With any home gym, you need some kind of floor protection to prevent damaging both your floor and equipment. In the beginning, some thick rubber mats can do an okay job but you will eventually want to upgrade to a squat rack platform. A good platform will protect your things and can allow you to drill your squat rack into the floor without ruining your floor.
The trouble is that these platforms can be very expensive if you buy them from a traditional manufacturer. Not to mention, most of us home gym owners are limited in space and would prefer to have one with custom dimensions.
Thankfully, you can easily build your own for cheap as we will break down in this guide.
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How To Build A Weightlifting Platform
Building your own lifting platform is very easy and should not cost you more than $200 if you already have access to some basic power tools. At the end of this, you will have an 8′ x 8′ rack that is about 2 inches thick.
Of course, measure your floor space to make sure you have enough space. Also, check to see how much clearance you have overhead. The last thing you want is to build this platform only to realize you now can’t do overhead presses without bashing your roof.
4′ x 8′ 3/4″ Cheap Plywood ( Quantity: 4)
4′ x 8′ 3/4 3/4″ Of Quality Plywood (This will be the wood that actually shows on your rack, I would recommend oak or maple of grade A/B or A/C) (Quantity: 1)
4′ x 6′ 3/4″ Stall Mat ( Can Buy At Tractor Supply or Amazon) (Quantity: 2)
3 1/2″ Lag Screws (These will be used to bolt your rack into the platform, make sure the screws you buy fit into the holes at the feet of your rack) (Quantity: 4)
Washers (Quantity: 8)
Box of 1 1/4″ Construction Screws (Quantity: 1)
Total Cost Of Materials: $170
Marker or chalk
Putting Your Platform Together
DIY Weightlifting Platform Video Guide
Move your squat rack out of the way and lay two of your cheap boards next to each other where you want your platform to be. Ensure that there is no space between the two boards
On top of the boards, place your two other cheap boards in the OPPOSITE direction of how you laid the other boards. Follow the diagram if you are confused. Use your drill and construction screws to drill the boards in place.
Now get your piece of nice plywood and lay it in the middle of the platform. You want to center it so make sure that the space on either side of the board is the same. You should have two feet of space on either side.
Next, take your chalk and straight edge and make a line down the middle of your stall mats lengthwise. Use this line as a guide and cut the mat down the middle.
You should now have two 2′ x 6′ mats. Place them on your platform. At this point, you should now have two 2′ x 2′ exposed at the bottom of your platform.
Take your other stall mats and cut them down the middle as well. From here measure and cut out 2 2′ x 2′ squares. Use these squares to fill in the blank spaces.
Drill your nice plywood and stall mats onto your platform. There should be no spaces.
Now place your rack on the platform leaving some space both behind and in front of the rack.
Once everything is aligned, bolt your rack into the platform by using the lag screws. Make sure to place two washers between the screws and the rack and tighten them properly with a socket wrench.
Benefits Of DIY Weightlifting Platforms
Why you should build your own weightlifting platform for your garage gym:
Protects Your Floor And Equipment
Repeated exposure to dropped weights will cause damage to any type of flooring. Since floor repair can be so costly and tedious, it makes sense to take the time and get a quality platform where you can drop weight with no problem.
Aside from your floor, your plates and barbells will eventually begin to degrade after being dropped on the bare floor. For the sake of making your home gym equipment last longer, it also makes sense to get a platform.
With a platform, you can now drill your power rack into place without damaging your flooring. Having your rack bolted ensures that it will stay put during your heaviest lifts.
As I have already mentioned, regular rubber mats can be fine to start out with for your garage gym. However, these mats can easily move around and get items stuck underneath creating a potentially dangerous hazard during your lifts. This will no longer be a problem with a solid platform.
Building your own platforms is way cheaper than buying one. Even the cheapest of platforms on the market can cost well over a grand. Not to mention the money you will save by avoiding any costly floor repair.
Makes Your Workouts Quieter
Barbells and weights can be very loud. This can be a real problem if you have anyone else in your home and you like to work out early or at night. Thankfully, the thickness of the plywood and stall mats drastically reduces the noise.
Granted, you will never be able to eliminate the noise completely. But, at least with the lifting platform, you are being a bit more considerate of those around you.
Given how cheap and easy it is to build, I don’t see why most garage gym owners build their own lifting platforms. It only takes a few hours but can drastically improve your weightlifting experience from home.