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How to Choose the Right Hydra Rack for Your Gym

How to choose the right hydra rack - collegiate rack configuration with person bench pressing

Ah, to live in a world of limitless options. It's all fun and games until the decision fatigue sets in. After comparing all the power rack brands and options, investing in a Hydra Power Rack is a smart decision. However, with nine preset designs, 15 attachments, and endless custom configuration options, there are still plenty of choices to make between now and your first set. In this article, we dive into how to choose the right Hydra Rack for your home gym — from height to style to width. Let's get into it!

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of choosing the right Hydra Rack for your space, let's touch on why it matters. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to building a home gym. Sizing, location, and training style are just a few factors that impact your needs. It's also worth mentioning that the more functional and enjoyable your home gym is, the more you'll want to use it. Choosing the right rack — arguably the foundation of your home gym — will help keep you moving toward your health and fitness goals.

There are a few key considerations to keep in mind before buying your Hydra. Let's map out the most important things to outline before choosing a rack. First, determine where your Hydra rack is going. Go beyond designating an area to be a home gym and take detailed measurements. While the Hydra racks are modular and can be scaled to your needs (even after you buy one), it's better to get it right the first time and avoid disassembling, reassembling, and having an existential crisis.

While you may dream of a fully-loaded Hydra Six Post monster of a power rack, it may not be feasible with your budget. The Hydra Series offers an amazing balance of value and price compared to the competitors who use true 3″ x 3″ steel tubing with 5/8″ holes. Yet, the more metal, the more moola.

Consider your overall budget, leaving room for shipping and the dreaded tax man, knowing that the space-efficient Hydra Collegiate Rack or Hydra Half Rack are still great options.

Consider your training methodology and what accessories and rack style best suit your needs and capabilities. If you like a simple "pick things up and put them down" approach to lifting, a Hydra Four Post with a few J-cups and safeties may be sufficient. If you like mixing things up with calisthenics and functional fitness, making space for movement and extra attachments is a must. It's also wise to think ahead when choosing a rack. We're not asking you to predict the future or share a detailed five-year plan, but consider where this fitness journey might take you. Maybe you dream of competing in powerlifting someday.

Perhaps you plan on adding more great attachments as we release them. The Hydra Squat Stand may be sufficient now, but will it still serve you in a few years? Just something to think about! Choosing the right rack height can be tough and ultimately impacts the functionality of your home gym — especially if you're setting up your personal lifting paradise in the basement. The Hydra Power Racks come in 72″, 84″, 90″ & 108" heights.

The first thing to consider is your ceiling height. The ceiling will be a pretty hard limit unless you're planning on doing some ill-advised renovations to make an indoor skylight (we don't recommend this). One of the most overlooked considerations is who is using the rack and what exercises they'll be performing. If you're a tall, lanky person (or 5'2" with a six-foot wingspan like yours truly), you need some room for those go-go Gadget arms to go-go, so you don't have to bend your knees during pull ups.

Similarly, you'll need room for your upper body if you're doing muscle ups or kips. Ceiling height codes and requirements vary from place to place, but the standard minimum is 8 feet (96"). Choosing an 84" Hydra Rack will allow a foot of space for pull-ups while providing enough clearance for taller lifters to walk under the bar.

If you need to add a kip to your pull-ups, consider the 72" instead. Muscle-ups likely won't be possible with eight-foot ceilings. While 8 feet is the minimum now, it wasn't always — and we all know the horror stories of contractors and DIYers flying fast and loose with the rules.

If you live in an older home or have drop ceilings in the basement, your ceiling height may only be 7-7.5 feet (84-90"). In this situation, the 72" Hydra uprights are your only option. Unless you have a really big head (it happens), this height should give you enough clearance to do strict pull ups. We advise against muscle ups and kipping to save that noggin of yours.

Many newer homes boast 9-foot ceilings or higher for that super classy open-concept look. If you're lucky enough to have this space, the sky is (literally) the limit. Get that 90″ or 108" rack, do your muscle ups, and live your best life in those wide-open spaces. The best way to measure your ceiling for your power rack is to estimate based on your assumptions use a measuring tape. Measure from the floor to the ceiling or joist (safely) using a chair or ladder if needed.

The depth of your crossbeams determines how much space you have between the front and the back of the rack. This impacts whether you can train inside or outside of the uprights. The right depth depends on your space and preferences. The Hydra Rack depths range from 17" to 87", with most racks available in 17", 24", 30", or 43" (depending on the style). If your lifting room is also your living room or space is really limited, opt for a 17" depth or folding rack.

You won't be able to do much inside the uprights, but it will give you what you need to squat, press, and chase those PRs. Most home gym heroes use a 24" or 30" rack depth. This gives enough space to squat over safety straps without taking up too much room.

The 43" depth is roomy and practical for team workouts, as you have plenty of room to use the front and rear uprights simultaneously. Or, you can go for the Hydra 6 Post and add even more room (up to 87") for plate storage and shenanigans.

First, measure the space you have available. Then, use painter's tape or masking tape to create two parallel lines on the floor in the length you're considering. Stand in between and practice some of your favorite exercises to see if the space suits you (use a broomstick if you don't have a barbell yet!) Remember to allow for buffer space, even if you're getting a medium to large rack.

You'll need space to use attachments and move around. All of the preset Hydra Power Rack designs are 47 " or 49" wide, depending on the pull up bar you choose — that's where the modularity comes in. You can also get However, you still need to confirm that you have enough space for attachments and your barbell.

Ideally, you'll have a minimum of 9 feet to accommodate your rack and gear. Working within 9 feet of space will be a tight fit, but not impossible. You'll have to stand to the side to load your barbell, allowing for 1 foot of space on either side (assuming a 7-foot Olympic barbell). You'll definitely want Mighty Grip Olympic Weight Plates for easier loading in this scenario. Ideally, you'll have 10-11 feet to work within. This width will give you room to stand at the end of your barbell with some wiggle room to load it comfortably. In a perfect world, you'll have 12 feet or more to work with, providing plenty of room for easy barbell loading, accessory work, and your best muscle mate.

Get out your trusty measuring tape to determine how much space you have. You can also use painter's tape and your barbell for a better feel of the space. Your training style should always play a role in the style and size rack you choose. If you like doing barbell supersets, frequently work out with a partner, or need room for a Hydra Lat Pulldown attachment, get yourself a Hydra 4 Post style rack.

This option will give you lots of room for dual use and setting up complex workouts. If you typically stick to one exercise at a time (with breaks between sets to scroll through Instagram), a Hydra Collegiate Rack, Hydra Half Rack, or Hydra Folding Rack are suitable space-efficient options. So what happens if you choose the wrong one? No sweat. Well, a bit, because the assembly is a bit of a workout, but the Hydra's modular design makes it easy to scale from one style to another.

As mentioned, the Hydra Series has nine pre-set designs to choose from. Here's a brief overview of the style options, from small and simple to big and beefy. The Hydra Squat Stand is a bare-bones, two-post rack that's ideal for Olympic lifters who just need a launch point for front squats and overhead work. It's portable, space efficient, and has a pull-up bar that doubles as a coat rack if you need to hide it from guests (or your spouse) in a multi-purpose room.

The Hydra Series has two standing space-saving racks (in addition to mounted and folding racks). The Collegiate has a 30" inner depth with convenient stabilizer feet to support enthusiastic, post-PR re-rackings. Alternatively, you can try the Hydra Half Rack in 17" or 30" for a bit more stability and support than the Hydra Squat Stand. For the ultimate space-saving solution, try a Folding 4 Post (47.5" or 60.5" depth) or Folding Half Rack (24.5" or 47.5").

These wall-mounted racks are the Murphy bed of the lifting world. When you're done, just fold and walk away. If you're unable (or unwilling) to drill into the floor, the Wall-Mounted Rack has a stable four-post design and versatile depth options. The Hydra has three pre-set standalone rack designs.

The classic 4 Post, the Flat Foot (also four posted but with stabilizer feet instead of bolts), and the burly 6 Post. These racks offer stability and versatility in placement. Choosing the right Hydra rack will help you capitalize on the one-and-done, never-have-to-upgrade goal of this rack.

Take the time to measure your ceiling height and floor space, keeping accessories and barbells in mind. It's also worth reflecting on your existing training style and future fitness goals to help you choose the right design. Ready to choose your Hydra? Let's get started.