Aside from the safety aspect, performing a bench press in power cage is often better than many dedicated bench presses. The barbell rests on supports called j-hooks. Just like the spotter bars, they can be moved into the perfect position for where you would like to start and stop your bench press. In some gyms, the bench press might only have 3 or 4 positions available. This system also allows you to perform the bench press variations like incline press and decline press.
The spotter bars are also handy in that they let you know if you are performing the exercise with correct form.
Performing squats in a power rack has the same benefits mentioned with bench press above. The structure of the cage plays a more important role in this exercise. Having the peace of mind that your movement is restricted forward, backward and downward will allow you to better focus on your technique and engaging the correct muscles in the right sequence.
The Warrior Strength Cage/Rig Combo of course has a chin up bar, so chin ups can be considered a standard power rack exercise. Chin ups work your pulling muscles – lats, back and biceps – so the parts of your upper body that aren’t hit with bench press.
Many cages now have multi grip chin up bars – meaning you can grip at different angles and widths. As a market leader, the Warrior Strength cage has incorporated different grip thickness as well as bomb grips.
Dip handles are almost like chin up bars these days - they are included standard like on the Warrior Strength Power Cage, they normally can be purchased separately. If you can’t get dip handles for your power rack, you can get gymnastic rings and suspend them from your power rack – proving yet again why they are so great. Power racks are great for improvising.
The dip has often been described as the upper body squat, as it recruits so many muscles in the upper body. If you can’t perform this exercise properly at your current bodyweight, you can use resistance bands for assistance.
While we have the dip handles out, why not try inverted rows. Instead of pushing yourself up with dips, slide underneath your dip handles and pull yourself up. Building your strength on this exercise will help you perform chin ups.
If you don’t have dip handles, you can put your barbell on the j-hooks and row off that. Even if you do have dip handles, using the barbell is a great variation. The dip handles will typically give you a neutral or angled grip. The barbell will give you a horizontal grip.
The shoulder press is the main exercise to work on if you want build yourself some cannonballs of muscle on your shoulders. Even though this exercise is specifically targeting the shoulders, your arms and in particular triceps will feel the burn too.
Sometimes you might be restricted by your bench in getting in the correct position. The rear leg of some benches can hit the rear cross section of the power rack. This can often be solved by switching to the front uprights.
Hanging ab raises
Your chin up bar is not just for chin ups, it is also great for ab work. You can hang from the bar and perform leg raises. If you don’t have the strength to hang for extended periods, you can get ab slings that you can suspend yourself from.
If I expanded on all the barbell exercises and their variations that can be done with the aid of a power rack, this guide would end up longer than the entire encyclopedia series! Some of the exercises I mention here can technically be done without the aid of a power rack, but are a lot easier to do thanks to a power rack.