A squat rack is normally made from steel. This means it has ruggedness and impressive durability. However, is a squat rack made to be used outdoors?
A squat rack has many reasons to be outdoors from a lack of indoor space to the benefit of exercising in the fresh air.
You can use a squat rack outside when it has galvanized steel finishing. To avoid rust on the most worn parts such as on J-hooks it’s best to cover the rack when not in use.
Why leave a squat rack outside?
There is a myriad of reasons why a squat rack might be used outdoors. Here are a few to consider even yourself.
Workout in fresh air
Squatting outdoors is certainly better than squatting indoors. You get to exercise outdoors in the fresh air and avoid air conditioning and dusty indoor home gym air in your garage.
Sports is actually ideal as a whole outdoors. It’s just that fitness machines have conditioned us to train indoors.
More room to exercise
A squat rack outdoors certainly has more space for certain exercises. Barbell lunges are certainly benefiting from the extra workout space you get outdoors.
Save space inside the house
A valid reason to move the squat rack outside is space. Some rooms aren’t tall enough to support a squat rack. Others aren’t long or wide enough to offer a safe space to exercise.
Furthermore, you often need even more space around the squat rack for an Olympic barbell which means not many can fit a completely equipped rack indoors.
Use pretty bumper plates
Bumper plates are fun to use. You can consider them for almost any outdoor surface such as your driveway. It’s best to install the squat rack on a solid surface such as a cemented flat driveway.
How to safely keep a squat rack from rusting and wearing faster outside?
You can leave a squat rack outside for space benefits and for training in the fresh air. A squat rack will not rust if finished with galvanized steel in areas it doesn’t come in contact with your hands, a barbell, or weight plates.
Apply an extra coat of enamel paint on a galvanized squat rack
One of the first steps to consider with an old squat rack is to apply a fresh coat of paint before moving it outdoors. A new squat rack might not need a fresh coat of paint if it’s galvanized (dipped in paint) at first.
You might need to paint your squat rack every few months if you live in areas with high salt content in the air (near the coast) or if you live in areas with constant freezing temperatures in the winter (northern states such as Michigan, New York, or Montana).
Use spider-deterring traps/chemicals
Spiders love squat racks, especially outdoors. They tend to nest in the hollow squat rack where they might be difficult to remove.
There are multiple ways of deterring spiders such as using pots of lavender around the squat rack. But that’s not exactly safe. It’s best to spray the inner tubes of the squat rack with a bug deterrent from time to time to avoid spiders and bugs nesting inside.
It’s also worth drilling holes in the base of the squat rack as rainwater tends to get inside through the height adjustment holes of the power rack.
Why rust isn’t a (big) problem
Rust is arguably the biggest issue an outdoor squat rack can face. However, this isn’t as big of a problem as many think it is.
First, a squat rack that shows signs of rust isn’t going to become unusable in just a few days. Secondly, you might as well never get in contact with the rusted parts of the squat rack as you’ll be using a barbell that’s ideally stored indoors.
Cover the squat rack when not in use
Rust is also not a problem when you’re covering up the squat rack after every use. While this isn’t the most ideal solution, it certainly removes all chances of rain falling directly on the rack when not in use.
Store barbells and workout benches indoors
All squat rack accessories such as barbells, bumper plates, elastic bands, and even dumbbells should be stored inside. These represent fitness gear your hands are in direct contact with and it’s best to store them in a place without direct sunlight, rain, and extreme temperatures for them to last a long time.
What to do if you don’t want to store your squat rack outdoors?
If you’re still unconvinced to get squatting outdoors it might be a good idea to consider alternatives.
Consider a hybrid solution – a squat stand
A squat stand might be the happy middle-ground for outdoor squatting and indoor rack storage. These stands are lightweight and can be easily moved around the house and outdoors.
You can consider these if you don’t plan on doing pull-ups or if you don’t plan on doing dips and other exercises a full squat rack supports.
Get creative with a durable scaffold
If none of these solutions prove a worthy option for your situation you might consider something a bit more heavy-duty that’s made to withstand the most demanding weather conditions, a scaffolding.
Using scaffolding as a squat rack is certainly the solution to go for in the long term. Scaffolding is going to last a long time. While it might not be as easy to adjust by height, scaffolding can still be adjusted once for your height to get you moving.
A squat rack can be used outdoors for a long time if covered when not in use to prevent direct UV and rain exposure. Alternatively, you can consider training by repurposing construction scaffolding into a very durable squat rack.