The squat rack is the perfect place to crack out a ton of compound exercises using only a barbell and some weight.

What are compound exercises? Compound exercises are movements that activate multiple muscle groups and use multiple joints at once. These exercises improve intramuscular coordination and increase flexibility.

Compound exercises are also an efficient use of time, as they allow you to build muscle strength and burn more calories in a shorter period of time.

If you’re looking to get comfortable with the squat rack, try this 7-day challenge. 

DAY 1: Stationary lunges (3 sets of 12 reps per leg) Recommended weight range: 65 to 95 lbs

  • Grab the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Step under the bar and place the weight on the back of your shoulders
  • Straighten your legs to lift the bar off of the rack
  • Step away from the rack with your feet shoulder-width apart and brace your core before stepping forward with your right leg, lowering yourself into a lunge position
  • Maintain balance as you drive through your right foot to push yourself back to a standing split stance position
  • Repeat on the opposite side


DAY 2: Good mornings
 (3 sets of 10 reps) Recommended weight: 65 lbs

  • Grab the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart
  • Step under the bar and place the weight on the back of your shoulders
  • Straighten your legs to lift the bar off of the rack
  • Step away from the rack and position your legs shoulder-width apart as you brace your core
  • Keep both feet planted as you bend at the hips, moving the torso forward until it’s parallel with the floor
  • A slight bend at the knee is allowed in this movement
  • Keep your core braced and exhale before elevating your torso and raising the bar back up to a standing position for one rep


DAY 3: Bent over barbell rows
 (4 sets of 10 reps) Recommended weight range: 65 to 95 lbs

  • Bring the bar down to the lowest position on the squat rack
  • Grab the barbell with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing the floor
  • Stand with your mid-foot under the bar and your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Bend your knees slightly and push your hips back as you lift your chest and straighten your back as if you’re about to perform a deadlift
  • Pull the bar towards your waist with your elbows parallel to your torso and your shoulders blades squeezed together
  • Pause briefly at your waist before releasing the bar down to the starting position for one rep


DAY 4: Romanian deadlifts
(Set 1: 95 lbs x 3 sets of 8 reps, Set 2: 135 lbs x 3 sets of 8 reps, Set 3: 155-185 lbs x 3 sets of 8 reps) Optional training block for stronger athletes

  • Bring the bar down to the lowest position on the squat rack, then load the barbell with weight plates
  • Grip the bar with hands shoulder-width apart and brace your core before lifting it from the rack to a standing position
  • Step back from the rack and stand with your feet planted hip-width apart
  • Push your hips back and lower the bar downward while keeping your head in a neutral position and your chest open
  • Once the bar touches your shins, begin driving through your feet to move the weight back to a standing position
  • Keep your core braced through the movement and your shoulders blades locked in place as you perform this exercise


DAY 5: Overhead presses
 (4 sets of 8 to 10 reps) Recommended weight: 65 lbs

  • Stand with feet planted hip-width apart with the bar on your front shoulders and chest, hands gripping just outside of your shoulders
  • Brace your core and press the bar overhead
  • Lock your elbows to obtain a straight arm position and pause before lowering the bar back down to your clavicle for one rep


DAY 6:
Back squats (Set 1: 65 lbs x 3 sets of 8 reps, Set 2: 95 lbs x 3 sets of 8 reps, Set 3: 135 lbs x 3 sets of 8 reps) Optional training block for stronger athletes

  • Grab the barbell with your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing down
  • Place the barbell on your traps or behind your shoulders, while keeping the chest open and facing forward
  • Walk backwards and plant your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, toes turned out slightly
  • Brace your core and slowly descend into a squat position while keeping the torso upright and your knees aligned with your toes
  • Once you’ve descended down into your squat, pause briefly before driving the weight up to the starting position for one rep


DAY 7: Clean and presses
(Set 1: 65 lbs x 3 sets of 6 reps, Set 2: 80 lbs x 3 sets of 6 reps, Set 3: 95 lbs x 3 sets of 6 reps) Optional training block for stronger athletes

  • Start with the bar on the floor in a deadlift set up, feet planted hip-width apart
  • Brace your core and grip the bar with hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing the floor
  • In one continuous movement, drive through your feet, as if you were deadlifting the bar to a standing position and lift the barbell to your shoulders
  • Once the barbell is resting on your shoulders, descend into a squat position
  • As you ascend out of the squat position push up through your feet and extend both arms to press the barbell overhead
  • Lower the barbell to your shoulders before dropping it back to the floor with a straight back for one rep