How to Use a Squat Rack

Barbell Squat

Sometimes you may have the urge to lift heavy weights, but it may potentially be dangerous without a spotter. The beauty of the squat rack is that with proper placement of the safety mechanisms, you can do almost any exercise with minimal danger and without the assistance of a spotter. Most gyms will have them and even the home exercise equipment market has many options at a moderate price.


Place the upper racking mechanisms approximately shoulder height on each side. This is where you will place the bar in-between sets.

Place the lower safety racks about an inch below the lowest absolute point that you wish to travel. Many lifters will lower themselves until the point where their thighs are parallel to the floor. Place the safety racks about an inch below that point. Always do this before performing the exercise.

Place the bar on the upper racking mechanisms and place the appropriate weight onto the bar. Use collars to secure the weight.

Perform the exercise.

Shrugs, Bicep Curls and Upright Rows

Place the lower safety mechanisms about 2 inches below you hands if they were down at your sides.

Place the upper racking mechanisms high enough so that you do not bump them while performing the exercises. You will not need them for these exercises.

Perform the exercise.

Bench Presses

Roll a bench into the squat rack. Place it approximately in the center of the rack.

Place the upper racking mechanisms approximately arm's length above the bench. Choose an appropriate height that will allow you to unrack the barbell without assistance.

Place the lower safety mechanism as close to level with your chest as possible. This will make sure you can go maximal depth while still having a safety in place if you cannot lift the weight.

Place the barbell on the upper racks and place the appropriate weights on it.

Perform the exercise.


Many squat racks have similar ways to adjust the racking mechanisms. Some have a trigger-like setup where you pull the trigger and then slide the rack to the appropriate level and release.

Some racks will have racking mechanisms that will require you to angle them in specific ways to be able to pull them out. Then you will place at the appropriate height and angle it back it.


When going very heavy, a spotter should still be used. This will help ensure safety and may provide you with assistance when needed. It is still possible to injury yourself even if you are using a squat rack for an exercise.