some of the stress off of your upper body.
Develop a Gradual Weight Plan
Waiting too long to increase your weight load will delay your progress, and increasing your weight load too soon can lead to injury.
You need to give your muscles enough time to accommodate a higher load, and you should be increasing in manageable increments. Take your time. You aren’t racing anyone.
When it comes to upping your weights, the best time to do so is when you stop feeling resistance at your current load. Start by upping your total load to ten pounds heavier – five on each side of the barbell, or 2.5 on each side of dual barbells.
If you’re an experienced heavy lifter, you can increase your load by increments of ten.
Always remember that a power rack will provide you with an excellent place to work out. While it is safer that improvised or mediocre stands, it still won’t protect you from injury if you’re using it irresponsibly.