Having a home gym is convenient, but not everyone has a single-family house with enough space for a full gym set up. If you live in an apartment, you may be wondering if you can put a squat rack in your living space.
So, can you have a squat rack in an apartment? You can put a squat rack in an apartment as long as you have permission from your landlord or property manager, your floors can handle the weight, and you take precautions to protect the floors. It’s also a good idea to talk to your neighbors about potential noise concerns from owning a squat rack.
In this article, I’ll discuss…
- What you need to consider before putting a squat rack in your apartment
- How to determine if your floor can support a squat rack
- Different ways to protect your floors
If you’re in the market for a squat rack, I reviewed the Best Squat Racks For Small Spaces. Each of the squat racks I reviewed would be suitable for your apartment. Some require a whole room in your apartment, while others would just need a corner.
Can You Put A Squat Rack In An Apartment (3 Considerations)
When determining if you can put a squat rack in an apartment, you should consider:
- How old your apartment building is
- How thin your walls are
- How long you’ll stay there
1. How Old Your Apartment Building Is
Modern apartments are better able to support heavy weights and can handle the weight of a squat rack, barbell, and plates more easily.
Older apartment buildings may not be up to code, especially if they haven’t been renovated recently. If your apartment building is very old, you should have someone inspect your floors to make sure they can handle a squat rack.
A local home inspector or someone who specializes in floor inspections can check your floors and tell you if they are sturdy enough to support a squat rack.
Your landlord may be able to recommend someone, or you can do a quick Google search for home or flooring inspectors in your area. You can also check sites such as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors® or the National Institute of Certified Floor Covering Inspectors.
2. How Thin Your Walls Are
In addition to the strength of your floors, you should consider how much noise you’ll make when lifting.
Even if you don’t drop your weights, your neighbors may still hear you racking the bar and loading plates if you have thin walls.
Having thin walls isn’t a deal breaker, but it’s certainly something you’ll want to assess before purchasing a squat rack just in case you think your neighbors will complain to the condo board.
3. How Long You’ll Stay There
If you’re only staying in your apartment for a short amount of time, or if you move frequently, you may want to hold off on getting a squat rack.
Moving a squat rack can be a pain, especially if your building doesn’t have elevators and you have to carry it up or down stairs. You’d also have to consider the hassle of moving your barbell and plates.
Related Article: Home Gym Mirrors: Where To Get Large, Cheap Mirrors
Can Your Floor Support A Squat Rack?
Before we discuss how much weight a floor can support, it’s important to understand the differences between dead loads and live loads.
Dead loads include the structure of the floor itself and anything that is permanently attached to it. Live loads include furniture, people, and whatever else the floor needs to support that isn’t permanently attached.
According to the American Wood Council, rooms in modern homes can handle live loads of 30-40lbs per square foot. So if the room where you want to put your squat rack is 150 square feet, the space can handle 4,500-6,000lbs.
When deciding where to place your squat rack, you’ll have to consider the weight of the rack and your barbell, as well as the total weight of all of your plates, your own body weight, and the weight of any protective mats or pieces of plywood you put on the floor.
Combining all of this should put you well below the floor’s weight limits, but you’ll also want to distribute the weight evenly so it’s not all concentrated in one area.
How To Protect Your Floor Under A Squat Rack
Whether your floor is hardwood, laminate, carpeted, or tiled, you should take precautionary measures to protect it from damage.
To prevent your floor from cracking or collapsing, you can purchase a deadlift platform. If you’re handy, you can build a platform with ¾” of plywood and place horse stall mats or interlocking rubber tiles on top.
The plywood adds a sturdy layer of support between your plates and the floor and will give you a stable base to lift on (especially if your apartment is carpeted). The horse stall mats or rubber tiles will help absorb the impact of your plates touching the ground in between deadlifts.
You should note that horse stall mats can have a strong odor. If you want to put them in your apartment, you should leave them outside to air out for a couple of days first.
I also suggest putting some kind of non-slip mat under your platform, which will prevent scratches, stains and marks on your floors.
And if you want to minimize the noise and vibrations as much as possible, I recommend getting a pair of crash pads. They’re made out of dense rebond foam that helps cancel out noise and reduce the amount of shaking from touching a loaded barbell on the ground.
The only major disadvantage with them is that if you use them for deadlifts, the bar’s height will be a few inches higher. You’ll have to stand on something to make your feet even with the pads.
Looking for other ways to protect your floor from weights? Check out my article 6 Ways To Protect Your Floor From Weights.
How To Put A Squat Rack On The Second Floor?
If you live on the second floor (or above) in your apartment, it’s possible to put a squat rack in your home with some careful planning.
If you recall, the floors in modern homes can support live loads of 30-40lbs per square foot. That number is closer to 30lbs per square foot for second-floor bedrooms, but you can apply that same logic to second-story apartments.
For modern apartments that are built according to local codes, you should have no problem putting a squat rack on the second floor. You may want to consult with your landlord or a structural engineer before buying your squat rack, though.
When your squat rack is on the second floor (or above), it’s especially important for you to lift on some kind of platform. Not only will it protect the floors from collapsing, it will also help minimize the noise and vibrations that can occur from a loaded barbell.
Can You Put A Squat Rack On A Balcony?
If you’re concerned about keeping a squat rack inside your apartment, you may be able to put it on a balcony.
In general, balconies can support 50-100lbs per square foot. The exact amount of weight your balcony can hold depends on its age, how it was built, whether or not it already has damage, and how far apart the joists are positioned.
What your balcony is made out of will also determine how much weight it can support. A concrete balcony will be much more sturdy than a wood or metal one.
A common concern with having a lot of weight on a balcony is sagging. Even if you don’t drop your weights, stress from the weight of the squat rack can cause it to sag. To prevent this, you can keep your barbell and plates inside to decrease the amount of weight on the balcony at any given time.
Another thing to be mindful of is the weather. If you live in an area with harsh winters or a region where it rains a lot, you should cover your squat rack when you’re not using it. Keeping it free from moisture will prevent rust.
Also, keep in mind that any snow that accumulates on your balcony will add more weight. The weight of the snow plus the weight of your squat rack could compromise the balcony’s structural integrity.
Lastly, consider your apartment building’s rules for balconies. Some buildings have laws against putting furniture, plants, or other decorations on balconies. You should check with your landlord or property manager to make sure a squat rack is allowed.
How Heavy Can You Lift In An Apartment?
As I mentioned earlier, the floors in modern homes can support 30-40lbs per square foot. You can, in theory, lift thousands of pounds in your apartment.
But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Even if you build or purchase a platform and you’re careful about dropping weight, there may come a time where you have to bail a squat, or the bar slips from your hands in a deadlift.
For these reasons, I recommend not lifting more than 500lbs in an apartment. Even though your floors can most likely handle more weight, the weight limit changes when you consider impact loads. The impact of a dropped barbell can do a lot more damage than a static piece of equipment.
If you’re unable to squat heavy in your apartment, you can incorporate tempo squats. Tempo squats increase your time under tension, which makes the movement feel difficult even when it’s performed with light weights.
Can You Drop Weights In An Apartment?
If you’re strictly powerlifting, chances are you won’t be dropping weights from overhead. But if you’re a weightlifter or CrossFitter, you’re probably used to doing it without much thought.
If you can help it, you shouldn’t drop weights from overhead in an apartment, especially if you live on the second floor or above. You should also lower the bar gently after deadlifts.
In addition to damaging the floor, the impact of repeatedly dropping a couple hundred pounds on your floors can compromise the structural integrity of things like doors and windows.
I’d also recommend using bumper plates instead of cast iron or steel plates. While they’re not completely fool-proof and can still break your floors at very heavy weights, they can help mitigate some of the damage.
Do You Have To Get Permission Before Putting A Squat Rack In Your Apartment?
Whether or not you have to get permission to put a squat rack in an apartment depends on your lease agreement.
Regardless of what the lease agreement says, it’s a good idea to check with your landlord. They may know of potential structural issues that would make it impossible for you to put a squat rack in your apartment. They may also want to get input from an engineer.
In addition to speaking with your landlord, you should communicate with your neighbors. Let them know what time you work out so they know to expect some noise. And if you can, try to get your workout done when your neighbors aren’t home so you can train freely without disrupting anyone else.
Type Of Squat Racks That Are Great For Apartments
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When purchasing a squat rack for an apartment, you should look for a rack with a small footprint so it doesn’t take up too much space. If you aren’t allowed to bolt the squat rack to the floor, it should also be sturdy enough to handle heavy weight without falling over.
Below are my recommendations for squat racks you can put in an apartment.
The Rogue Echo Squat Stand 2.0 is Rogue’s most lightweight and portable squat stand. It weighs 95lbs and only requires 48.5”x48” of space, so it’s ideal for small apartments.
The J-cups are lined with UHMW plastic. This will not only protect the knurling on your barbell, but it will also help reduce the noise from reracking the bar.
The Rogue Echo Squat Stand has a weight capacity of only 500lbs, but if you live in an apartment, you won’t want to lift much more than that anyway.
The Fringe Sport Commercial Squat Rack is sturdy and durable enough to be used in a commercial gym but small enough to fit in an apartment. It weighs 125lbs and has a footprint of only 47”x39”.
This squat rack’s J-cups are also lined with UHMW plastic. It has a weight capacity of 1,000lbs. This is a lot more than you’ll probably lift in your apartment, but this squat rack can grow with you if you move into a bigger place.
It is possible to put a squat rack in an apartment as long as your floors are able to handle the weight, you take some measures to protect them, and you communicate with your landlord and neighbors.
For more recommendations on squat racks that can fit in small spaces, checkout my article 7 Best Squat Racks for Small Spaces.
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.