The Valor Fitness BD-33 is one of the company’s strongest heavy duty power cages, capable of supporting up to 1000 lbs of weight inside the cage, and up to 500 lbs on the front catches.
This is the same capacity as the higher priced BD-41 power cage, and marks a significant increase over the 600 lb capacity offered by the earlier BD-19 sawtooth squat / bench rack.
But how do you know if the BD-33 really represents the best value for money, and do you actually need a full sized power rack to support your future strength and fitness goals?
In our review, we’ll take a closer look at the design and safety features, as well as making some important comparisons with similarly priced racks from other strength equipment companies. This is to help you decide if the BD-33 is the best power cage for your own home gym.
Design and safety features
The BD-33 power cage from Valor Fitness is one of 3 models in their collection to feature a lat pull attachment option. This means that you can extend the range of exercises available to include high and low cable variations, such as curls, press downs, and lat pulldowns.
Despite being the most affordable of the 3, you don’t lose out on anything when it comes to weight capacity, where the saber rod style safety rails inside the cage can support up to 1000 lbs of weight.
But it’s not just the high weight capacity that makes this cage so special. You’re also given eight different anchor points around the outside of the frame for attaching resistance bands.
This is particularly important if you reach a plateau in your strength training with one of the big compound exercises, like deadlifts, squats, and bench presses, but can also be an advantage in almost any exercise that requires a barbell.
By wrapping resistance bands from the barbell up to the high anchor points you effectively make the lower portion of the exercise slightly easier, allowing you to overload the top portion. This is effective in exercises like deadlifts where you may be struggling to lock out at the top of the movement.
Alternatively, the bands can be wrapped around the bar collars and low anchor points to make an exercise more difficult the further you move the bar from the ground.
This is excellent for improving your strength in the bench press, where the added resistance towards the top of the range of motion helps strengthen what is traditionally the weakest part of the lift for many athletes.
When you’re including heavy squats in your workout, we would always recommend training with a spotter. However, this isn’t always possible, which is why if you’re training in a home gym, you need to find a way to lift as safely as possible.
While squat racks are often highly rated for being more affordable and having a lower frame height, if you want complete support without worrying too much about your position in the rack, you can’t get any better than a power cage.
The saber style rods that accompany the BD-33 run the full length of the frame, and can be adjusted through a wide range of different height settings to support upright rows and barbell shrugs just as well as squats and military presses.
Because the set of bar catches is reversible, you can also take the bar outside of the cage and perform exercises at the front, but the weight capacity is much more restricted, supporting up to 500 lbs.
The cage itself has a very low base frame and excellent center of gravity, but if you intend on having this much weight resting on the front bar catches for any amount of time we recommend loading some weight plates on the storage pegs at the back.
Valor Fitness BD-33 – Features Summary
- 2″ x 2″ 12-gauge steel main frame with metallic pewter painted finish. BD-33L Lat Pull optional.
- (2) Solid steel chromed adjustable safety squat bars and (4) weight bar catch supports.
- (8) Band / strap pegs with spring clips adjustable in 8 positions at top and 13 positions at base.
- (17) Vertical position settings with numbering for bar supports and accessories ranging 16″- 67″.
- Multi-position chin-up bar with 1-1/4″ diameter black textured powder coated hand grips.
- Triangular top frame supports to increase maximum loads while adding safety
If you’re buying the cage on its own without the lat attachment, you’ll also need to purchase an Olympic barbell and have access to a variety of different sized weight plates.
As with the cage itself, barbells will be rated with a weight capacity, so it’s worth checking how much a bar is capable of holding before you buy.
Valor Fitness barbells are usually priced between $100 and $150, and will support between 700 lbs and 1000 lbs, depending on the specific model (OB-86-700 can hold 700 lbs, OB-86-1000 can hold 1000 lbs).
Once you have the cage setup and loaded with your bar and plates, you can perform a wide range of compound strength building exercises, for both upper and lower body muscle groups. This includes:
- Back squats
- Military presses
- Pull ups
- Upright rows
- Barbell curls
- Chin ups
- Barbell rows
- Stiff-legged deadlifts
- Behind-the-neck presses
- Front squats
If you were to combine this with an adjustable FID bench then you could also add bench press variations (incline, decline, flat, close grip). Adding the lat pulldown would provide dozens more exercise options, from hammer curls to overhead extensions and lat pulldowns.
Cable pulley attachment options
If you want to include more isolation exercises in your workouts using high and low cable pulleys, you might be interested in the lat pulldown attachment for the BD-33 power cage.
The BD-33L is a lat pull tower that can be securely fitted to the back of the rack to support a wider variety of exercises, although this does mean a slight increase in the size of the footprint.
Having the lat attachment fitted to the back of the rack has a number of benefits, including improved stability if you use heavy weights on the front, and leaving a clear area inside the cage if you want to use a weights bench.
Optional BD-33L Lat Attachment Features:
- Includes 38″ lat bar attachment and 20″ straight row bar attachment
- Includes pad covered hold-down bar to keep mid-section secure while performing lat exercises from top pulley
- Black diamond plate foot plate
- Max recommended weight load: 250 lbs.
- Assembled Dimensions: 13″ D (off back of rack) x 20″ W x 86″ H (51 lbs.)
- 1″ diameter weight plate pegs for use with both standard and Olympic sized weight plates
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: 3 years