Squats are one of the most effective exercises for training glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and other lower body muscles. Using an incline rack makes squatting safer, especially when lifting heavier weights, because it removes the need to lift the heavy weight off the floor. With a rack, you can stand under the barbell and position the weight on your shoulders while it is still on the rack, reducing the risk of injury involved with lifting the weight on and off your shoulders.
What is an Incline Squat Rack?
An incline squat rack is very similar to a regular squat rack. It is an apparatus that holds up two vertical posts that have pegs at varying heights. The pegs are used to hold barbells. The only difference with the incline rack is that the two posts are slightly angled so that they are further away from you at the top. Many racks also have extra pegs on the side to store your unused weight plates. This again eliminates the need to lift heavy weights off the ground.
Loading and Adjusting the Rack
Place the barbell on the rack pegs so that it is at chest level. Place an equal amount of weight plates on both ends of the bar. Begin with the heaviest plates and continue with the lighter plates. Secure the plates with bar clips, making sure that the plates are tightly secured and will not move around on the bar. Beginners should start by squatting with the bar alone and then add plates in small increments once they progress in strength.
Squatting Using a Rack
Stand close to the barbell. Bend your knees slightly and position yourself so that the middle of the barbell is resting on the back of your shoulders. Grasp the bar with both your hands, slightly wider than shoulder-width and with wrists facing forward. Stand up to lift the barbell of the rack pegs. Take a step back, away from the rack. Perform your set of squats and then step forward and place the barbell back on the rack.
Squats can cause knee and, or lower back pain or injury if performed incorrectly. Take caution if you have pre-existing injuries or pains. Descend to the point where your thighs are parallel to the floor. Avoid moving your knees beyond your toes to minimize risk of knee strain. Be cautious of your fatigue level and stop exercising when you are no longer able to perform a squat with proper form. Stop exercising immediately if you feel sharp or sudden pain.
Andrea Chrysanthou began writing professionally in 1993. Her work has been published internationally by "The Cyprus Mail," MochaSofa and My Favorite Trainer, among other magazines and websites. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts in journalism from Ryerson University. Chrysanthou is a certified fitness instructor and personal-training specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the fitness industry.