DIY: How to Build Your Own Deadlift/Olympic Lifting Platform

Whether you own a gym or want to start building out your dream workout space, then this mini-guide can help you construct your own deadlift and weightlifting platforms. Possibly the best part of building your own platforms is the customization.

If you do it right, it’s relatively inexpensive, and you can make a platform to suit your needs perfectly. This mini-guide will have tips from coaches I’ve worked with along with a great video to conclude the article from Alan Thrall.

Differences in Platform Sizes

Deadlift platforms: Your standard pre-made deadlift platforms is typically four feet tall by eight feet wide. This isn’t a regulation size, but for the average gym, you’ll usually see these platforms with a 4-6 foot length and an eight foot width. If you buy pre-made platforms from Rogue, York, or other top sellers, then these dimensions are what you can expect.

Olympic platforms: The standard Olympic platform pre-made will range from 6-8 feet tall and eight feet wide. Often times gym owners will prefer a little smaller size due to spacing issues, but for the most part you’ll see them come in pre-made 8×8 foot dimensions.

Regulation Deadlift and Olympic Platforms

Competition platforms will have bigger dimensions than standard gym platforms, so for the sake of context below are the IPF and IWF competition regulations.

  • The IPF requires competition powerlifting platforms to be a minimum of 2.5m x 2.5m and a maximum of 4m x 4m (8.2 ft x 8.2 ft or 13 ft x 13 ft)
  • The IWF requires competition weightlifting platforms to be a 4m x 4m square, or 13 x 13 feet.

Average Cost Depending on Size and Materials Used

$120-300

Things You’ll Need

  • Plywood/Particle Board (4ft x 8ft cuts range from 20-60+, but differ in thickness)
  • Horse Stall Mats (4ft x 3ft & 4ft x 6ft range from $20-40)
  • Construction Screws (Height will depend on thickness of platform $7-15)
  • Washers ($3-10)
  • Oak, Spruce, or other finer plywood for lifting portion ($40-60+)
  • Spray Paint for Logo ($3-10)
  • Wood Stain ($8-20)

Tools You’ll Need

  • Power Drill
  • Box Cutters
  • Blue Scotch Tape
  • Straight Edge/Ruler
  • Paint Brush

Time to Build

1-4 hours

Why Is Building Your Own Platform Worth It?

To answer this question, I reached out to two coaches I’ve worked with in the recent past and asked them about the benefits of having their own custom platforms. Both coaches gave very similar answers into the importance of customizing platforms.

  • James Wright Jr, CrossFit L1, USAW L1, and part-owner of CrossFit Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Jon DiFlorio, CSCS, and owner of Institute 3E on Long Island, New York.

1. It Dedicates a Space

Wright Jr. and DiFlorio both brought up the point that a platform is great for dedicating a space for certain activities. When someone is using the platform others know to stay off, which is good for organization and avoidance of injury.

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2. Saves Your Equipment

Wright Jr. talked about the longevity of gym equipment, which is a major key for protecting a gym owner’s weights and wallet. A platform can be a great way for athletes to drop and bang weights without bending bars or busting plates. Often times dropping heavy weight on a surface not equipped to absorb the force will lead you with bent bars.

3. Protects Your Floors and Supports Lifter’s Safety

Platforms protect concrete and other floor surfaces from cracking and denting. Also, a platform supports a lifter’s safety by promoting the ability for a bar to bounce in an predictable fashion. This lessens the chance of a bar dropping into a divot and bouncing into a lifter or a passerby.

Making Your Own Platform

1. Mark out your dedicated platform area, this can be done with tape, paint, or whatever form of marker you’d like to use.

2. Cut if you need to, and place the first layer of plywood/particle board. If you have two slabs, then screwing them together can be beneficial to prevent them from sliding.

3. Cut the middle board accordingly to fit the area you’d like.

*I’ve seen coaches cut this skinnier in some cases because it lessens the chances of weight dropping on wood. Again, this is going to depend on your platform size.

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*It’s important to use a higher quality wood for this portion that doesn’t have knots. You can’t screw threw knots and they’ll be more prone to chipping easier. You can also use wood glue in addition to screws on this portion (Alan Thrall’s video explains that below). 

4. Measure out how much rubber paneling you’re going to need on each side of the middle board.

5. Mark the dimensions you need with tape on the rubber paneling.

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6. Cut the pieces you need accordingly with the razor blade and place them to ensure the fit is perfect.

7. Map out the areas you want to put screws.

*Try to keep them even on each side and don’t forget to use a washer. Otherwise, the screw will go right through the rubber mat.

*You can place them, then edge them closer if you have a long enough razor. 

 

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8. Apply the wood stain on the actual platform for a smooth looking finish.

If you’re interested in adding finishing touches and logos I would highly suggest watching Alan Thrall’s new video on this topic below. He also does a great job at breaking down every step in creating a platform with visuals.

Everyone has slightly different methods and needs when it comes to constructing homemade platforms, so use this article as a starting point to spark creativity and ideas.

Customized platforms are relatively cheap and can be an effective way for prolonging the longevity of your gym/garage floor and weight’s health.

Feature image from @chasingkgs Instagram page. 

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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.