This past Friday I set out to build an affordable Lifting platform for our home gym. I could have ordered one from a dozen different sources but I had no desire to fork over close to $1000 for some plywood and rubber that upon delivery I would still have to assemble. So I gathered up my assistant, aka “the Dog” and took a trip to Home Depot. For a total of $68 dollars I purchased the materials needed to build a 4’x4’ lifting platform. While not as deep as an official Olympic spec platform it’s roomy enough for most folks and I only had 6 feet of depth to work with on my apartments screened lanai. Prices may vary depending on where you live but for under $100 anyone with the time and a little ingenuity could easily build a stable wooden lifting stage to practice their lifts and technique.
The material list is simple:
2- ¾” thick pre-cut plywood sheets 2’x4’
2- ½” thick pre-cut plywood sheets 2’x4’
1” wood screws
Wood sealer and brush
6pc. Rubber Gym Flooring (Gold’s Gym at Wal-Mart)
I chose the smaller sections for several reasons; manageability, lack of a saw, and price. You can usually find pre-cut plywood flooring sections next to other plywood sheets in any big box Home Improvement store and they’re a fraction of the cost of full size sheets. Mine were pre-sanded though I did take the time to sand them down again with a finer grit before I sealed them with stain. You can use better finished plywood if it really matters to you of course expect to pay more for it.
Assembling the platform is simple. The two ¾” sheets go on the bottom side by side. Apply glue generously and stack the thinner ½” sheets on top but laying the opposite direction. You should now have formed a 4’x4’ square. Drill holes for your screws around the perimeter of each top sheet to prevent cracking and splitting of the plywood. Screw the top sheets down using your 1” wood screws, drywall screws actually work good in plywood because of their aggressive thread design if you have them. Just like that it’s done. Now you can sand the platform top again and then apply several coats of sealer. I could have clear-coated the whole thing but I don’t want it getting slick when I’m sweating on it or from chalk dust, which has actually happened to me before on a finely finished platform in a friends facility.
Place the platform where you will use it and lay your rubber pads along either side where the weight plates will sit. I chose some jigsaw style rubber gym mats I bought at Wal-Mart a few years ago. They cost around $20 and can be stacked together to form a decent plate stop and your neighbors and spouse will probably appreciate the lack of noise if you’re using the platform at home like I am. There’s no limit to how fancy you can take your platform’s design. It’s common for most platforms to have 3 layers of ¾” plywood and thick solid rubber plate stops. The top layer is usually a finer grade of flooring quality plywood and clear coated with polyurethane. I chose the expedient route based on my experience as a lifter, and feel for most of us working out at home this platform should suffice.