How to Protect Your Floor From Weights in Your Home Gym

You probably lift heavy weights regularly in your home gym training. Whether you accidentally drop barbells or put them in the same place every day, they’ll eventually damage your bare floor. Repairing a cracked floor can be costly, and that’s why we want to teach you the best ways to protect your gym floor.

The first step to protecting your home gym is to ensure that the floor has a strong foundation. A lifting platform, interlocking rubber tiles, rolled rubber mats, horse stall mats, crash mats, bumper plates, rubber feet, and plywood under squat racks are the best options to protect the floor from cracking.

Are you excited about your new home gym? Check out our insights on the best materials to cushion your subfloor, joints, and flooring from the impacts of your fitness activity.

Ways to Protect Your Home Gym Floor

You need to figure out your fitness goals before making a significant decision about your workout area at home. Maybe you want to design a powerful weightlifting space or a calm yoga studio. Your type of equipment will also play a crucial role in the selection of a home gym floor. Have a clear vision of your exercise routine because the flooring can make or break your fitness journey. Behold our expert tips on protecting your personal fitness space from heavyweight.

1. Start with a Strong Foundation

If you are serious about setting up a dedicated home gym, you must give the flooring a robust foundation. Bare cement is an excellent choice. Make sure the surface is flat, stable, and sturdy enough to receive new flooring materials atop. We do not encourage a carpet foundation of any sort. The last thing you want is to create a breeding ground for mold. So, if your old carpet is still lingering on your gym floor, let it go and start afresh.

Suppose your gym floor has some old wood, tile, or laminate. Consider hiring a professional to remodel. Clean, disinfect, and let it dry before putting new protective flooring materials. Avoid DIY renovation as it might cost you later.

2. A Lifting Platform

If you are a powerlifter, you might want to purchase or build a lifting platform. Deadlifts usually have a huge impact even if you try hard to control the descent at the end of each rep. Sometimes, the bar slips out of hands and hits the floor within seconds. A lifting platform absorbs shock from dropped machines and spreads the force over a big surface area.

If you want to build your own platform, ensure you have these materials ready:
• 4 x 8 pieces of ¾-inch plywood
• 4 x 8 ¾-inch horse stall or rubber mat
• 25-inch nails
• ¾-inch maple or oak plywood (center of the platform)
• Liquid nails (3-4 tubes)


1. Set down two sheets of plywood on the floor and leave no gap between them
2. Squeeze one tube of liquid nails on them
3. Vertically, lay two more plywood sheets on top
4. Screw the nails, setting them about 15’’ apart
5. Split the rubber mat into two
6. Add more liquid nails on the edges of the platform and lay down the mats
7. At the center of the platform, squeeze liquid nails and set the maple or oak plywood
8. Scatter gym weights across the lifting platform to help seal the liquid nails, preferably overnight

3. Interlocking Rubber Tiles or Rolled Rubber Mats

Interlocking rubber tiles and rubber mats are long-lasting, slip-resistant, and waterproof. Besides supporting gym weights, they provide a strong grip for performing deadlifts and squats. Rubber can withstand vibrations and heavy impact hence preserving your floor.

Rubber tiles and mats vary in thickness. We recommend a thickness level of at least ⅜ of an inch for most exercises. However, you might need ½-inch thick rubbers for heavier weights. Use double-sided tape to secure the tiles and mats on the floor.

4. Incorporate More Rack Pulls

Dropping barbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls are not the only ways that cause floor damage. Your floor can crack if you set your bar down with excessive force after a deadlift. But you can minimize this impact by doing more rack pulls. Apart from strengthening the spine and glutes, these exercises are easy on the knees. They also give your gym floor a break since you will not be dropping weight on the floor between the reps. It doesn’t mean that you quit deadlifting from the floor; switch the techniques regularly to protect the floor.

5. Crash Mats

You probably know crash mats for dampening the noise. But you can also use them as floor protectors. When purchasing crash mats, go for designs made of heavy-duty foam and hardwearing vinyl covers. Luckily, these mats are portable, so you may remove them when not in use. Beware of the increased height when doing deadlifts. They might also interfere with your deadlifts if you apply a wide sumo stance. Consider crash mats for Olympic lifting and make sure you are standing on level ground.

6. Horse Stall Mats

They were initially designed to give comfort to horses, but people realized their shock-absorbent qualities could benefit home gyms. Horse stall mats prevent dirt, sweat, and chalk from accumulating on the gym floor. They have a non-slip, moisture-resistant surface that allows you to work out safely. They are affordable, durable, non-compressible, and have noise-dampening characteristics.

When looking for horse stall mats, focus your search on tractor supply stores rather than gym equipment shops. For ultimate floor protection, opt for thicknesses of ¾ inches and above. After purchasing horse stall mats, don’t install them immediately in your home gym. Leave them outdoors for a few days so the rubber smell can dissipate. You can buy large sheets then cut them to size, depending on the available space on your exercise floor.

7. Stainless Steel Bumper Plates

Bumper plates come with chunky rubber coats. Though more expensive than other plates, they are more beneficial. A remarkable quality of steel bumper plates is that they do not create vibrations when dropped. They absorb the shock, taking the impact to save the flooring. Many cross-fitters and weightlifters prefer them since they want to drop weights from overhead without fear of breaking the floor. Consider bumper plates if your routine entails snatches or clean and jack movements. Also, use them for powerlifting to safeguard the floor.

Due to their large diameter, you can only fit a few bumper plates into a single bar. If your strength allows you to deadlift massive loads, you may be tempted to combine bumper plates with metal plates. In this case, you’ll be overworking the bumper plates since they have to absorb the impact from both the metal plates and the floor. So, it is safer to use metal plates separately.

We suggest you apply the 1:1 ratio of metal plates and bumper plates if you must lift them on one bar. But avoid this approach in movements that require you to drop weights from above your head; the inserts of the bumper plates might crack. Since none of these plates is foolproof, using another shock-absorbing platform like a rubber mat during intense workouts is always a good idea.

8. Rubber Feet and Plywood Beneath Weight Racks

Your type of gym floor, squat rack, and lifting exercise determine what to place underneath the weight rack. Another important consideration is whether you’ll bolt the squat rack to the floor or not. Some racks come with rubber feet for added protection and safety. If you have such models, you can place them on a concrete floor directly. Just make sure the floor underneath is in its tip-top shape.

If your home gym features carpet or hardwood floor, we suggest you get some plywood to place underneath the weight racks. Do the same if you perform Olympic lifts; ¾-inch thick plywood will suffice, but you may add several pieces of plywood. Use liquid nails to reinforce them. Feel free to lay horse stall mat or interlocking rubber mats over the plywood for better traction.

Plywood also comes in handy when bolting a squat rack to hardwood, tile, carpet, or concrete flooring. Install a non-slip pad below the plywood to prevent scratches and stains on a hardwood floor. Be careful, though, when drilling into concrete to avoid damaging the floor’s structural integrity.

9. Artificial Turf Rolls

You can transform your workout space by launching synthetic turf rolls. The material is resilient and ideal for bodyweight exercises, speedwork, and stretching. Its long-lasting quality makes it suitable for pushing and pulling sleds as well as HIIT training. Get cushioned turf for added advantage. Padded sports turf is easier on joints, so you can push to your maximum agility without risking injury. The padded turf is also safe for weightlifting, while its soft surface gives an attractive platform for yoga and meditation.

However, not all turf makes for an excellent exercising platform. Watch out for abrasive products. Most runners prefer grass, thanks to its low impact. So, if the outdoor weather doesn’t allow running, take your exercise indoors, and you’ll still enjoy the benefits of grass. Moreover, synthetic grass gives your gym a contemporary feel.


Why is Protecting Your Gym Floor so Important?

If you have invested in a home gym, proper flooring is a must. We highly recommend strong rubber tiles, about 8mm in thickness. Most of the floor protection materials mentioned in this guide are affordable and have everything your need for training safely.

Because the floor is the foundation of your gym, protecting it motivates you to exercise more often. Suitable flooring serves a functional purpose while enhancing your fitness routine. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that the equipment is protected to last longer.

What are the Qualities of Solid Gym Flooring?

Before picking flooring materials, first, understand that your gym is unique. Do not set things up based on what you saw from a neighbor’s gym. A fitness space is also distinct from other areas of your home because it endures heavyweight and commotions. A great gym flooring should thus have the following attributes:

Protects the Subfloor and Gear

Whether you train daily or a few days per week, the flooring must be durable enough to take a beating. Look for materials that can stand up to rigorous abuse. Because you’ll be subjecting your gym machines to kicks, drops, and scrapes, you need to install a floor that mitigates wear and tear.

Good Traction and Shock-Absorbing Qualities

When pulling and lifting machines, you need a clean, smooth, slip-free space for your safety. Check for visible seams and uneven joints when installing a new gym floor. Sometimes, kettlebells and other weights bounce back when dropped. How well the flooring absorbs impact is of the essence. The floor needs to bear the brunt of such devices to reduce the chances of injury. Also, a gym floor should keep your racks, treadmill, benches, and rowing machine in place. That way, you don’t have to worry about repositioning them while working out.

It is Easier on the Body

A decent gym floor saves your ankles, knees, and back from potential injury. The best surface makes exercise more enjoyable, whether you’re doing push-ups or stretches. And with a proper foundation, you don’t have to endure cold.

Does Not Spoil the Air Quality

It is not healthy to work out in a place filled with toxic or weird smells. When picking gym flooring, choose something that doesn’t produce a foul odor.

Is Carpet Tile Suitable for Gym Flooring?

Carpet tile is an inexpensive option for gym flooring and is easier to maintain. But it comes with a fair share of disadvantages. You can use thin and low pile carpets that are comfortable to touch. Low-pile will last longer than fluffy shag or Berber carpets. A commercial-grade carpet with tight-knit loops will still work for your home workout area. The other suitable design is the interlocking carpet piles.

On the downside, carpets provide less subfloor protection. Unlike rubber tiles, they are not specifically designed to cope with the stress of heavier weights. That means you need an underlayment if you don’t want to have your subfloor cracked. If you pick carpet tiles that do not interlock, you need a professional to help with installation because a DIY attempt can be tricky. Be careful when exercising on particular carpets as they can cause rugburns. Lastly, some carpet tiles can hold moisture, meaning you’ll have to clean them more frequently while risking mold infestation.

Recent Posts