Can You Safely Put a Power Rack in an Apartment?

Can you safely put a power rack in an apartment? Yes, you can absolutely put a power rack in an apartment if you’re on a higher floor. Generally, apartment floors can take the load, but there are a few precautions that you’ll need to consider.

If you’re planning on lifting weights of over 300lbs, it’s a good idea to look at special flooring that you could install to counter the shock, preserve your floor’s integrity, and ensure you don’t fall into the apartment below.

In recent times, many gyms have been closed, and lots of people have had to make do without their exercise routines. During the lockdown, it’s been even more tempting to set up a home gym, as a few weeks out of the game can drastically affect your progress, especially when it comes to weightlifting.

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YOUR CHECKLIST

Can you safely put a power rack in an apartment

Before you can just pile weights into your apartment, you need to consider your safety and the safety of the people who might be living below you. Before you take the leap, think about:

  • Is your apartment building code compliant? It needs to have a sound structure and be signed off as safe and livable. Your landlord should have certificates as proof of this information, or if you own your apartment, you’ll have been given the documents upon purchase.
  • Is your flooring in good condition already? If you already have squeaky or uneven floorboards, then it might be time for a review of your overall floor condition. If you’ve ever experienced leakage or warping of your floor, it’s worth getting a professional surveyor to come out to check if any places in your apartment could be a danger if they have to support a heavy load.
  • Is your floor covering adequate? Think about your floor covering. If you have tile, wood, or laminate flooring, that isn’t going to work if you drop a heavy weight. Tiles can easily crack, ruining your floor effect, and wood is easy to scratch. You also need to consider the shock-absorbing quality of your flooring. Hard floors won’t absorb any of the shock if a weight hits from a height, meaning your floor will suffer permanent damage.

Proper gym or rubber flooring should be fitted to ensure that any dropped weights bounce slightly when they land, saving your floor from damage and stopping you from falling into the apartment below.

  • Where will your weights be stored when you aren’t using them? You won’t be using your weights all the time, so you need to think about how you’re going to store them away. Your floor underneath needs to be sound enough to carry the whole weight if you’re going to use a power rack where each weight is stacked on top of the other.

HOW TO SAFELY PUT UP A POWER RACK IN AN APARTMENT

  • Apartment Live Load Limits

Live load means anything that’s not attached to the apartment itself as part of the construction. This includes furniture, moveable items such as books, and, of course, you.

The general live load limit in an apartment is broken down by room based on the average square footage. The average load per square foot is around 30 lbs. Read Here: Top 5 Best Power Rack

Most people plan to set up their power rack in a spare bedroom. The average size of the spare room in a U.S. apartment is 132 square feet. So, if you had 30lbs x 132sqf, you would be able to place around 3960 lbs. of weight in that room, as long as the weights weren’t all in the same area.

  • Average Power Rack Weight

So we know that you can fit the weights in your spare room if they’re spaced out, but how much weight can you pile up on your power rack?

The average, professional standard power rack is around 15 square feet. The weight of the rack itself at this size can be anything up to 300 lbs. based on the brand. If we assume that we can place 30lbs in each square foot, we can safely take up 450lbs in that power rack space. Read Here: Half Rack vs Full Rack: Side by Side Comparison

If the rack itself weighs up to 300lbs, that only leaves 150lbs to play with. Make sure that you allow enough extra weight on top of the power rack to make it worth your while. Multiple racks may be required to support the number of weights you require, so make sure you space them out across the room.

  • Is Lifting a Problem?

So, you’ve sorted out a couple of power racks that can support the amount of weight you need for a good workout. At this point, it’s a good idea to consider the amount of strain that your actual lifts will have on the floor below.

If you’re a serious lifter and are looking at deadlifts, your feet will be reasonably close together on the floor. This concentrated weight could be too much for the floor.

A deadlift platform could help out here. This is usually a wooden or metal slab in a rectangular or square shape, which is covered with rubber matting. You can stand on the platform while lifting, and it helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the floor.

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THE DANGERS OF PUTTING A POWER RACK IN AN APARTMENT

  • Dropping Weights

Dropping weights at the gym is usually fine. The gym floor is equipped to absorb the shock, and typically, there’s nothing below you.

This means that you can lift heavier weights without worrying that you’re going to break something if you can’t quite manage to get up that final rep.

However, in your apartment, it’s a different story. You’ll need to avoid lifting weights that are above your ability or doing one too many reps.

Dropping a weight, especially if you don’t have a deadlift platform, could be a disaster and dangerous for the people below you, should your floor not be strong enough to take the sudden weight.

Remember, from a physics perspective, the weight will actually have much more force if dropped from a height than it does if placed on the floor.

So, while your space may hold a weight depending on the square footage, there’s no guarantee that your floor will still be secure if you drop the same weight from higher up – especially if you’re tall.

  • Angry Neighbors
  • Banging

If you live in an apartment with people living directly below you, they’ll inevitably hear a bit of noise when you’re working out. Even if you don’t drop the weights, they’re cumbersome and will cause a banging noise and vibration when you touch down.

If you get a pair of crash mats, you’ll be able to keep the noise to a minimum. You’ll need to position each mat under each weight, with the bar across the middle.

Accidents will happen, but always try your best to touch down on the crash mats rather than on the floor. It’ll be good for your floor and will absorb a lot of the shock and sound to keep your neighbors happy.

  • Finishing Your Session

It’ll also be quite loud when you put the weights back on the power rack. Try your best to place them down slowly and get some rubber endings to cover the pins that hold your weight in place. You’ll save a lot of the clanging.

  • Talking to Your Neighbors

The best idea is to talk to your neighbors before even settling on the idea of creating a home gym. If your neighbors aren’t happy with it, then you’re potentially setting yourself up for years of pain and complaints.

  • Rubber Vs. Metal

There are lots of different weight styles out there, and you need to select the one that you know will cause the least disturbance and will be best for your floor type.

If you’re presented with a choice between rubber weights and metal ones, always go for rubber. They’ll cause less damage to the floor if accidentally dropped and are easy to maintain. They’ll also be slightly less noisy for your downstairs neighbors.

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WHAT TYPE OF POWER RACK SHOULD I BUY?

Can you safely put a power rack in an apartment

Depending on what type of body you’re trying to build up, you might want a different power rack style to hold your weights long-term because your weight sizes and shapes will be different.

Weights can be used for multiple muscle-building activities, including:

  • Shoulder Press
  • Deadlift
  • Shoulder Press
  • Front Squat
  • Back Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Heavy Row

Each exercise will require a different style of weight to get the most out of the targeted muscles. Heavier weights will require larger, heavier power racks, and some racks can even be incorporated into your exercise routine.

  • Full Power Racks

Are made up of two posts joined together in an arch shape. They’re great for standing heavyweights on, especially if you’re lifting them higher, and some of the top bars can even help out with pull-ups too.

They’re a good option for apartment weightlifting as they spread the weight over a larger surface area, so you have the larger square footage to work with. Read Here: Smith Machine vs Squat Rack vs Power Rack

  • Half Power Racks

Half racks have a similar arch-shaped setup to the full power rack, but they’re (as the name suggests) half the size. You’ll not fit as many weights on there, but they’re a good option for storage as the weight distribution helps your floor strain.

  • Squat Stands

These consist of two bars, one at each side of you when you’re working out. They’re ideal for squats and limit the chance of dropping the weights. However, they’re not too good for storage as you need to remove all the weights each time before use.

  • Squat Racks

Squat racks are a larger version of the squat stands, again with an arch-shaped bar across the top. They’re great for a range of exercises, give multiple stopping areas to limit your dropping, and spread the floor weight evenly. Read Here: Top 10 Best Squat Rack

  • Sumo Racks

Similar to a full power rack and ideal for deadlifts or sumo lifts. They require your feet to be spread slightly further apart than a standard power rack, which is excellent for your lifting and the weight distribution on your floor.

Most power racks will work well in an apartment setting as long as you always consider your weight per square footage.

CAN I INSTALL OTHER GYM EQUIPMENT IN MY APARTMENT?

Yes, it’s only natural that when you’ve got your weights up and running into a regular routine, you’ll want to expand your repertoire and undertake cardio and ab exercises too. Exercise is addictive, after all.

Pull-up bars, exercise mats, and lifting benches are simple to add to your gym as they’re incredibly light and won’t have an effect on your live load. However, larger pieces of equipment, including exercise bikes or treadmills, maybe a little trickier.

You’ll simply need to use the same principles as you used for the weights to work out the live load per square foot. If you already have weights installed, make sure you include this in your overall weight for the room along with any new equipment that you choose.

You’ll need to space out your treadmill or bike in other areas of the room away from your weights to distribute the weight evenly. Never put anything heavy together in the room, you may be in danger of floor damage or even collapse.

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SUMMARY

Setting up a home gym is a great idea; it could save you some money, break your day up, keep you healthy, and maintain your fitness if the gym is closed. However, you’ll need to carefully consider your options if you’re setting up in an apartment.

Things to consider:

  • Your space
  • The weight of your equipment
  • Your neighbors
  • Your flooring
  • Your safety measures

Make sure you plan ahead to get the most out of your power rack.