How to Build Squat Stands for $30

For what squat stands are and what they function as, they are generally pretty expensive to buy from a manufacturer. The cost of the stands plus shipping will probably set you back at least a few hundred bucks. This DIY alternative, assuming you already have a few tools, only costs ~$30 and accomplishes the same task as the few hundred dollar option.

I built these about 2-3 months ago and figure since I had the plans, I’d put them out there in case anyone wanted to build their own. I haven’t seen this specific DIY style before, but they are based off of the Legend Fitness Squat Stands design. I really like this design as they are simple, light, and can support a good amount of weight. The other DIY squat stands I saw were either too costly, too big, too labor intensive, or used concrete as a base. I’m sure the concrete is easy enough, I just didn’t want to deal with it.

A COUPLE OF NOTES:

I would not suggest these for use in an actual weightroom, but they are perfectly suitable for a garage gym.

Since I am the only one using this set, it wasn’t necessary for me to make multiple heights. If you needed to make multiple heights, you’d either have to alter this design somehow or use a different design.

I only have 110kg of weight plates, so I truly don’t know how much weight this design supports. Although, I have loaded all the plates on and did a couple pullups from the bar with no issues, so I’m pretty confident the racks could support 190-200kg if needed, but you may want to do your own testing first.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  1. ~36 feet of 2x4s (slightly more or less depending on the height of the stands)
  2. 2.5 inch wood screws
  3. Wood glue (suggested as it’ll hold up better over time, but I’m sure you could get away with not)
  4. A way to cut the wood to required length. You can usually have the store cut these for you, or you could pick up a handsaw for $5-10 (far more time consuming). Although you’ll need a few 45 degree cuts and I don’t think many stores will do that for you.
  5. Drill-Driver

While I had a plan based on how it should look, I did all these measurements on the fly and built it as I went so some of these measurements may seem weird and I do not have any reasoning why I built the base of it to the length and width I did other than that it looked correct and proportional to the uprights to support the weight. These were the original drawings for the stands (side and front view).

Basic “blueprints” for squat stands.

PREP WORK:

First, make all your cuts:

Vertical Upright: 56 inches (x4) – remember that this measurement must relative to your height. I’m 6’1 (73″) and this height ended up being comfortable for me. I just winged it by putting the 2×4 next to me while I was in a quarter squat and marked the 2×4 at shoulder height. It should go without saying, but getting all 4 cuts the exact same length is very important.

“Bottom” Base: 23 inches (x2)

“Top” Base: 10 inches (x4)

Front: 17 inches (x4) – I originally was going to use two “layers” of front/back supports, but as I was building, knew it would be unnecessary.

Angled Support: 14 inches (x4) – both ends cut on a 45 degree angle

Top of Rack (where the barbell would sit): Use 4 scrap 45 degree cuts – I originally wanted to carve out a semi-circular notch in the top for the bar to sit in, but was too time consuming and the current method served the same purpose and was already cut.

ASSEMBLY:

Secondly, start connecting all pieces with wood glue and screws. Use as many screws as you feel necessary for support. Get everything as tight and as flush as you can. This will help with overall support and longevity of the racks.

Here are a couple photos to show how I attached everything… You can’t see from the photos, but I attached the vertical uprights from the underside of the bottom base.

They’re actually better than I originally thought. No issues with support, movement, wobbling, or anything you might think a simple 2×4 stand would do. For a cheap alternative, they hold up well and I’ve been using them 3-4x a week pretty consistently.

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