What is the difference between a rig and a power rack?

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When you’re looking for home gym equipment trying to decipher the subtle differences between specifications and equipment becomes an art! One with a VERY steep learning curve! So you might know your Westside hole spacing from your standard fare, but what about rigs vs racks? Just what are the differences?! Daisy chains? 

Lost?

Let’s run through the key differences between squat or power racks and rigs.

What is the difference between a rig and a power rack?

At a glance…

  • Racks are typically better for home gyms
  • Rigs are usually aimed at the commercial market, designed to have multiple stations set up side by side
  • Rigs are also typically taller than power racks
  • Power racks are designed to be a single-station set up and have a number of space efficient design features
  • Racks tend to have more safety bar options

What is a training rig?

Training rigs are usually found in commercial settings – this is because they are typically taller, require bolting down to the floor and are designed to be “daisy chained” – where you join a number of them together to create multiple work stations using less steel and space than having several stand alone stations.

Rigs will RARELY have full length safeties – they might have spotter arms available, but a full length safety running between the uprights is rare. Many (or most?) people tend to lift without safeties when using a rig often with bumper plates so they can dump the bar on the ground if they need out from under the bar.

Single rigs can be great at home – I’d love one for my garden where height isn’t an issue – but more typically people go for power racks for their home gyms.

What is a power rack?

A power rack or squat rack is more of a stand alone unit – they are not typically designed to be joined together and usually have a more robust construction with more crossmembers and braces. Often they do not need to be bolted down and their height is usually suited for lower ceilings found in houses.

With a power rack safeties are typically really important – so full length spotter bars are common as are spotter arms.

What are the main differences between a rack and rig?

Rigs are better suited to larger installations where multiple workstations are needed. Out of the box they are made to be daisy chained together. This makes them perfect for group sessions or team training facilities. If you have space for one cube only then a power rack is likely a more efficient bet.

They also tend to be taller as they are designed for large scale commercial spaces where headroom is not typically an issue and therefore can make use of some cool attachments that leverage the height of the rig such as climbing ropes and ball targets.

A pretty epic rig in a UK garden gym… Definitely want one of these!
A pretty epic rig in a UK garden gym… Definitely want one of these!

Conversely racks are better for people looking for a more intimate space – with band pegs as well as plate and barbell storage options they are an efficient way to use a smaller space by combining a few things in to the one station.

What do they have in common?

Big brands such as Rogue, ATX or Bulldog Gear sell both rigs and racks using their own standard spec uprights. This means their accessories fit both their range of rigs as well as racks so various J hook ranges, storage options etc are available across both.

Both rigs & racks also act as TOOLS for us – we can get an equal workout from a rig OR rack if we put the hard yards of effort in!

Conclusion

In summary a rig is designed to be expanded to make multiple work stations while a power or squat rack is typically designed as a standalone station. In a home gym a single rig ‘cube’ will still be functional but doesn’t bring anything a power rack can’t also do to the table.

This means a rack is probably better for a home gym where you just need one station, but if you’re looking to add a few together then a rig gives us the expansion options.

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