Space is at a premium for many of us so one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is whether a power rack can be safely used in the second floor of a house or in an apartment.

In this post we’ll look at:

  • Why it’s safe to work out in the second (or higher) story of your building.
  • Rough dimensions and space requirements to use a cage properly
  • The difference between squat stands and a power cage
  • A couple of great value options to buy in the UK &USA

Working out upstairs

As long as you are careful to not drop weights on the floor there is no issue working out upstairs. Dropping weights may damage the floor so that’s why I would avoid it.

To mitigate the risk slightly you can lay down some stall mats or other rubber tiles to act as a buffer between heavy plates and your (probably) timber structure.

What this means in real terms is that you need to control your weights instead of dropping them – deadlifts for example should have a controlled return, not an Olympic style drop from height.

I personally had a basic home gym set up in my spare bedroom and used it for almost a year with no issues.

Dimensions and space required

Commonly cages will measure around 1370L x 1200W 2160H. You will therefore need a minimum of 2.2m height and around 2mx2m floor space.

When working with an Olympic bar which is 7ft long I recommend at least 2.5m x 2m of space, plus some buffer around this to load/unload plates on to the bar.

 Squat stands

These are often used when space is a little tight as they require a bit less height and length:

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squat stands

squat stands

These allow you to get the barbell onto your upper body safely. If you’re going for this option you should buy ones that have spotter bars (the horizontal pieces) which catch weight should you drop it, this will save your floor and possibly your back should the worse happen!

Power rack

These are the real deal and offer a wider range of workout options, you can perform pull-ups with the top of the cage, dips on the side, attach cables for pulldowns etc. If you have space, a decent cage is the best piece of strength training equipment you can buy.

Bodymax CF475

Bodymax CF475

Find out more about cages here

A squat rack offers four posts instead of two so it can hold more weight safely and is sturdier in terms of wobbles.

Which ones to buy in the UK & USA

If you’re interested in a power rack then you should check out this review article first specifically for cages.

For the UK, Bodymax are at it again with a great stand set for those with limited room. The CF415 has the all important solid spotter bars, and linked towers which makes racking/unracking much easier.

Now as ever our American friends have a much wider choice. Adidas offer quite a nice set of stands, again with spotters and with a width bar to ensure the towers remain well positioned. These have a big 600lb capacity too: