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Get the Most Out of the Power Rack

Try these power rack tips to help improve your bench press, squat and even deadlift.

By Sean Waxman, CSCS

There seems to be some confusion about the proper use of the power rack. Believe it or not, the power rack was not invented for empty-bar curls, dumbbell laterals or hanging your gym bag. The power rack is so much more. It is a serious tool for serious bodybuilders, and putting it to good use will help you overcome plateaus in your bench press, squat and even the deadlift, and help you develop more muscle than you ever thought possible!

Do you have trouble coming out of the bottom of the squat? What about locking out your bench press? Such issues may be hindering your ability to pack on some serious muscle, and it's time to let the power rack help. Here are some typical lifting problems and the solutions the power rack can provide.

Exercise: Bench Press

Dilemma: Locking out
Power-Rack Rx: Partials

Partials, so named due to the fact that you work in a partial range of motion (ROM), will help increase overall strength while also giving you more power to get through the weaker part of a lift, such as the last few inches of a bench press, for example.

  • Place a flat bench in the middle of the power rack.
  • Set the safety bars around the height of your sticking point (roughly 6-8 inches away from full extension).
  • Load the bar with 10%-20% more weight than you would normally use for 10 reps.
  • Lie down and unrack the barbell. Slowly lower the bar to the safeties, then press the bar up to full extension and repeat for reps.
  • Over time, progressively lower and raise the safeties to different levels above your chest, allowing you to work through a variety of ranges of motion.

How: Do four sets of 6-8 partials at the beginning of your bench press routine, then finish with your full-ROM working sets.

 

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