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As a 28 year old desk worker, I'm noticing I'm getting fluffy around the waist and my strength has diminished even more over the years. I used to do aerobic sports so I wasn't out of shape during my earlier years but I never trained for strength.

I looked into Starting Strength since it's quite recommended, but it looks like a program that most people do in a gym with equipment and possibly a trainer. My main problem with a gym is time, since most are quite a distance from the places in my daily routine that it's difficult to incorporate into one. Also my day tends to extend from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., which makes squeezing out time for preparing meals, preparing for work the next day and getting enough rest difficult enough already.

So I considered getting the equipment necessary for Starting Strength in my home so that I can squeeze an hour of working out. I can probably get the bars and a bench, but seeing as how important the squat is in the program and I have no power rack, is it feasible to do Starting Strength without a power rack in a home gym? I understand it wouldn't be SS if it doesn't have The Squat but my goal is to get stronger uniformly.

That said, I would not mind building my own power rack if there was a guideline for making one on the cheap.

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    Did you consider squat racks? They are significantly cheaper than power racks and require less space (reference image: pictures.factoryfast.com.au/thumbs/images/Pictures/759965/… ) – UnbescholtenerBuerger Sep 23 at 15:00
  • I did, but I read about issues with failing a squat with them, which I expect I will be doing while trying to get form right. I can consider them, though, if I can't build my own power rack or find one in my country. – Eriol Sep 23 at 21:12
  • I can only talk from my own experience, but I never had issues with those racks (using them with ~150 kg). You should probably worry more about failing a benchpress rep. Anyways, when done properly, with Starting Strength one shouldn't find himself in a situation where failing a rep is likely anyways (I know, it still happens from time to time :) ) – UnbescholtenerBuerger Sep 23 at 21:46
  • Seems to me you have 3 options. 1) build a squat / power rack yourself (you only really need a couple of blocks to put the bar on to start with, look up Olympic lifting blocks); 2) Steinborn squats; 3) choose a different program. – Dark Hippo Sep 24 at 11:56
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The simple answer is: No, you can't do SS without a power rack. In the beginning you can get away with cleaning the bar, but that stops soon enough.

And this isn't even specific to SS. Every program should have some form of heavy squats. You just need a power rack or something for that.

  • Not every program needs heavy squats. Mike Boyle stopped his athletes doing heavy back squats several years back and replaced them with heavy Bulgarian split squats with dumbbells to get around some heavy spinal loading issues. I agree that every program should have some form of squat, but it doesn't necessarily need to be heavy. – Dark Hippo Sep 24 at 11:54
  • Sure, but then you miss out on all the awesome lower back strength. More strength is better deadlift. And better deadlift is more better ;) – Dennis Haarbrink Sep 24 at 14:23
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If you want a power rack, then by all means build one. However, please keep in mind that there are many different ways to get in shape, and you don't necessarily need a squat rack. Currently, squats and deadlifts are fashionable. There is even, in my opinion, a bit of a cult surrounding them (which we will undoubtably hear from after I post this answer). Don't get me wrong, squats and deads are good exercises, but there are lots of other good exercises. The reason Starting Strength is popular now is because of marketing, because it is new, and because the people who do it spend a lot of time on social media. A few years from now, these people will get bored and start looking for the next new thing, and Starting Strength will be forgotten. If you dont' believe me, look up the Spartacus Workout. How many people remember that one? In summary, I'm just suggesting that you consider all your options before you settle on Starting Strong.

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    Starting Strength was first published 14 years ago. I wouldn't call it new. – David Scarlett Sep 23 at 3:29
  • I actually looked into other programs as well, like Stronglifts and Reg Park's Beginner Routine but as you may see, they all involve squats, I believe for good reason. They seem to be the defacto compound exercise which is what I'm mostly looking for. – Eriol Sep 23 at 21:18

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