6 Illegal Exercises at the Squat Rack Station

No curls in the squat rack

Power racks, or squat racks, play an important role for strength and power training. But in gyms and training rooms across the country, novice patrons commonly crowd the space doing pointless or even dangerous exercises that interrupt other gym-goers’ workouts. We’ve asked Men’s Fitness and Muscle & Fitness advisory board member and owner of Total Performance Sports, C.J., Murphy MFS, C-ISSN, for his list of illegal exercises to do at a power rack station — whether they’re pointless to do or just annoying for others.

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Behind the Neck Presses

Murphy calls this movement “the rotator cuff killer.” He says that you would be stronger and healthier by doing standing presses with the bar in front of you, not behind.
Verdict: Dangerous

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Anything Seated

“Sitting down while lifting increases the damaging shear forces on your lumbar spine,” Murphy says. The only time you should be sitting in the power rack should be after a grueling set of squats.
Verdict: Dangerous and pointless

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Overhead Tricep Extension

Remember, the power rack is for big movements. If you want to do more specialized, smaller muscle group exercises there are other places in the gym for that. “Find a utility bench near the dumbbell rack and don’t take up valuable training space with nonsense,” Murphy says.
Verdict: Pointless

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Upright Rows

Murphy claims the upright row as “the second worst rotator cuff exercise ever invented.” If you’re looking to effectively develop the shoulders and trap muscles, he recommends doing high pulls instead to minimize the strain on the shoulder complex.
Verdict: Dangerous

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Kipping Pull-ups

These pullups consist of a great deal of jerking and bouncing your body weight to pull up on the bar. “CrossFit made these popular, I don’t know why. You’ll never be able to do a real pull-up by doing these and you’ll probably dislocate your shoulder while doing them,” Murphy warns. He recommends, if you can’t do a traditional pull up, get a band for assistance and perform them from a dead hang.
Verdict: Dangerous and pointless

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Curls in the power rack is a complete waste of space and pointless. “It’s just bad gym etiquette. You can put the bar on the floor if you need to. Don’t waste rack space,” Murphy says.
Verdict: Absolutely pointless

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