3 Uncommon / Great Exercises To Do With Your Squat Rack(s)

We all want to get more out of garage gym equipment. It saves you money and mixes up your workouts. Here are three uncommon, or lesser known, exercises that you can do with your squat stand, in addition to squatting and benching. You can use the equipment you more than likely already have: squat rack, barbell, j-cups and spotter arms.

Inverted Row

The inverted row, sometimes called the horizontal bar pull-up, is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles in the upper back/thoracic region, and a good place to start for anyone trying to develop the strength needed to perform regular strict pull-ups. I am currently using our commercial squat rack for the demonstration. 

  1. Start with the J-Cups lowered midway down the rack and place a barbell on top of them. The amount of distance between the barbell and the floor should be similar to where it would be if you were bench pressing (unless you are smaller and can’t touch the floor with your feet when laying on a bench).
  2. Position yourself underneath the barbell so that your sternum or chest area is in line with the bar. Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar and when you reach up your arms should angle away from them.
  3. Hold on to the bar and raise your hips until they are neutral. Adjust your feet closer or farther away from the barbell to increase/decrease difficulty.
  4. A good rep consists of maintained external rotation in the shoulders, maintained raised hips, chest touching bar at top of the row/pull-up, and full locked out arms at the bottom of each rep.

Add these in as an accessory strength piece or sub them for pull-ups in your WOD!

Bottoms Up Squat

Ever get pinned at the bottom or a clean? Much like pause squats, the bottoms up squat is great for building strength in the hole and developing and explosive upwards drive. It’s also great for developing or redeveloping a strong foundation in correct motor pattern, as the eccentric portion (usually the sloppier portion) of the squat is completely cut out.

  1. You’ll need spotter arms! Adjust your spotter arms so that your barbell rests at a height equivalent to where it would be at the bottom of a squat.
  2. Perform by properly setting yourself into a strong bottom position, applying upwards force until the barbell lifts off the rack, and then explosively driving upwards.
  3. As you squat back down to the bottom position use control and focus on keeping a neutral spine and external rotation in hips/knees/ankles.

Squat Rack Parallel Bars

Just like it sounds, if you are gym owner or happen to have two solid squat racks and two barbells, this is an easy way to add a set of parallel bars to your arsenal of training equipment.

  1. Position squat racks so that they are facing each other. Uprights of the racks should be about shoulder width apart.
  2. J-Cups/barbell height should be positioned so that when performing a dip and press out an athlete's feet do not touch the ground.
  3. Use a men's bars if available so there is less surface area on the J-Cups for them to slide on and remember keep and maintain a hollow and tight core while performing movements.

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