Just because you live in an apartment does not mean you cannot build out your own home gym. Having a squat rack in an apartment is doable. You just need to take some precautions and take the right steps laid out in this guide.
Table of contents
Can You Put A Squat Rack In An Apartment?
Deciding to put a squat rack in your apartment is not a decision you should take lightly. Here are the key things you should take in mind:
What Floor Are You On?
If you are on the ground floor, the weight capacity of your apartment floor no longer becomes an issue. You also do not have to worry about neighbors below you complaining about the noise.
That being said, you can have a rack on a higher floor. You are just going to have to be more careful and not drop weights.
How Old Is Your Building?
Newer, modern buildings are built to more rigorous building codes meaning that they can support more weight. Generally, the age of your building only becomes a concern if your building was built over 40 years ago.
If you want to be on the safe side, get a floor inspector to come and check it out to see what kind of weight capacity it has.
Also, your landlord may be able to provide information or recommendation in this regard. The only problem is that lots of landlords do not want tenants banging heavy weights around so it may be better to do the research yourself.
How Thin Are Your Walls?
This is a factor that varies a lot by apartment building regardless of age.
It also only really becomes a problem if you are going to be doing lots of deadlifts or are just a noisy lifter in general. If you want to keep your neighbors happy and you have thin walls, you may want to look into some sound-deafening options.
Do You Have The Space?
Depending on the rack, squat racks can be large and bulky. If you have a spare bedroom, then you should be fine here but if you are planning on putting a rack in your living room or room, you want to make sure you have the correct measurements.
It is also not just about having enough space for the rack in an apartment. You also need to consider that you will have to store barbells and weight plates.
If you are really short on room, power racks may not be an option for you. Consider looking into some squat stands or half racks if you still want to lift weights in your apartment. Another option is building your own custom rack to suit your needs.
How Long Is Your Lease?
If you are renting and have a lease that is almost up, I would not recommend getting a squat for your apartment. It may only seem like one piece of equipment, but there are lots of materials and work that go into making your apartment a safe place to lift weights.
Instead, I would recommend getting a membership at a commercial gym. They have plenty of workout equipment and can hold your over until you move into a more permanent place to get your home gym started.
Can My Floor Support A Power Rack?
While I advise being extra cautious, most floors should have no problem supporting the load of a rack even if you are on the second floor.
It is important to understand the difference between dead loads and live loads when it comes to load capacity of a floor.
Dead loads include the floor itself and anything that is attached to it. Live loads are the things on your apartment floor that are not directly attached. These are things like you and your kitchen table.
As a basic rule, modern floors can hold about 35 pounds per square foot. So if you want to do the math, just multiply the space in square feet by 35 and check how much load your floor can hold.
As an example, a typical room is about 130 square feet. So just multiply 135 * 35 and the resulting total load limit is 4550 pounds. This means that a rack and barbell are well under the limit.
Being extra careful
While your floor may be able to hold the load, still take steps to make sure you are being safe.
Always try to distribute your weight plates evenly and do your best to avoid dropping weights.
How To Protect Your Floor
Regardless of what your floor is made of, you want to take the right steps to make sure you do not cause any damage.
The best overall option is purchasing a deadlift platform to place under your squat rack. A deadlift platform is very sturdy and will do the best job of minimizing noise and vibrations while lifting.
If you like DIY projects, there are plenty of people that have made their own platforms by using a combination of horse stall mats and rubber mats.
The other thing you are going to want to look into is crash mats. These basically go under your barbell for lifts that make lots of noise like the deadlift and remove lots of the noise.
Lastly, you may just want to have some foam mats on the lower walls close to your rack. Lots of times, the barbell or weight plates will rest against the wall and you do not want to mess up the paint.
Can You Drop Weights In An Apartment?
One of the main reasons many people get a home gym is to avoid rules and lift however they would like.
This is great and if you are into CrossFit or Olympic weight lifting, this often involves dropping weights on the floor.
However, if you are in an apartment, I would heavily advise against dropping weights on the floor. I do not think you will bust a hole in your floor but you could risk damaging your floor and interfering with the structural integrity.
It may also be wise to get some bumper plates as opposed to regular metal plates to help limit impacts
How Much Weight Can I Lift In My Apartment?
We have established, that most apartments can easily hold the weight of a rack and weight plates.
However, you have to consider that when you do lifts like the squat or overhead press, all of that weight has become a concentrated load at your feet.
It is for that reason, I like to play it safe and not go over 450 pounds when lifting in my apartment.
Do I Need Permission From My Landlord?
This is a common concern and some landlords or building managers may have a problem with it. However, they will never really know unless you start making too much noise.
Can I Put A Squat Rack On My Balcony?
If you are limited in space and have a balcony, it may be a good choice for your squat rack if you take a few things into consideration.
Balconies can generally hold about 50-100 pounds per square foot so you should be fine there. The problem is that if all your gym equipment is outside, it can be at risk of rust if you leave it exposed to the weather for too long.
The other problem here is that if you leave your power rack on the balcony, anybody can see you while you training and your landlord will quickly become aware of what you are doing.
Hopefully, you now know if your apartment is can house a squat rack and allow you to have a great home gym.
A rack is a great piece of equipment. Once you get your own rack and have it set up, be sure to check out some of these great power rack exercises.
Is it safe to have a home gym in an apartment?
Most modern apartments are more than strong enough to hold the weight of a home gym. If you are still concerned, consider getting a floor inspector to make sure everything is safe.
Is it safe to have a squat rack on second floor?
It is safe, you just have to be aware of your neighbors downstairs and avoid dropping weights.
Can I put a squat rack in a bedroom?
Of course! Some people really like having the convenience of having their gym in their bedroom.
How do you secure a squat rack without drilling?
Not all racks are required to be bolted down. Also, consider storing your weight plates on the rack itself by using peg attachments. The heavier the rack is, the more stable it will be.