If you are looking to purchase a power rack, one of the most important features you have to decide on is hole spacing.
In the world of power racks, a common term you will hear thrown around in reviews and marketing campaigns is “westside hole spacing.” People often say that Westside hole spacing is a feature that only the best racks on the market have.
In this guide, we will break down what exactly westside hole spacing is, the benefits of this specific hole spacing, and which racks you can currently find on the market with this feature.
What Is Westside Hole Spacing?
Hole spacing refers to the space between the holes on the uprights of a squat rack. In the context of the squat rack, these holes serve as the attachment points for the different squat rack parts and attachments. These attachments (pins, J-cups, safety arms, and safety bars) primarily serve to allow you to pick your starting position and save you in the event you fail a lift.
Now on a regular squat rack, the standard hole spacing will be 2 inches (50mm) apart. This means that the same rack can be used by different people and for different lifts. It’s common sense, but of course, you will set up the rack differently for a bench press than you would for a squat.
Westside hole spacing, on the other hand, is 1 inch (25 mm) apart. To the untrained person, this may not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is.
Where Did Westside Hold Spacing Start?
Westside hole spacing originated at Westide Babrell’s gym in Columbus, Ohio. Westside Barbell may be the most well-known powerlifting gym in the world, for those who don’t know. Founded and run by the legendary Louie Simmons, Westside Barbell has been the birthplace of many modern training techniques and devices.
In a world where any small advantage can lead to victory, it makes sense that this feature was born out of necessity.
Westside Hole Spacing Benefits
In terms of why a mere inch in hole spacing can mean so much, here are the main benefits of Westside hole spacing:
Better Starting Position
Since there are more holes, you can choose where you lift starts with better precision. When you first start out, the starting position does not matter all that much as the weight you are lifting is not that heavy. An inch or two up or down will not that make large a difference.
However, when you really start lifting you will notice a difference. When you are squatting 400lbs+, a mere inch can take a lot of effort out of you while you are racking and unracking the bar.
The more precise bar placement means that you will have more energy to focus on your lift and not have to worry about mustering up the energy to rerack the bar.
More Precise Safety Bar Placement
A common issue on the bench press is the setup of the safety bars. You want to get the full range of motion but also do not want to risk the bar crushing your chest in the event of a failed lift.
With westside hole spacing, you can set the spotter arms up at exactly the right height in relation to your chest so you can do your lift properly while still being safe.
The name of the game in home gyms is to have the most versatile equipment that can take up the least amount of space. This often means that the ability to place attachments on your squat rack becomes invaluable.
With more holes, you simply have more places where you can put attachments and use for weight plate storage if needed. Similar to a barbell, you also have a more precise ability to decide where you are gonna place your dip bars or pulley system.
A common staple of Westside style training is reducing the range of motion to get stronger on a certain portion of the lift like the lockout. The pin press is a good example of this.
Of course, you need very precise safety bar placement for this to work. With the added holes, you simply get more options to switch your training and continue progressing.
Downsides Of Westside Hole Spacing
Generally, I would consider westside hole spacing to be the superior hole spacing option, but there are a few drawbacks:
Fewer Attachment Options
Since the holes are closer together, the power rack attachment for this style of hole spacing is not as developed as it is for racks with standard hole spacing. That being said, you can still get most of the attachments you would want, like dip bars, etc. You may just find that you will have to pay more since there are limited options.
Squat racks with westside hole spacing will be more expensive than those without it. Or it will be offered as an additional option that costs more.
If you get a rack with westside hole spacing, it is crucial that you get one with the holes numbered. Due to the number of holes, it can take a long time to count, and be very easy to lose your exact favored position.
Do You Need Westside Hole Spacing?
I would say that the majority of people would be served just fine by standard hole spacing. When it comes to picking a rack, I would suggest looking at things like attachment support and dimensions as the primary factors. The benefits of Westside’s style really only become apparent when you start lifting very heavy weights, and most people just do not do that.
However, it should be noted that if you want the best features, there is nothing wrong with getting Westside hole spacing. With this style of spacing becoming more and more popular, more companies are starting to do it causing the price to go down.
Squat Racks With Westside Hole Spacing
As I already touched on, westside hole spacing has become more and more popular so you can now find several companies that make racks in this style. You will find power racks, squat racks, squat stands, squat cages, half-racks, and wall-mounted racks with westside hole spacing. Bench presses are available as well but they are not that common.
Rogue Fitness Westside Racks
Rogue and Westside Barbell have a sort of partnership and it shows in Rogue’s racks. Several of Rogue’s racks have westside hole spacing.
The great thing about Rogue is that they also have a wide range of attachment options designed specifically for racks with westside spacing,
Rogue has one of the most extensive squat rack lines on the market. With everything from full-on power racks to stands, you will find something here for you. Most of their racks come with Westside spacing and have the added benefit of Rogue's numerous attachment options.
REP’s PR-4000 offers Westside spacing and is overall a very customizable rack. You can choose almost every feature of it from the depth to the J-cups. REP offers a good balance between quality and price.
Using REP Fitness's rack builder, you can build your squat rack from the ground up to have a squat rack exactly how you want it. With so many options, the customization of REP is hard to beat.
If you are looking for a cheaper rack that still offers west-side spacing, Titan is probably your best bet. Titan makes decent equipment at a great price. In my opinion, they often have some of the best value racks on the market.
With large improvements in quality over the past few years, Titan is now offering some of the best value racks on the market. With quality only just slightly behind that of competitors, Titan makes up for it with great prices and numerous attachment options.
Westside hole spacing is a great squat rack feature that can increase the versatility of your home gym. However, the added cost may not be worth it if you are not lifting very heavy or do not care about having the best of the best.
With that said, the popularity of this feature has made it so that nearly every company offers a rack with Westside hole spacing. This has made squat racks made in Westside’s style more affordable.
The Rogue Monster rack line uses westside spacing so the holes are 1 inch.
Yes, the hole size will impact the kinds of attachments that are compatible with your rack. As an example, most attachments will either be made for 5/8″ or 2/3″ holes.