Getting Your Buns and Thighs in Order: Learning More About the J Hooks Squat Rack
We live in a time where butts are the most popular thing on the planet, which is somewhat strange when you think about it. When I was younger in the ‘90s it seemed as if having a big butt was a bad thing, and now you have women paying thousands of dollars to have their cheeks filled up with plastic.
At any rate, we’re all about building natural bodies here, so don’t even think about getting cheek implants brother! We’ve got exactly what you seek right here, and that’s the ultimate guide (well, for now, at least) about the J Hooks Squat Rack!
We’re going to take a look at which squat racks I’ve used myself in the past, and which ones I would highly recommend. Not only that, but we’re likely going to dive deep into the importance of squats and why neglecting your quads should be a criminal offense.
Quick Summary; Which J-Hook Should You Get?
Ahead, you will find all things J-hooks, as well as some of the best options on the market and several squat racks that come with great hooks.
But first, is any J-hook out there worth it? Turns out, that’s all down to what you want and your budget.
That price might not matter for some of you. But for the folks trying to build a home gym on a shoestring budget, every penny counts. After all, you're still yet to fork out larger chunks of money for other costlier equipment; you know…treadmills, bikes and ellipticals, and yes, the squat racks.
Luckily, most J-hooks are dirt-cheap, and none more so than my 2 favourite picks.
Take this Fitness Reality 2816 steel J-hook, for instance, which is available on Amazon for dirt cheap . The same goes for this Yes4All J-hooks; also available within the same price range. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
If you are more concerned about reliability and durability, and have little worry over the price, then grab a pair of the Yes4All Safety Spotter on Amazon by clicking here.
Then there’s the Hulkfit Multi-function crossfit attachment, which is by far among the best pocket-friendly deals on this list, and on Amazon. It's built like a tank, and doubles for several functions, this one right here is an absolute steal for the price!
Now, some racks, actually most of them, come with these attachments.
But most of the hooks on them are a far cry from what I’d consider decent. So yeah, I’ll be introducing you to a few ones (with hooks) that have proven to be worthwhile.
This T-3 Series folding rack here is the one I own, and I can swear by it's performance! It’s also the best bang for buck buy I could find. The Hulk-Fit 1000-Pound Capacity rack is quite popular on Amazon. And I have to agree, it’s one heck of a solid multi-function rack.
With that out of the way, let’s get rollin’
Why Would I Worry About Having the Right Squat Rack?
If you’re asking yourself this question, you clearly aren’t dedicated enough in the gym. Most of my readers have nothing but great things to say about the grind that comes with gym time, even on their worst days; that’s because we’re all crazy and love pain for some strange reason.
There are different types of squat racks and it’s not a good look to pay way too much for a lackluster squat rack, especially one that doesn’t even feature J Hooks. I’m also going to dabble in how you can make a J hook squat rack for yourself, but I would always suggest looking into purchasing one beforehand.
The right squat rack is going to turn you into a god amongst men, as most bodybuilders tend to neglect their lower half. If you can sport a strong and peachy butt, just know that women are going to take notice; and if you’re a woman, the right squat rack can be life-changing for more obvious reasons.
What’s Wrong with Using Cables or Squat Machines?
After all of the flack I’ve gotten for preaching about bodyweight and bar workouts, you’d think that sometimes people would cut me some slack. For the most part, using free weights will give you the best results when it comes to bodybuilding. It’s an old-school mentality that many of us haven’t grown out of, and I hate it!
If you feel like using cables or squat machines (like hack squat machines) is the best method for you to build a stronger lower body, so be it. Everybody has their own personal opinion and honestly, I couldn’t care less.
If there is a lot of resistance/weight to be squatted, you can count me in! Feeling my cheeks burn in agony is one of the best (and worst) sensations I’ve ever had in life.
What is a “J Hook”?
You’ve seen hundreds of them during your time in the gym, although you may not have known what their “official” name was. These are those little hooks shaped like a “J” that you rest your bar on after doing a set, and you may think that they’re no big deal.
Think about it, they’re the only thing that is holding up all of that weight. If you’re used to squatting heavy weights and purchase a cheap J hook squat rack, it’s only a matter of time before the bar comes crashing down with a bang; and that right there is unarguably one of the easiest ways to bend a barbell.
It’s important to understand why you need the right J hooks, as well as figure out the optimal size for your squat rack. Most racks are going to come with J hooks included, but not all of them are going to meet your standards.
Most people who purchase squat racks for their home gym end up purchasing after-market J hooks, and that’s simply because the ones that come with their squat racks initially are lacking in quality.
The History of J Hooks
They started off as bare bolts just being jammed into an old-fashioned squat rack or some sort of metal peg that would barely hold onto the bar. Some of them had a bit of a lip or head on them to catch the bar, but most of them didn’t!
Although we’ve vastly improved upon the technology behind J hooks, there are still “purists” who use the likes of a Starting Strength Power Rack and still find it wonderful. This is a squat rack that has been around for quite some time, and still features pegs instead of actual hooks.
Both J “cups” and “hooks” are all one and the same, with Rogue (a popular brand) coining the cup term early on. J hooks have a significantly larger surface area to hold your weights when compared to pegs, and that’s why most people have moved on from using them.
Sandwich J Hooks
This is something that I’ve been introduced to recently, and that’s likely because it’s a more modern approach to the J hook. Sandwich J hooks are much more expensive and that’s why I avoided them initially, but I figured out that I was missing out when I tried them for myself.
There is a very dense chunk of plastic (UHMW grade) plastered in between two solid-steel plates, allowing you to rack your weight with peace of mind. Although they aren’t truly being “sandwiched” down, the name comes from the act of sandwiching a piece of plastic between two sleet plates.
It offers plenty of stability and will help avoid damaging your barbell by offering a much softer material in the UHMW plastic.
Common Problems with a Lackluster J Hook
If it’s a plastic-covered J hook, there likely won’t be any protection on the lip of the hook itself. If that’s the case, it’s only a matter of time before your barbell tears it to shreds! You’ll also want to consider the quality of liner being used for the hooks since cheap brands are going to cut corners and use poor-quality foam.
Even if they claim that the J hook is upgraded and features additional protection, take it with a grain of salt. There’s nothing more reliable than a simple metal J hook, but there are obvious reasons as to why you would want something that offers more than that.
What to Look For in a Reliable J Hook
Here are a few things to consider when looking for a J hook
Before you decide to purchase a brand new pair of J hooks, you’ll want to take note of the size you need. This can be done by measuring the steel frame of your squat rack, and for reference, most “budget squat racks” will offer 2” by 2” upright posts.
This means you’ll need J hooks that are at least 2 inches in length themselves.
J hooks have a locking mechanism in them that ensures they are snugly fit into your tube, and some of the upper-tier ones also feature an “auto-tighten” process.
In my personal experience, I’ve noticed that the automatically tightening ones were a bit annoying to work with, especially if I wanted to move them constantly.
Consider what material is being used to manufacture the J hooks, as pure steel is what you’ll want to go with ultimately. While I’m sure there are plenty of other options that feature different materials, metal J hooks are the only thing I’ve ever had faith in.
Using rubber or plastic padding to prevent your barbells from getting scuffed up is always a good idea, as they can get pretty pricey when you’re buying them brand new. Extend their lives even longer by using rubber or plastic mats to prevent damage should a barbell need to be dropped.
The best J hooks will have a foam or rubberized coating on the “rack area” to prevent damage to your barbells as well.
Attaching a J Cup to Your Squat Rack
J Cups are perfect for when you’re looking for a more sturdy and technically “superior” product to J hooks. While most squat racks will give you the most barebones hooks possible, purchasing a secondary set of J Cups is going to work wonders for your squat routine.
If you’ve ever been struggling with putting the weights down because you lack a rubber mat and one of your J hooks fell out, it’s probably time you invested in some more reliable options.
Putting a J Cup on a squat rack is almost as simple as finding the right height and placing it into the holes on your frame, but I’ll go step-by-step for anybody who feels like that’s a little “too much to handle”.
- Step 1. Find the proper height by standing straight up and finding the closest holes. This is where you will be placing your J cups.
- Step 2. Take one of your J Cups and slide it into the frame using the “pin” and ensuring that it’s tight after doing so - some of the larger J cups or hooks will have to be slid down into place as well
- Step 3. After making sure everything was placed properly, get place your bar on the J Cups and get to work!
Best J Hook Squat Rack Attachments
Here are are a few product recommendations (including ones i’ve also spent money on!)
Fitness Reality 2816 Steel J-Hooks and Yes4All J-Hooks
The Fitness Reality 2816 Steel J-Hooks are something that I’ve been using for well over a year now, and I truly don’t have any complaints.
It gets the job done and doesn’t cost too much money, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted out of a pair of J hooks. You can purchase them in a matte black or chrome finish and they even feature a 1-year warranty!
That means if you’re living real heavy and manage to mess these suckers up, the company will send you a brand new pair for FREE!
Another reliable pair of J hooks that I’ve used myself would be the Yes4All J-Hooks/Barbell Holder, which offers a straightforward J hook without any of the bells and whistles. There are padded grips and they come in a shiny black finish, perfect for any midnight colored 2x2” squat racks out there.
The J hookers feature 6MM thick steel, a heavy capacity load that can hold up to 500 lbs, and even an 8MM thick rubber pad that is included alongside the hooks. This will help reduce noise while working out and prevent your barbell from getting scuffed up.
Yes4All Safety Spotter Arms
Reliable and Durable (Spotter Arms)
Spotter Arms are slightly different than J hooks, but they basically get the same job done. The Yes4All Safety Spotter Arms (for 2x2 Power Racks) is one of the best purchases you can make as a dedicated lifter. When you’re trying to make gains by yourself, it’s always ideal to have a second pair of helping hands to fall back on.
While most people will be using their squat racks without a care in the world, you can take an extra safety measure to ensure that you don’t end up hurt. These spotter’s arms are manufactured using industry-standard metal with a total capacity limit of 750 lbs!
It also includes UHMW plastic, which we know is one of the best materials to use for any sort of J hook product. This product is compatible with any power rack that is 2x2” in size and offers 1-inch peg holes.
HulkFit Multi-Function Rack Attachment
Looking for something that offers a little more variety? If you’re into crossfit or anything like that you may be better off purchasing the HulkFit Multi-Function Power Cage Rack Attachment (wow, that is a mouthful!).
If you’re going to be doing more than just isolated lifts, this is the perfect set of J hooks for you. They were developed with durability in mind, meaning you’ll likely never find a tougher set of hooks than these ones.
Perfect for racks, cages, and even stands that offer 2.5 x 2.5 inch square tubes, these J hooks come in black and allow you to jump right into some of the heaviest lifts possible. Of course, that doesn’t mean it cannot be used by beginners as well!
Best Squat Racks w/ J Hooks
Now we showcase the best squat racks that come equipped with j hooks.
T-3 Series Folding Power Rack
The One I Use (Best Bang for Buck)
For about $400 to $500 you can get your hands on the T-3 Series Folding Power Rack and never look back, as you’ll have a reliable rack to squat with into the foreseeable future. You can purchase the rack according to height and depth, giving you a chance to customize the experience before you’ve even received it!
Titan Fitness is a well-known brand within the physical fitness industry, so if you want to ensure that your squat rack isn’t lacking quality, this is a fantastic option to start with. There are many different styles available as well, so you’ll have to check the website to see which one fits you best!
S-1 Squat Stands
Reliable and Durable
Rogue is another reliable brand that we’ve come to count on over the years, and for about $375, you can get your hands on one of their patented S-1 Squat Stands. Standing a whopping 72” high with a 48” x 48” surface area, this is a rack that you can get tons of stuff done with.
It’s easy to use, offers ample durability, and will work with some of my favorite J hook accessories with ease. It has both 1-inch and 2-inch holes for J hooks, with a 2 x 3 tube to boot. Perfect for both a beginner and veteran to use for building up those booty cheeks, squatting daily isn't a problem with beast.
Myrack Folding Rack
There are numerous squat racks to spend your hard-earned money on, but only a few of them are going to warrant the purchase. For example, you can count on Force USA to produce some of the highest quality fitness equipment in the world - I managed to stumble upon their Myrack Folding Rack and realized it was nearly 50% off.
I’m not sure when the sale is going to end, but even at full price this is one of the best squat racks money can buy. If you want to get serious about your squatting ways (and fast), this is the product that will suit your needs best.
HulkFit 1000-Pound Capacity Multi-Function Rack
Highest Rated Squat Rack
The HulkFit 1000-Pound Capacity Multi-Function Squat Rack is one that you can fall into a trance with, just by looking at it alone. It has an amazing color scheme that tends to lure buyers in, but the amazing price point is something else to consider as well.
It won’t offer as many options as the Myrack Folding Rack, but that’s simply because you get what you pay for.
There are dozens of accessories that will seamlessly work alongside the HulkFit Squat Rack, and that’s one of its main selling points since it's a great option for building a home gym (or a backyard gym shed if you're like me). With a total weight limit of 1,000 pounds, it’s also one of the more durable options on this list, despite being arguably the cheapest!
Competition Bench and Squat Rack
Multi-Functional Rack Combo
Titan Fitness is back at it with their Competition Bench and Squat Rack Combo - this is something that you’ll only ever need if you’re looking to building a mountain’s worth of muscle. You’ll never skip leg or chest day again with this little contraption in your garage!
If you do somehow manage to find any issues with your Titan Fitness multi-functional combo rack, you can always contact them yourself and call upon the 1-year warranty. This is always ideal if you’re someone who lifts hard and couldn’t care less about dropping weights around your bench (otherwise known as a complete tool!).
It’s okay, I consider myself one of those people anyway.
My Final Verdict and Recommendation
When looking at all of the recommendations and trying to pinpoint the best option, I’d have to say it’s the Myrack Folding Rack. You simply cannot beat that price, and Myrack is already known for producing high-quality fitness equipment. I also happen to be obsessed with my pair of Yes4All Safety Spotter arms and plan on replacing them with a similar pair from Amazon as soon as they give out (if that ever happens).
Call me a cheapskate if you want, but there are plenty of other options to choose from on this list. Do a bit of research and make the right decision based on what you want yourself!
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