Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a bit of space in a basement, or a garage, and perhaps you think that you’d like to fill this space with some lovely plates and barbells instead of some icky furniture or a washing machine. What better way to spend an afternoon than building your own lifting platform!?
A platform is a handy thing for a few reasons.
- It protects the floor beneath the weights.
- It demarcates a lifting space neatly, which is particularly useful in an area that has some traffic.
- Depending on how you build it, it can cushion the noise of setting the weights down.
- It provides a solid foundation to stand on, but something to pad the area that the weight plates touch.
- In the case of our design, it also provides a little “safety fence” to prevent the weights rolling away.
The concept behind a platform is pretty basic: imagine a large square on the floor, with three panels. One panel on each side is rubber, and will provide some give. The centre panel is wood. You stand on the centre, with the barbell running crosswise, and the barbell’s plates rest on each side, on the rubber. Now, snooty universities with elite sports teams have fancypants lifting platforms with lovely hardwood and expensive bumper plates and so forth. They need a team of structural engineers to make their platforms to accommodate large meaty men dropping 600 pound cleans. But if you’re the average lifter (and average carpenter) shmoe like me, and you just want something to prevent the barbell from bashing up the linoleum, here’s your plan.
Thanks to my incessant whining (and since nobody else knew which end of the barbell was up), I was put in charge of setting up the weight area as part of the construction of a new Toronto Newsgirls gym. My friend, boxer and Mistress Sunday co-instructor OMGBFFA (aka “Machine”) and I decided to construct a lifting platform for the lovely ladies. I began with a basic plan from Randall Strossen’s article on Ironmind, but added a frame.
what you’ll need:
- Four sheets of plywood, 4′ x 8′, 1/2 to 3/4″ thick. This will form your base.
- One to three sheets of plywood, 4′ x 8′, 3/4″ thick. This will provide the centre piece.
- Two 2″ x 6″, 8 feet long
- Two 2″ x 6″, 10 feet long
The wood for items 3 and 4 will provide your frame. You can use thinner pieces of wood, say 2″ x 4″ if you want, for items 3 and 4. Or you can dispense with the frame altogether, as in the Strossen model. It’s up to you. We wanted a nice big edge on the plaform to be sure that no plates would roll off. If you’re using a proper weightlifting bar that has nicely spinning ends, as we are, sometimes those babies can get up momentum if you drop them just right. They’ll leap over the edges of things once they pick up speed, so we wanted to be sure no 45s were going to run amok. This will also provide lots of opportunity for hilarious pratfalls until people figure out how to watch their step. We, um, plan to paint it yellow, just to be on the safe side.
- Two pieces of rubber matting, each 2′ x 8′. Thickness will depend on what you can get your hands on, which is why item 2 is variable.
- Wood screws, 1.25″ (to screw the plywood base together) and 2.5″ (to screw the outside frame to the base)
- Wood glue
- Power drill
This will build you a platform that is just over 8 feet square, wide enough to accommodate the standard 7 foot Olympic bar. If you like, you can always build a shallower one — cut the wood to size or have it done for you when you buy it. I do advise the 8 foot width, but you could easily construct it to be 8 feet wide and perhaps 6 feet deep. The only other tool you need besides the drill is a saw. If you don’t have a power saw handy, since you’re only making 2 cuts, you could do this by hand if you don’t mind a little elbow grease. If you don’t even have a hand saw, if you’re not overly picky about precision and don’t care about a perfect edge, you can get the two 10-foot 2″x6″s (item 4) cut when you buy them — cut to 8 feet plus 4 inches, so 100 inches.