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Are you living in an apartment and wondering if you can safely put a power rack in it to create your home gym without falling through the floor? I’m in that same situation and decided to find out if it’s possible and safe to put a power rack in your apartment.
It’s possible to safely put a power rack in your apartment. Modern code compliant apartment floors will be able to handle the load. Lifting heavy weights of more than 300lbs. (136kg) does require special flooring. Use smooth motions while lifting and prevent the weights from dropping on the floor.
There certainly are some things to understand and keep in mind before you start moving all your weights upstairs. It’s not only about the weights but also the lifts you perform and how you want the relationship with your neighbors and landlord to be.
Also check out this post for more background information: Can you build a home gym in an apartment?
Can my apartment floor hold a power rack with weights?
Yes, it can but I would immediately like to add a few caveats. It’s never just a straight forward answer is it?
- Your apartment is building code compliant
- Your apartment floor isn’t falling apart already
- You’re using gym flooring
- You’re not stacking all the weight in one place
- You’re not Eddie Hall, deadlifting 500kg in your apartment.
Now with that out of the way, we need to know how much weight your floor can take
If you keep stacking weight on any floor, at some point it will collapse. That doesn’t sound so good so how much weight can an apartment floor hold?
Check out this chart from building report
As you can see, for bedrooms, the minimum load limit is 30 pounds per square foot for the whole room and 300 pounds concentrated load.
Live load is everything that’s not attached to the house like furniture, books, appliances, etc. That includes exercise equipment.
Let’s take the lower load limit of 30 pounds per square foot and see how much the average room can hold. You’ll likely build your gym in the spare bedroom. The average bedroom size in the United States is 132sq. ft.
30 x 132 = 3960 pounds for the whole room. That’ll be plenty of weight for any lifter. You’ll still have to be careful not to put all of that weight in one spot however. Don’t put more than 300 pounds in any one spot.
What does that mean for you?
Now let’s look at a popular home gym rack like the Titan fitness X-3 24” width.
- Rack footprint: 52” x 34” = 5’3 x 2’8 (15.1 sq. ft.)
- 15.1 x 30 = 453 pounds
- Rack weight: 299 pounds (Low 80” version)
That leaves only 154lbs. for weights. That’s not a lot. But weight, uh.. wait, the rack has two sides. The concentrated load in one spot can be 300lbs. 2×300= 600lbs. That leaves a little more room for serious lifters. I would still spread out the weights through the room and not stack them all in one spot. Sure there are safety margins in building codes but do you really want to test them?
How heavy can you lift in an apartment?
I would be more worried about the actual lifts than the rack. The weight of a rack is distributed over a larger area. When you’re lifting, all the weight is just concentrated in one spot, your feet.
The two lifts people usually perform the heaviest are the squat and dead lift. These are two lift where your feet are relatively close together. And since the concentrated load limit is 300 pounds, this is certainly something to think about for serious lifters.
The way around this is to get a deadlift platform. A deadlift platform is a metal or wooden frame or slab with rubber mats on it. A deadlift platform will distribute the weight over a much larger area. The Rogue fitness platform for example measures 8’ x 4’. This gives you a way to lift up to 960 pounds in your apartment!! I think that’ll be plenty for anyone.
If you need some extra help building a home gym, I’ve created a beginner friendly manual that helps you plan and build your perfect home gym from start to finish. Check it out here.
Can you drop weights in an apartment?
In the previous part I talked about which weights are safe to have in your apartment. That didn’t take into account dropping weights. Most people will drop the weights on a deadlift or sometimes by accident.
If you’re already getting your lifts up to the point where they start challenging the weight limits of your floor, dropping the weights in your apartment is a bad idea.
As anybody that paid any attention in physics class will know that a moving object has much higher impact energy than a stationary object. That means a falling bar with a significant weight on it could possibly damage your floor or even structure. I really suggest you err on the safe side in this regard.
Getting some deadlift crash pads (Amazon link) will help dissipate the energy significantly but it’s no guarantee. Crash pads are great for damping noise and protecting your floors on the other hand.
How to keep the neighbors happy while lifting in your apartment
If you live in an apartment, you have neighbors. There is no way around it. Weightlifting can certainly create some side effects that those neighbors won’t like at all. Those side effects are noise and vibrations.
What creates noise when lifting? Three things:
- Dropping the weights on the floor
- Touching the floor between reps
- Re racking weights
- You grunting your lungs out on every rep.
There are a few things you can do to minimize these noises for your neighbors.
- Don’t drop the bar. I know, sacrilege!! But it’s a sacrifice you might have to make to be able to lift at home. It’s much safer for your floor as well.
- Even if you don’t drop the weights, your still touch the floor between reps. A pair of crash mats will help massively with this. Rogue makes the best gear on the market and their crash mats are no different. Check them out here.
- Re-racking the weights is another action that might make some noise. Trying to set the weights down slowly will help. You can also cover the pins with some rubber.
- You grunting is just something your neighbors will have to live with.
- Get a power rack that’s not bolted do the floor. A power rack on top of rubber flooring will transmit fewer vibrations to the structure. The Fitness Reality 810XLT is a good rack that doesn’t have to be bolted to the floor. Click here to find the 810XLT on Amazon.
Talk to your neighbors
Even with all those precautions there can be some noises that your neighbors won’t like.
The most important thing you can do to keep your neighbors happy is to just talk to them. Especially the neighbors below you but don’t forget the ones next to and above you.
- Tell them you will be weightlifting in your apartment.
- Ensure them that everything will be safe and you’ve done everything to limit noise
- Talk about which hours of the day would be best for you and them to lift weights.
If you don’t talk to your neighbors, you might risk some angry people grabbing the torches and pitchforks to get you out of your apartment. If you’ve been training enough to make them angry, you might be strong enough to fight them off, but it wouldn’t improve the relationship with them.
Looking to build a great home gym in a small space? My eBook is tells you everything you need to know. This eBook makes building a home gym and getting fit ridiculously simple. A straight-forward and dummy proof guide for planning, selecting equipment and building the perfect compact home gym. Create a home gym that’s better than a commercial gym.
Can I safely put a treadmill on the second floor? Yes, if your floor is up to code a normal treadmill is no problem. Home gym treadmills weigh up to 300 pounds and have 300lbs load limit on top of that. A heavy treadmill will have a big footprint to distribute that weight over enough floor surface to be safe.
Can I safely stack my weights on the second floor? In any house or apartment that’s up to code, it’s safe to stack up to 300lbs in one spot. More than that is not advisable. If you have more weights, spread it out over a larger area without exceeding the limit of 30lbs per sq. ft. for the whole room.
Many people often forget a few important pieces of their home gym that isn’t directly gym equipment. Here are my favorite home gym tools.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and all types of other workouts, the GymNext Flex is easily the best and easiest to use.
- Mirrors: Fab & Glass (Amazon link) makes the best large mirror sheets so you can see your exercise form.
- Flooring: American Floor Mats gym flooring (Amazon) or equipment mats make your gym quieter, easier to clean and keeps your floor and equipment safe.
- Fan: The Rowenta VU5670 (Amazon) is a great way to stay cool while working out.