Apartment training is arguably the most difficult form of training that you can try to implement. You’ll have issues with space, weight capacities, setting up gym equipment, and disturbance to neighbors just to name a few.
Having a decent home gym set up in an apartment is not unheard of (I’ll show some pictures of my own set up when I lived in an apartment later on) but one of the most important considerations is can you have a squat rack in an apartment?
You can have a squat rack in an apartment, even if it’s not an apartment you own. To have a squat rack in an apartment, you need to check that the floors can hold the additional weight of not just the squat rack but a squat rack that is loaded with additional weight (though this disperses some of the load).
The simple answer is that you can have a squat rack in an apartment but there are some factors that you need to take into consideration before you jump in and get one set up. I’ll cover these factors in this article as well as some other points around apartment training…
Can You Have a Squat Rack in an Apartment
If you’re looking to start weightlifting at home, whether you’re a beginner or a lifetime lifter, you’re going to want to be able to perform squats. Not just bodyweight, goblet, or dumbbell squats but some heavy(ish) barbell squats.
One of the most functional compound exercises going, squats do require a rack to load and lift your barbell from, and if you live in an apartment this can seem like a mammoth piece of equipment to have in your home gym.
Installing a squat rack in your apartment should be absolutely fine, however, there are quite a few variables that come into play when deciding if it’s safe on the floors of your own place.
If your apartment is already in a state of disrepair for example, or if you’ve just got a feeling that the place isn’t put together as well as it should be, it might be wise to follow your instincts.
Can My Floor Support a Squat Rack
The floors in a modern apartment, if it has been built in compliance with building codes, are capable of taking a concentrated load of 500kg+.
You can familiarise yourself with the different kinds of loads (uniform, concentrated etc) your gym equipment will be making and impact in your home in another of our articles about whether or not it is safe it put gym equipment upstairs.
Don’t worry about counting the weight of your squat rack as well as the weight you’ll be lifting; this is where good old science comes in to save us. With all your weight plates loaded onto your barbell on a squat rack, the impact of the weight on your floor is spread across the entire rack.
When you’re lifting the weight yourself, however, all of that force is then exerted onto the floor through your feet, as they are the only parts of your body touching the floor.
This is one of the most important things you need to remember and is key to understanding how to prevent causing damage to your property or even yourself when weightlifting in your apartment.
It’s also worth asking yourself if you’d rather have a power cage than a squat rack in your apartment. If you have the extra space and budget, a power cage provides a safer, more stable base of operations for your home weightlifting, and means you can be more versatile in the exercises you add to your workouts.
You also need to factor in whether or not you can bolt down a squat rack or as a minimum, secure it in your apartment. A free-standing squat rack will not be as stable or secure, especially in an apartment and this could lead to an unsuitable and potentially unsafe setup.
Can I Lift Weights in My Apartment
Sure you can install a squat rack in your apartment, we’ve established that this is safe, even when you add a 300lb barbell and weight set into the mix. Performing the actual lifts on the other hand adds a whole new element to the equation.
First things first you need to think about what exercises you’ll be incorporating into your workouts, and how you can make these as safe as possible.
If you’re squatting in your apartment all power to you, but make sure you are using safety bars to catch the weight if you fail the lift.
Anyone who’s pushed their limits to reach a new PB knows exactly how easy it is to fail a squat and drop the weight, the thing is that in a public gym you’d usually have a spot to help you out or a floor that can support this.
If you’re lifting alone at home that barbell has nowhere to go but down, and if those weight plates crash into your floor at speed they are going to do some serious damage. Safety bars are going to cover you in this situation, so make sure they’re locked in place for every set.
While we’re on the subject of weights crashing into your floor, remember that your home gym is still a gym, and anyone who’s anyone knows the cardinal rule of any gym is ‘don’t drop the weights!’. Exercise extra caution in this regard when lifting in your apartment.
A little trick to bear in mind is that your floors will always be able to take more weight closer to the wall. If it’s possible in your apartment, lift your weights or install your rack as close to the wall as you can.
Can I Deadlift in My Apartment
Deadlifts are one of those exercises that make you feel strong. You’re able to stack the plates higher than any other lift you’ll be doing, whether it’s pushing or pulling, but if you want to deadlift from your apartment you’re going to have to put some safety measures in place beforehand.
One option is to install a deadlift platform. This can be made of wood, metal, or even something as simple as rubber matting across the floor of your apartment. The main objective when putting in a platform is to spread the weight of your barbell across a wider surface area.
With this in place, you’ll be able to lift as much as 3x the usual weight limit of your floor, but make sure you do the research for your own platform and apartment before you load up your max deadlift onto a barbell.
Another route you can go down is investing in some crash mats to lift your weights over. These can be used for a number of lifts, and mean that dropping your weights, accidentally, of course, won’t necessarily lose your security deposit or leave potholes in your apartment floor. Not only do crash mats reduce the risk of causing physical damage, but also help suppress the noise of your clanging and banging at home.
Be a Good Neighbor
One last thing to remember when weightlifting in your apartment is that no matter how hard you try to be quiet, you will be making quite a bit of noise. Do what you can to reduce the noise (rubber matting and crash mats are your friends here) but make sure to have the conversation with your neighbors, and your landlord if necessary.
Apartment training is not easy. When it comes to adding gym equipment to an upstairs room, ensuring it will fit, won’t cause issues with your neighbors and most importantly, whether it will be an option in terms of the weight limit are all limiting factors.
When it comes to whether or not you can have a squat rack in an apartment, the answer is yes but with limitations. If using rented accommodation, you’ll need to check with the realtor what the building regulations are and how much the floors can hold in terms of weight (most will be able to hold a squat rack with additional weights easily).
For your own apartment, it’s best to look at the deeds to see what weight capacities are listed. Generally though, you can have a squat rack in an apartment. I’ve left it late if you’ve read this far but this was my set up in 2020 when gyms were closed in the UK:
Not bad in my opinion!