From Basic to Beast Mode: When to Upgrade Your Hydra Squat Stand to a Power Rack

Hydra squat stand and Hydra four post flat foot power rack

Fitness journeys evolve and change over time. The style and goals you set when you're just starting might differ entirely from where you are now and where you could be in a few years. That's the power of progression. As your goals, strength, and style evolve, your equipment needs may also change. In this post, we'll talk about the benefits of progressing from a squat stand to a power rack, covering the specifics of the Hydra series and highlighting signs it's time to upgrade.

As far as squat stands go, the Hydra is the cream of the crop. We even dropped a fully loaded 795lb barbell on it with a forklift, and it barely flinched. Check out the video we shared on Instagram. The ultra-durable Hydra Squat Stand is a great starter rack for new home gym heroes starting to build out their personal lifting paradise. Olympic lifters, in particular, benefit from the simple design for squats and overhead work.

If you're new to the home gym scene, there are many benefits to starting with a squat stand. Squat stands are space-efficient and portable, making them ideal for small spaces or multipurpose areas (gotta love a home gym/ laundry room/ place you hide when your in-laws visit).

Renters also enjoy squat stands, as they lack the permanence of drilling holes into the floor (RIP security deposit). They're comparably easy to disassemble and move when you're ready for that next chapter in life. The Hydra Squat Stand also offers the benefit of modularity and compatibility.

All Hydra Squat Stands and power racks have true 3″ x 3″ tubing with 5/8″ holes, so the attachments you buy now still fit when you upgrade — and so do other big brand rack attachments with matching specs. *exaggerated wink* You can also purchase Hydra crossmembers and uprights to expand your Hydra Squat Stand into a Hydra Flat Foot Power Rack if the whole buy-and-sell approach seems like more trouble than it's worth.

The Hydra Squat Stand may be a starter rack, but it's still a valuable starting point for piecing together a functional home gym. In addition to a barbell and weight plates, you should also consider these strength-building additions. Benches are a home gym staple. Even if building a bigger bench press isn't one of your training goals, you can use this foundational piece for dumbbell work, bodyweight training, and more.

Choosing a bench starts with a decision between two options: flat or adjustable. An adjustable bench offers more versatility, allowing you to do incline, decline, and chest-supported movements. A flat bench is suitable if you're looking for something basic or need something hefty to support your big bench-pressing goals. It's also important to consider what attachments are available, such as a leg curl/and extension attachment like we have on our adjustable Buzzsaw Bench and flat Hero Bench. Hydra Squat Stands aren't your Grandmother's squat stand (unless your Grandma was super jacked).

These bad boys are designed for functionality, so you can safely and comfortably use them with a variety of attachments. Depending on your training goals, you might consider some (or all) of these options: J-cups are a must for your squat stand unless you've learned to levitate your barbell between sets (pics or it didn't happen).

Think all J-cups are the same? Well, my friend, you've never been more wrong about anything in your entire life (yes, even that). Basic J-cups will do the trick, but if you're looking to take things from basic to beastly, consider upgrading to Sandwich J-Cups or Roller J-Cups. Finally, the Hydra Monolift is perfect for solo lifters who need a hand-off without their friend straddling their bench.

Boundaries are a healthy addition to any workout routine. Who says you need to live in fear of getting crushed under your barbell if you use a squat rack? While there are benefits to learning how to bail from a bad squat, we'd rather catch you in our loving, steely arms. Spotter arms are a must-have addition to your Hydra Squat Rack. These bad boys will keep you safe during solo lifting sessions and transform your rack Autobot-style into a beastly bench press.

If you consider yourself a cable connoisseur, the idea of giving up the commercial gym membership can be a tough one. Of course, we want you to have everything you want in life (awwww), so we make some cutting-edge cable attachments so you can conquer your fitness goals. Connect a Hydra Lat Pulldown/Low Row attachment to the back of your squat stand to unlock a world of new exercises.

If you need a little more room to roam, you can also get a Plate Loaded Cable Tower or Stack Loaded Cable Tower to the side of your Hydra Squat Stand. Looking to pump up those rear delts and lats? The Hydra Seal Row Pad has got your back... or chest. With seven adjustable positions, this cushioned attachment is easy to use: drop it in, tighten it up, and you're ready to rock and row!

Not only is it smaller than that wild bench and box setup, but it's also easy to store away when you need the space for more important things (like more B.o.S. gear). What do we want? Not Bulgarian Split Squats! When do we want them? Never! And yet. The Hydra Split Squat attachment is the perfect addition to your Squat Stand so you can do this painful-yet-effective exercise and build the Glutes of the Gods.

Get ready to dip it, dip it good. The Hydra Y Dip Attachment mounts to your squat stand at whatever height you prefer, making it perfect for working those chest, tricep, and ab muscles. Here's the catch: we highly recommend bolting down your rack when using attachments that create a weight imbalance — like you. You can use this inside your Squat Stand, but we don't recommend it if it's not secured to the floor. If this is a deal breaker, it might be time for a power rack.

Take your home gym to the next level with the Hydra Sliding Lever Arms! These life-changing attachments slide up and down on the uprights without the hassle of having to unbolt and rebolt. Not only are they plate-loadable with seven lockable angles and adjustable multi-grip handles, but they also unlock a world of exercise possibilities: lateral raises, overhead press variations, rows, floor presses, and more. The downside? They must be installed on the exterior of your bolted-down rack to avoid tipping and/or injury UNLESS you upgrade to a flat foot option, like the Hydra Flat Foot Rack. You can learn more about our attachments in The 8 BEST Hydra Power Rack Attachments.

So, when is it time to upgrade from a squat stand to a power rack? The sage advice of "when you know, you know" doesn't really apply in this situation, so here are some key signs: It's natural for your training focus to evolve and grow over time. You may leave Oly lifting behind and shake things up with powerlifting or bodybuilding. Upgrading to a power rack gives you more versatility to add attachments to meet those goals. For example, you could start doing rack pulls or banded deadlifts to work through your sticking points. Plus, you may feel more comfortable benching or squatting inside the rack with safety straps as you start moving big numbers.

The dream gyms you admire and envy didn't happen overnight. Lifelong lifters build over time, expanding as they get more space or credit approvals money. If you invested in a squat stand while renting or before you had space for a full power rack, you might consider upgrading when your situation changes. Ahhhh, progress. Two uprights are a blessing and a curse. Sure, you can add and remove attachments pretty easily, but it can be a pain point during a superset.

So if you're setting a PR in cursing, it might be time to level up. If you want to train with other people, a power rack is a must. How else can you stare lovingly into each other's eyes as you squat in unison? And while sharing this passion with your significant other is great, your swolemate could also be your buddy Brandon. No one has what you guys have. Again, the two upright dilemma. There are a ton of innovative rack-mounted Hydra Storage Attachments to keep your space tidy, but with limited rack real estate, it's challenging to figure out the logistics. Wow, what a segue!

The Hydra Flat Foot Power Rack offers all the benefits of our Hydra line: versatility, modularity, compatibility — you know the drill! This power rack offers a few comparable benefits over the Hydra Squat Stand, such as: While the Hydra Squat Stand isn't a one-trick pony, it's no Seabiscuit, either. 🏇

The Hydra Flat Foot Power Rack gives you the option of working inside or outside the uprights or switching back and forth as your hulked-up heart desires. The Hydra Flat Foot is the mullet of the power rack world — business in the front, party in the back. Only in this case, it's big lifts in the front, storage in the back, and some accessories jutting out like ears. Ok, the metaphor doesn't work. The point is you have plenty of room for your attachments (like all the ones listed above, plus some convenient storage) and your barbell work.

You can also level up your pull-up game with a multi-grip attachment. Party on, Wayne. The biggest perk of a Hydra Flat Foot is the distinct advantage of not having to anchor to the floor. You can do your dips, pull-ups, and lever arm work without bolting down your rack or risking it all (do not recommend, friend). The Hydra Flat Foot power rack is still compatible with all the attachments you got for your Hydra Squat Stand. Plus, it works with all of those fandangled true 3″ x 3″ tubing with 5/8″ holes competitor attachments (traitor).

Finally, you won't outgrow the Hydra Flat Foot. This baby is totally future-proof. If you need more space, you can always grab compatible uprights and crossmembers to create your own Frankenrack — which is also a great way to transition from the Hydra Squat Stand into the Hydra Flat Foot. Or add a couple of our Hydra Batwing Storage attachments and attach your cable machine to those for a home gym setup that's just... chef's kiss. 🤌

As you progress through your lifting journey and look back at how far you've come, you might feel a little like Frodo at the summit of Mordor thinking about the Shire. But Bells of Steel will be your Samwise Gamgee (the real hero, to be honest). Upgrading from a squat stand to a power rack is a natural progression as your goals, space, and budget change. If you're ready to go from basic to beastly, we're here to help. Click the button below to look at our Hydra Flat Foot Power Rack, or contact us for help with mapping out your crossmember and upright needs.