How to Build Squat Racks


A solid squat rack allows the exerciser to perform the front or back squat to work the lower half of their body but also creates an elevated platform to allow for performing overhead lifts. Commercially available home squat racks are often an expensive alternative to paying monthly gym or health club membership fees, but the savvy do-it-yourselfer can build their own squat rack for a fraction of the cost.

Things You'll Need

  • Two wooden 4-by-4 inch boards, 6 feet long
  • Four wooden 2-by-4 inch boards, 5 feet long
  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • Electric screwdriver/drill
  • Box of wood screws
  • Three steel I-bolts, 9 inches long
  • Two plastic five-gallon buckets
  • Two bags of quick-drying cement
  • Lay two of the 2-by-4 inch boards out flat and measure inward 3 inches from one end of each board. Mark the measurement and saw off the ends. Pair the 2-by-4 inch boards up by matching up each cut board with an uncut 2-by-4; laying the shorter board over the longer board. Make sure the ends are even to one another and screw them together using 12 to 15 wood screws each. This creates two separate and solid supports that have a "lip" where the barbell can rest safely.

  • Drill three ½ inch-wide holes down the length of the 2-by-4 supports. Lay each support over each 4-by-4 inch board, again matching up their ends. Make sure the shorter 2-by-4 is sandwiched between the longer 2-by-4 and the 4-by-4. Using the holes you just drilled as a guide, drill holes completely through the 4-by-4 boards. Insert ½ inch I-bolts through the holes and secure their ends with nuts. You've now added additional strength to the other supports that will be able to handle large weight loads.

  • Mix each bag of quick-drying cement as directed on the packaging. Stand each support vertically in each bucket, hold them steady and fill each bucket to the top with the cement. Allow a full 24 hours for the cement to dry before positioning each bucket about a foot from a wall with the 2-by-4 facing outward. Place a barbell into the lip before loading the bar with weight and working out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the rack is placed on flat and even ground or you'll risk having a tip-over when you load the bar.

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  • "Ironman's Home Gym Handbook: A Complete Guide to Training at Home"; Steve Holman; 1990
  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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