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27 Squat Rack Exercises Targeting Every Muscle

April 04, 2024

Squat rack exercises by Robor Fitness


A squat rack, a barbell, and a weights bench are game changers in any fitness journey. They're not just equipment but your ticket to a full-body transformation. These tools enable you to design powerhouse routines targeting every muscle you can think of. Whether in your garage or the local gym, having these at your fingertips means you're equipped to train every inch of your body.

Today, we're zeroing in on the squat rack. It's not just for squats; it's a versatile station for various exercises. Whether you aim to build muscle, shed fat, or boost your athletic performance, the squat rack is your ally. Stick around, and you'll discover the best squat rack exercises to help you achieve your goal, no matter what it is.


Squat Rack Exercises

When it comes to maximizing your workout, variety is vital. That's why we've broken down the squat rack exercises by muscle group. This approach lets you tailor your routine to your specific goals. Whether you're aiming for a full-body workout or focusing on specific areas, you can mix and match to your heart's content.

Think of it like a fitness buffet: you get to choose what goes on your plate. If a full-body session is on your agenda, you might pick a couple of exercises for each muscle group. This way, you're not just working out; you're crafting a workout that's as unique as your fitness journey. Let's dive into these muscle-specific exercises and get you moving towards your goals!


Squat Rack Exercises For Legs

  • Back Squat: The undisputed champion of leg exercises. The back squat targets your quads for impressive strength and growth and engages your spinal erectors, back muscles, and core. It's a full-package deal for safe and effective leg development.
Back squat exercise example
  • Front Squat: This variation shifts the focus towards your quads, easing the load on your back. It's trickier to master than the back squat, but the quad-building benefits are well worth the effort.
  • Split Squats: This exercise is a game-changer for unilateral leg training. Working one leg at a time ensures balanced muscle development and improves stability. It's a must-try for anyone serious about leg strength and symmetry.
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift: It is a close cousin to the Romanian deadlift but with straighter legs. This tweak highlights your hamstrings, making it an excellent choice for those looking to sculpt and strengthen these often-overlooked muscles.
Stiff leg deadlift example
  • Forward Lunge: Step forward into a world of leg development. Forward lunges are fantastic for targeting the quads and glutes, offering a dynamic way to build strength and coordination in your lower body.
  • Reverse Lunge: Taking a step back has never been more beneficial. Reverse lunges reduce the strain on your knees while effectively working your quads and glutes. It's an ideal alternative for those seeking a knee-friendly leg exercise.
  • Calf Raises: Don't forget those calves! Placing the bar on your back calf raises in the squat rack can add serious strength and definition to your lower legs, rounding out your comprehensive leg workout.


Squat Rack Exercises For Glutes

Exercises such as squats, traditional deadlifts, and lunges target the legs but also target the glutes. There’s no point listing them again; instead, we’ll list the more glute-dominant exercise rather than quad-dominant.

  • Hip Thrusts: Hip thrusts are non-negotiable if you're serious about sculpting your glutes. This powerhouse move delivers intense focus on your glutes, promoting muscle growth and potentially adding inches to your butt.
Hip thrust exercise example
  • Good Mornings: This exercise is a hidden gem for glute development. By loading your glutes in a stretched position, Good Mornings encourages muscle growth and contributes to a more robust and shapely booty.
  • Romanian Deadlift: A variation that shifts the spotlight to your glutes and hamstrings more than traditional or stiff-legged deadlifts. It's an essential move for anyone looking to enhance their posterior chain strength and aesthetics.
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: This exercise takes leg training to the next level, especially for your glutes. Elevating one leg increases the challenge and intensity for the working leg, making it a superb choice for targeted glute strengthening and balance improvement.
  • Step Ups: Utilizing the bench as your step, this exercise is fantastic for glute engagement. Each step up drives your glutes to work hard, lifting your body and stabilizing it, making it an excellent addition to your glute-focused routine.


Squat Rack Back Exercises

  • Traditional Deadlift: This is the cornerstone of back strength. The conventional deadlift engages your entire back, from the lower lumbar to the upper traps, ensuring comprehensive development. It's a fundamental move for building a strong, muscular back.
  • Bent Over Rows: This exercise targets the upper and middle back muscles. By bending over and pulling the barbell towards your torso, you're working on your lats and rhomboids and improving overall back thickness and strength.
  • Inverted Rows: Inverted rows are a fantastic option for those who want to mix things up. Using the barbell set at a lower height, you pull yourself up from underneath, which is excellent for hitting those mid-back muscles and improving overall back endurance.
  • Pull-Ups: The best squat racks often come with a pull-up bar, but if yours doesn't, no worries! Just set your barbell at the highest setting and use it as your bar. Pull-ups are a stellar exercise for the entire back, enhancing muscle definition and strength in the lats, traps, and lower back.
  • Rack Pulls: Think of rack pulls as the deadlift's close cousin, but with a focus on the upper half of the movement. This exercise allows you to handle heavier weights, targeting your upper back, traps, and erectors. It's a great way to build strength and muscle mass in the back, especially for those looking to improve their deadlift performance.


Squat Rack Chest Exercises

  • Bench Press: The ultimate chest builder. The bench press is a staple in any chest workout, targeting the pectorals, triceps, and shoulders. Whether you're pushing for strength or size, this exercise is critical to developing a robust and well-defined chest.
Bench press exercise example
  • Incline Bench Press: You shift the focus towards the upper chest by adjusting the bench to an incline. The incline bench press is crucial for achieving that well-rounded chest development, ensuring no part of your pecs are left behind.
  • Barbell Pullover: This unique exercise does double duty. Not only does it target the chest, particularly the upper pectorals, but it also engages the lats. It's an excellent choice for those looking to work on both chest and back muscles simultaneously, offering a comprehensive upper-body workout.


Squat Rack Shoulder Exercises

  • Military Press: This is a powerhouse move for shoulder development. Standing tall, you press the barbell overhead, working the entire shoulder region. The military press is excellent for building shoulder strength and enhancing stability and core engagement.
Military press exercise example
  • Seated Shoulder Press: Similar to the military press but performed while seated. This variation puts more emphasis on the shoulders, reducing the involvement of the lower body. It's excellent for isolating and targeting the shoulder muscles, especially if you're looking to focus on muscle growth.
  • Upright Row: This exercise is fantastic for hitting the shoulders, particularly the lateral and anterior deltoids. You also engage the traps by lifting the barbell to your chest with your elbows leading, making it a tremendous dual-purpose exercise.
  • Barbell Shrugs: Specifically targeting the upper traps, barbell shrugs are essential for developing strong, well-defined shoulders. This simple yet effective movement involves shrugging your shoulders to lift the barbell, providing a direct and intense workout for your trapezius muscles.


Squat Rack Exercises To Build Your Arms

  • Bicep Curl: A classic exercise for arm development, the bicep curl focuses on building and strengthening the biceps. Using a barbell adds extra weight and resistance compared to dumbbells, making it an excellent choice for those looking to increase arm size and strength.
Bicep curl exercise example
  • Close Grip Bench Press: This bench press variation targets your triceps more than the regular bench press. By bringing your hands closer together on the bar, you shift the focus from the chest to the triceps, making it an effective exercise for building arm strength and mass.
  • Skull Crushers: Also known as lying tricep extensions, skull crushers are essential for development. Performed by lying on a bench and extending a barbell over your head, this exercise isolates the triceps, leading to significant strength and size gains.
  • JM Press: A hybrid between a skull crusher and a close grip bench press, the JM Press is an advanced exercise that targets the triceps intensely. It combines the movements of both exercises, providing a unique and effective way to build up the triceps.


Squat Rack Workout

Ready to take your fitness game to the next level? We've crafted three comprehensive whole-body squat rack workouts that are perfect for integrating into your routine today. Let's dive into the details and get you started on these exciting new routines!


Squat Rack Workout 1




4 Sets of 8-10 reps

Bench Press

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Inverted Rows

3 sets AMRAP

Bicep Curl

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Skull Crusher

3 sets of 10-12 reps


Squat Rack Workout 2



Traditional Deadlift

4 Sets of 6-10 reps

Incline Bench Press

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Bulgarian Split Squats

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Military Press

3 sets of 10-12 reps

JM Press

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Squat Rack Workout 3



Front Squats

4 sets of 6-10 reps

Hip Thrusts

3 sets of 8-12 reps

Pull Ups

3 sets AMRAP

Barbell Row

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Skull Crushers

3 sets of 10-12 reps

Calf Raises

4 sets of 10-12 reps


How To Build Muscle With a Squat Rack

Building muscle with a squat rack follows the same fundamental principles as using any other equipment or machine. It's about understanding and applying the key factors that contribute to muscle growth. While there are several elements to consider in your muscle-building journey, two factors stand out as the most crucial:


Calorie Surplus for Muscle Building

Calories needed to build muscle

When building muscle, what you eat is as important as how you train. Nutrition is the cornerstone of muscle growth. To effectively build muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus, meaning you consume more calories than you burn daily. This surplus gives your body the necessary energy to build new muscle fibers.

Muscle building is an energy-intensive process. Your body requires a steady supply of calories from food to fuel this process. According to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, adequate nutritional intake is crucial for muscle hypertrophy and strength gains. Without enough calories, your body simply doesn't have the resources it needs to build muscle, no matter how perfect your training routine might be. (1)

It's a common misconception that just lifting weights will lead to muscle gain. However, if your body isn't fueled correctly, it can't synthesize new muscle tissue effectively. This is why diet plays a pivotal role in your muscle-building journey. You could follow the best training program in the world, but your efforts might not yield the desired results without sufficient caloric intake.

The key is not just to eat more but to eat smart. Your body needs a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to build and repair muscle. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle, while carbohydrates provide the energy required for your workouts. Fats are essential for hormone production, including those hormones that aid muscle growth.

Determining the right amount of calories and the right balance of macronutrients can be a bit of a puzzle. It's not a one-size-fits-all approach, as everyone's body and metabolism differ. It's helpful to consult a nutrition guide or a professional to determine your needs. For a detailed breakdown of how to calculate your calorie and nutrient needs for muscle building, check out our recent Muscle Building Nutrition article.

In summary, you need to fuel your body with more calories than it expends to build muscle. This calorie surplus, combined with the right balance of nutrients, sets the stage for effective muscle growth. Remember, your diet is as crucial as your training regimen, and getting it right can make all the difference in achieving the muscle gains you deserve.


Progressive Overload

Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. It's a fundamental principle in fitness, essential for continuous improvement in strength, endurance, and muscle size. The idea is to consistently challenge your muscles by increasing your exercises' weight, reps, or intensity.

This principle is crucial for achieving long-term success in any fitness regimen. It ensures that your workouts remain effective and challenging, preventing plateaus in muscle growth and strength gains. By applying progressive overload, you continuously push your body to adapt, improving performance and physique.

To implement progressive overload, you can increase the weight lifted, the number of repetitions, or the overall intensity of your workouts. It's about finding the right balance to stimulate muscle growth and adaptation without overloading your body to the point of injury or burnout.

Aligning progressive overload with your specific fitness goals is vital. Whether aiming to increase muscle mass, enhance endurance, or improve strength, adjusting your training to provoke these specific adaptations is critical.

Progressive overload is not just a training component; it's the foundation of all successful training programs. It's about making each session count and ensuring every effort in the gym brings you closer to your goals. Embracing this principle as your fitness compass can guide you through various workouts and lead you toward your desired outcomes.



In summary, the squat rack is a versatile and powerful tool in your fitness arsenal. You can create a balanced and effective workout routine by exploring various exercises targeting different muscle groups.

Remember, the key to muscle building lies in various exercises, maintaining a calorie surplus, and applying the principle of progressive overload. Whether your goal is to build muscle, lose fat, or enhance athletic performance, the squat rack offers a pathway to achieve your fitness aspirations.

Embrace these squat rack exercises, workouts, and tips, and you're on your way to unlocking your full potential. Here's to your health, strength, and continual progress in your fitness journey!



  1. Gary John Slater,* Brad P. Dieter, Damian James Marsh, Eric Russell Helms, Gregory Shaw, and Juma Iraki Is an Energy Surplus Required to Maximize Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy Associated With Resistance Training. (2019). PubMed Central.


Thomas D
Thomas D


Thomas is a dedicated fitness enthusiast with over 12 years of experience in the gym. As a level 2 qualified gym instructor, he combines his passion for working out and nutrition to help others achieve their fitness goals. Thomas stays up to date with the latest fitness research and follows the work of top experts in the field. With a balance of textbook knowledge and real-life experience, he provides practical guidance to help others reach their full potential.

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