What is a power rack, you ask?  Well…it’s used for weight lifting and features different levels to rest a barbell on as well as a safety bar so you don’t squash your throat or knees.

Take a peak:

So on the left, you see a power rack with a nice bench in it.  Unfortunately, with all of the bells and whistles, this thing came out to be over $1200 – ON SALE.  This was at York Barbell, about 2 miles from my house.

I wanted one!!  This is my current weight lifting apparatus, at home:

Let me first explain that I like my bowflex, but there are some limitations for those of you looking at one of these:

  1. While you can technically do lots of exercises, the Bowflex is SERIOUSLY deficient in leg exercises.  It says you  can do squats with this.  Yeah.  I don’t think so.
  2. I have maxed out the bench on this.  There is an ability to add more weight with expander tubes, but my issue is that while the bench press weight I can do without much difficulty, getting the weight to the position to push up can put a serious strain on your shoulder.  With lower weights, this isn’t terribly noticeable.

It did its job over 2 years.  It also has a nice pull down capability, which I like until I can trick out my power rack with pulleys.

Why am I building one?  Well, the wife unit scoffed at the price tag.  So I went to the internet and stumbled across a DIY project for making your own power rack out of 4x4s.

Here is the link to that – it’s 20 minutes, step by step, and they give you all of the items you need in the description.

The promise is, to build the power rack for under $200.  This is a legit claim, as the materials for it were close to that.  My issue was I didn’t have a few of the tools I needed.  One of the big items I needed was a 1.25″ spade bit for my drill to drill the holes.  This is what it looks like….


Here’s the problem.  I got a shitty one.  Don’t be like me.  Do you see the threaded part?  You do?  Don’t get that one.  Ever.  On the web site I believe they used this bit.  If you do use it, drill pilot holes with a 1/4″ bit.  So it took me about 4 hours to drill 5 holes until I did that.  The drill was so hot in my hands, I thought it would melt.  It would get stuck ALL THE TIME.  Then had to reverse, then forward.  Hundreds of times.  Had to hang it up for the night.  When I came back in the morning, I was determined – I had 52 holes to drill.


So get this…I looked up spade bits, and it turns out, everyone else on the planet has a pointy end, and mine was threaded.  This explained why it was biting into the wood too much and stalling it.  And in turn, making my wrists jerk terribly.

A thought occurred to me – maybe I just get rid off what the point can bite into?  So I drilled a ton of pilot holes with a much smaller spade bit.

And BAM…

Started to go right through the wood with the 1.25″ spade bit like hot butter.


If you look closely, you see piping and chair flanges.

The flanges are where you rest the bar.  The piping goes through the holes as a safety bar.  Generally, I won’t lift extremely heavy weights with the bench, ESPECIALLY without a spotter.  However, I have interest in increasing my bench and wanted to get away from the bowflex bench before I tore my shoulder.


Phase 1 complete.  Today is phase 2, where I put the goddamn thing together.  There are lots of supports which give it strength, so this thing can hold a LOT of weight.

Phase 2 is building.  Phase 3 is painting flat black and putting on the numbers in stencil.  Take a look at the web page they created for this…


Update: Phase 2 complete.  Check out the pictures!