Why Do You Need a Deadlift Platform?
You need a deadlift platform so you are not dependent on a gym to get in your deadlift workouts.
With a deadlift platform in your basement or garage, you can ‘go to the gym’ whenever you please.
You will not have to wait for the equipment or enough space to start deadlifting.
In some gyms like Planet Fitness, you are not allowed to deadlift. (Simple Solutions Fitness)
And in others like New York Sports Club, where there are few official deadlift stations, even though you are allowed, you still have to wait till the space is available.
And that does not mean you necessarily have a dedicated deadlift platform, all it means is that you can use an area within or around a power rack or squat rack to deadlift.
Or you have to drag a barbell to some empty space on the available mats and start your routine, assuming no one else is using the mats for battle ropes, kettlebells, or TRX training.
Having your own deadlift platform means that you can train when you want to train, whether that is during the day or in the evening.
And if you live in a state where you have months of inclement weather, even a blizzard will not stop you from deadlifting!
This article will reveal the simplest deadlift platform you can set up for under $100.
Having a Deadlift Studio Means Independence
So, do you really need a deadlift platform?
The answer is yes if you are committed to getting leaner and stronger than you ever thought possible, and you want the freedom of being able to deadlift no matter how many gyms are closed.
Before I “built” my deadlift studio as I like to call it, I could kiss at least 90 minutes to 2 hours goodbye when I went to the gym.
From that time, I needed 45 minutes just to get to the gym and back.
And even though this particular gym had multiple areas for deadlifting, many times I still had to wait till one opened up.
Now, after I warm up for my deadlift workout, I just go down the stairs to the basement and start deadlifting.
So, the commute to the gym now is a breeze!
What Does a Deadlift Platform Do?
Here are some of the benefits of having your own deadlift platform:
- Protect your floor from the iron weights or bumper plates that you have on your barbell.
- And protect your barbell and weights from impact against the floor.
- Minimize the amount of noise that you make in your apartment or home.
- Have a solid, perfectly flat surface for you to push off of to create leg drive for the deadlift.
- Reduce the amount of shock to your arms when you lower the weight to the floor.
- Instead of lowering to a cement unforgiving floor, a deadlift platform will lessen the impact. A couple of years ago I made the mistake of doing touch-and-go deadlifts where you do not pause between deadlift repetitions. The repeated stress of the barbell hitting the floor left me tendonitis of the elbow aka lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. If you have elbow strain from weightlifting, see 5 Simple Steps to Recover From Elbow Pain and Start Lifting Again.
- A deadlift platform makes deadlifting a bit more comfortable than lifting on a cement or tile floor.
- It also gives you the psychological motivation that you have an area on which to lift.
- Seeing your “deadlift studio” will encourage you to stick with your plan, even when you don’t feel like it.
- A deadlift platform allows you to stop neglecting your posterior chain which will be further explained below in the section subtitled Mirror Muscles.
This post will reveal the easiest and fastest deadlift platform you can put together when you are a deadlift beginner.
You Cannot Afford to Stop Deadlifting
I needed a deadlift platform since my gym closed at the beginning of the pandemic last March.
I thought I could stay somewhat healthy by walking and doing pushups.
While I found several options popular with powerlifters and Olympic lifters, such as:
- 4 x 8 foot Titan Fitness deadlift platform
- 4 x 8 foot Rogue deadlift platform
- and 4 x 8-foot horse stall mats
- Several instructional videos on how to build a DIY deadlift platform
I made the mistake of not taking action soon enough, not totally all my fault.
For example, the Titan fitness deadlift platform frame was available for $250, but the rubber tiles for $130 were not, and still are not until 3/3/21 according to their website.
While Titan looked like it would come in under $400, the Rogue deadlift platform came out to $680 before tax and $980 after factoring in shipping costs.
That’s right, close to a $1,000 to deadlift at home.
So, I thought perhaps I could find a horse stall mat, but could not at that time, and even if I did, moving it around would not be too simple since the typical 4×8 foot horse stall mat weighs 100 pounds.
And even though there were several DIY videos online like Alan Thrall’s above, most supply stores were closed, so I had to rely on walking alone and push-ups.
While walking is an excellent general exercise, and push-ups are an outstanding bodyweight push exercise, I had no posterior chain exercise without the deadlift.
A Morning Walk Turns to Agony
Several months after I stopped deadlifting I went out for a walk, and I had such a sharp pain in my back that I could almost not breathe.
This pain was so intense that I could not bend to my right side at all.
Eventually, I went to a physical therapist who diagnosed the problem as joint derangement and the sudden inactivity brought on by no longer deadlifting.
Between sitting long periods of time while writing and having no access to strength training, my joint structure shifted in such a way that I recoiled in agony just reaching for a bar of soap.
Fortunately for me, my PT is a true magician, and after two weeks of hyperextension of my back, I could bend again to the side without pain.
I celebrated the return of my back health with the determination to get back to the deadlift immediately.
I already knew about the above platform options, and I had to believe there was an easier way to create an area to deadlift.
And there was.
The Easiest & Fastest Deadlift Platform
After many searches, reading through product reviews, and calling nonresponsive rubber flooring companies, I decided on getting two 2×3 foot Rubber-Cal Shark Tooth 3/4 inch Heavy Duty Mats.
I got through to customer service at Rubber-Cal immediately.
They explained that this product is not only used in commercial gyms but even in warehouses for shipping containers weighing up to as much as 4,000 pounds, so I felt confident that these heavy-duty mats could easily withstand whatever weight I can deadlift in the near term.
And, I figured that six feet in length should be enough space for a barbell and its plates.
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And so it was.
The mats arrived and all I had to do was set them down on my basement floor.
I put them on top of a flat and firm carpet, and presto, here is my ‘deadlift studio’:
The Consequences of a Weak Posterior Chain
In the language of human anatomy, the front of your body is called the anterior and your back is known as your posterior.
The posterior chain refers to all of the muscles of the back half of your body, such as your:
- hamstring muscle group
- gluteal muscle group
- erector spinae muscles
- latissimus dorsi muscle
that are commonly neglected in a gym workout.
Not necessarily by a bodybuilder or athlete, but by the average person, especially over 35 or 40 that goes to the gym to do some cardio and weightlifting like curls and shoulder presses while looking in the mirror.
Deadlifts happen to be one of the most accessible and best compound exercises you can do for your posterior chain.
In the old days, people picked up rocks and lumber and had to use their posterior chain running, walking, hunting, carrying, and farming, both pushing and pulling objects.
But today, you don’t even have to pick up a pen or pencil, you have your keyboard or smartphone.
Chronic Back Pain
Is it any wonder that experts estimate that 80 percent of the population will experience acute back pain during their lives? (MedlinePlus)
According to the Mayo Clinic, major risk factors for back pain include:
- age – back pain is more common for adults over the age of 30 or 40. The first time I experienced jaw-dropping back pain was in my mid-40s. What caused it? I bent over ever so slightly to open the front door of my apartment and ended up in physical therapy for the next two months!
- lack of exercise – weak muscles in your back and abdomen may lead to back pain.
- excess weight – overweight puts stress on your back.
- improper lifting – using your back instead of your legs to lift objects.
- psychological conditions – people prone to depression and anxiety appear to have a greater risk of back pain (Mayo Clinic)
Now you know another reason why having a deadlift platform is critical to your overall fitness – which is preventing back pain.
Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities. (ACA Today)
True, you can injure your back by deadlifting, but you can also prevent back pain and injury by progressively deadlifting with proper form.
The Deadlift Mitigates Risk Factors for Back Pain
All of the risk factors cited by the Mayo Clinic are mitigated when you deadlift regularly, except for your age.
But, outside of your age, the deadlift will strengthen most of the major muscle groups of your body, especially those of the posterior chain.
Also, practicing the deadlift will rid you of more layers of fat than you think possible.
See the true story of this Obese Man Who Trimmed 18 Inches Off His Waist in 6 Months.
And proper deadlift technique teaches you to drive with your legs, not lift with your back.
Last but not least, the deadlift can improve your mood and even save your life when battling depression.
For all the reasons cited above, a deadlift platform is an excellent investment.
If you wonder if a 3/4 inch mat will be sufficient to protect your floor from the weight you will deadlift, consider the deadlift standards compiled by Dr. Lon Kilgore, co-author of the classic Starting Strength and Practical Programming for Strength Training (first and second editions).
Deadlift standards in pounds Standards & Image Credit Dr. Lon Kilgore
How Much Weight Should You Be Able to Deadlift
Note that the average weight of an adult man over 20 years old in America is 198 pounds, and the average weight of an adult woman is 171 pounds. (CDC)
Depending on your age, you can expect to deadlift within the ranges provided by the deadlift standards above.
For example, the deadlift standards for a 198-pound untrained man are:
- under 40 – 155 pounds
- over 40 – 135 lbs
- over 50 – 120 lbs and
- beyond 60 – drops to 90 pounds
Similarly, the deadlift standards for the average woman who is 165 pounds and untrained are:
- Under forty – 90 pounds
- Over forty – 75 pounds
- Above 50 – 70 pounds
- Beyond 60 – 50 pounds
Find your weight and age on the deadlift standards chart above and estimate how much weight you might deadlift.
Also, “keep in mind that a novice lifter has trained for at least 6 months and an intermediate for at least two years.” (Strength Level)
So, there is a good chance that 3/4 inch heavy-duty mats alone will carry you through to at least an intermediate training level.
However, if you want to build a deadlift platform out of plywood and horse stall mats for advanced training that supports not only deadlifts, but a power rack, and even Olympic lifting, see the video below from Strongman and Powerlifter Alan Thrall:
How to Build Your Own Deadlift Platform
The Simplest Deadlift Platform – Wrapping Up
A deadlift platform is a fantastic investment for your fitness for the many reasons given throughout this post.
You will no longer be dependent on the gym, you will protect your equipment and floor, as well as keep yourself motivated to train.
In his book Power to the People, Pavel Tsatsouline wrote that the deadlift is THE exercise of choice from computer geek to Olympic athlete, more effective than the squat and perhaps the best exercise for abs.
If you combine the deadlift with a powerful push movement like the floor press or push-up, you have the recipe for a complete full-body strength training program that will get you leaner and stronger faster than you think possible.
I stumbled upon the deadlift as an obese and unfit beginner and if the deadlift and push-ups could help me, I am sure they can change your body as well.
Especially today when so many gyms are closed, you need a deadlift platform to work your posterior chain and improve your strength in your home.
A deadlift platform is the foundation of your deadlift studio.
Of course, you need some more deadlift equipment to get started lifting.
To that end, please see the following related posts:
- Deadlift Equipment for Beginners
- 5 Best Shoes for Squats and Deadlifts: 2021 Buying Guide
- 15 Ways How to Protect Your Shins When Deadlifting
- 5 Best Deadlift Shin Guards on the Market in 2021
- 5 Best Weightlifting Belts You Can Buy Today
Learn the Deadlift
- What Is A Deadlift And Why You Need Them
- 37 Remarkable Benefits of Deadlifts to Unleash Your Fitness Fast
- 7 Greatest Deadlift Muscles Worked That Can Change Your Life
- 27 Sensational Ways How Deadlifts Change Your Body
- How to Deadlift for Beginners – A Step by Step Guide
- 50 Essential Deadlift Tips and Tricks Every Beginner Should Know