View Full Version : Power rack in an apartment + noise dampening

02-05-2012, 10:00 PM
I am just starting out with weight lifting with a primary goal of gaining some mass and definition. I figure the best way to do this is with squats, bench press, deadlifts, pullups, and dips. I do not have a lot of time during the week so I would like to workout in my 2nd floor apartment if possible. Which is why I have decided the best thing to do is just get a power rack and some weights so I can safely workout by myself on my own schedule. From searching the forums I know there shouldn't be a weight issue with the floor but the noise issue has been brought up before without much discussion. What I am wondering is do you guys think it is possible to dampen the noise with things such as foam padding on the floor, on the spotter bars, and bar rests so as to not disturb my downstairs neighbor?

One thing to note about my situation is that I am not a typical body builder. I am tall and very skinny (6ft, 145lbs, <10% body fat) and can not lift much weight so the amount of weight that I would potentially be moving around is a lot less than most people on this site.

Also because of this I'm looking for a cheap minimal power rack. The rack itself doesn't need to support a lot of weight. If anyone has any suggestions for a power rack that would be helpful too.


02-05-2012, 11:11 PM
I am in the same boat as you are, I live in a hi rise building and looking at power racks. To cut down noise i got me some 3/8inch mats off ebay and i went to tractor supply and got some 3/4inch horse stall mats which are good but stink a lot, goes away after a while. if i had to do it over i would have stall mats all the way and save a ton of money.

As far as weights I was going to get regular plates but that would be too noisy so Im getting some bumper plates which will work great for noise reduction and no floor damages.

i have been looking around for good deals on bumpers and there are some really good deals out there like from kettle bell king, fringesport, ATG, and pendlaybarbell. some of these sites have really good deals and free shipping.

as for noise i think if you go with some stall mats and bumper plates you dont have to worry about doing anything to your walls or anything like that.

good luck

02-07-2012, 06:28 AM
Thanks for the info and list of places to get bumper plates, shutterup!

02-07-2012, 06:44 AM

Newer company. Some good reviews on the company.. No one has the rack yet.

02-07-2012, 09:43 AM
Bumpers would work for exercises from pulled from the floor (deads, power cleans) but isn't much help for racked exercises (squats, bench)

My gym is in the basement so I don't have too much floor noise issues. Although I do notice that most of the noise in my gym comes from racking a heavy bench or squat set. I'm thinking this will also translate to noise heard downstairs if you're on a higher floor.

IMO it won't make too much of a difference is you use iron weights and stall mats as long as you set them down slowly after each rep and don't drop the weights. You should pretty much have the same damping effect with bumpers this way. You'll then only have to worry about noisy racking on the rack

OP, if I were you I wouldn't look at low capacity equipment just because you can't lift as much today. If you go with something like SS, you'll be lifting more than your body weight in a few months

02-08-2012, 05:35 AM
Bumpers and stall mats are a start, but they will still make an almighty noise, especially to the downstairs neighbors. First of all, I would question the wisdom of having this set up in your apartment. If it were me, I'd either get the gym membership (I realize you don't have much time) or look into renting another apartment on a ground floor, or renting a house or duplex.

However, here's some of the tricks I've used:
On top of my platform (2 layers of plywood and 3/4" rubber) I've built "crash pads" made of 3/4" rubber and two layers of foam. See attached. They're about 2' x 3'. Of course it raises up the bar a couple inches from the ground, decreasing your ROM slightly, but I don't personally see that as an issue.

The foam is from a sporting goods store, four 2'x2' mats for $20. I glued them to the bottom of the rubber with "gorilla glue". When I deadlift, I lower the bumper plates on to these. But STILL pretty loud, especially when using the small metal weights you'll inevitably have to use.

Even then I've had my (good friend) neighbor complain when I'm lifting after 11pm. But I also don't necessarily lower it gently to the ground, since that can get hard to do when you're doing heavier and heavier deadlifts, as you'll find out ;)

So another dampening idea is to use multiple foam mats (camping sleeping pads are another option) stacked underneath where the bumpers will hit. Like 4 layers or so. Note you only need about 2' x 2' per side, so you can cut up each mat. I've found even with the foam glued to the rubber, the rubber itself is loud, compared to the bumpers hitting foam.

The other surface you'll need to address is the bar rests in the power rack where you place the bar. I used scrap foam and glued it to the uprights. You can't use very thick foam. I used about 1/4" thick stuff from some packaging or something. Can't remember exactly, but it was lying around. Anyway, point is get creative, cheap foam is all around you. I also covered my other bar rests with athletic tape, but before that I used left over pipe insulation foam wrap, left over from home depot, until it started to disintegrate.

Hope some of this helps!

02-08-2012, 05:50 AM
Oh, the most important thing: Go downstairs and meet your neighbor! Let him know you'll be weightlifting, and what hours/ days you'll probably be doing it. Even ask if it's ok maybe. Your humble attitude will give you a lot more leeway. Of course don't work out past 9pm, but it can be later if the downstairs neighbor says it's ok. Also maybe talk to your other neighbors above and to the sides. Otherwise I can almost guarantee there will be complaints raised against you! So nip it in the bud and talk to them first, it will go a long way! Like it or not you're part of a community, and you'll have to play by some rules...

02-08-2012, 08:00 AM
A solution for the racking/reracking noise, get the free-spotter shermworks.com. Free-spotter to stop noise on squats/bench, bumpers to minimize noise on deadlifts.