BOOM! That’s the sound of a loaded barbell being dropped from over your head. You just performed a successful power clean and jerk. That’s usually followed by another sound – the voice of the manager of your gym throwing you out for good. It is a sad reality that most gyms across America actively discourage people from working hard. In fact, most gym’s business models are to sign up as many people as possible, and bank that most never show up. So it really isn’t a surprise when heavy lifts like deadlifts and Olympic lift variations are banned from commercial gyms. In a culture where the “lunk alarm” is an actual thing, it is an uphill battle for the lifter who wants to keep progressing on these lifts. So what is a lifter to do? Do what I did. Build your own weightlifting platform! I took several really good designs and adapted them to my situation. My garage isn’t very wide, so I went with a 6’x8′ design. My design also takes into account several important priorities:
- The noise of the platform cannot reverberate throughout my house
- The vibration of the dropped weights cannot reach surrounding people’s houses
Materials Needed for a Low Vibration, Low Noise Platform
Total time: 6 hours
Total cost: approx $300
Tools needed: power drill, ruler, straight edge knife, T-square
- 2 – sheets of 3’x8′ low grade plywood
- 2 – sheets of 4’x6′ low grade plywood
- 60 1.25″ wood screws
- 2 – 6ft 2×6’s
- 2 – 2ft 2×6’s
- 2 – 6ft 3in 2×6’s
- 30 – 2.25″ wood screws
- 7 – 6ft 2×4’s
- 30 – 2.25″ wood screws
- 1 – 4’x6′ high quality maple plywood sheet
- 2 – 4’x6′ rubber horse stall mats, 3/4 inch thickness (both cut in half)
- 1″ carpet padding
- 3″ carpet
*Optional* Logo Materials
- 1 – roll of painter’s tape, thickest tape available
- 1 – can of spray paint
- 1 – can of high gloss polyurethane
- 1 – paint brush
- 1 – sheet of sandpaper
Constructing The Base
Lay down the 3×8 pieces side by side. Place the 4×6 pieces on top of the 3×8 pieces in a cross pattern.
Screw the pieces together. Put the screws into the wood about an inch away from the edge, and keep the screws in a straight line. Make sure the pieces are firmly in place.
Constructing The Border
First, we will assemble the long side of the platform. Take the 6′ long 2×6 and screw it into the plywood base. The 2×6 should be flush with the floor. Then take the 2′ piece and screw that into the wood right next to the 6′ piece.
Screw the 6’3″ piece into the wood. Make sure to also screw the corner pieces together.
Constructing The Middle
Measure 2 ft from the railing on each side. Mark that point with a pencil.
Screw a 2×4 into the border exactly where the pencil markings are. Do the same thing on the other side. The two 2×4’s should be exactly 4 feet apart.
Measure exactly 7.5″ from the center of the left 2×4. Mark the distance with a pencil. Then mark another spot 7.5″ away from the last pencil mark. Repeat until you reach the other 2×4. Each pencil mark is where another 2×4 will be installed. Screw in each 2×4 into the 2×6 railing, making sure the pencil mark is centered on each beam.
Lay down the 4×6 top piece on the beams. Screw the plywood into the 2x4s. I used a temporary top piece at at first, because I wasn’t sure when I was going to get to painting my logo on a nicer piece. The top piece is easily replaced by unscrewing it if it needs to be replaced at any time. I eventually purchased a piece of maple plywood that was perfect for painting a logo on. It was a little bit more expensive than a standard piece of plywood, but it was smoother and much more visually appealing.
Constructing The Wells
Cut all carpet padding and carpet pieces into 1 ft. 11 in. pieces. I cut the pieces too close to 2 ft. the first time, which led to unevenness. Make sure that all of the padding will fit flat in the wells. Try to find pieces that are also 5 ft. 11 in. in length. If you have shorter pieces, it is OK to use different pieces of carpet to get to the desired length, as long as the carpet pieces are of the same thickness. The wells must be made as even as possible to ensure a stable lifting surface. Use the T-square as a straight edge.
Stack the carpet layers first, then add the carpet padding layers.
Cut both horse mats in half. There are several tutorials floating around on cutting rubber, like this one here. The easiest way to do this is to use the T-square as a straight edge and use a utility knife. Draw a line with chalk exactly where you are looking to cut. Cut a an initial line along the T-square, then make the cut deeper and deeper until you cut through the entire 3/4 inch thickness. This may take a while, depending on how much pressure you apply with the knife. Just be patient.
Once both mats are cut, they should fit pretty nicely into the wells. Step on the edges to make sure they fit snugly against the wooden border.
Optional: Adding a Logo
I decided that I wanted this platform to look as professional as possible, so I wanted to paint on the Mulligan Fitness logo. I found a couple of really good ideas online, but the best idea was from this YouTube video. The basic idea is to use painters tape to etch our your logo, and then paint right on top of the tape.
Clean and sand the wood in preparation for the logo painting. Cover the middle 4ft x 2ft section of the maple center piece completely in painter’s tape.
Scale the logo to fit the middle of the platform in Microsoft Paint and print out the logo.
Place the logo on top of the painter’s tape. Take the utility knife and etch out the logo. Make sure to apply enough pressure to cut the tape. Once you cut through the logo, peel tape off the wood.
Use the spray paint to evenly apply a coat of paint right on top of the painter’s tape. Let the paint dry for a bit, and apply as many coats as needed. Allow the paint to dry completely before taking up the tape.
Apply painter’s tape around the perimeter of the center wood piece so the polyurethane stays on the wood. Sand down the wood again. Apply the polyurethane finish evenly across the entire middle wood piece. Apply as many coats needed until the wood is as shiny as you want.
After the polyurethane has been applied, the platform is now ready for lifting. Because the lifting wells are so cushioned, you may need to add more padding as time goes on. Dropping heavy weights tends to compress the carpet padding. I have been using the platform for several months now, and it is every bit as useful and awesome as I thought it would be. The sense of freedom you get from dropping a heavy clean or snatch is a feeling you cannot experience in a regular gym. I would highly recommend trying to build a platform of your own, if space and time permit.
Mulligan Fitness and Hylete.com
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