It has been exactly a month since I last spoke about the Powertec Power Rack System, so it’s time for a quick final take on it. I have been training with it exclusively and love it to death. The whole thing is very sold, and I bumped into it a few times with the plates and bars… not a scratch has surfaced. I haven’t been able to use the lat attachments yet because of the low ceiling height, but I should have a summary of it in two or three months (when I move my setup to the garage). I have been squatting, benching (flat and incline), dead-lifting and power-cleaning for a month and I have no complaints whatsoever. The bench is sturdy and highly adjustable, and it hasn’t failed on me yet. I have done a few dips with the power rack and the thing doesn’t budge with my weight (all 180 lbs of me :)). Yep, this thing is strong and durable, and I’m confident it’s going to last me a long, long time. Since I got it, I have always looked forward to going home and lifting some weights. Damn fine rack.
This article is the continuation of the Powertec Power Rack System Review.
After I left Fitness Nutrition with a 50.00$ deposit for the labour to take out the equipment out of inventory, I went home eagerly waiting for the next day to arrive so I could pickup the rack. Luckily for me, the day went by fairly quick. At around 7 PM, I greeted Nick (the guy who sold me the equipment) and we passed my credit card again for the full payment minus the deposit the day before. After the transaction had passed, I was instructed to bring my car around the back next to the loading bay. Once at the garage door, it was a game of Tetris to load up all the pieces into the vehicle. There were about 5 big boxes (2 for the rack, 2 for the lat-machine addon and 1 for the bench) with a 7″ Olympic bar and 2 tire mats for floor protection (the floor mats weigh a ton!). Everything fit in the car nicely, and before I knew it, I was the owner of a Powertec rack.
With a pleasant drive home, I backed up the car to my garage and started unloading the boxes. Piece by piece, I brought everything downstairs into the room where the equipment was going to be housed. Since I was tired that day, I told myself I would assemble the rack another time. Fast forwarding to a few days later, I got off my ass and started assembly of the rack. I noticed before the build that I was missing some tools (the socket ratchet out of all things…) so a quick trip to Canadian Tire lead me to some new Mastercraft sockets and wrenches.
I have to say it… the pieces that make up this rack are all solid, high quality stuff. Putting this whole thing together was a joy I must admit (I’m a assembly-fiend mind you… starting with Legos as a child). The whole rack, when assembled, was 82″ from top to bottom. My ceiling is 83 and 3/4″ high, so a problem was now apparent: the lat-machine add-on was not going to fit, as it took up another 2-3″ of height that I did not have. Actually, the problem was only during the installation phase of the rack, as I didn’t have any workable ceiling height to slide the two metal rods into place and tighten them at the top (besides this, the rack would have fit in 83.75″ of space without a problem). An “Uh oh” ran through my mind, shifting my mood altogether to anger. Not knowing what to do, I decided to sleep on the matter and let my mind do some thinking. I had several solutions come up the next day: 1) I could either try to assemble the lat system on the floor [didn’t work], 2) I could make a small rectangular cut in the ceiling for the installation [decided against it, even though parents were cool with it] and 3) move the gym system to another location [chosen solution]. At this point, I have no other room in the house where the rack can be housed. The only viable solution, which will only be available in two months, is when I clean up the garage and put the equipment in the back. Right now, there is a mountain of useless junk taking up valuable gym space. When spring rolls around, I will be doing some IKEA shopping and build some nice metal shelves around the garage to organize everything. Till then, I have decided to work without the lat equipment and simply stick to my original exercises (squat, dead-lift, power clean, bench press and shoulder press).
Regardless of the situation, the rack is excellent overall, except for one thing: the upper metal supports (which are a measly 4″ long) are just that… not long enough. I’m used to the 10″ long metal brackets at my ex-gym (Monster Gym) but I guess I’ll eventually adapt to them. Anyway, the Powertec rack is sturdy, well built and does not shake or rattle when handled. The Powertec Utility Bench is also well built, but I must say that I am not a fan of the side-adjusting lever/piston. I still haven’t tested the equipment mind you, as I don’t have any Olympic weights (picking them up soon). I guess a Part 3 of this review is needed. 🙂
I have been training at the Monster Gym here in the West Island for seven years now and been renewing my membership on a yearly basis. This year however, I will be ending the renewal as I am finally moving to a home gym setup. The main reasons behind this move is because of several factors. First, the total cost of a home gym setup is much cheaper than paying a yearly fee in the long run. I have been training at the Monster for 7 years now, and have been paying a fee ranging from 300 to 360$ CDN (student pricing to regular). While I have no complaints about this gym (it’s the BEST in Montreal, hands down) it does lead to my second concern: it’s overcrowded. Simply put, the gym has never been this packed before… it’s a friggin’ zoo! The squat racks, once empty, is now home to the bicep gurus and amateur lifters. The treadmills, elliptic and biking machines are constantly packed with no time slots available for the entire night. Quite simply, the whole gym experience has been tainted for me these past 2 months. A lot of these people are in for the holiday rush mind you, and should disappear within a month or two (three if they’re dedicated…). Regardless, I’ve had enough of the overpopulated facilities… it’s time to move on!
Shopping around for a home power rack was quite simple with friendly old Google. I found numerous brands and models with different price points. My search was most likely going to take a few days (if not weeks) to figure out the right model for me. It was until I came across the Powertec Power Rack System that really got my attention. There were a few sites advertising the item, but almost all of them were too expensive, high shipping costs or surprisingly out of stock. Reading some body building forums brought up to my attention that these units were pretty scarce, with backorders ranging from 1 to 2 months. I didn’t want to wait that long for a power rack, so I started looking at other brands such as the Body-Solid and Powerline units (same company mind you). A lot of online stores were carrying these brands with plenty of stock. I read that they’re pretty decent machines, but not as durable as the Powertec in terms of construction. They were also lacking the dip arms, something that was a standard on the Powertec rack. Anyway, I figured it wouldn’t be such a big deal… the Powerline rack was cheaper too. I was now considering saving on the shipping costs (around 200$) by simply driving down to Kingston (3 hour drive, one way) and pick the equipment up from a retailer. The next step was calling up the store, when I told myself I should try Fitness Depot down by the road from my house. I knew right away their prices on the equipment they had was outrageous, but for comparison reasons and to save some possible time, I visited them just in case. The brand they’re mostly known for is Northern Lights. I assumed the brand was good, since they’re so expensive and all. Anyway, checking out the squat rack and the bench that Fitness Depot was selling turned out to be a disaster: the squat rack was cheap and flimsy, and the bench was made out of hard foam rock or something because it was utterly uncomfortable to lie on. The quote for the whole system came up to 1,800$ which was totally not worth it, since the Powertec system was half that. Reading online reviews about the Northern Lights system was never positive; almost everyone had a complaint about them, from the hard rock bench to the flimsy chassis construction. So, with Fitness Depot out of the way, I was just about to call the Kingston store for the Powerline equipment when I decided to try one more time in finding another local fitness equipment store in the Montreal and Laval area… just one more try!
There and behold, I came across Fitness Nutrition, a fitness equipment and supplements store with 12 years of experience located in Laval. This place was literally 14 minutes away from my office! Without thinking twice, I got in my car the following morning and visited the place right before heading to work. A rather large and white building, this place is easy to find on St-Martin street. Upon stepping inside, I was greeted by a worker there who showed me the Powertec equipment right away. And what do you know, they had units in stock! Before I busted out the AeroGold to pay for the unit, I promptly asked for a quotation on the rack (with lat attachment), bench and bar. “Make me a deal” I told the worker. He nodded and proceeded to crunch some numbers down. This gave me an opportunity to go back to the power rack and observe the construction in greater detail. Simply, it felt damn solid and did not wobble whatsoever. The arms and supports were decent, but not the best I’ve seen (I can replace them if ever). The Powertec rack was quite superior to the Northern Lights garbage I had seen the other day. So, the final package prices with taxes in came up to 1,800$ CDN (utility bench, bar, rack and lat attachment). I thought this was a bit too high, but I didn’t say anything just yet. I thanked the worker and left with the quote and headed to work. At the office, I did some quick comparison with online prices and noticed it was 400$ more expensive without the shipping fees.
That night, before going home, I decided to stop by Fitness Nutrition and see if I can bring the total price down. I showed them the competitive website and they brought down the price by 220$ which was pretty decent considering they were taxes in. After weighing all my other options, I agreed to the final price: 1,715.00$ taxes in (with some 4×6′ mats thrown in too). Since it was closing time for them, I offered to pay a deposit and pick up the equipment the next day.
It’s been a while since I was taking supplements for my strength training routine. I took a break from them as I wanted to see the difference with and without them. After 6 months of keeping it “natural”, I have decided to cycle creatine and nitric oxide again, along with some new additions to the stack: Controlled Labs’ GlycerGrow and some flax seed oil by NOW. I kind of went overboard last night with the supplements order on Bodybuilding.com’s store I must admit, totaling just about 200$ CDN including shipping costs. The order also includes Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey Protein (Cookies ‘n Cream flavour) along with a new protein blend I really liked (tried it at Seb’s house a few times) called Syntrax Nectar (Apple Ecstasy flavour). The latter tasted really, really good in cold water. I’m going to be consuming it exclusively at work since it mixes well with cold water (resulting in less of a mess since we have no sink here to wash cups and such…). I’ll be keeping some logs of my supplement usage in the upcoming weeks yet again!
Yesterday, I had the best workout experience in my life. My brother and I were just starting our last exercise of the day, the power cleans, until a fellow gym trainee (who was fairly built) came up to us and asked us how long we have with the olympic lifts area (my gym has a special area for Olympic barbells and weights). At this point, the guy didn’t know we were doing cleans, so he sat back and wanted to jump in during our rest periods. With that said, my brother went up first to perform the power cleans. He quickly finished his first set and sat back down. I got up and the guy came up to us once again, astonished this time, asking “How come you guys are doing cleans?”.
I’m thinking to myself, why wouldn’t I be?
Worried, I asked him: “Umm… are we doing it right?”
The guy replies; “You guys are doing a fantastic job at it. I’m really surprised you guys are doing this exercise since the rare people who usually do it never get it right. You guys have the technique all written down. Great job guys!”
At this point, I never felt so good during a workout. For the remainder of our exercise, we had a good conversation about strength training and how the majority of people who “train” at the gym simply do it to look good (he referred to them as ‘pretty boys’, haha). Alvaro, which we later found out was his name, gave us a few great pointers on the cleans (don’t forget to use your legs) and pretty much reinforced the knowledge I had gained through reading the Starting Strength book.
I felt great after that. Damn great.