If your military or college sports days are over you might find it hard to get to the gym every day. When I left college I lost my free 24/7 gym access, and when I started working I didn’t have a lot of spare time. That’s when I decided to look into setting up my own home gym.
The options for setting one up are really endless, but I found the quickest way to break a sweat is with squats and dead lifts. So, I took my chances with the Atlas Power Rack Squat Dead lift cage. (You should be able to find it on Amazon.com here.) I have to say it was a good move.
Atlas came on the scene about the same time a lot of people started getting into cross-fit. From what I have seen, they have always offered a fairly sturdy cage at an affordable price.
They have been making an increasingly reliable product since they appeared on the market, and their improvements indicate that they do listen to user feedback. While the cage itself has been their mainstay in the past, they have recently begun to offer more accessories such as benches, pegs, and safety rods.
In this video you can really see the rack’s scale compared to the room it’s in.
This rack is great for anyone looking to assemble a functional home based gym, and is keeping things simple. If you live in a cold climate like I do, getting to the gym in winter can be a drag and sometimes impossible if the weather is bad.
There are many options for working out at home but for most people these options are a dead end because many of them are not as diverse as those at the gym. This rack can help with that. It’s also good for those who incorporate cardio based weightlifting or cross-fit into a wider regimen.
Price is a definite draw toward the Atlas. There are a growing number of other brands who compete with Atlas, but this rack’s price tag is steadily slightly lower than its competitors. There’s a discount around the holidays.
The cage is sturdy. Pull ups and kips do not rattle its 137 pound frame, or produce creaks and squeaks in the joints. You can set down a bar loaded with 400 pounds on the hooks with no wobbling or stress. ! ! It’s relatively easy to assemble. I put it together in under an hour with one look at the diagram. All you need is a socket wrench. You might wait to assemble it when you have another person to hold the posts since the screws that join the base to the vertical posts go in from the bottom up. It comes packed in two separate boxes. So it is a little more manageable to get inside if you live up stairs or are setting your gym up on a second story.
The distance from the rear posts to the back base is longer than most other cheaper models. This is a big benefit because it allows you to do all of your exercises facing the same direction. No turning around toward the front in order to do squats. Although some users find the depth of the cage to be a little short, anyone of average size, such as myself, will have no major issues. I like the subdued knurling as well. It provides a sturdy grip, but doesn’t tear up your hands like YMCA dumbbells.
For doing dead lifts, squats, and pull ups, this rack is great for the money, but eventually, you might want to use it for more exercises, and that will cost you. If you want a decent bench to go with the rack, that is going to be in the ballpark of 200 dollars. You might also be looking at extra J hooks and plate racks which can add up as well. If you like bars with grips at different angles, there is no where to store them on the rack. So they will most likely sit in your house off to the side, which can be annoying. If you are a serious lifter it might work out better for you to look at a higher end model, since you might end up spending that much on accessories. On that note, the accessories Atlas does make could be better quality.
I purchased a separate set of HD J hooks that work better than the circular guards or the J hooks that come with the cage. I have also seen more than one Atlas power cage review that complained of chipping paint and chrome, though the problem seems to be getting better. One last complaint is that if you like to do preacher curls, there is really no way to do them with this rack, even with accessories.
Other cages to consider would be the Titan. For a little more you can get a rack with a place to store your plates, and more open space due to the lack of a floor bar at the rear of the cage. Check it out on Amazon.com!
On the other end spectrum you have the TDS equivalent which matches the price but is a little more restrictive of your movement…
I definitely like my Atlas PR1001, especially because of the price. I do cardio based weight lifting in addition to other workouts, and I am not seeking to make records in weight. I suggest that anyone setting up a home gym and is waiting for it to be simple should honestly consider this product. Someone more ambitious might consider a more expensive model.
Hey! My name is Paul Sheldon. I live in Nashville, TN and I love all things related to sports. Naturally I love workking out and I do it every day. If you want to talk feel freee to hit me a message or if you happen to be in Nashville we can get a coffee, I know a great place. Peace!