A power rack is one of the most useful pieces of equipment for a home gym. If you have a good weight set and a good bench, the next thing you should consider is a good quality power rack. A power rack is a simple device that holds a barbell at any height you choose to start an exercise, and provides safety rails that catch the barbell at the end of the set. There is a link at the bottom of this article that will take you to some pictures of several different power racks.
The most important features of a power rack are safety and versatility. If you set it up properly, it enables you to perform many heavy exercises in relative safety. If you have ever bench pressed a heavy weight by yourself without a rack of some kind, you know what I mean! What do you do when you can not get that barbell off your chest? You either scream for help or shift the weight to one side and let it drop to the floor which not only can damage your equipment and the floor, but opens you up to the possibility of serious injury to your back, neck and shoulders. A properly used power rack prevents this by providing an adjustable height safety catch that allows you to simply lower the weight onto it and you can safely slide out from under the barbell with no risk or effort whatever!
Power racks are fully adjustable so you can set it up for safe military presses, bench presses (flat, incline or decline), squats, calf rises, cracks and any other movement where the barbell does not go to the floor at the end of the set. Many racks also have a chin up bar, adjustable dip bars, and an optional lat pull down attachment. I highly recommend the lat pulley attachment on the power rack versus a separate machine. I have used both and the rack is much more stable than most stand-alone lat machines, and the space savings is considerable.
I believe the power rack to be essential for someone who works out alone in a home gym. If you have a good set of weights and a good quality bench and are serious about your weight lifting or bodybuilding program, get a power rack next!
I personally own and use a Body Solid (Powerline) Power rack with a plate loading lat attachment, but Powertec and Yukon make quality racks as well. I am partial to Body Solid because I like all my equipment to look the same, and I have been please with every piece of body I have purchased over the years.