Powertec Workbench Power Rack
The words “power rack” will be familiar to any of our readers who engage in regular lifting, but here is a brief primer in case the idea of a power rack is new to you. If you do not need a refresher, you can skip ahead to our review of the Powertec Workbench power rack.
A rack, also called a cage, is a steel frame with rigid support for holding loaded barbells in place. Lifters can approach the rack, set their working weight, and position themselves to perform a lift before removing the bar. Without a rack, barbell squats would effectively be impossible. This is why the terms “rack” and “squat rack” are effectively interchangeable.
All power racks are squat racks. Anything you can do with a squat rack, you can do with a power rack. The difference is that power racks are engineered to let you do your heaviest lifts without a human spotter. Power racks can be fitted with emergency stop ramps to catch a dropped barbell, no matter how heavy.
Now that you know the lingo, let’s break down all the pros, cons, and features of the Powertec Workbench power rack. It is Powertec’s premium product in the P-PR line of racks.
Wider pull up bar than its earlier models had
Improved proprietary J-hook design
Base purchase includes a bench mounting kit to lock a bench in place
Gravity lock bar safeties are easy to adjust
Budget friendly alternative to other brands
Metal framing is durable; weight capacity of 1000 pounds
Curved pull up bar takes some getting used to
Can’t do overhead presses inside the rack (height is too short)
The rack frame comes in either black or yellow. We counted 19 optional attachments on the product page, enough to give even Rogue Fitness a run for its money. Attachments range from safety spotter arms to to a lat tower that costs nearly as much as the base rack itself. We’ll cover some of the attachments under the Upgrades and Extras section below.
When you purchase the Workbench new, Powertec includes the rack, a multi-grip pull up bar, 2 handles for chest dips, 2 J-hooks, and safety catches for your Olympic bars. This is more than some other manufacturers will give you in a comparable price bracket. Powertec calls their bar catches Gravity Locks. They can stop up to 1,000 pounds, matching the overall capacity of the power rack.
Nobody buys a full power rack expecting something portable or with a small footprint, but the Workbench can sit comfortably in most garages or basements. It is about 51 by 51 by 84 inches (length/width/height). Attaching the dip bars extends the width to 66 inches.
The Workbench does not offer isolateral function. Isolateral function is the built-in ability to work one side of the body at a time. This won’t be a hindrance to you, unless you are recovering from an injury that affects one side of your body. Sport specific conditioning, too, can use isolateral exercises. If you aren’t a professional athlete, you can still explore working one side of your body with dumbbells or by trying one armed push-ups.
What People Are Saying
To get our soft data, we went to Amazon, several commercial fitness websites, and one site dedicated to reviews of fitness equipment and consumer advocacy. To further complicate matters, the name “Workbench” applies to several other Powertec offerings including a multigym.
The Workbench is an upgrade to what was once called the P-PR power rack. When we were unable to find a product called P-PR, we called Powertec and they told us that P-PR is the name of the product line, not the name of a rack. But we did verify that there was once a downgraded Workbench that went by the name P-PR. This causes quite a bit of confusion, with secondary retailers selling a number of Powertec racks and calling them all P-PR.
If this level of detail isn’t enough for you, we’ll add that the Workbench Power Rack is also called the WB-PR (workbench power rack). This is the part number and SKU, and the most efficient way to ensure you are getting the correct product when you do a Google search.
Despite the mystery, we were able to find the following trends by looking at aggregate reviews from customers and professional fitness writers.
Users praised the rack’s durability, rigidity, and ability to upgrade from the Powertec catalog. Mounting a bench permanently inside a rack is a good option to have, one not offered by all competing makers. Reviewers appreciate Powertec making this possible. The frame will not rust, corrode, lose its color, or warp over time although some hard use nicks and marks are to be expected.
Reviewers also concede that the Workbench is one of the best monetary values out of a sea of budget-friendly and premium power racks. For the amount of money you spend, you get access to an exemplary array of attachments and rock-solid performance right out of the package. Home gym users will appreciate being able to slide the rack from one place to another on a concrete floor. Though heavy and stable, the rack responds to a firm full body push.
Consistent gripes included the unusual curved pull-up bar and the fact that most of us won’t be able to do standing presses from inside the cage. Powertec customer service is top-notch, and we reached a human operator right away when we called for our research.
Upgrades and Extras
Powertec offers an Olympic plate set that weighs in at 255 pounds. Adding a barbell will cost extra and will get you to 300 pounds, including bar weight. You can also buy the bar alone, and it does come with collars so you can start using it right away. If you’re into variety, you can add resistance with a 190-pound weight stack that turns the rack into a multigym unit while increasing safety during solo lifts. We can’t tell if it’s possible for one person to use the weight stack while a partner lifts a barbell, but it seems doable based on photos.
Rogue offers a robust adjustable bench that can be placed between the cage walls, either on its own or with a mounting kit that makes the bench part of the rack. A rigid, fixed position bench will help with keeping form perfect, especially during heavy lifts.
The most expensive attachment is the lat tower. You can use it for both lat pulldowns with pulleys, and lifting weight or bumper plates that mount on the roomy side pegs. Leg presses and leg lifts are also available, with moving units that attach to the rack frames. There isn’t a dip bar, but there is a dip machine which uses leverage to make plate loaded dips possible.
Finally, Powertec offers a variety of peg options for weight plate and resistance band storage. A power rack is typically the centerpiece of any gym, thanks to its size and versatility; Powertec’s options let you store nearly all your lifting essentials on or around the rack to bring you less downtime between sets.
Comfort and Ease of Use
The rack is about as easy to use as any other rack. If you aren’t used to things like J-hooks and safety stoppers, you will pick it up quickly and be pushing heavyweight in no time, with confidence.