You know how valuable power racks are in the quest for muscle, and how expensive they can be. Now that you've decided building a home gym is right for you, it's time to acquire some equipment. I often work out late in the evening after my wife and 2-year old go to bed so the less metal I have clanking around in the basement the better.
All of the lumber and other components for this rack can be found at your local Lowes, Home Depot or other good hardware and supply stores. These boards are the core of the rack and will take the most abuse so be stingy and pick 8 of the best you can find.
The way I drilled the holes in the boards was by placing the legs on some 2x4 blocks to elevate it several inches above the floor. The top board of each side will be the last piece to screw into the top of the legs (board A). After you construct the left and right sides of the rack there are three boards remaining (boards B, E and H). Now is a good time to add the steel flat bar or angle guards to the leg sides if you so choose.
For my rack, the overall height is 2" below my floor joists so I used a spare 2x2 that I screwed to the bottom of the joists then connected the left and right sides of the rack to it with several metal "L" brackets and wood screws. Paul S Will take pics as soon as it's complete, probably going to take me another 2-3 days off and on to finish the holes and clean up the area.
Paul Shelley I still have some reservations about the strength of using pipe for the bar holding mounts, so I'm looking for a better solution there. Paul Shelley I was also concerned with wet PT lumber, but mine didn't really warp at all.I do have some small splits but they don't go very deep and they haven't grown at all in the last month. Tugboat I think I'm going to go with untreated wood and get some spar varnish (the kind they use on wooden spars on sailboats). InTimmyDator After hemming and hawing I am going to build the rack taking some modifications from each person. Guest Hi Barry, Thank you so much for all the effort you put into sharing all the details and tutorials. El Hi, I'm starting out and am pretty small (whopping 110lbs at 5'4), and I have a pretty small barbell (3'-9"). Tony I'm thinking about building a wood frame and buying 1" solid steel safety rods and also buying j-hooks built for a 3" square tube. Guest When I build my cage I just used some offcuts of pipe, and 0.5kg plates to make my hooks.
Guest these look so cool and only guestion is how much weight can the wood hold??
Guest The frame would hold that much weight yes, but you'd have to upgrade the pipe to something a bit thicker, and maybe think about replacing some of screws with bolts. Lalo the tuffest neighborhood guy hey I was thinking about building my own power rack like these ones shown. Bill Pairaktaridis I was wondering if anyone's made this with the ability to disassemble if need be, using bolts and screws.
December 12, 2011 By Gregor Winter 7 Comments If you don’t have the funds to get the Elite FTS Collegiate Power Rack check out this good looking homemade power rack built by a redditor.
The power rack is the core of any bodybuilder's home gym, and unfortunately it's one of the most expensive components you will buy. And the satisfaction of using a quality tool that you built yourself carries a level of pride into your workouts, plus it will impress you fellow lifting buddies. The overall price of the rack will vary depending on your local prices but careful shopping should get you in the $120-140 range for everything. I happened to use a wolmanized board on my rack as that was the next grade above the cheap stuff. The bulk of the screws for assembling the frame are 3" #14 wood screws which are just a heavy duty wood screw. The legs are going to take the majority of the construction time and once completed the remaining assembly goes quickly.
These three boards are what will tie the two sides of the rack together to complete the assembly. Yes, check out the homemade equipment page on this site and you will find plans to build one.
Ray, it looks like all you do is hand tighten the pipe cap to keep the rack pins from spinning. I'm using a cordless drill so unfortunately I only get about 3 holes done on one charge, so it's going to take a few days off and on to finish. Looks like a giant hamster cage in my garage with all the shavings from the wood boring bit!
The only thing left is to add a little angle stock so the bar won't tear up the posts, but I'm waiting until I find the stock I have (it's in the garage *somewhere*!). Your suggestions are excellent and great upgrades for those willing to spend the extra $ to beef it up. Would using some form of higher end steel for the pins and hooks increase the amount the wooden rack could support? Wood is plenty strong and the metal brackets on the corners look good, still trying to stay under the $150.00 price tag.
I had a support pole from my Parabody incline bench that I use to support the safety chains. Question: Wouldnt 4x4's be better for strength and also to keep the width of the rack as wide as possible, but still allowingthe collars from the bar to clear past them when racking? I'm not sure 700lbs would go right through a 1" pipe - (maybe bend the sh!t out of it), but you are right about the screws. For instance the first column reads: (10) 2x6x96, so you need to buy 10 boards sized 2x6x96. So many types of wood out there, not sure which ones would be affordable yet strong enough. I've purchased all my lumber and the space between my ceiling and the 2 x 6 columns look very similar. Worst case scenario you can still put some boards underneath your bench to adjust the height.
I would need to drill my holes off center on the 2x6's to make it work, but I think it will be a nice addition.
Cheap little pipe clamps either side of the wooden upright, and either side of the plate hold everything extremely tight.
Eric, doubling up of the pipes means you would need the clearance holes really close to each other or otherwise you take away the adjust-ability of the safety bars especially when doing the bench press were you want the bar to touch your chest.
My bad for commenting having not started the 5x5 routine.For those interested in the thicker pipe.
I don't think it's possible to go too low, unless you wind up drilling a hole like an inch from the end of the wood! I know what you mean about feeling it in your wrists, I have quite a grunty corded drill with no clutch that kicks like crazy when the spade bit gets stuck!!!Thought I'd be smart and get a circular rasp drill-bit from a local hardware store to smooth out the holes, and the piece of junk snapped on the first hole, so took it back for swap, but they had nothing better, so wasted a few hours on that.

I had to modify them somewhat to fit in my limited space (height 74", width 76"), including having the safety bars double ended to allow them to slide in from the side. This is by far the BEST homemade power rack I've seen, along with very detailed plans on how to build it. Even a basic, no-frills power rack will cost over $400 when purchased new and shipping charges can be substantial if purchased online. You will need a powerful plug-in electric drill instead of a cordless unit for cutting the many holes that will need bored in the legs.
I wouldn't recommend wolmanized after my own experience but they certainly will work (more on that later) if available. Higher ceilings can use 2x4 attached to the top boards and running at a 45 degree angle up to the ceiling.There is no right or wrong way for this as long as you can add something to reduce movement of the top of the rack. This will allow the collars on the olympic bar to clear the sides of the rack and sit freely on the pipe fittings. You are using a 4" pipe nipple screwed into a 45 degree elbow on one side and a pipe cap on the other. Although when i got to putting my bar on the rack i noticed it is too short haha, so i guess if any1 else builds this rack check your bar and make adjustments or be prepared to buy a new bar(i need a new 1 neway). Here's the shocker for those looking at my build: I spent around $200-210 all things considered. It would be used outdoor so would need some proper waterproof protection, probably a tarpaulin or something.
I'm very interested in getting a good rack for my home gym and if I can save a few hundred bucks by building one, I'd prefer to go that route. I am getting into doing dips nowadays and I was wondering if it would be possible to put a dip station add-on somewhere on the power rack.
Also, your measurements only give you 1" of wiggle room either side when you're racking the bar.
I'm training for amateur Strongman comps and was wondering if you think a homemade wooden rack could support 700lbs? Im sure if 400 lbs fell on them they would bent alot for sure, but they served there purpose. I'll be starting on my build very shortly and can say that even though I don't have much (if any) experience in carpentry, I'm confident enough that I could put this together with your tutorial. Dropping that much weight from a height might do some damage, but i'd be confident with around 500lb. This would set me back $90 to add these two options, but i would still be coming in much cheaper than buying a power rack and I think this option would be very convenient. This work will tear even a quality cordless drill to shreds as they are not meant for heavy cutting.Other tools that will make this job easier include a HIGHLY recommended table saw for clean cuts (or a circular saw but the table saw is preferable), a cordless drill, attachment allowing the socket set to be used on the drill, various C-clamps and other grippers for clamping pieces together and a large table for a work space.
The other members are not as critical and can be bought from the bargain stack but as always, the straighter the better. I would highly suggest cutting the 45 degree braces with a table saw for clean and square joints. As it stands now it's a very sturdy piece of equipment but being wood the less movement you have the longer it will stay a tight and rigid frame.
If for some reason you absolutely cannot connect the rack to your ceiling then the plan shows adding two 45 degree kicker boards at the top of the frame.
Boards "B, H and E" (reference the power rack plan PDF) need to be cut approximately 2.5" shorter. I used plywood to support the uprights, used 2x8s for the top, and used black pipe for a chin-up bar and to hold the front together. Thank you again Barry everything about this thing is great the wood allows for more customization later down the road also.
That's a far cry from the ~120 hoped for originally, but I just didn't feel comfortable leaving out the metal braces everywhere (about $35ish) and I ended up using more pipe pieces than were probably necessary.
After attaching it to the rafters with very small angle brackets, there is no movement or sway at all. I can't lift that much now, but I imagine I'd at least have 400lbs on the rack at any one point.
I routinely load up 200+ on squats, with no issues working out 3 times a week, since the build.
Before I start though, may I ask what "Board Counts Required" (under Lumber Quantities Schedule) means? I guess my question is more towards Shawn but any others who have an idea are welcome to chip in their intellect as well :) Thanks! I ask since i am not sure how high a bench would put my chest, and i do not want to 1) be limited on a lift and not be able to go down all the way but also 2) not have it so low i would get crushed on a missed lift. Thick wall piping would be the way to go.Thanks for commenting about the 4x4 supporting 500lbs.
The old names, that most places will still know about was "Schedule 40" for the standard stuff you can get at the hardware store. I know this will interfere with the interior braces, so I thought I'd go with the metal L braces like other folks have. I want to make mine with bolts and screws that I could easily unattach them with basic tools, so if I move out I could easily take my home gym everywhere I go. Extort can constitute built from uncompromising wood for around 150 whereas power racks and cages purchased.
If a new rack is out of your price range and playing the Craigslist waiting game is not for you then read on, as we'll show you how to build a quality wood power rack for under $150 using basic tools and simple construction techniques.
A sheet of 4x8 plywood set up on a few saw horses or 5 gallon buckets makes a nice assembly bench and can save a lot of time being on your hands and knees. Of all the boards in this rack, the eight 2x6 members for the vertical legs are where you need spend the money and buy the better grades. Be sure to buy one extra 2x4x96 for bracing the top of the rack to your ceiling structure (see end of article for this procedure).
If you're unsure of using drywalls screws you can go with a heavier duty wood screw but it's overkill in my opinion as the force pulling against these screws is minimal. This method prevented the wood from splitting or splintering when the spade bit cut all the way through.If you drill all the way through from one side you will likely split your board on the backside. The bottom braces are the last step for this side of the rack; build the opposite side using the same methods. This will significantly strengthen the top but not as well as true ceiling bracing.You're ready for action!Job well done!
Measure your olympic bar to verify this measurement before cutting these boards.Pair this homemade power rack with this homemade weight lifting bench. The rack boards are about 3" thick as well, so you just tighten the pipe cap by hand to keep the pipe assembly from spinning. I am six foot, two inches tall with long arms and it looks like yours would have a low clearance for me inside on the standing OHP. I'm thinking of making this just over shoulder height so I can fit it in my shed if collapsed. Sometimes rain blows through the screen, and I'd hate to build a rack from untreated lumber, and then see it rot in my gym.

Another idea is to use 2x4 blocking to attach the wider areas to allows use of shorter bolts which cost less.
I was planning on making this rack so I can start out properly, do the workouts without added stressors. I am looking at 2.75" or 3" OC between holes, but i am not sure if that would weaken the beams too much. Thicker walled was "Schedule 80" or even "Schedule 120." Might be able to special order it at a box store.Now I just have to get out from in front of a computer and join a gym or build one of these so I'm no longer the tubby weakling I've been my whole life! That's NZ money too, so less than $80US :) Pretty awesome, a commercial cage is about $1000 here.
The original plan only has 13 holes to position the spotter bars, when I tested my squat height etc I found they wouldna€™t be in the right places so I wanted more holes. Download the attached plans for a complete diagram of the power rack."Did he say 'wood' power rack?
Look for at least a "framing grade" of 2x6 and check each board for straightness and the fewest knots and other imperfections. The pre-cut bottom ends will be square and will be screwed to the bottom supports (getting everything square on the bottom is critical).
The spade bit is chucking a lot of wood and by the time you are finished with all four legs your wrists will let you know it!
The absolute best method is to brace the top directly to your ceiling or floor structure above. I still feel it was well worth money, even if I am approaching the low end cost of a manufactured rack.1. The comment regarding 700lbs is out of context, if you squat 700lbs I would think about investing in some professional equipment. No way am I using wood!" Yes we've all seen pictures of some guy using a rickety power rack he built from spare 2x4s that's just an accident waiting to happen. The cheapest way to buy the spotter pipe is to buy the full length 8 or 10 foot piece and have the store cut it in half for you (free at Lowes or Home Depot). After cutting the boards to length double them up and screw them together with the drywall screws according to the screw pattern. Get 4.5" length pipe for the bar supports if you are using 4x6's, 4" was too short to allow washers. Here are some pics of the build and completed rack Next improvement is to add some ceiling bracing and paint. However, wood has amazing compressive strength, and when built properly can handle extremely heavy weight.
The reason for this is because this wood is very wet from the water proofing treatment applied.
You can use the ratchet set for this but an adapter to use the drill is very handy for these screws. Now the money you saved can go towards some extra plates and protein powder for your next workout. To avoid having the rack in the way only use the inside for the top two bars and problem is solved. Definitely tough to beat the price on this rack but I want to know if anyone has tested it with heavy weight crashing down. My question is, do you guys think I need to shorten the side length of 3ft as well (say, make it 2'-4" for uniformity), or is it alright as it is? Built properly to utilize wood's compressive strength and treated with some care (not intentionally abused) the rack we're going to build should last for many years of heavy lifting. IMPORTANT NOTE: be sure to drill pilot holes in all screw locations to prevent splitting the boards. Being this wet did not make for very clean cuts and the holes are a bit "choppy" on the inside.
Use "T" fittings for the back of the bar mounts, this way you can jam something in them (I used some rebar) to use as a lever to make sure they are really tightened down well.Feel free to do what you want with the pics, I'm glad it's finally finished!
Wood also has some advantages over a steel rack, mainly being that this rack can easily be customized to fit your gym space. Do this for EVERY screw in the rack.Once you have the 4 leg members screwed together we need to layout the spotter hole pattern on each leg. The boards will dry out after several weeks but I didn't want to wait this long before building the rack, lesson learned.Once the four legs are done the rest is easy! I don't lift heavy at all (starting at just 45lbs) so I'm not sure if I'm in a position to worry about this just yet, but it doesn't hurt to be ultra cautious. Low ceiling heights in basements or garages can be a challenge for some commercial power racks which are usually 82" or taller.
Draw a center line down each leg on the long side and mark hole locations according to the plan. Cut the remaining boards to the lengths as specified in the plans (remember to cut the holes for the chin bar, same way as the holes in the legs).
Will cut down on the drilling time and difficulty, but it's going to set you back around $10-14.4. So using that, the short answer is using standard 4x4s should support a bar weighing 500lbs. An item that is not in the drawings but is recommended is a piece of steel 1" wide flat bar or light gauge angle to mount on the sides of the legs to keep the Olympic bar knurling from slowly filing away at the wood. Your needs may not require as many holes as I placed on my rack so the total number is your judgment call.
The 2x4's braces on the bottom between the legs should be replaced by something more substantial (2x6 is the logical fit)and it is worth putting a couple of screws in through the 2x8's on the sides into those supports.5. This will only add about $6-8 to the overall price and you can add it later if cash is tight.
I do like having the very top holes for moving the spotter pins out of the way when not used and the bottom set is handy for racking the bar when doing dead lifts and rows. By building the rack in "sides" it will allow you to easily transport the rack to your home gym and do the easy final assembly there.Referencing the plan, start with screwing the two bottom boards of each side together to form an "L" shape (boards D and G).
Every corner in my build is braced with a metal support, which adds to rigidity and gives me a little more peace of mind, since screws are really NOT that strong. The bottom side of the 2x8 will rest on the floor with the 2x6 acting as the base plate for the vertical legs. Pay careful attention when assembling the base as it's easy to screw the wrong board ends together.If you're unsure lay the entire frame out on the floor or table as it will go together before assembling anything.
Here is where the plywood bench can help you easily square the frame up by using the table edges.
If you're using the floor do your best to get everything square by eye-balling and doing measurements - measure twice before drilling pilot holes!

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