How To Build A Deadlifting Platform With Three Tools

The Ultimate “How To Build A Deadlift Platform” Guide

I had always wanted to deadlift in the basement.  It seemed like the ultimate release of frustration from work etc.  One of the main pieces of equipment that I deemed a necessity in our home gym was a deadlift platform.  I searched a lot of plans for “how to build a deadlift platform” but ended up tailoring those ideas to my own needs and to be as cost-effective as possible.  I needed a deadlift platform that would absorb as much noise as possible.   This was to preserve the life of our equipment, concrete floor, and joints. I started out with attempting to deadlift on stall mats and found it was just too noisy and too jarring on my elbows and wrists once the weight got heavier. What you now see is my final solution, a deadlift platform that can be built with minimal tools as well as with minimal trunk space to haul materials.

How to Build A Deadlift Platform Need To Know Info

Having trained at a few gyms with platforms, I was lucky enough to know prior to constructing my own platform what I wanted and didn’t want.  Here are a few more ideas to consider before we get started that were important to me and may help you

  • I wanted this to be portable and I wanted to be able to move it if I needed to
  • I was limited to things that I could fit down the stairs in the basement
  • Wood WILL get damaged over time.  If you don’t use bumper plates (EXPENSIVE) then you need the ability to replace compressed and damaged wood
  • I was also limited to the things that I could fit in the back of a Volvo XC90

I had a few limitations before starting this project, some had easy fixes (use brother’s truck to get larger pieces of wood) but then again, I’m stubborn and wanted to do everything immediately with no help.  Stupid? Yes…. Regardless, here is a list of equipment necessary

  • 2 – 4×6 Horse Stall Mats
  • 1 – 6×8 Area Rug
  • Foam Garage Tiles (optional)
  • 4- 2’x6′ 1/4″ OCB Board
  • 2- 2’x6′ 3/4″ Hardwood Board

Tools Required

  • Tape measure
  • Utility Knife with fresh razors
  • Drill
  • Screws

Many people will ask “why not just use layers of stall mats?”  Good question.  I just didn’t want to purchase that many stall mats, wood is a cheaper option and this was done to keep the overall price down.  The foam garage tiles are also optional, they are a bit pricey but I wanted as many noise-canceling layers as possible.  You could easily just buy another cheap area rug in place of this layer.

Step 1: How To Build a Deadlift Platform DIY 

I covered the floor with these foam garage tiles seen here.


This was my initial layer of noise canceling and shock absorbing.  These are not the same tiles that we reviewed in the home gym rubber flooring guide.  These tiles are foam and squishy.  This was exactly what I wanted.

Step 2: OSB Layer

I layed down 4 pieces of 4×2 OSB board to cover the top of the foam tiles.  I chose 4 pieces rather than one large sheet of plywood.  This was done for two reasons, first because it was easier to fit these in the car.  Secondly, if anything needs to be replaced it is easy to swap out.  The only portion of your deadlift platform that will get damaged by compression of weight are the sections directly underneath the weight.  Knowing this, it makes no sense to buy a large sheet of plywood and then replace the entire thing, repairs will be cheaper this way.

Step 3: Stall Mats

A 4×6 stall mat that is cut in thirds will fill our needs perfectly.  Measure two-foot sections (thirds of the mat) and draw a chalk line down each making sure it is straight.  Cutting the mat takes a bit of work but if you go slow you should be able to follow the line closely.  If you deviate from the line it is OK, just cut to the best of your ability.  You will basically keep scoring in small sections over and over until you cut through the entire mat. Once this is done you will have 3 sections that measure 2×4 (2+2+2= 6ft). On top of the carpet layer, I placed one 4×6 horse stall mat and then one section of the cut stall mat as the first real layer of floor protection and dampening.  This gives us a 3/4″ layer of thick, hard rubber to protect the barbell and the floor.  Lay these down side by side.

Step 4: Carpet Layer

I spoke to a close friend that owns a gym equipment business and he advised the use of carpet in between layers to help kill the shock.  This was a crucial piece of advice that I didn’t find online and ended up working well.  I definitely wanted to protect my texas power bar from as much damage as possible so I heeded this advice.

I was lucky enough to find this piece of carpet in the basement before even starting the project.   I had to trim it to size, but a regular area rug (as cheap as you can find) will do.

Step 5: Top Hardwood Layer

I could only find two 2’x6′ 3/4″ pieces of hardwood for this step.  Again, it fits in the car and was all that was available.  My only gripe with the platform is that I would have preferred a 4’x6′ piece for this step but it wasn’t available.  Measure and place these pieces in the center of the platform, do not screw them down yet.

Step 6: Stall Mats 2.0

You should have (2) 2x4ft sections of the cut stall mat left.  If you did your math correctly then you should end up with a top layer of hardwood that is 4 ft wide.  8ft- 4ft= 4ft left to fill the top layer.  A 4×6 stall mat that has been cut to measure 2ft will fill the ends perfectly.  Measure and draw a chalk line down the center of the stall mat so that when completed you will have two section of equal width.  Cutting the mat takes a bit of work but if you go slow you should be able to follow the line closely.  If you deviate from the line it is OK, just cut to the best of your ability.  You will basically keep scoring in small sections over and over until you cut through the entire mat.

Step 7: Screw It Down

Add the non-cut (perfectly flat) edge of the stall mats closest to the hardwood centerpiece.  This allows everything to lay perfectly and there is no need to worry about your cutting skills.  The only thing left to do is the screw down the hardwood section and anchor it into the rest of the layers.  I placed weights on the sections as I screwed them down to ensure that they would be as flat as possible.  They are slightly uneven but I have found that your body weight will make everything perfect once you start to pull.  As an added bonus, I really like the center line from the two hardwood pieces as an alignment aid for the center of the barbell.   I did not secure the stall mats for good reason, I now can replace any layer easily that gets compressed from the weight when necessary.   Here is the final product

Other Tweaks

You could easily stain the middle portion to make this look really cool but I didn’t really care about the looks, I just wanted to get pulling ASAP.

Final Thoughts

I realize that this isn’t the most cosmetically beautiful deadlift platform out there, however it does have some advantages over other plans that I have found in the “how to build a deadlift platform” articles that I have seen online.  You could easily take this platform and move it anywhere with little effort, all items necessary will fit in the back of your car regardless of size, and you are free to make repairs when needed.

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