Make Your Own Lifting Platform

I finally joined every other garage gym owner and built my own Olympic lifting platform. This is a significant upgrade from the 1/8″ inch rubber mats I have been using.

Why would I want to make a platform?

The biggest reason for me is the protect my equipment, which includes the floor of the garage. Dropping bumper plates on a concrete floor isn’t the best option, especially when the weights start increasing. It is better than when compared with steel plates, think of the difference between hitting concrete with a hammer and a mallet. Now let’s expand the area of force dispersion by placing a couple of layers of wood and finally another layer of rubber to absorb the impact. This should help displace the force from dropping 300lbs from a single point of contact, to a much larger surface area.

Not only is it functional, but there is something cool about having a lifting platform in the garage. Aesthetics play a factor in building a lifting platform, because having a place you enjoy training in, is very important.

In total I spent just under $200 and around five hours of time, including picking up a rental truck and driving back and forth. Build time was just under two hours. No real woodworking skills are necessary, you’re simply stacking wood. I decided to go with the full sized 8′ x 8′ platform, not only does this eliminate the need for cutting the 4’x 8′

Materials used:

QuantityItemPrice
215/32″ – 4’x8′ Plywood CDX grade$22.95 / sheet
25/8″ – 4’x8′ Particle Board$14.32 / sheet
119/32″ – 4’x8′ Sheeting Plywood$28.47
13/4″ – 4’x6′ Horse Stall Mat$39.99
Liquid Nails$3.47
Gorilla Glue$18.56
Construction Adhesive$2.47
Wood Screws$6.86
Wood sealant$12.00
Stainable wood filler$5.28
Duct Tape$4.98

I already had a bunch of exterior wood screws, wood filler and wood sealer that I was able to use for the project. I didn’t include the cost of the rental truck. which was only $35. The total for the wood & horse stall mats came to a total of $103. The other stuff came to $53.62. If you have extra pieces available, you can get away with a project total of around $100.

Equipment needed:

  • Caulking gun
  • Box cutter
  • Measuring tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Countersink drillbit

Steps:

  1. I opted to stack the wood with the CDX plywood as the base, the particle board in the middle and the horse stall mats on top. I found plywood sheets that were relatively flat, since the particle board was super flat, between the weight, the glue and the screws. The platform came out very flat.
  2. Arrange the wood to make sure everything is lined up. This project is super easy, since there is no cutting.
  3. I placed a strip of duct tape between the two sheets of plywood to prevent any movement during the process.
  4. Apply the glue or adhesive on to the plywood and then set the first sheet down, making sure all the corners are lined up. First mistake I made here was using the whole tube of glue on one panel, most likely unnecessary, which is why I had to have multiple containers of adhesive on the materials list.Do the same thing on the other side and then place weights around the edges. This leaves the center of the platform unobstructed to lay the final sheet of plywood down.
  5. Take the measuring tape out and mark two feet from each side, this will give you the measurement where the top piece will sit.

  6. Once all the layers are glued and in place, I used a countersink drill dit to drill down into the edges of the top layer, this way the screw heads don’t stick up



  7. I then filled over the holes with wood filler and then sanded smooth
  8. Next step is to cut the horse stall mat in half. I used a silver sharpie to draw a line down the middle. This was probably the most annoying and tedious part of the project. I just used a box cutter and used some scrap wood to rest it on.

  9. I used gorilla glue to attach the mats. They haven’t moved yet, but if repeated use starts moving the mats, I’ll have to screw them down.

  10. Since the mats are only six feet in length, there is a 2’x2′ square at the top which is just two layers. I will be adding some more plywood or mats to this at some point to level out the platform. Until then, I’m using it as a weight storage area.
  11. The final step is to sand down any rough points on the middle sheet and apply water sealant. Option is to add any paint, or stickers to personalize the platform

  12. The most important step is to get to lifting some heavy weights!

The whole process didn’t take half a day including the truck rental, buying the wood, assembly and sealing. I may add some paint and artwork to the middle lifting section and will update the page if I do!

References:

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