So you read Buy What You Need, Not What’s On Sale and It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas and you’ve put together your list of must haves for your brand new gym. You might not realize in all of the excitement that one of those must haves should be flooring. All it takes is one dropped deadlift to start a crack in your garage or carport floor that will create headaches down the road.
Second of all, I noticed that my power rack always drifts a little bit whenever I rack a squat or bench despite the fact that it has several hundred pounds of weight stored on it at any given time. Having a wood platform that you can bolt your power rack to solves both the cracked floor and drifting power rack issues.
So since it’s the week after Christmas and you’re probably on vacation anyway, (lucky dog!) this is a great time to take advantage of the after Christmas deals to protect your floor.
(note: I used examples of mats sold at Tractor Supply but you can usually get mats from any local feed store. I’d check your local listings and don’t be afraid to call to find out the prices in your area.) Horse stall mats are designed for exactly what you’d think. To cushion the floor of horse stalls for horses. As such, they have to be durable enough for a thousand pound animal to stand and move around. Stall mats are usually 3/4 inches, slightly cheaper and thicker than fitness flooring and come in various sizes including 12×12, 4×6 and 3×4. They’re a perfect solution if you want mats under just the pieces of equipment. I’m not too keen on interlocking mats because they always seem to come apart but I could just have gotten some bad mats. You might also be able to find mats on Craigslist in the sporting goods section, but be aware that some people will try to sell you foam mats as fitness flooring and that is flat out a waste of your money. See previous comment about dropped deadlifts and picture a foam mat being your floor’s only protection. If you need information about building the actual platform, there are tons of how to videos and blog posts on other sites that have covered this topic well enough for me to not beat a dead horse. Just google weightlifting platform or check out Garage Gym Reviews’ post on the topic.
One final note, if you’d like to put flooring over your entire workout area, you might want to go with a rollout flooring solution but just don’t go without matting at all. Eventually it will come back to bite you.
Got some input on your platform build or know somewhere cheap to score some mats? Share below!
John Greaves III writes for a variety of outlets including Power Magazine, StrengthAdvocate.com and Powerlifting Watch. He is the founder of Garage Gym Life and has authored two fiction books involving powerlifting both of which are available on Amazon.com. He is a record holding Masters powerlifter, a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a former Marine Corps Martial Arts Instructor and was a silver medalist at the 2001 International Kickboxing Federation National Championships. He is constantly seeking out interesting people who have rejected an average life in favor of building an extraordinary legacy. John’s been training for twenty-three years and from a garage gym for sixteen. You can contact him at email@example.com.