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How to Bring Olympic-Level Strength Training to A Home Squat Rack

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Chantae McMillan competed in the heptathlon at the 2012 Olympic Games, and was training for a spot in the javelin at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics until those games were moved to 2021. The track and field standout at the University of Nebraska was a four-time Big 12 Champion in combined events, and she earned All-America honors five times.

McMillan trains for the Tokyo Olympics at Fort Rucker, Alabama, where her husband serves as an Army helicopter pilot, and inside her garage gym at her home in Rolla, Missouri. 

Why do you like having the squat rack at home?

It offers me the convenience to get my workouts done at home, while my son naps. Time is everything right now as a mom and with this squat rack in my garage, I don’t waste time driving to and from somewhere. More time for taking care of my son and recovery.

What’s the benefit of having a rack in your home gym?

The squat rack in my garage allows me to get my base work done, so I have great strength and muscle endurance going into winter. It has helped tremendously with the gyms closing through the pandemic, not derailing any of my strength training. 

Do you have a favorite exercise or lift?

My two favorite lifts within the squat rack are front squats and hang cleans.

Do you use it strictly for weight training or for other exercises?

I also loop resistance bands around the rack and use them to do a warm-up routine for my spine, arms, and upper back muscles.

Chantae’s Workouts

Workout 1

Details: Straight through. Only recovery is what it takes to set up for the next exercise (1 to 3minutes). Weights: Lower, condition-based

  • Front Squat: 4 (sets) x 6 (reps), 10-second rest between sets
  • Back Squat: 4 x 8, 10-second rest between sets
  • Jump Squat: 4 x 12, 90-second rest between sets 
  • Chin-up: 4 x 6, 10-second rest between sets
  • Pulldown: 4 x 10, 10-second rest between sets
  • Sled Face Pull: 4 x 20, 90-second rest between sets

Workout 2

Details: Twice through the circuit with 15 seconds between each exercise. One minute between the two sets. Weight: Low to medium 

  • Power Clean: 7 reps
  • Back Squat: 7 reps
  • Hang Snatch: 7 reps
  • Front Squat: 7 reps
  • Power Sit-Ups: 7 reps

Workout 3

Details: Start the clock, do two reps, rack, reset, two reps. Repeat for the entire time duration. Three minutes between exercises. Weight: Low to medium

  • 12 minutes: Squat with Elevated Heels
  • 12 minutes: Barbell Push Press
  • 12 minutes: Deadlift