Are you a fitness enthusiast and want to add a power rack to your home gym? If you are living in an apartment that’s not on the ground floor, load capacity will be a primary concern. You wouldn’t want to damage your floor or worse, crash into the apartment below. Well, it is possible to safely install a power rack in your apartment if certain conditions are met.
The first and most important is the build quality of the apartment floor. If you live in a rickety or old apartment, it will fail to hold the combined load of the rack and the loads that you lift. There shouldn’t be any problem if the apartment, especially the floor is built accordingly to modern standards.
The next thing that has to be kept in mind is the amount of load you lift. Even code complaint floors will fail if you want to lift weights like the Hulk. That will need special flooring. Otherwise, you will be pretty safe on the second floor of an apartment or higher. Moreover, while lifting weights, you should be careful enough not to drop the weights on the floor suddenly. This could create a crack on your floor.
What Will I Learn?
Can you put a squat rack in an apartment?
As already mentioned, you can have your squat rack on upstairs apartment if you adhere to certain rules and meet certain conditions. Here we will talk in detail about these:
Before you take your squat rack and all weights upstairs, you have to ensure the following:
- The apartment complies with the standards of residential construction and is suitable for heavy loads.
- The apartment is in good shape and is not coming off in places.
- You have installed proper gym flooring where you want to install the power cage.
- You store the weights at different places and not all at one place to reduce impact.
- You will lift only reasonable weights on your upstairs apartment (300 lbs or less) and not be the next Eddie Hall lifting 500 pounds.
If you want to keep using your squat cage in your apartment, you have to bear in mind that you cannot stack all weights in one place. If you do so, your apartment floor will give in, sooner or later. Even the best construction will not be able to hold too much weight stacked in one place for long. The table given below will give you an idea of how you should distribute the weight on the 2nd floor of an apartment and other areas.
From the table given above, you can very well see that you can keep a weight of 30 pounds in an area measuring one square foot. For concentrated loads, the weight capacity is capped at 300 lbs. So, if you are building your home gym in a room that measures approximately 130 sq. ft. (the standard bedroom size is 132 sq. ft in the US), the room can bear a load of 3900+ pounds.
However, this is the live load that the room can hold. This excludes the weight of anything that’s attached to the walls or ceiling like TV, shelves, etc. But it includes the weight of everything that’s not attached like free-standing appliances, furniture, etc.
How does this affect you?
Now that you know how much weight an upstairs apartment can hold, it is important to understand the implication of the same.
- For example, you want to install the ROGUE RML-490C POWER RACK 3.0 in your gym.
- Now, the rack has a footprint of 53” * 53” = 4’5” * 4’5” = 19.50 sq.ft.
- 19.50 x 30 pounds = 585.20 pounds
- Weight of the squat rack = 340 pounds
This means that you can lift 240 pounds to be within the weight threshold of the particular area of the floor. This is quite good for weightlifting enthusiasts. But that’s not the end of it. The rack has two sides. So, the total concentrated load of both sides will sum to 300*2 = 600 pounds. So, even serious lifters will find it easy to lift desirable loads; just don’t overdo your squat routine or stack up everything in one place. If you keep the weights spread over the floor of the room, you should have no problem with heavy weightlifting.
How heavy can you lift in an apartment building?
You already have an estimate of how much weight you can lift with a squat cage in an apartment. But the rack isn’t the main concern here. What you should consider is the weight that you lift. This is because the weight of the rack being distributed over a larger area has a lesser impact on the floor. But when you are powerlifting, the entire weight is concentrated on your legs, and this has a greater impact on the floor, especially when you are doing deadlifts and squat. As per residential construction standards, the maximum safe concentrated load is 300 lbs.
To prevent any damage to the floor, you can get yourself a deadlift platform that allows you to evenly distribute the heavyweight over a wider area. With this, you can do some serious powerlifting in your apartment without any worry.
Can you drop weights on an apartment floor?
Short answer, no! While it is true that many people allow weights to fall freely on the floor during deadlifting or accidentally, this isn’t a good idea if you are on the 2nd floor of an apartment or even higher. There is nothing but simple physics behind this.
Stationary weight doesn’t have as much impact on the floor as compared to falling or moving weight. So, if a bar with heavyweights falls straight to the ground, it can cause damage to the floor, and even the core structure may fail.
So, even if it is possible to safely have a rack and your desired weights in your apartment, you must never let them fall to the ground. You have to be very cautious about this as a single error can cause a lot of damage, especially if you are serious about weights.
Must-Have Equipment for Safe Weightlifting In All Apartment Home Gyms
Apart from fulfilling the prerequisites given above, you can buy certain accessories to be on the safe side. This includes:
These platforms are usually made of wood and give you a harder surface to lift off from. But that’s not all. They protect the floor from the impact of falling weight during a deadlift. So, if you mistakenly allow the loaded bar to fall, it will ward off the heavy impact from the floor.
Crash cushions work similarly. Also known as crash pads, they help minimize the shock when a heavily loaded barbell crashes on the floor. They are also good at dampening the noise caused due to falling plates and bars.
If you are not sure about which crash cushion to choose, here are a few recommendations
Gym floor mat
Having a quality gym floor mat is also preferable if you have a rack on the second floor of an apartment. Mats made of rubber are good shock and sound absorbers. So, you will be able to prevent any damage to the floor and also keep your neighbors happy.
If you are not sure about which gym mat to choose, here are a few recommendations
- Rogue Individual Mat
- SuperMats High Density Commercial Grade Solid Equipment Mat
- BalanceFrom Puzzle Exercise Mat with EVA Foam Interlocking Tiles
How can I lift weights in my apartment without disturbing neighbors?
As you train with weights in your apartment, you are going to produce a lot of noise and vibrations that can bother your neighbors. These mainly occur when:
- Weights or barbells fall on the floor.
- You touch the floor in between two reps.
- You re-rack the weights.
- You grunt during the reps.
These noises, if too loud, can be the cause of objection from the neighbors. Although it is impossible to train in pin-drop silence, here are a few things that you can do:
- Avoid dropping weights, barbells, or other metal equipment that you use.
- Use crash cushions to minimize the sound of touching the ground during reps.
- Re-rack slowly to produce the least sound. You can use rubber covers for the tips.
- Try to control your grunting as much as possible. You can’t be completely silent.
Apart from taking these precautions, you should also try to sort out things with your neighbors. Instead of waiting for them to complain of sounds, approach them directly and tell that you will be training with weights. Tell them that there may be some noise while you work out but you will try to keep it low with extra precautions. Also, let them know that you will take extra care that there’s no damage to the floor. This will discourage everyone from complaining at the slightest sound.
Would the apartment floor hold a power rack and a full set of weights?
Any apartment that has been built in compliance with the building code should be able to support your power rack and moderate weight plates. Unless you stack everything together and dangerously cross the weight capacity per square foot and for the area, you shouldn’t face any problems.
Tips for a power rack in an apartment
Now that you know that you can conveniently have a power cage upstairs, here are a few tips that will make your journey easier.
- Before you set up your rack, strip your floor of any carpet, padding, or tiles so that the floorboards are exposed.
- Lay a layer of ¾” plywood on the exposed floorboards and fix it with screws. This layer will act as a protective layer and also distribute the weight over a larger area.
- You should also use rubber flooring, at least 8 mm thick, over the plywood. Rubber padding not only offers additional protection but also helps absorb some sound.
- Use the walls to support heavier items. This will take a lot of load off the floor and offer better safety even if you have some serious load.
- Find out if there is any wall below the room that can take a lot of weight. If so, set up your heaviest gear on or close to the wall. It will easily bear a lot of load without weighing down.
- If possible get to know the position of the joists. Distributing heavyweights over several joists can reduce the impact of the load on the floor.
- Heavier weights should preferably be placed towards either end of the joists as this will better transfer the load to the vertical support or walls.
- Make sure that you have the least weight at the center of the floor, as this is the weakest spot.
- Don’t buy racks that need to be bolted down. That will save you the hassle of boring your floor.
- You can buy stall mats to keep the sound and vibrations to a minimum.
If you are a fitness freak and want to do some serious weight training at home, you can safely add a power rack and weights to your upstairs apartment. All you need to do is take some precautions, and you should be fine.