Building a squat rack

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by GhostOfYourMind, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. GhostOfYourMind

    GhostOfYourMind Bewaters lil Iron Monkey

    Hey guys. I figured since I'm pretty good with tools, I'd build myself a squat rack so I can *gasp* SQUAT! Now, have any of you gone about doing this? Any tips on what kind of piping to use (such as square or rounded [I'd guess rounded due to its capabilities of handling load versus a square shape], how thick, obviously metal as PVC would allow me to kill myself, etc.). I'd probably leave it outside on the porch, or assemble it in the already cramped "workout room". Thanks all in advance. For some reason, I never thought of this before... :bang:
  2. Unisonus

    Unisonus Bloody Rare, Please

  3. Combatant

    Combatant Monsiour Fitness himself.

    What tools, skills, and materials do you have?

    There is a great plan for a rack in Beyond Brawn, and if you google then you will probably find one on the net- I can't remember where I saw it.

    Would a couple of saw horses surfice maybe?
  4. GhostOfYourMind

    GhostOfYourMind Bewaters lil Iron Monkey

    Tell ya the truth, I haven't taken a real inventory of what I have or what Home Depot has materials wise and stuff.

    But for a quick list of tools, I have (neighbors probably have some gnarly power tools if I need to borrow stuff though):
    Variable Speed Dremel
    Hack Saw
    Wrenches out the wazoo
    De Walt Drill

    Skill wise, I'm good at putting things together (professional grade RC kits in particular...:D), taking them apart, blah blah blah. I maintain my real car as well: spark plugs, oil changes, fixing various things that need tightening up or what have you. I can fix things if they need fixing around the house for the most part as well. All in all, I've never actually built a structure like a squatting rack though (built the home gym though, but that's all pre-fabbed stuff and has instructions).

    Materials wise, I was thinking those beams with the holes in them for bolts, and just get a bunch of those together and bolt the hell outta them, and double, triple, quadruple, etc. them up for strength. Should be sturdy enough for now (not like I'm a 600lb squatter.......yet).

    Although the saw horses would be a good idea if they're high enough (and probably less of a headache).

    I just thought of this idea literally tonight, so I'm still in the "developing" stages of ideas and what to use with what resources I have. I just got bit by the "go build something" bug I guess. Thanks both of ya'll. Maybe I'll take a trip to the store on Saturday.:D
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2006
  5. Combatant

    Combatant Monsiour Fitness himself.

    Without welding skills I can imagine it to be quite a hard thing to build, but I would be very interested to see the end result if you do go ahead with it.

    Power racks and squat racks are'nt really that expensive when you consider that they will probably last a lifetime, be sure to weigh up the costs and decide whether it is really worth it.
  6. Ad McG

    Ad McG Troll-killer Supporter

    My mate just ordered the awesome powertec one the other day... jealousy :cry: I really wish I had the room to put one in, I wouldn't hesitate to get one.

    If you can't afford 200quid for a powerline rack or don't have the space then saw horses should do the job. Metalworkers can be useful too, give them a ring with some specs and they might as you to come in and sort it out with them. Shouldn't be even close to 200.
  7. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    GhostOfYourMind -

    If you really want to go about it properly then having welding skills is where you want to be. There are as many different kinds of welding as there are types of steel or other alloys that you can weld.

    One of the most common forms of welding for steel is:

    another form of welding for steel is:

    and there is also:

    Though this is form of welding is probably overkill for what you want to do. There are even more forms of welding than this - but I've covered only the most basic - and the ones that don't require overly exotic gear. After all you're just welding steel alloy - not space shuttle parts. :D

    Any form of welding requires lots of practice. Welding can be done on many different levels and on the high end it is a mixutre of an artform and technical brilliance. Two of the best places to learn welding are in reformatory school or prison (what else are you gonna do with all that free time?) and the other is a vocational trade school. I'll let you decide which one is for you. :D

    You might be able to take a community college type course on welding. They usually have good programs with the basic types of welding and you can practice to your hearts content. Many of the guys I learned to weld with eventually ended up using their skills to get jobs once they got out of lockup.

    Taking a class (or doing time) will save you from having to invest money in tools and equipment for something you may not stick with. Welding is not everybody's bag. But if you find you have a knack for it then you can always move on to bigger and better gear as you build your skills and your confidence.

    Welding up a squat rack requires only rather basic welding skills - but even the basic welding skills require practice... give it some thought.
  8. GhostOfYourMind

    GhostOfYourMind Bewaters lil Iron Monkey

    I'm familiar with welding and its concept, but never done it (nor do I have access to a welder). Those saw horses are looking might fine right now.....:D :p

    THUMPER New Member

    Squat Rack.

    When I was about 16, I made a set of saw horses for squats. They were about 4' long and tall. About 1" lower than my parallel height of squat. On the other end I made some uprights for the initial start of the lift where I just had to squat a little bit to get under the bar. I braced them real well, and they only cost about $20. They were really sturdy and I used them for about 2 yrs until I had a real rack made for about $400.00. I way over paid, but I'm still using that rack almost 20 yrs later and it's still tight.

    If I were to do it all over again, I'd make the saw horse's and save for a mig welder, and make my own. You'll make tons of things after you get that welder. I've made dip bar's for the cost of welding wire and a little gas. That's free in my book:)
    I've also made 2" bars for all my lifts from regular bars. Try doing reverse curls with a 2.5" pipe, you will be amazed at how weak you're thumbs are.

    If you are looking for a welder get the (Linclon sp135 Plus) it's an excellent welder. It's easy for a newbe to use. It runs on 110 volt current and a 20 amp. outlet. I've bought 2 from and had quick delivery! You can get it for about $550 US. It also needs a tank with an argon mix, you can rent this from a welding supply place. This machine will weld up 1/16'th and 1/8" stock like butter, perfect looking welds! I've even welded up some 1/4" angle stock "I found" for a heavy bag stand in the backyard. If you keep you're eyes open you can find (free steel). For a begginer welder just go slooow so you get good penitration and remove paint, grease and rust from the weld joint. Do some test welds first. Weld a few pieces together and put it into a vice and try to tear them appart with a 5 # hammer. You'll know when you get the hang of it.
    For my latest project I've gathered up 5 pieces of upright shelving and 6- 3" X 5" X 8' cross braces like Home Depot has to hold up thier shelves. They are 13'-14' tall and 4' wide. I'm planning to weld 2 together to make a 20'+ tall X 9' wide climbing tower in my back yard. Just picture the shelving at Lowes or Home Depot and make it 20'+ feet tall. One side will have a peg board climbing wall and in the center I'll attach a 1.5" thick rope to climb.
    All the steel was freeeee. I just have to not get caught by the city inspectors:)
    When you grow up you're old, so I never plan to grow up:)

    If you buy or make any piece of exercise equipment, get good stuff you're LIFE may depend on it!!!!

    Dave S.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2006
  10. GhostOfYourMind

    GhostOfYourMind Bewaters lil Iron Monkey

    :eek: 550 bucks can get my car some headers and an H-pipe or something similar! LOL! Maybe when I'm done with high school, then college, and out in the real world, I'll get a welder.:D

    I'll try the saw horse idea though (maybe bolt up some pieces and make them out of metal, or metal reinforced, or just buy some already made ones if I can find them). I didn't go up to Home Depot just yet though. I had way too many projects to do. Maybe next weekend. :rolleyes: Although those shelves you're talking about thumper, they have holes in them to bolt stuff down right? Maybe I could just get a few of the beams and bolt them together to make some sort of rack? Meh, I need to go to Home Depot before I let my mind get ahead of me.

    Thumper, thanks for the info. Very helpful. BTW, how much do you think some wooden saw horses could support poundage wise? What about a metal setup like I described?

    THUMPER New Member

    I only used up to 280#'s on those horses. I was a little nervous about the uprights, but they always held! I always started the lift from the uprights, but ended the lift on the lower level! I wasnt' confident I'd be able to always set it on top of those 2x4 upright ends. For the 'upright' I just nailed a 2"x4"x2' piece to both sides of the sawhorse end and put a board in the center of them to hold the weight. With a few nails at both sides to keep the bar from rolling off. If that makes any sense? Turned on it's edge a 2x4 is very strong over a 3' or 4' length. For fun I put about 400#'s on them and tested it out, they were rock solid. You don't need any steel! You can buy the "A" frame to get the sawhorse angle at H.D. for just a few $'s and just slide the 2x4's into it. I braced the legs both ways. Inside the legs and from side to side. I just used 2x4's and 3" nails, and a handsaw. It would be safer to not make the upright part and just start you're squats from the bottom and end on the bottom.
    Or you could nail a shorter lenth say 6" to the end,and double it up so you had a larger area to set it down, that would be much safer. I also made a set of horses for benching. Just make sure that the bar sits on you're chest on the down possision, but when you exhale it sits on the horse.

    For the metal beam I mentioned, got those a Meijer, they were remodeling a store and were throwing them out. I got about 100' of 1/4" thick 3"x3" angle iron. 5 of those uprights and 50 cross beams. Ya, I'm a junk yard dog:) but I figure I got almost $4,000 in steel for free. I priced out what it would cost in steel to make that tower at metal mart last summer and almost passed out $800.00. Then I found that steeeel. I poured the footings to it late last fall, but it started snowing before I could start welding it together. I'll have to wait till spring to finish it.
    Metal is much harder to work then wood and you need more tools. It takes a lot longer time to cut up steel with a hacksaw then wood. And you will be replacing blades also. A welder would be almost a necessity with most of that steel, though I guess you could make angled mending plates (L brackets) and drill holes and bolt things together. But that would be a pain and ugly.
    I've seen metal horses at D.H. that say they will hold 1000 #'s, for about $50.00, but you probably can't adjust them to the right height for you're needs.

    Make the horses, you won't regret it.

    Dave S.
  12. inteq9

    inteq9 165lb of TROUBLE!

    You don't have to spend $500+ to get a decent wire feed welder. You can get like a small Hobart for around $200 that will do whatever you need it to.

    I'd like to recommend a Miller welder to help my job security ;)
  13. GhostOfYourMind

    GhostOfYourMind Bewaters lil Iron Monkey

    Excellent. Lots of good stuff in your posts. Oh the ideas are flowing! So really, Home Depot should have some sturdy saw horses, and stuff I'd need. I swear, Home Depot and Lowe's are like my second candy store, second to only the hobby store. :eek:

    Inteq, on my income, as a high school student, no way am I getting a welder any time soon...:p. Plus, if I had that much money...I'd beg my dad to lemme get headers or a set of chrome pony rims, whichever I can convince him to lemme buy...:p. Thanks for the info though. I'll remember you if I ever decide to buy a "toy"...:D:D

    Schweet! Lookie what I just found at Sears
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2006

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