Build Your Own Powerlifting Home Gym

Back in 2020, COVID-19 had a massive effect on the fitness industry. It was unlike anything we had seen. Powerlifters and those alike went from training multiple days a week to having no place to train. As a response, many turned to building their own powerlifting home gym.

Dumbbell back workouts

Gyms have opened their doors to the public, as our lives have returned to some level of normalcy. However, this moment in our lifetime was a catalyst for many people to create their own home gym setup. Many brands started creating their fitness equipment for garage gyms, including Iron Bull Strength. There was a high demand for all types of fitness equipment, and there still is a demand for these products.

Through the integration of different strength equipment such as power racks and squat racks, more and more people are choosing to create their own lifting space separate from the commercial gym setup. I also have my very own home gym setup, and I absolutely enjoy the convenience it has provided me.

Do you have extra space in your home? Want to use that space to continue your pursuit of all your fitness goals? Let’s talk about what powerlifting equipment you’ll need to effectively perform workouts from your home gym or garage gym.

Can You Train Powerlifting at Home?

It is very possible to power lift from home. You might be wondering how it's even possible to perform a powerlifting workout at home and not at a commercial gym. Thankfully there are many options of strength equipment to choose from, especially with Iron Bull Strength.

You don't need an entire open basement or garage to lift, either. Based on your strength goals and programming, you can pick and choose from all types of fitness equipment that would meet your needs for training. Below, we will highlight the type of equipment needed for setting up your powerlifting home gym, from beginners to experts!

Setting up Your Powerlifting Home Gym

To set up your powerlifting home gym, you need to have the appropriate pieces of equipment to begin. The following pieces of powerlifting equipment should be considered when designing your powerlifting home gym setup. These are what makes a gym a powerlifting gym:

  • Power Rack
  • Squat Rack
  • Combo Rack
  • Half Rack
  • Bench
  • Barbell and Weight Plates
  • Lifting Platform
  • Powerlifting Belt
  • Lifting Straps
  • Wrist Wraps

Power Rack

A power rack, also known as a squat rack or power cage, is a piece of strength training equipment designed to provide a safe and versatile experience for weightlifters. Most power racks are built of a sturdy metal frame with vertical posts, horizontal safety bars or straps, and adjustable J-hooks that will allow you to perform multiple movements such as the squat, bench, and more. The power rack is a great idea for designing your powerlifting home gym as it provides a safer opportunity for lifters to perform different exercises, especially when the bar gets heavier.

A power rack is a great introduction to training in your powerlifting home gym as it provides safety features for anyone new to lifting, or who wants to lift heavy.

Power Rack For Home Gym

Squat Rack

A squat rack, also termed a “squat stand”, is a specific type of power rack that is built predominantly for squatting. Many powerlifters use a squat rack as it is a fundamental piece of equipment, especially in a powerlifting meet.

Just like a power rack, the squat stand typically consists of a metal frame with adjustable vertical posts where the lifter can position a barbell at an appropriate height for squatting. Some squat racks may also include safety features such as horizontal bars to ensure the lifter's safety by providing a means to catch the barbell from either fatigue or an accident.

When designing your powerlifting home gym, make sure to consider a squat stand. Squat stands are easier to install and easier to store, especially if you plan to perform training in your powerlifting in your home gym and not a commercial gym.

Combo Rack

A combo rack is a piece of fitness equipment that is a bench with a squat rack across the back. This is ideal for those with smaller spaces. But it is also common in powerlifting gyms and can get rather expensive. If you are setting up your powerlifting home gym, you might want to consider this type of rack to perform both the bench and squat with limited space.

Half Rack

A half rack is just like a power rack, except half the size. To imagine a half rack, think of a power rack that is cut in half. The half rack still provides plenty of support, but instead of performing the squat inside of the half rack, you’ll perform it on the outside. A lot of people prefer this as it allows you to have more space when training in your powerlifting home gym.

When setting up your powerlifting home gym, consider a half rack as an option to allow you to perform more programming as you have more space to do the movement. This type of setup will allow you to hit more fitness goals without having to get a gym membership.


A weight bench is a pivotal piece of fitness equipment when building your own powerlifting home gym. However, although you see bench press racks inside a powerlifting gym, that doesn't mean you have to own one yourself. If you have a rack that can bench press from, all you need is a bench to support this movement. Many squat racks and power racks are designed to incorporate the bench press exercise.

We highly recommend getting a bench that you can adjust into a decline, flat, and incline setting. A flat bench is a priority, but you might want to spend the extra money on something that will allow you to target your chest from all three angles.

Another consideration for the bench press is its dimensions. Since your goal is to bench press as much as possible, a wide base is a must. Many people think about the width of their bench press and consider purchasing the Thompson Fat Pad. The Thompson Fat Pad supports your shoulders with its expanded size, allowing for better positioning by filling the arch between the floor and your spine so you can safely handle more weight.

And finally, another consideration when purchasing a bench press is the weight limit. If you’re pushing 400 pounds and the weight limit is 500 pounds, you’re asking for trouble. Find a bench that is specially designed for powerlifters like you.

Barbell and Weight Plates

Most powerlifters want to invest in a power bar you can use to perform the squat, bench, and deadlift. This type of bar is rigid and allows you to keep tension in the bar to perform the squat, bench, and deadlift.

There are specialty bars that exist, such as a squat bar, deadlift bar, and safety squat bar. Powerlifters aren't participating in Olympic weightlifting, so an Olympic bar might not be as realistic. Most powerlifters are either using a power bar or specialty bars they would see with Westside Barbell, like a camber bar or safety squat bar.

But based on your needs and programming, you might want to simply invest in a power bar that is traditionally used to perform any of the big three movements.

When buying weight plates, keep in mind your flooring. If you are building a powerlifting home gym inside of a garage or basement, do your research. Solid iron plates are probably acceptable in this case. But if you have delicate flooring, go with the rubber-coated plates instead.

Lifting Platform

A deadlifting platform is an area where you can perform deadlifts safely without ruining your gym floor. The gym floor isn't supposed to withstand the heavy embrace of a strong deadlift. Let's face it, when you’re attempting a new personal best, there is no such thing as gently placing the barbell back down. With that in mind, you’ll want to save your floor and weight plates from taking a beating during deadlifting workouts and invest in a lifting platform.

If you have the cash flow and the space, we highly recommend a professional deadlift lifting platform. These things will make a world of difference. But a close second option would be to purchase heavy-duty floor mats.

If you purchase floor mats, you should consider using an iron wedge for loading and unloading. The iron wedge makes the process a lot easier and reduces your risk of weight slipping.

Powerlifting Belt

A powerlifting belt is a critical piece of gym equipment as it helps keep your spine and brace rigid for maximum effort. If you want to get serious about moving more weight, a powerlifting belt isn’t a suggestion, it’s a requirement.

A powerlifting belt is a necessity for the squat and deadlift. The belt provides a stable area for the abdominal muscles to push on to ensure stability during the exercise. Imagine you're wearing a belt and take a deep breath through your stomach. The amount of pressure in your abdomen pushes against the belt and keeps your spine erect for optimal and safe performance.

Before you get your next powerlifting belt, do your research and purchase the right kind of belt that will support your performance.

Wrist Wraps and Lifting Straps

Wrist wraps and lifting straps are helpful pieces of equipment to improve both grip and wrist strength. Long-time lifters know too well how powerlifting can take a toll on the wrists. Whether your wrists have taken a beating or you just want to avoid any future issues, wrist wraps and lifting straps can help as top choices of gym equipment for performance.

Wrist wraps help as they stabilize the wrist and protect it from awkward angles during training. Lifting straps help lifters improve their grip when the load of the bar might outmatch the grip of the lifter.

Designing Your Powerlifting Home Gym

To design your powerlifting home gym, you need to have the following essential pieces of strength equipment:

  • Rack
  • Bench
  • Barbell
  • Weight Plates
  • Powerlifting Belt

Having these essential items is crucial for being able to train as a powerlifter at home. As the owner of my own home gym, I have each of these items and understand how crucial it is to own this combination. Without having a rack, bench, barbell, plates, or powerlifting belt, it would be hard to perform any kind of powerlifting programming desired.

The biggest decision of these five items would be the rack. Based on space and functionality, you might want to consider a space-saving rack that could meet your needs while also fitting your workout space. You also want to purchase a rack that has the capability of performing the bench press, provided you purchase a separate bench as well.

Training in Your Powerlifting Home Gym

When training in your powerlifting home gym, you want to make sure you consider your equipment, space, and safety. In order to execute an effective powerlifting workout, these concepts must be merged in order to perform your training correctly.


As stated throughout this article, there are many key pieces of equipment necessary to create your own powerlifting home gym. This includes a rack, bench, barbell, and weight plates. Without these, your powerlifting training would be lackluster at best.


Adequate space is essential for performing powerlifting movements with proper form and safety. Arrange your equipment in a way that allows for a clear and spacious lifting area, especially for exercises like squats and deadlifts. It is important to ensure there's enough room to move around comfortably and consider factors like ceiling height for overhead movements.


Prioritizing safety is paramount in a powerlifting home gym setting. Set up your equipment on a stable surface, improving your ability to maintain stability during performance. Using safety bars is crucial for those who especially train alone. Through all of this, make sure to regularly inspect and maintain your equipment to ensure it is in proper working condition, and replace any damaged or worn-out components promptly.



The rise of home gyms, spurred by the disruptions of COVID-19, has reshaped the fitness industry, especially those who are powerlifters. The trend of constructing personal spaces reflects a lasting shift in our current culture of strength. Essential equipment, from power racks to specialized bars, has become integral to home setups, emphasizing the enduring appeal of personalized training gyms. Whether out of necessity or preference, the journey of building and training in a powerlifting home gym reflects a commitment to all types of athletes, from beginners to experts!