How To Build a Weightlifting Platform

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Before we begin, let us warn you that you will have to spend a generous amount of time and money to build a weightlifting platform. 

Plus, DIYing is not everyone's cup of tea. So, if you have never assembled anything in your life, not even IKEA stool, you may want to check out some  of the readymade deadlift platforms that we have reviewed on our website. 

The main issue with the readymade weightlifting platforms is that most of them are meant for light to moderate training

Plus, you don't really know what they are made of and how much protection they will provide to your floor and your equipment. This is why a lot of people prefer to build their own homemade deadlift platform. 

This is a step-by-step article on how to build a weightlifting platform for your home gym. We have tried a bunch of different processes and products before deciding upon the best one for you. 

Excited? 

Well, you should be. Now, here is your shopping list: 

Things that you will need to build a DIY deadlift platform 

Horse stall mats 

You can buy them from Tractor Supply Co. They cost about $50 per piece and measure 6’ X 4’. You will need two of them. You can either pick them up or pay extra and get them delivered. After paying for shipping, etc. each piece could cost you about $70-$80 each (or maybe more depending on your location). 

You may buy the standard horse stall mats or pay extra to get the Fit Floor Premium mats. But, we strongly recommend the horse stall mats because they are ¾” thick whereas the premium mats are just 5/16th inches thick. Obviously, horse stall mats will provide better cushioning and shock absorption than the Fit Floor ones. 

Plywood 

You will need:

We ordered these from Home Depot. We chose a self-pickup option and got them delivered through the Dolly App because Home Depot would have taken a few weeks for delivery due to high demand. 

Dashboard of Dolly App

Other tools and things that you will need are: 

  • Plastic drop cloth- optional but we used to protect our carpet from plywood
  • 3/4” wood screws
  • #8 1/1/4 inch screws
  • A plywood sanding machine- if you want to sand down the edges of the plywood- an optional step 
  • Jigsaw machine- for cutting the rubber stall mats that you will need to build your weightlifting platform
  • A good quality screwdriver 

Rubber stall mats need to be aired out to get rid of their strong, unbearable smell 

The smell comes from the chemicals that are used to treat and bind the rubber crumbs to form the mats. These chemicals eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), the same thing that all rubber products eliminate. 

VOCs are also found in almost every other household product such as cleaners, deodorants, air fresheners, disinfectants, etc. Some studies indicate that VOCs could cause health issues such as dizziness, breathing problems, etc. Persistent and prolonged exposure could cause cancer. 

But, don’t worry. By airing them out thoroughly, you will be able to get rid of the VOCs. We have tested them personally by using an air quality monitor machine. You can read these articles on ‘How to get the Smell Out of Horse Stall Mats’ and ‘Are Horse Stall Mats Toxic?’ for more details. 

Don’t have time to read those articles? Here is what you need to do- 

To get rid of their toxic smell, all you need to do is to leave them out in the sun for about a week. You can hose them down once a day and keep flipping them as many times as you can, so both sides get equal exposure to sunlight. 

Here is how we did it for the deadlift platform that we built for one of our teammates. 

horse stall mats being outgassed in the driveway

You need to cut the horse stall mats to create two 6’X2’ pieces and two 2’X2’ pieces

The standard dimensions of a weightlifting platform are 8’ X 8’ but the rubber stall mats measure 4’ X 6’. So, you need to cut them into two different sizes. 

First, cut both of them to get four 6’X2’ pieces. See the pic below: 

how to cut the horse stall mats

Now, you need to cut two of the 6’X2’ pieces to create two 2’X2’ ones. Pic below:

how the final pieces of horse stalls will look

You should use a jigsaw to cut them. We initially used a box knife and, soon, we realized that it's not a good option. 

You might want to sand the edges of the plywood 

As we stated above, this is optional but sanding will help you get rid of splinters and uneven edges, which could later damage the carpet (if you are planning to use it on a carpeted floor). Sanding, anyways, doesn’t require too much work. All you need is a couple of minutes and a good quality sander and buffer like BLACK+DECKER Random Orbit Sander. 

We recently came across numerous sources that claimed that this sander and buffer is a fantastic massage tool so we ordered one for ourselves. But, as we had expected, it just helps improve blood circulation. It doesn’t really provide a good massage. We had it in our storeroom, so we used that for sanding off the plywood and it worked great. 

Now you are ready to build your weightlifting platform!

Step 1- Spread a sheet of plastic drop cloth on the carpet. 

If you are building the platform on the concrete, just leave this step. Also, do not use it on wood or tiles because plastic will make the surface slippery. 

This is the one that we bought from Home Depot: 

HDX plastic drop cloth

This is how we had spread it on the carpet on which we wanted to place our DIY lifting platform. 

how to spread plastic drop cloth on the carpet

Step -2 – Place the 15/32 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. 3-Ply RTD Sheathing plywoods over the drop cloth. 

The first two should be placed side by side and the rest two should be placed above them. The second set should be placed in the other direction than the first one. See these images: 

how to lay the first layer of plywood
how to lay the second layer of plywood

Step 3- You need to secure these plywoods using ¾” wooden screws. We used these: 

wood screws that we used

Here is how we screwed the ply pieces together: 

how to screw down the pieces of plywood

Step 3: Place the final piece of plywood i.e. 3/4 in. 4ft x 8ft Sande Plywood at the center of the base that you have built. 

Don’t screw it yet. Rather, screw it later when you have assembled everything properly, including the rubber stall mats. 

the lifting surface of the deadlift platform

Step- 4- Place one 2’ X 6’ rubber stall mat on each side of the plywood. 

The plywood and rubber mats should align with the base below. We kept the machine-cut edges against the plywood and the uneven edges towards the outer side. See below: 

how to arrange the bigger pieces of horse stall mats

Step 5- Once you have aligned the plywood lifting surface and the rubber mats properly, screw them to the base using  #8 1/1/4 inch screws. We used these ones: 

wood screws that we recommend

Make sure you place the screws on the outer edge of the horse stall mats so they don’t get smashed by your weight plates. 

how to screw the bigger pieces of horse stall mats

You should use a good-quality screwdriver instead of a drill. Screwdriver will make your work easier. Plus, it will give you a better finish overall. We used this one:

using a screwdriver to bolt down everything

Step 6- This is the last step. All you need to do now is to place the remaining two 2’X2’ rubber mats on the uncovered part of the base and screw them together. J

Just as above, you need to place the screws on the outer sides only so they don't get smashed. 

Arranging the last two smaller pieces of horse stall mats

Here is how your homemade weightlifting platform will look- 

Thats how the deadlift platform will look when done

You can cut off the remaining plastic drop cloth. 

If you are planning to lift light to moderate weight, this should be enough. But, if you want to lift a decent amount of weight, we highly recommend adding a pair of crash cushions like we have done: 

Our cute home gym setup with crash cushions

We will soon be reviewing these Yes For All crash cushions and the Rogue Fitness crash cushions. Do check back after a week or so to read their detailed reviews. 

Wrap up 

We hope this guide helps you figure out how to build a weightlifting platform for your home gym. If you build it, do share your pictures with us, so we can upload them here and motivate others to try some DIYing. 

Also, make sure you check out our ‘ultimate guide on building a home gym’ that lists almost all of the products that you would need to build your personal workout space. It also lists some of our favorite product recommendations and info articles. 

Have questions? Leave a comment or email us today!