To be honest, there is nothing like having a gym in your garage, or basement, or a spare room on the ground floor. But, that's not possible for everyone.
In this article, we will answer the question of if you can safely put a home gym on a second floor. We will also help you understand which equipment you can use upstairs and how you can use them so you don’t disturb people who live below.
Let's first understand how safe it is to build a home gym on the second floor.
Load limits of apartments and upstair floors
According to the American Wood Council the upstairs floors of a modern home for most rooms (which are bedrooms) is rated to hold 30 lbs per square foot.
So, if you have a room on the second floor “sleeping room” that measures 132 square feet, it can hold 132 x 30 = 3960 lbs.
Please hold on to your excitement because this is the gross weight it can handle which includes the weight of your freestanding appliances, furniture, and even your own weight.
The weight should be distributed
Further, AWC also states that the weight should be distributed all over the floor and must not be concentrated at a specific spot.
Our Second Floor Home Gym Max Weight Calculator
My Old Home Gym on a Second Floor
Now, you will notice this home gym is still under construction and we actually do not have a significant amount of weight or equipment in it, yet.
So yes, you can put a home gym on the second floor, provided you adhere to certain obvious limitations.
8 Tips for Building a Second Floor Home Gum
1. Make sure flooring was built as per modern residential construction standards
Well, unless you live in a suburban area or an old building, chances are rare that you will have to really check this. But, it is still good to find out if your upstairs rooms have been rated to hold a specific weight.
As we said above, most modern homes and apartments are built to hold more weight than what the buildings were supposed to hold a few decades ago.
If you are not sure, you can hire a structural engineer to evaluate your home.
2. Only put a reasonable amount of weight on the second floor
When we say reasonable, we mean keeping the average load per square foot under the 30-40 lb limit mentioned above.
3. Don't drop weights on the floor
That sounds pretty obvious but some of us are used to throwing the barbell when done. If you too have that habit, be careful.
Always put back your weights on the floor gently. Even if you are training with an insignificant amount of weight, do not dump it when done.
4. Use drop pads for deadlifts
If you have to do deadlifts on the second floor of your home, make sure you buy drop pads or crash cushions sold by Rogue Fitness.
These crash cushions act as noise dampeners as well as provide adequate protection to your floor.
💡 Quick Tip: Here are the Rogue Crash Cushions
Rogue Crash Cushions
Yes4All also makes some decent drop pads that you can purchase on Amazon:
💡 Quick Tip: Yes4All Crash Pads are less expensive and we have purchased them before
Yes4All Crash Pads
5. Install proper gym flooring and/or build a platform
That sounds obvious but most people fail to choose the right type of gym flooring.
The conventional rubber puzzle tiles such as BalanceFrom puzzle tiles are decent enough for using under a treadmill or rowing machine but if you lift a decent amount of weight, you need thicker, denser products.
Consider checking out our article on how to build a weightlifting platform
📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: How to Build a Weightlifting Platform
Horse stall mats are an excellent option for second floor home gyms
Horse stall mats from Tractor Supply Co. are inexpensive, thick, and do an excellent job in absorbing the noise and vibration generated from the use of home gym equipment. Unless you are lifting really heavy, which you can’t if you have a gym upstairs, they are enough for protecting your floor and your equipment against damages.
💡 Quick Tip: These can be a great option for 2nd floor home gyms
Horse stall Mats from Tractor Supply
Horse Stall mats are are not toxic
Some people avoid using them for home gym setup assuming that they are unsafe and probably cancerous.
Their typical rubbery smell may make you feel so but there is no such study that clearly states that rubber products such as horse stall mats are toxic.
📖 Related Article: This article on ‘Are Horse Stall Mats Toxic’ will provide you with more details. Are Horse Stall Mats Toxic?
You can get rid of their overwhelming smell
Not just horse stall mats, all rubber products stink. Your yoga mat stinks too. It will take some time but, eventually, the smell will go away.
📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: How to Get the Smell Out of Horse Stall Mats
6. Consider insulating your home gym against noises and vibrations
All home gym equipment make a decent amount of noise and vibration. Those bangs and clangs can amplify if your home gym is upstairs. If you do not soundproof your gym, you will either disturb others or you will have to choose a time when others won’t mind the noise.
Here are a few tips that will help you create a quieter second floor home gym:
- Use coated dumbbells and kettlebells because they are much quieter than the standard bare iron ones. You can use adjustable dumbbells and adjustable kettlebells to maximize floor space.
- Use bumper plates instead of iron plates. Here are some best bumper plates we recommend for people who want to build a home gym upstairs.
- Place all your equipment over a mat. Mats absorb the vibration generated from a treadmill or elliptical, thereby minimizing the disturbance.
- Get your walls covered by carpets or acoustic panels to further minimize the amount of noise that leaves your home gym. If your second floor is hardly in use, this may not be required though.
7. It can be best to remove tile flooring
If you have a tile floor, it is better to remove them. They will anyway crack under the weight of the equipment. After removing the tiles, lay down ¾” of plywood on the floor and secure it to the subfloor using wood screws. Lay down the rubber tiles or horse stall mats over the plywood.
8. Where you place heavy items is important
Make sure the heavier items such as power racks, weight racks, etc. are against the wall. That's the strongest area of the rooms upstairs.
The weakest area is the center of the room. Leave it for bodyweight exercises or for light equipment such as gymnastic rings and Stamina 1690 Power Tower.
So, yes you can set up a fully functional, enviable home gym on the second floor or any floor of your house. The only thing you need to ensure is that you do not overcrowd it with too much equipment and too many weights. But, that won’t happen unless you are a Hulk.
We hope this article helps you create a fantastic home gym upstairs. Once you have arranged everything there, please send us some pics. We will be happy to upload them here to motivate others.