How to build a deadlift platform!

Where to start? I’ve always dreamed of having a home gym. I never actually thought it would happen.

There were a few keys events that really kick started this project into a reality. The first, and more important, was the concussion I sustained. A tragic event for sure, but a catalyst as well. This forced me to stay home and spend a lot of time alone, without sound or any real form of stimulation.

On a very rare good day, I walked out to my shed – what a disaster! All my beloved wood working tools were rusting away. Throughout the following weeks I slowly began selling my tools (you can read my previous posts about that endeavor). This enabled me to save a ton of cash really quickly. Then, in a moment of weakness, my wife told me I could have a gym! BAM! Luckiest guy ever. The only condition? It had to look good. That was easy, or so I thought it would be easy.

I spent several weeks questing for the perfect gym equipment – it was that epic! 🙂 I felt like I was on a journey, alright, I know I’m a dork! Anyway, once I had decided on the equipment I wanted, I had to figure out how to protect my floor: The deadlift platform!

It’s actually more than just a deadlift platform, but whatever. So without boring you any longer, here’s how I did it:

Lots of YouTube! I spent a while searching through videos about the best way to protect wood floors. I came across this beauty by Jujimufu:

At about the 2:00 mark, he shows you where he bought the rubber mats and that he’s using 8mm. Fast forward to about 2:30, you’ll see what he has to say about the rubber mats and using them over the wood flooring. You’ll also see how he just drops his weights, without a care in the world! When you’ve finished that, start from the beginning and watch the whole video, he’s quite the character.

With that said, I wanted to “make sure.” I ended up purchasing a cheap foam underlay. This cost me approximately $30 (all prices in CAD).

This underlay was 4ft X 25ft. So I cut two 8ft lengths, one for underneath each  board. The purpose of this, in my thinking anyway, was to minimize any scratches from the plywood. Time will tell, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

I then placed 5/8″ sheets of plywood on top (combined total of approx. $60). I didn’t like the idea of MDF, as it’s really just super compressed/glued sawdust. I also didn’t want OSB, as ultimately, plywood is stronger and will last longer. I bought 5/8″ because I couldn’t locate any 3/4″. Meh, haha.

The plywood was placed in the opposing direction as the top layer, just to help keep everything together.

I’ll back up briefly and describe my logo now. As you’ll remember, if you’ve been following my posts, that I designed my logo. It’s not trade marked or anything, it’s not even really a logo, it’s just a picture that I liked and thought would look cool. Yes, I am that simple. Here it is:


Again, YouTube helped me on this one. Not the designing, just how to get it on my plywood, and look good. I ended up using Microsoft Paint to do this. Why? I’m mostly computer illiterate and it’s the only program on my computer that would allow me to do it. Simple. I ended up printing this out on 9 sheets, so 3 X 3. I could have made it larger, but I’m quite happy with how the size turned out.

I’m nowhere near an artist, or even artsy for that matter, so I had no idea what I was doing. I ended up taping them all together. Once taped, I went over the lines in a sharpie.

Based on the dimensions of the rack I purchased (which I will be picking up this Friday!!!!!!!!), I centered my logo on the working end of the platform. My platform is 3/4″ sanded birch plywood. I wanted Oak, but Home Depot didn’t have any (stupid Home Depot, haha). The cost was approx. $55.

*As a side note, I had to rent a Home Depot van, as my SUV was not big enough. The cost was approx. $30*


Prior to placing the design down. I completely covered the area in painter’s tape. The 3 X 3 design was then taped ON TOP of the painter’s tape. This part is important. You’ll see why. I then covered the remaining untaped portion of the plywood, as I didn’t want the paint going there. It was more windy than I would have liked, and since I was using spray paint, here was my solution to saving the things around me:


Yeah, no one wants their silver SUV spray painted black.

Hours and hours, I’m talking like 3, 4, maybe 5 hours, of cutting, and here’s the result:

If there was an easier way to do this, shoot me now! It was quite frustrating. The hardest part was that the painter’s tape isn’t super sticky. This made the really small cuts difficult, as the tape kept wanting to peel off. The upside was that it was easy to peel off once I was finished.

I applied maybe 8 super thin coats of spray paint, waiting a few minutes between each application. If you plan on doing this, I can’t stress enough the importance of thin coats! Applying the paint too thick will look terrible!

*My paint and tape cost approx. $12*

I’ll back up briefly again. If you didn’t read my previous post on the mats I bought, here’s a quick recap:

I bought 2 – 3/4″ thick, 4ft X 6ft mats. I ended up cutting one mat in half (resulting in 2 2ft X 6ft pieces). I then cut a 2ft piece off the second mat and cut it in half, giving me 2 2ft X 2ft pieces. I’m super happy with how these turned out. Each 4ft X 6ft mat weighs 100 lbs. Yeah, they’re super strong! My mats cost me $135.

So, after I painted and took the tape off, I laid out my platform to see what it looked like, and to pre-drill the holes for the screws:


I didn’t drill holes in the mats for a few reasons. There’s really no need to pre-drill rubber, that’s the biggest one. Secondly, after I put my mats in place (inside my house), you’ll notice there’s really no need for them to be screwed down. Screws and washers cost approx. $10. Now that I’m not screwing the rubber mats down, the washers are useless – oh well.

I bought polyurethane to finish the board with. This was for a couple reasons, but most importantly to protect and prolong the life of the board. I don’t want to be doing this very often. The polyurethane cost approx. $20. I ended up applying 3 coats, with a super light sanding between coats (220 grit). The result after 1 coat:


So now my boards are inside, I’m ready to start moving the rest in.

As you can see, I have the underlay slightly outside of the plywood. I wrapped this over top of the 5/8″ and taped it down. This helps soften the edges (especially with young kiddos) and makes sure nothing is sliding around. You’ll also notice a cut out section of the plywood. The downstairs of our houses is forced air. I didn’t want to block off the vent, so that’s why you see that. I then put two blocks under the mats where the vent is, to allow the air to still move freely. You’ll see what I mean.

The mats were then moved in to place:


Along the edges of the wall, I also cut the underlay longer. I didn’t want the plywood scratching up the trim, or the mats rubbing against it. Again, the whole point of this platform was to minimize any damage to the house.

Finally, I stalled the centerpiece:

I absolutely love the end result. Also, my kids won’t leave it alone. Lastly, and definitely most important, my wife thinks it looks good! Phew, I’m not sure what I would have done otherwise.

So the total cost of this beast, without labour: $241.10.

I now have to wait an agonizing 2 days until my gym gets here!! EEEEK! There’s only one downside: all the bars I ordered and the plate storage is on back order until May!!! Good thing I already own one bar!

What do you think?

-Mr Average




2 thoughts on “How to build a deadlift platform!

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