Buying Used Exercise Equipment: The Power Rack

Gym memberships are not for everyone.

You have to make sure that you miss the rush and if you hit it anyway, you can waste a lot of time simply waiting for the machines you want open. Driving to the gym in itself is a time investment—a 15 minute drive can easily turn into a total of 40 minutes both ways if you include parking and walking to the gym. And as you might have experienced, many people don’t rack their weights, leading to even more wasted time. For those who value cleanliness, many don’t clean up after themselves, and—you got it—cleaning up before and after every exercise takes time. In between driving, waiting, and cleaning, you can easily be wasting over an hour of your precious time every time you work out!

If that wasn’t enough, gym memberships are a continual drain on your wallet. The average gym membership is going to be anywhere between $20-$45 per month. This comes out to being $240-$540 per year. In 5 years, that becomes $1,200-$2,700!

The truth is that the cost of 5 years of gym membership is more than enough to make a home gym perfect for your needs, especially if you buy used equipment. Since gym equipment is designed to be used constantly at all times of the day and night, buying used does not compromise quality in the least. In fact, you’ll be maximizing your purchase for potential lifetime use!

If the above rings true and you have some extra space in your home, you might want to invest in a home gym. You don’t have to worry about the rush. More importantly, you will waste less time and money.

So welcome to FitnessVote’s first guide to buying used equipment. The subject of this post: The power rack.

Why Choose A Power Rack?

Power Rack



The power rack is an impressive and versatile piece of equipment that can serve nearly all of your strength training needs. It works as a weight bench and a squat rack, as and has other functions that we will explore shortly. Considering its sheer utility, it is space efficient—you don’t have to buy separate pieces of equipment for the multitude of exercises that you might want to perform. Look to spend between $200-$600 for a high quality used power rack. As long as you follow our guidelines below, expect it to last a lifetime.

The Many Features of Power Racks

Before even going on your local Craigslist listings for power racks, it’s important to know what functions you are looking for. The great thing is that more functions doesn’t always mean a clunkier rack, it’s a solid frame of metal, after all, and an added function usually just means an extra crossbar or holes drilled into the tubing.

Here is a list of the features you should be looking for in a well-designed rack, along with some tips you need to know: -Squat Rack functionality. Make sure the bottom bars allow you to squat deeply. Some racks are poorly designed and don’t allow you to do a full squat. Avoid them! -Bench. If you will be using the rack for your pressing movements, make sure the holes for adjusting barbell positioning are no more than 2 inches apart from each other. This will allow you to comfortable set your bench press, overhead press, and incline press exercises. -Pullup Bar. This is one function that is part of almost any power rack design. Nothing much to worry about, unless you want shaped grips. -Dip Bar. Make sure they are high enough for your height. This is especially true if you plan on doing weighted dips. -Band Hooks. If you are planning on doing resistance band exercises, having proper mounts to do them is essential. A solid rack, after all, will be much more stable than your average doorway. -Weight Storage. Not necessary, but good to have if you do not want to buy a separate weight rack. -Rubber Feet. To prevent slipping. -Floor Bolt Area. This is important for some floor surfaces. After certain exercises, the rack itself can shift forward and backward in tiny increments. Before you know it, your rack will be against the wall and difficult to move.

Evaluating Construction and Condition

After you’ve decided on the shape of the rack, time to search and filter. The second step is to examine the racks in person and evaluate them carefully.


A few basic but crucial things to watch out for here. -Make sure the gauge of the steel tubing is constructed of thick tubing that will be able to support larger weights. -Check the welding. You want the welding to be clean, consistent, and thick enough to support itself. -Check for stability. You don’t want any wobbling!


Checking the condition of the rack is just as important as evaluating the construction: -Check for ANY cracking. Cracks are an extremely bad sign and should ALWAYS be avoided. -Check the adjustable pins, bolts, and bars. They should fit well and none of the bolts should have been tight enough to have warped the steel tubing. -If the rack itself is not warped and the seller offers a good deal, don’t hesitate to buy because the fittings are in bad condition. They are relatively cheap and easy to find.

Choosing a Used Weight Bench

Weight Bench



For pressing workouts, a weight bench is crucial. Choosing one is similar to choosing a rack, with a few differences: -Check the welds -Check for stability -Examine the condition of the fabric as well. The “clingier” the better.

Choosing a Barbell




A good barbell is crucial for stability and safety. -A good bar has a safety rating of over 1,000 pounds. -Good bars have a “tensile strength” rating, NOT a “weight” rating. -Chances are, many of the bars you will look at will be bent. If it is bent in the center, it should be fine. If it is bend toward one of the sides, however, you risk instability. It is better to buy a new bar than risk serious injury!

Choosing Used Weight Plates

Weight Plates

Weights are simply shaped slabs of iron formed for specific weights. Small amounts of rust can be cleaned and painted over quickly and easily. Just make sure they are not cracked! Look to be spending around $0.40-$0.60 per pound for used Olympic weights.

Now You’re Ready

You now know all of the basics you need to be able to choose a used power rack that will last you for years. Remember, don’t buy a rack unless you’ve inspected it yourself or unless the dealer is exceptional reputable.

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