Article, video and pics by msb206.
This is the homemade 4x4 power rack I made for less than $80.
Supplies List and lengths cut:
4- 4x4x6: No cuts
2- 2x4x8: 1 cut in half for the bottom supports, 1 cut for 2 pieces 47"
1- 2x4x12: cut for 2x4x50" top front, and 2 2x4x35" for left and right side
4- T-brackets: mounted from the bottom into the 4x4's
2- 6in 3/4in black iron pipe
4- 3/4in black iron pipe end caps
2- 3ft 3/4in black iron pipe
Screws were 2 1/2in to go from t-brackets to wood and 3in from 2x4 to 4x4. The screws don't actually hold weight so I feel it is safe for now.
The holes in the 4x4's were drilled with a 1 1/8in spade bit. The pipe is actually 1in thick (outside dimension the 3/4in is the inside). Holes started at 18 inches from the floor and continued every 3in on center.
My wife suggested using the EZ bar for a pull up bar. It just happened to be exactly the size I needed.
I have tested the strength of the pipe and it can easily hold 420lbs plus my 250lbs. The t-brackets really help make it stable. If you were standing in the rack facing like for squats, there are two 2x4's one at the bottom and 2ft up and one at the top. Also all corners are "woven" to help lock everything out. Support from front to back is from the t-braces and an extension of the footer. All exercises that can be done in a normal power rack can be done here.
In regards to the strength of the wood structure, I feel confident that if I can build a gazebo with 4x4's for support and it can hold the weight of the roof's shingles (90lbs a pack for 20sq ft) it will be able to hold anything I can lift.
I get questions all of the time on how much weight wooden power racks can handle. Check out this post:
"This rack is truly amazing. For anyone who has worked with wood platforms or any of this type of large wood (4x4s, 6x6s, etc.) the load bearing strength is ridiculous. We have jacked up a floor from the basement of a two story house with a bottle jack and a 6x6. The house had sagged pretty badly and we lifted it multiple inches right in the center, so much that drywall cracked and old doors were out of line. I can't imagine the type of weight that we put on that 6x6 before we put up the supports."
6ft is just tall enough for me to walk into without hitting my head. I'm 5'11". My bar is 48" between the collars and the plates are at least another 2-3" outside of them. I made the spacing between the uprights 47". So the collars fit just outside the frame. The 45lbs plates don't even come close, about 3" for each side. If I were to shift left or right then I guess they would come into play, but when squatting I try keeping it as straight up and down as possible.
I did not want to pay that much for a lat pull down, so I just added one to the power rack. I bought some heavy duty pulleys (2 of them) from Lowes rated at 420lbs and some 3/8" cable rated above 800lbs and some clasps and bolting. Rigged it up and now I have a detachable cable pull down machine on my power rack.
I don't feel it needs to be anchored to the floor. It doesn't shift or slide like you might think. If there was one thing that I might have done to help even more with that would have been to cut a piece of 3/4" plywood to match the shape of the base. That way by me standing on it would further hold it from sliding while re-racking. But I have never had problems with it.
I used a spade bit and a hand held drill to cut the holes, but if I had a drill press it would have made it much easier.
If you were planning on making one you can brace it as much as you want, but the braces I have are working just fine. I went with t straps because they seem to resist lateral movement better than a bent L bracket. With some higher weights I was afraid that the L brackets could bend and change their angle thus decreasing their effectiveness.
For the lat pull down, next time I would buy the non-coated steel cable. I think it would make things smoother while lifting.
Other bodybuilders have built power racks with treated 4 x 4's, and after the wood started to dry out, the 4x4 uprights started to twist pretty badly. One of the 4x4s twisted about 30 deg in 5 feet. They ended up cutting it down and making a dip stand out of it. I think Home Depot now has 4x4's that are not treated, so they would be dry and pretty straight from the start.
Buy untreated wood for any homemade piece of lifting equipment and use lag bolts instead of wood screws.
Read COMMENTS or jump down to leave one.
Barry C. Please leave any questions or comments below - thanks!
ectomite ya really like the rack did a good job on it thanks for sharing it with us cant beat it think im going to build one with this exact design soon had a question though you say you drilled the holes 18 inches from the floor did you put the 2x4 leg under the 4x4 post for that measurement or did you just stand the post up on just the bare floor and make the measurement also you do drill the holes before you put everything together right?
Barry C. Measure from the bottom of the 4x4 up 18" for the first hole. Drill all of the holes in one 4x4, then use that 4x4 as a template to layout the holes on the other 4x4's. Drill the holes before the rack is together. A drill press is the best option for drilling the holes, otherwise try to get the holes straight as possible with a hand drill.
ectomite alright thanks for the response think i got it now also thats a good ideal about using the first one as a template did not think of that it will save me alot of time doing it that way really looking forward to this project again great job on the rack and thanks for your help
Guest whats holding the plates on the bottom of the lat pulldown?
Barry C. It's a homemade plate holder like the one at the bottom of this page
John What about putting bar holders on the front for shoulder presses, and weight racks on the sides? Anyone try that? Looking to build a rack like this soon-great ideas on this site!
Guest This plan is great, but I would definitely recommend using a drill with a cord. My cordless 7.2V drill only had enough in it to drill one hole before I had to recharge it.
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