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View Full Version : weightlifting mats vs 1/4" plywood...



JSully
12-07-2009, 10:11 AM
So I'm still setting up my home gym..

I'm going to be doing pretty much everything in my rack, so I really only need an 8x12 (96sq ft) area and that will give me plenty of room for minor stuff outside my rack.. deadlifting from the floor, rows, etc..



Used black rubber mats are $75 for a 4x5 sheet @ 3/4" (on craigslist). I would need 5 of these to fit the area I want, so I'm looking at $375.

1/4" plywood is $10 for a 4x8 sheet. I would need about 9 sheets = $90.



Are the black rubber mats that worth it?

Ermantroudt
12-07-2009, 11:11 AM
Get yourself to Tractor Supply Co for those black rubber mats at 4x6 mat is $38.00!

Sadly I tried to add a link but my post count is not high enough yet

Beverly McD.
12-07-2009, 11:24 AM
1/4" plywood is too thin. It will flex and "give" making you unstable, and bust too if you drop heavy weight on it.
Tractor Supply is a good option as Ermantroudt stated.

Sensei
12-07-2009, 11:26 AM
Go to a tractor supply store or farm supply store and buy "stable mats". You'll probably have more than enough square feet w. two pieces.

Wood is not going to do the job for very long - you'll have an uneven floor after a few sessions...

ehubbard
12-07-2009, 12:17 PM
I would go with the 3/4 inch mats. I got mine locally for 60 bucks for a 4x6 inch section. I have them screwed and glued into two sheets of 4'x8'3/4 inch plywood so my entire platform is 2.25 inches thick. My rack is bolted to this. You could also bolt the rack down to the floor (I assume concrete) with concrete anchors. Either way I would make sure that rack gets bolted down, most especially if you are going to do band work.

JSully
12-07-2009, 01:07 PM
Thanks for the info guys.. I was planning on setting the rack on what I got and bolting it through that into my garage floor. I'll definately be doing band work, but the bottom bar is so low that I won't be able to choke the bands. I was planning on getting a floor flange, elbow and small 3/4" diameter galvanized pipe nipple to bolt to the floor so that I have homemade band pegs just outside my rack on each side.

Joe Usher
12-07-2009, 01:07 PM
1/4" plywood is $10 for a 4x8 sheet. I would need about 9 sheets = $90.
Home Depot should have 5/8 ths OSB for 8 or 9 bucks a 4x8 sheet. That is better than 1/4 inch. Criss cross your sheets then put your mat on top. Glue it and screw it. 3/4 inch plywood by me is not cheap. Usually 18 - 20 bucks a sheet.

Or, you can do what this guy did.
http://www.straighttothebar.com/2009/03/diy_how_to_build_an_olympic_we.html

JSully
12-07-2009, 01:09 PM
Home Depot should have 5/8 ths OSB for 8 or 9 bucks a 4x8 sheet. That is better than 1/4 inch. Criss cross your sheets then put your mat on top. Glue it and screw it. 3/4 inch plywood by me is not cheap. Usually 18 - 20 bucks a sheet.

What kind of glue do you suggest?

Lones Green
12-07-2009, 01:11 PM
Thanks for the info guys.. I was planning on setting the rack on what I got and bolting it through that into my garage floor. I'll definately be doing band work, but the bottom bar is so low that I won't be able to choke the bands. I was planning on getting a floor flange, elbow and small 3/4" diameter galvanized pipe nipple to bolt to the floor so that I have homemade band pegs just outside my rack on each side.

Just elevate the rack, that way you could do wide stance stuff as well as choke bands from the bottom

Joe Usher
12-07-2009, 01:13 PM
What kind of glue do you suggest?
When you criss cross you plywood use liquid nails.
If you glue down the mats; get an adhesive like rubber cement or something similar.

JK1
12-07-2009, 01:45 PM
Home Depot should have 5/8 ths OSB for 8 or 9 bucks a 4x8 sheet. That is better than 1/4 inch. Criss cross your sheets then put your mat on top. Glue it and screw it. 3/4 inch plywood by me is not cheap. Usually 18 - 20 bucks a sheet.

Or, you can do what this guy did.
http://www.straighttothebar.com/2009/03/diy_how_to_build_an_olympic_we.html

OSB will fall apart quickly if you live in a high humidity area unless you put plywood on both sides.


3/4 inch plywood Grade C/D is about 22-35/sheet depending on where you get them from. They aren't pretty, but they work well.


Horsestall mats are about 38-55 for a 4 x 6 foot mat--thats the standard size for a standard 12 x 12 stall. They will last for years.

Butcher
12-07-2009, 01:49 PM
I would only use glue if you are posotive you will not have to move it. Something that is 8'x8' isnt going to fit through very many places.

Beverly McD.
12-07-2009, 01:53 PM
Our rubber mats are screwed into the plywood. Works great.

JSully
12-07-2009, 03:40 PM
Just elevate the rack, that way you could do wide stance stuff as well as choke bands from the bottom
please explain how to elevate the rack safely whilst still bolting it to the floor..


OSB will fall apart quickly if you live in a high humidity area unless you put plywood on both sides.
I live in phoenix AZ, no humidity here..


I would only use glue if you are posotive you will not have to move it. Something that is 8'x8' isnt going to fit through very many places.
makes sense, so then just screw it to the plywood


Our rubber mats are screwed into the plywood. Works great.
Great, thanks for the help!

WillKuenzel
12-07-2009, 03:49 PM
I didn't go cheap with the plywood but I didn't go all out either. I did the method mentioned above with liquid nail and I covered the top with carpet.

theBarzeen
12-07-2009, 03:50 PM
another thing to think about... my teams new gym has rubber mats on the floors and we couldn't figure out why everyone kept loosing their balance while squatting..... we finally screwed down some plywood and just put carpet over it for under the monolifts and it made a world of difference.

JK1
12-07-2009, 09:44 PM
Our rubber mats are screwed into the plywood. Works great.

Thats what I ended up doing with mine. The mats under the rack are bolted down with the bolts that hold the rack in place, but the mats in the deadlift area are loose. We just used black sheetrock screws. That seems to be working really well.

What was weird to me was the mats under the monolift started to spread apart. I figured it would be heavy enought to hold everything down, but apparently wasn't. So I screwed them down along the edges and under the monolift. So far thats fixed their spreading out problems.

Cmanuel
12-07-2009, 10:12 PM
If you are considering bolting the rack directly to the plywood/mat, I would highly consider having really thick backing plates made for the underside of the platform. They are essentially super thick pieces of metal that pair up with the racks bolted base so that the force is evenly dispersed over a wide area. Much less chance of something bad happening (Think of it as a huge washer)

Something like this would be cool http://www.expeditionexchange.com/backingplates/DSC05454.jpg

JK1
12-07-2009, 10:37 PM
If you are considering bolting the rack directly to the plywood/mat, I would highly consider having really thick backing plates made for the underside of the platform. They are essentially super thick pieces of metal that pair up with the racks bolted base so that the force is evenly dispersed over a wide area. Much less chance of something bad happening (Think of it as a huge washer)

Something like this would be cool http://www.expeditionexchange.com/backingplates/DSC05454.jpg

How would you get that to lay flat? The bolt heads would protrude and make an uneven platform. With carriage bolts you can screw them down tight and compress the wood, sinking them in until they are much less protrusive. You are going to have to do something really stupid to pull 9 or so half inch carriage bolts through an inch in and a half of plywood and 3/4 of an inch of horse stall mat rubber.

Cmanuel
12-07-2009, 10:45 PM
How would you get that to lay flat? The bolt heads would protrude and make an uneven platform. With carriage bolts you can screw them down tight and compress the wood, sinking them in until they are much less protrusive. You are going to have to do something really stupid to pull 9 or so half inch carriage bolts through an inch in and a half of plywood and 3/4 of an inch of horse stall mat rubber.

Good point, I stand corrected. I've installed a few bolt in roll bars in Miatas which all used backing plates, so I guess I was going on that.

I need to keep my mouth shut if its something I haven't done before! :(

Can anyone take a few closeup pictures of their homemade platform mounting points?

Brian999
12-07-2009, 10:47 PM
the mats are worth it. If you were local I could have sold you an extra piece I had. I just sold it 2 days ago. It was 4' wide 16' long. All I did was cut it up.

JSully
12-08-2009, 08:16 AM
I was actually planning on bolting right through the mats/plywood and into my concrete garage floor.. not taking any chances here..

JK1
12-08-2009, 03:13 PM
Good point, I stand corrected. I've installed a few bolt in roll bars in Miatas which all used backing plates, so I guess I was going on that.

I need to keep my mouth shut if its something I haven't done before! :(

Can anyone take a few closeup pictures of their homemade platform mounting points?

For my Elitefts rack, I just used the mounting plates that the rack has welded on the bottom of the uprights. I built the platform, sat the rack on it, marked the holes, drilled them, then jacked up the platform and put the carriage bolts through it.

For my old rack, it wasn't designed to be bolted down, so it was a bit more of a challenge. Ideally I should have welded plates on the bottom, but I'm cheap. I got 6 Simpson Strong Tie A-24 Angles from Lowes (they are 2 inches wide and the hole matches the bolts of the rack perfectly http://images.lowes.com/product/044315/044315043000.jpg ). the rack has an "antiflip" bar in the front, so I put two in the back and one in the front. Then drilled the holes through the mats and the plywood. This time I got smart. I took the rack off the platform and tilted the platform upright and put the bolts in, then picked the rack up and set it down on the bolts and tightened everything up. It has worked well so far. Now I don't squat in that rack and would use something stronger if I was doing alot of band work or someone was going to be squatting alot in it, just for safety sake.

JSully
12-11-2009, 11:04 AM
So I got the mats..

They measure 9x13 total, good enough for my rack to sit on and for me to do stuff outside the rack too.

Others mentioned plywood under the mats. The mats are 3/4" thick and super hard rubber, they're actually from a gym. I'm putting this in my garage, what's the point of the plywood or OSB board? I'm going to be boling the rack right through the mats into the concrete floor so I'm not sure the wood is necessary.

Thoughts on this? Thanks!

JK1
12-11-2009, 11:10 AM
So I got the mats..

They measure 9x13 total, good enough for my rack to sit on and for me to do stuff outside the rack too.

Others mentioned plywood under the mats. The mats are 3/4" thick and super hard rubber, they're actually from a gym. I'm putting this in my garage, what's the point of the plywood or OSB board? I'm going to be boling the rack right through the mats into the concrete floor so I'm not sure the wood is necessary.

Thoughts on this? Thanks!
Even as thick and dense as those mats are, you drop a heavy deadlift and you can crack the concrete underneath. The plywood prevents that from happening.

JSully
12-11-2009, 11:37 AM
Even as thick and dense as those mats are, you drop a heavy deadlift and you can crack the concrete underneath. The plywood prevents that from happening.

makes sense..

thanks. a single 5/8" sheet OHB plywood will do, right? or does it need to be doubled up?

I'm entertaining raising the rack so I don't have to weld band pegs on or spend money on floor flanges and pipe to attach to the floor. The base of the rack sits right on the ground right now and I want to be able to choke or double the bands to the rack.

So how do I raise the rack, while still keeping it stable? 2x4s? 4x6s? Some other method?

Anybody have a closeup photo of how they raised their rack?

JK1
12-11-2009, 11:40 AM
makes sense..

thanks. a single 5/8" sheet OHB plywood will do, right? or does it need to be doubled up?

I'm entertaining raising the rack so I don't have to weld band pegs on or spend money on floor flanges and pipe to attach to the floor. The base of the rack sits right on the ground right now and I want to be able to choke or double the bands to the rack.

So how do I raise the rack, while still keeping it stable? 2x4s? 4x6s? Some other method?

Anybody have a closeup photo of how they raised their rack?


Are you going to be doing sumo stance work in that rack or more conventional. minimum all you really need to attach bands is 1x2's (assuming its a 2x2 rack) or 1x 4's (if its a 2x2 rack with a flange). If you are going to be putting your toes under the rack, then you'll need at least 4 inches of clearance. 2x4's are the cheapest. Cut at least a 6 inch long ection under where you attach them though, so you have some compression flub room with the boards.

tighten the bolts well....

JSully
12-11-2009, 11:59 AM
It is a Champion 2x2 rack, maybe even 2x3, not quite sure.

I don't squat sumo so I don't need that much clearance.

I've got leftover 2x4s from tearing down a wall.. I just wasn't sure if I should get metal shims or what. 2x4s will be easy enough.

Also, my rack doesn't have any holes in the rear on the base for bolting it down. It's got to plates to attach it to the floor in the front, but none in the rear. I'm thinking of just drilling through the base in the rear and bolting down with a washer, would this be an issue?

JK1
12-12-2009, 08:27 AM
It is a Champion 2x2 rack, maybe even 2x3, not quite sure.

I don't squat sumo so I don't need that much clearance.

I've got leftover 2x4s from tearing down a wall.. I just wasn't sure if I should get metal shims or what. 2x4s will be easy enough.

Also, my rack doesn't have any holes in the rear on the base for bolting it down. It's got to plates to attach it to the floor in the front, but none in the rear. I'm thinking of just drilling through the base in the rear and bolting down with a washer, would this be an issue?


Do you have a picture of the rack? I'm not familiar with that one off the top of my head.

2x4's will work fine. I've seen some seriously heavy weights benched and squatted in a rack thats made "sumo" with 2x4s without any problems. Just make sure your bolts are big enough and long enough. I'd also consider screwing or putting glue between the 2x4's too for added stability with the wood.

Drilling through the actual frame won't make a difference if the metal is strong enough, if its thin walled (like most cheaper racks) you can actually collapse/bend the box tube just tightening down the bolts if you drill through the frame and the drill spot may become a weak point depending on the design of the rack and how you are using it ie dropping weights on the bottom of the rack doing floor presses or something like that. It will warp over time.

What I've seen done is take a 2x2 piece of wood (or whatever the internal diameter is) drive that into the inside of the cross piece--it should be tight, but dont' bend anything. Then drill through the wood and the metal and put bolts through that. Make sure to put washers above and below the metal too. You can crank the bolts down tight on those, the wood will reinforce the metal and keep it from bending withthout too much work or cost. This will hold unless you are slamming really heavy weights into the sides---ie dumping 700/800 lb squats, which if you do that in a rack, you are going to screw up your bar first.