Is it a bad idea to have a home gym on the first floor of a house with a squat rack and barbell? Most home gyms with racks/barbells I have seen are in the basement or garage on concrete. My concern would be the occasional dropped deadlift or bailed clean smashing through the floor. Could mats, plywood platforms, and/or bumper plates mitigate serious damage?

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    I spoke with my mother (an architect) and her advice is that you should definitely check the house to see how much it can bear; this is quite a lot of weight on a very small area and it can be tricky (not sure how much the plywood would help, either). In my corner of Europe, houses are required to be able to bear 250kg/m^2, but even this might not be enough for a rack (consider what happens when you drop your weights).
    – VPeric
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 14:50
  • How does the architect check how much the floor is able to bear?
    – Sarah
    Commented Apr 11, 2014 at 8:58
  • @Sarah - Load beams. You have to be able to see under the flooring (i.e. the ceiling of the basement), and see what kind of load beams are supporting everything, how all of the other cross beams and support structures are and so forth. A steel beam can support more than a laminated beam can support more than a couple 2x4's nailed together. A contractor can tell you, an architect specifies more than builds.
    – JohnP
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 15:42

3 Answers 3


It definitely depends on the construction of your house. Some home features require extra care, such as grand pianos and hot tubs. Essentially, anything that puts a large amount of weight in a relatively small area.

Covering the whole workout area with another layer of 5/8" plywood will help provide additional rigidity and disperse the weight better. However, if you have an older house, you might have floor joists that are fairly wide apart such as ever 24". If that's the case, you'll need to add some more floor joists for extra support.

Now, if we are talking a total of 300lbs of weights, you should be fine. If you are pulling four big plates a side, you should definitely have the home inspected to see if it can handle the weight. This is true even particularly if you get a proper lifting platform (2" cement base with 2 layers of 3/4" plywood on top). The weight of the platform itself is enough to warrant caution.

To be absolutely sure, if you have a concrete foundation below you, you should be OK.


How much weight are you talking about? A good test is if you bounce on the floor do you go through it?

Seriously, I would recommend a plywood platform to keep your floor from getting messed up, make sure you put padding under it and that it's thick/strong enough for your weight plus the rack plus the max weight you plan on lifting. Make sure that any drops won't 'rattle' dishes, pictures, etc. in adjoining rooms. I think the main reason for most home gyms in basesments is due to the need to keep the wife happy OR general space issues. enter image description here Here's my workout area (note the cat litter pans adding to the decor)


It can be achieved if you lay 1 inch ply and use an anti-shock rubber mat which have egg cup feet. 40mm should suffice, but if you're lifting 150kg+, your probably better with 50mm or 60mm or even doubling them up for extra piece of mind. You can see good pictures with all the different ratings on this website page.

  • I believe you forgot to add a link. In any case, how do you know how much OP's house floor can support to give such specific advice? I believe the accepted answer has better advice (check the house structure first).
    – Luciano
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 15:49

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