So, you’ve bought your first power rack and can’t wait to get it set up. Check out any forum or Facebook group though and you’ll quickly find an oversight on your part might be what goes underneath the power rack when installing it.
Power rack flooring is an essential item for almost everyone installing a power rack at home. In a commercial gym, you’ll see these racks are not only placed on very specific – and thick – floor matting but most will also be installed on a deadlift or power rack platform.
Due to its importance in a proper gym setup, we’ll be covering the question in this article “what do you put under a power rack” and covering the most essential power rack flooring options.
Do You Need Flooring for a Power Rack?
If you’re thinking about adding a power rack to your home gym, then you’ll need to consider the flooring options.
Home gyms have a variety of different surfaces, whether that’s carpet, hardwood flooring, or concrete. In most cases, you might want to put something underneath your power rack to ensure that firstly, you don’t damage the surfaces, and secondly, to increase your safety.
Therefore, additional flooring underneath a power rack is advised.
Power Rack Flooring: Why Is It Needed?
So, I’ve just mentioned above that one of the main reasons why you’d want power rack flooring is to protect the surface underneath. This should be relatively self-explanatory, a power rack is a heavy piece of equipment made from steel and is designed to be trained inside and around it.
This means dropping weights (occasionally), potentially moving the rack when re-racking the weight, and just the general wear and tear that comes with weightlifting and training. To prevent damage, a specific floor cover is used by most home gym owners.
I then mentioned safety, and this is the more important reason why you need power rack flooring.
Depending on what you purchase, the flooring for a power rack is essential for distributing load and preventing damage and possible injury. While the surface area of a power rack will already distribute loads evenly along the floor, additional flooring and matting will further help with this.
This is an important safety feature if you are considering placing your power rack upstairs or on any surface that is supported by beams. Even solid concrete flooring can be damaged when dropping loads so flooring under a squat rack is almost essential to lift safely and protect your home, garage, or even shed.
What Do You Put Under a Power Rack to Secure It?
Typically, putting a power rack straight onto a base surface is not a good idea. You’ll want to think about some extra protection for your flooring. Depending on what type of surface you want to place your power rack on, you’ll need to consider different methods.
As will be explored below, to secure your power rack you’ll need to place mats underneath it and find a way to fasten them to the surface. In some cases, it may be required to screw your power rack in to prevent it from moving and causing issues.
Other people will also use a squat rack stringer to secure it to the wall and further distribute weight loads and secure it in place.
For a quick overview of this, check out our guide on bolting down a power rack or squat rack here.
Gym flooring is a growing category but you need to be aware that this can be expensive. Gym (and power rack) flooring is typically heavy-duty matting made from dense rubber. This is to absorb shock from dropped weights, distribute load when lifting, and ultimately protect your floor underneath.
While specific gym matting is ideal, the best thing you can put under a power rack is heavy-duty, rubber matting. It’s best to cover the entire floor with this matting as gaps could lead to a build-up of moisture and mold.
If you want to save some money, it’s best to go to a hardware store or furniture store to find some cheaper material. gym matting is not essential so getting any type of thick mat will suffice.
Can You Put a Power Rack on Carpets?
Placing your power rack on a carpet, like all other solutions, has its pros and cons. While you can place your power rack on carpets, you may be able to find other solutions that are better.
Installing carpet for your home gym is not suggested, but if it’s already there, you might not want to tear it out. It’s easy and cheap to leave what you have in place.
The type of carpet impacts whether you should place your power rack on top of it. The higher the carpet is, the more problems that it may cause. If your carpet doesn’t have an underlay, then it’s more suitable for gym equipment.
If you drop any weights, the carpet will protect you from any damage being caused and because the material is cushioned, it also reduces the noise, which is helpful for when you’re working out.
Despite the carpet protecting from damage, it won’t last too long, and over time it will begin to wear. You may not have the grip you need when you’re working out on carpets and this may make it difficult to maintain the correct form when lifting weights.
Generally, you can place your power rack on a carpet, but you might want to choose a floor that’s more suitable for it as carpet will not allow you to add additional matting and it will hold moisture – something you absolutely do not want in a home gym!
Can You Put a Power Rack on Hardwood Floors?
You can put a power rack on hardwood floors, however, it’s not advised to put the equipment straight onto the floors. In order to protect the flooring for longer, you may want to put down a mat.
To prevent scuffing or damaging the hardwood flooring, you can create a layered system that’s protective and functional.
Firstly, lay down a cork underlayment, then plywood and then finally place a rubber mat on top. To ensure that everything is secured in place, drill some wooden screws through the rubber and plywood.
As a result, your flooring is protected well and maintains its strength, creating a perfect surface for putting a power rack on and starting your workout.
Can You Put a Power Rack on an Uneven Floor?
Many people like to create a home gym in their garage and often the flooring can be uneven or slanted.
Typically, it’s best not to put a power rack on an uneven floor as this could lead to serious injuries if anything happens.
For those dealing with an uneven floor, it’s advised to build a DIY platform that will allow you the option to create a more even surface using support beams cut to size with sheets of plywood to distribute the load.
These platforms can be “packed” in order to create a stable surface and allow for your power rack to be installed on an even surface.
Can You Put a Power Rack Upstairs?
Building a home gym on the second floor comes with its issues. Placing heavy equipment could potentially lead to structural damage and the last thing you want is a safety hazard.
Noise is also a massive factor in whether you place your power rack upstairs or downstairs. Upstairs rooms tend to be amplified, so a strenuous workout or dropping heavyweights will make a loud impact. Nevertheless, you could purchase some silencer pads to reduce the noise downstairs.
If you have the option to put your power rack downstairs, then it is advisable to do so. However, if you don’t have the option, can you still do it and what are the things you should consider?
The main thing to consider is how much weight the floor upstairs can hold. Power racks are heavy machinery and weigh approximately 550 lbs. It is safe to put this upstairs, but chances are you’ll have a lot more equipment that’ll increase the weight tolerance.
Generally, heavier items should be placed nearer the walls because the floors are more stable there. You should also try to keep your equipment away from the center of the room. If you follow these steps, then you shouldn’t have too many problems.
Whilst it is preferable to place your power rack downstairs, this may not always be an option. You will need to take precautions before deciding whether to place it upstairs and you should be aware of the risks that it could potentially come with.
This topic is covered in more detail here – can you have a squat rack in an apartment
Power Rack Matting
The power rack matting will ensure your surfaces are sturdy, protected, and noise-reducing. There are a number of options that are perfect for this.
Rubber flooring can last between 10 and 15 years before having to be replaced and therefore makes a great option for gym flooring.
Interlocking Rubber Tiles
Interlocking rubber tiles are commonly used by gyms in free weight zones but due to their thickness, they’re also suitable for gym equipment.
- Individual pieces = easily replaceable
- Easy installation process
Rubber Flooring Rolls
Rubber flooring rolls are commonly used by gyms in aerobic areas because they provide a good grip. For equipment like a power rack, the floor grip is essential to prevent injury. If you have a big room for your
gym, rubber flooring rolls are ideal for covering large floor spaces.
- Smooth and seamless finish
- Good for large spaces
- Suitable for heavier machinery like power racks
- More of a permanent solution, i.e. you would most likely have to use adhesive and attach it to your floor
- Difficult to install
Specific flooring is needed if you want to install a power rack. While many will take an old-school approach and bolt the rack straight into concrete flooring, most will want to protect their home flooring and the weights they use.
Therefore, power rack flooring is an essential addition for most home gyms. Some thick rubber matting is the best solution for most. It provides a clean, aesthetic, and safe layer to train on and is also a permanent solution.
If this is not an option, you can also use some sheets of plywood to cover a surface, or as an upgraded option, create a deadlift/power rack platform using a combination of plywood and rubber matting.