Lifting Platforms for Your Home Gym
Why Use a Platform
Platforms protect the subfloor like no other solution out there. Concrete is not indestructible. It can get pulveriszed to dust. Dropping bumper plates will do it, given enough drops.
Are Rubber Mats Enough?
For a while, 1/2″ or 3/4″ hard rubber mats may protect the concrete subfloor well enough. But we have heard of the matting being pulled up at Crossfit gyms to exposure concrete that has been pulverized underneath from the constant dropping of bumpers over the years. So one layer of mats is not complete protection. If you add another layer, that is certainly better.
The reason a platform is the superior solution is the layers of wood and rubber mixed. The rubber softens the blow and the protects the surface underneath, but the wood spreads the force out over the entire surface better, so wood underneath rubber complements the rubber nicely. A platform is made with at least a couple layers of wood, with a top layer of rubber on the sides. A concrete floor will not get damaged when bumpers are dropped on a proper platform on a regular basis.
If you have neighbors, a platform will also reduce the vibration compared to dropping on rubber mats only. The vibration may be a significant issue. Even neighbors in unattached houses may feel it.
The firm surface of wood also helps stability for the lift and getting a good jump when doing a lift, even compared to the hard types of rubber used in flooring.
Also see our article about rubber mats for gym floors.
An 8ft x 8ft platform is the most luxurious. It gives enough room for your to drop it both in front of and behind you during a failed lift. A 6ft long platform is okay too, but the barbell will likely roll off the platform from a failed lift, or if you badly lose balance you may miss the platform altogether, or hit the edge of it, sending the barbell rolling off and causing mayhem.
We also sell some platforms with an “inset”, which is a wooden extension that slips into certain power racks. That way you can get the awesome wood surface inside a rack as well. When a platform is used with an inset, part of the steel band that goes around the platform is not included, so the wood goes flush up against wood for a clean extension of the platform.
Want some deadlifting tips? See Dr. John Rusin’s article on how to deadlift with good form and without pain.