Should I use Power Cage and How to Choose it?Joinfit Hong Kong
A power cage, also known as a power cage, squat cage or squat rack, is a piece of weight training equipment that functions as a mechanical spotter for free weight barbell exercises without the movement restrictions imposed by equipment. Free weights build more muscle and strength than any machine. You may also check out our Power Cage with Platform, we offer Free Delivery & Installation in Hong Kong.
Benefit of a Power Cage
With weight lifting, safety is always #1. Preventing injury is one of the keys to making continuous progress.
All power cages come with safety spotter bars that allow you to safely lift free weights on your own at home. You must learn how to set them properly for each exercise, though, to ensure the spotter bars will catch the weights if needed.
If you lift under control and know your limits, you should never need the safety bars but they are always there to give you that feeling of safety. Safely increasing the amount of weight you are lifting is the key to building muscle and a good cage allows you to do this.
You won’t have to lift the bar from the ground for certain weight lifting exercises.
Imagine trying to clean the bar up, press it overhead, and then lower it to your upper back just to perform squats. If you have to do so, this limits the amount of weight you can use AND it requires more energy to get the bar in place. With a power cage, the bar is already in position for squats.
With the bar in position, you can focus on the exercise without wasting energy getting the bar in position. This allows you to build more muscle and strength.
Squats and many variations of the squat aren’t the only exercises made easier. Overhead press and bench press are just a couple more exercises that are tough to do without a power cage.
The number of weightlifting exercises you can safely do are greatly increased. The 7 core weight lifting exercises are (1) squats, (2) deadlifts, (3) bench press, (4) rows, (5) overhead press, (6) pull ups, (7) dips. All of these can be safely done with the right power cage.
You can even do hanging ab exercises by hanging from the pull up bar. Not that you need to do them, but they are available just in case.
Hundreds of variations of core exercises can also be done. Exercises such as front squats, stationary lunges, cage deadlifts, pendlay rows, cage chin-ups, standing calf raises, and even seated barbell calf raises can be done.
Drawbacks to a Power Cage
The power cage isn’t perfect. It does have a few drawbacks. You need to know these drawbacks before you invest in one.
Any power cage is going to take up a good amount of floor space. If you’re tight on floor space, you can find some smaller footprint cages but be sure to check before buying one from anywhere. You don’t want to put the thing together and have to take it all apart because it doesn’t fit.
Get yourself a tape measure and take some measurements. Remember that you also need a little extra space around the cage for putting weight plates on the barbell and taking them off the barbell.
Don’t forget that the cage will most likely have to be taken apart before moving it to another room. Just something to keep in mind since once a power cage is put together it’s not going to fit through most doors.
This drawback is very important. You must make sure you have enough ceiling height for the power cage of your choice. And this doesn’t just mean taking the height measurement from the cage and making sure your ceiling is higher than that.
Most power cages come with a chin up bar. Everyone can do chin ups if they work hard on them and chin ups / pull ups are one of the best upper body exercises in existence.
When doing chin ups or pull ups, your head will need to come above the top of the bar. This means you need extra room above the power cage for your head. You don’t want to get your power cage together and during your first set of pull ups BANG your head against the ceiling. Make sure to plan for this.
Power cages can be expensive. They range from a couple thousand HK dollars to several ten thousands.
Alternatives to a full size power cage will cost less but you’ll lose many of the advantages and those alternate pieces of weight lifting equipment have drawbacks as well.
Besides the cost of the power cage, you’ll need an Olympic barbell set, extra weight plates, and an adjustable bench for additional weight lifting exercises.
How to Choose Power Cages
Choosing the right power cage for your home gym might seem difficult at first. There are so many options out there and each cage can be very different. When you’re spending hundreds of dollars on something that will stay with you for many years, you want to make the perfect choice.
Sturdy, Strong, Weight Capacity
You must get a cage that is very sturdy, strong, and with a large weight capacity. At first, you might not think you need to lift very much weight but you’ll get stronger over the weeks, months, and years.
So get a power cage with a large weight capacity. You’ll get very strong. You want to make sure this piece of weight lifting equipment is going to last for years.
Size (Width & Height)
You’ll want to get one that’s as wide and as tall as possible for the area you have. This gives you more room inside the cage to do a larger variety of exercises.
You’ll want to be able to do standing overhead presses as well as exercises like sumo squats and sumo deadlifts that require a wider area.
Uprights (Inside & Outside)
You should be able to adjust the height of the barbell inside the cage and outside thecage. If you need to move outside the cage for another exercise, you want a rack that gives you that option. Very important option.
Make sure these have narrow spacing as well so you get just the right heights for different exercises.
Safety Spot Bars
Safety bars are an absolute requirement and they need to have a very small spacing between them to so you can set them at the perfect height for each exercise. They need to be easily adjustable as well so you’re not wasting time during workouts.
Pull Up Bar
A pull up bar is highly recommended. Make sure the cage you’re getting has at least a straight bar for pull ups. I do not recommend a set of wide grips and that’s it. You want a straight bar and even better would be additional parallel bar for hammer grip pull ups or chin ups.
Some power cages will come with dip bar attachments which are very important. Dips are one of the 7 core weight lifting exercises here at WLC and used in many of the WLC weight lifting workouts because of their effectiveness in building upper body strength and muscle.
If you don’t get a cage with dip attachments, you’ll need to get a dipping station separately and that will take up more floor space and cost you more. But it’s always an option if the cage you have has no dip bars.
If you want to save more energy during your workouts for the actual exercises you’ll be doing, you should get a cage with plenty of weight holders on each side. This will be very convenient for you and save lots of time and energy.