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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Best wood surface for a lifting platform to avoid any slipping?

    Hey all,

    Hoping to build an 8x8' platform to put my power rack on; this will be for all lifting including deadlifts. Glancing around at tutorials for deadlift platforms online they mostly mention getting 4 OSB boards and then as a top layer using smooth plywood. I'm not a handyman by any means; my question is if there is a specific type of plywood to use as a top layer to help ensure there is no slippage of any sort when lifting? Also if anyone has any other generic thoughts on a lifting platform I'd be happy to hear them.
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    Not actually fat or a kid Fatkidwholifts's Avatar
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    Plywood has different grades, and an A side and a B side. The B side would be rougher. OSB is pretty rough on its own.

    You could always sand it i with with a course grit sandpaper to scuff it up, but plywood usually doesn’t sand well
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    Have you looked at those lifting platforms made by Rogue?

    Get that, 8 of the rubber tiles for the end, 1 sheet of 3/4 plywood, and enough 3/4 inch laminate flooring to install over the plywood for the middle.



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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Fatkidwholifts View Post
    Plywood has different grades, and an A side and a B side. The B side would be rougher. OSB is pretty rough on its own.

    You could always sand it i with with a course grit sandpaper to scuff it up, but plywood usually doesn’t sand well
    It also occurred to me after posting that I could just go to Home Depot or Lowe's and physically feel the various types to better gauge the grip as well.

    Originally Posted by Greybird2 View Post
    Have you looked at those lifting platforms made by Rogue?

    Get that, 8 of the rubber tiles for the end, 1 sheet of 3/4 plywood, and enough 3/4 inch laminate flooring to install over the plywood for the middle.



    https://www.bing.com/aclk?ld=e8jcB6k...0f79f853575408
    That looks nice though the tiles are currently out of stock. I'm curious if the 1.5" rubber tiles is enough for full shock absorption if I'm deadlifting say 500 pounds with a fairly rapid descent to protect the foundation? This will go on top of 3/8" rolled rubber flooring which will provide additional support. Pretty much all the guides I saw suggested a 3" deadlifting platform. If Rogue recommends it I imagine it has to be good enough though. Actually, if that works it would be preferable as it would provide me an extra 1.5" regarding overall height.


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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Ok, slept on this overnight and did a lot more youtubing/googling.

    If the wood is too slippery, I can place antislip spray on top (https://www.amazon.com/Rust-Oleum-27.../dp/B00D0297BS) or grip tape on top (https://www.amazon.com/SlipDoctors-B...stair+traction) and that should fix the problem. Obviously the grip tape will cover up the wood but the antislip spray is supposed to be clear so I'd likely try that first.

    I do not plan to go with the Rogue platform/tiles as it's simply a lot more cost and I don't think there is any benefit to me using it, though the frame is aesthetic. I'm also not completely convinced the 1.5" tiles will adequately protect the floor, my understanding is that the benefit of the wood underneath is to help spread out all of the shock.
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    Registered User murphyreedus's Avatar
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    Are you a hardcore oly lifter?

    I don't understand why anyone who is mostly doing deadlifting/rowing/crossfitty stuff would use wood as a top layer for any reason other than "everyone on the internet does". I'd do a 3/4" plywood base with 3/4" stall mats or other minimally compressible rubber flooring across the top. I think 1.5" in that configuration is more than sufficient for a 500# deadlift unless your foundation is ancient or made of glass, in which case you could throw more plywood/OSB underneath.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by murphyreedus View Post
    Are you a hardcore oly lifter?

    I don't understand why anyone who is mostly doing deadlifting/rowing/crossfitty stuff would use wood as a top layer for any reason other than "everyone on the internet does". I'd do a 3/4" plywood base with 3/4" stall mats or other minimally compressible rubber flooring across the top. I think 1.5" in that configuration is more than sufficient for a 500# deadlift unless your foundation is ancient or made of glass, in which case you could throw more plywood/OSB underneath.
    That is a good point. I guess I just hadn't seen many use the stall mats as the top so I hadn't really considered it and figured perhaps they were a bit more compressible than one would like, hence leading to wood being a better option. However, my rolled rubber flooring is quite dense and doesn't seem to compress at all so that stall mats may be similar. I'll pick those up first and if they seem good I'll get 3 of them and then not worry about the top layer as that will certainly solve and slippage issues.
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    That is a good point. I guess I just hadn't seen many use the stall mats as the top so I hadn't really considered it and figured perhaps they were a bit more compressible than one would like, hence leading to wood being a better option. However, my rolled rubber flooring is quite dense and doesn't seem to compress at all so that stall mats may be similar. I'll pick those up first and if they seem good I'll get 3 of them and then not worry about the top layer as that will certainly solve and slippage issues.
    I've just got stall mats on concrete, hasn't been any noticeable compression.
    but only been up to 170kg so far
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    I've just got stall mats on concrete, hasn't been any noticeable compression.
    but only been up to 170kg so far
    Cool, good enough for me. I'll put down a couple sheets of plywood and just cover it with stall mats. I will probably purchase everything tomorrow, so if anyone else has any feedback I am still happy to hear it.
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    First off, I think your plan of just covering the whole thing with stall mats is solid. Go for it!

    I always like to add my 2 cents whenever lifting platforms come up. I did mainly Olympic Lifting so:
    1. I made my "insert" (wood part in middle) with leftover oak hardwood flooring. Faster than rubber. Looks nicer than plywood. But choosing wood over rubber is only relevant, I feel, when doing Olympic Lifting. You can of course do OL on rubber as well, unless you're really sliding your feet when catching the bar.

    Anyway the floor finish was way too slippery for my preference, so I sanded down with rough sand paper (50 grit with a belt sander), and then coated with water based verathane.

    2. This is a very controversial subject, but after thorough research, I made my insert only 3'3" wide, as opposed to 4'. This is how the Europeans/Chinese lifters do it. It's 1 meter haha. This way you have a larger rubber "target" for when you drop weights from overhead, and won't damage the plywood/hardwood. Got into a flame war over on Crossfit forums. Have lost friends over this. haha j/k. But I stand by my decision.

    Reason most folks recommend 4' is because it's easier to construct. Less cuts and measuring. I get it. It's easier for average blokes & lasses to put together in their garage on the weekend. Totally cool, but remember your plywood edges may chip/get damaged sooner.

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    triplechris, thank you for your thoughts. The other pro I see of putting stall mats on top is that this will give me a nice center line down the middle that will make it really easier to center myself and my bench inside the rack.
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    Zero regrets, think the cost was around $300-$350 to make. I cut the wood planks even, which has been nice for centering the bench and setting up for various lifts.





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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Zero regrets, think the cost was around $300-$350 to make. I cut the wood planks even, which has been nice for centering the bench and setting up for various lifts.





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    FWIW I squatted on "better" grade smooth plywood for a while with no issues. Didn't seem like I could potentially slip. Maybe if I oly lifted I would have felt differently. I do agree with using stall mats though regardless.
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    Time to Work litljay's Avatar
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    I just used a cabinet grade piece of plywood for the top of mine. I little pricier, but looks better, IMO. I had plans of coating the top with something, but never got around to it.

    Your shoes is what will determine how slick it is. I use romaleos for the majority of the time and they plant well. However, you can easily slide a plate across the top of the plywood.
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    litljay, that looks very nice and professional. Was that picture when it was brand new or after using it for awhile?

    If the horse stall mats do not work out for whatever reason I'll try to find a good piece of plywood and then use the antislip spray. Alternatively, if in the interest of full disclosure I show this to my fiance and she says she wants to try to make a wood top work I will try to make that work first and then change it up if needed. I was planning to use screws without glue anyway to make it easier to take apart and move it in the future if needed.
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    I used this maple plywood from HD (link below). I squat barefoot and have no issues with it being slippery. It looks a lot like the one in litljay's setup, and like him I planned on staining it but never got around to it. It's been in use for about 3 years, it looks like new other than some scuff marks.

    I agree with what murphy said above, if I was to do it over again, I wouldn't bother with the plywood unless you're an oly lifter or just have a preference for it. Stall mats work just fine, or rolled rubber if you plan to stay in this place for the foreseeable future.


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    I have some rolled rubber flooring left over that is 3/8 in. in fact that is currently down on the ground where this platform is going to go. Do you think that is thick enough to use as a surface on top of two layers of the plywood that total 1.5 in thick? If so I can just simply use that and not even bother with the horse stall mats. The questions would be if the foundation would be at any increased risk, which I don't think it would be based on what was posted above, and then also would it be a lot noisier using the 3/8 inch road rubber flooring as opposed to the 3/4 inch horsestall mats. I could actually just purchase the horse sale mats and then switch to them if need be, if I don't need to switch to them I am confident I could find some other use for them around the house/yard at some point.
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    2 layers of 3/4" plywood is already overkill IMO. I used 1 layer of 3/4" plywood and 3/4" horse stall mats on top. I deadlift with iron plates and the plywood underneath is still in good shape after 3 years.

    I don't know how much impact rubber thickness will have on noise, I would guess it would be negligible.
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    Originally Posted by ShockDaMuscles View Post
    2 layers of 3/4" plywood is already overkill IMO. I used 1 layer of 3/4" plywood and 3/4" horse stall mats on top. I deadlift with iron plates and the plywood underneath is still in good shape after 3 years.

    I don't know how much impact rubber thickness will have on noise, I would guess it would be negligible.
    That does make sense. Well in that case I'll just get the wood, go the overkill route as it's only another <$100 for peace of mind, and use the rolled rubber flooring I already have. I can always change it up in the future if needed.



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    Registered User Cpl.Girthington's Avatar
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    Just checking in to add my experience. My whole gym is stall mats. I made a little 3 foot wide plywood insert for the inside of my rack to squat on. I just used a basic oak plywood and finished it with a few coats of minwax polyshades. I've had no slippage issues and have used this setup for years now. My wife will train seriously for approximately 3 weeks every 8 months to two years. In that time she's dropped dumbbells on the platform twice causing gouges in the wood and ruining the whole aesthetic.

    I slightly prefer the feel of squatting on the plywood, but I deadlift over the rubber mats due to convenience and more space, if you go with wood keep in mind any guest lifters may f*ck up your wood by dropping iron on it.
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    Originally Posted by Cpl.Girthington View Post
    if you go with wood keep in mind any guest lifters may f*ck up your wood by dropping iron on it.
    That's why I decided to use the engineered planks on top of plywood, it's a cross between laminate and hardwood flooring. That way in 3-5 years when I've destroyed it or dinged it all up I can swap out the middle portion and even change up the color scheme. It's expensive but it's working like a dream so far, love the feel of hardwood and it's not slippery at all.

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    There's really no reason to use wood for most people (oly lifters aside). It's slick and you have to worry about dropping weights on it. Murphyreedus is spot on.

    Getting nice plywood, and then roughing it up / anti-stick spray / grip tape is double work for an inferior product. Just cover the whole thing with stall mats. When I squat on wood, my feet go from neutral to toes sliding out.
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    litljay, that looks very nice and professional. Was that picture when it was brand new or after using it for awhile?

    If the horse stall mats do not work out for whatever reason I'll try to find a good piece of plywood and then use the antislip spray. Alternatively, if in the interest of full disclosure I show this to my fiance and she says she wants to try to make a wood top work I will try to make that work first and then change it up if needed. I was planning to use screws without glue anyway to make it easier to take apart and move it in the future if needed.
    Yes, that was when it was fairly new. Here's a newer picture (oder gym space). It appears to be holding up well.



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    Originally Posted by Sboarder1964 View Post
    There's really no reason to use wood for most people (oly lifters aside).
    Ever squat on a hardwood surface?
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Ever squat on a hardwood surface?

    What reason can you give besides "it looks nicer"?
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    Originally Posted by murphyreedus View Post
    What reason can you give besides "it looks nicer"?
    I'm guessing you haven't either then. It's the same reason people squat in flat/squat shoes or barefoot.

    Hint: Harder Surface = Feels Better
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    I'm guessing you haven't either then. It's the same reason people squat in flat/squat shoes or barefoot.

    Hint: Harder Surface = Feels Better
    I currently squat on bare concrete. Is that hard?

    I've also regularly squatted on stall mats and plywood. Zero difference in "feeling" on any of them. I haven't squatted on plank flooring, but I'll go ahead and assume I wouldn't notice a difference there either. The bigger squatters I know seem to be able to squat on mats, wood, ****ty powerlifting carpet, and concrete without missing a beat.
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    Originally Posted by murphyreedus View Post
    I currently squat on bare concrete. Is that hard?

    I've also regularly squatted on stall mats and plywood. Zero difference in "feeling" on any of them. I haven't squatted on plank flooring, but I'll go ahead and assume I wouldn't notice a difference there either. The bigger squatters I know seem to be able to squat on mats, wood, ****ty powerlifting carpet, and concrete without missing a beat.
    Then there you go, you understand afterall but obviously adding hardwood to concrete wouldnt provide much added benefit considering its already an unforgiving surface. But there is a difference between the feel of squatting on wood vs rubber flooring. Wood is obviously harder, I'm sure we agree there. It also has the added benefit of looking nicer, like painting all your racks the same blue color
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    My rolled rubber is laid directly on top of concrete foundation. It's definitely hard enough for me. I thought there might be a little more give to it, but that's not the case. It's difficult for me to imagine needing or wanting anything more solid.
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