Build giant strength by loading atlases stones with your own hands!
The concept of building a huge weightlifting platform is not new. However, there are many variations of these platforms out there. Some have been built from wood or concrete while others are made from steel. There are even some that use metal plates on top of the ground to make them heavier than other types. One thing all such platforms share in common is their size: they’re big!
Building a large weightlifting platform requires a lot of planning and preparation time.
You need to figure out what kind of materials you’ll need, how much space you want it to take up, where exactly you’d like it to go (doors? windows?
), and so forth. Also, if you plan on using any sort of support beams or supports underneath the platform itself, then those must be planned out too. Finally, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to get the weight down onto the platform. If you don’t have access to a lift, then you might have to build one yourself.
In this article I’m going to show you how I built my own massive weightlifting platform using only simple tools and materials that were lying around the house.
Why did I build one?
I’ve always wanted to build my own weightlifting platform ever since I first saw the one in my current gym over ten years ago. I started out at a Gold’s Gym back in 2006 while I was in high school and had the opportunity to use their stone lifting area.
As soon as I began lifting weights, I quickly realized how much stronger I felt when using a proper lifting surface rather than just lifting on the floor. Even though the plates still made some noise when dropped on the rubber floor, the lack of “give” made it harder for me to explode off the ground. At first, I wasn’t sure that I would even be able to lift as heavy on a stone surface since it would probably be more comfortable to lift on rubber. However, this wasn’t the case at all. The rubber floor did nothing to contribute to my lifts, but rather it just absorbed the force of me dropping the weights, making the plates more likely to bounce and skid across the ground.
When I saw the lifting area at Gold’s, I immediately knew that was what I wanted when I had my own place. At that point in time I didn’t even own a barbell so I didn’t have much use for one. However, it wasn’t until recently when I had a barbell and plates of my own that I decided to build my own lifting platform.
What can you do on a lifting platform?
If you’re a weightlifter then you know that the surface you’re lifting on does make a difference in how much force you put into the ground as well as the amount of upward momentum you can produce. For this reason, it’s ideal to lift on something that produces as little friction as possible and allows you to transfer the maximum amount of force into the ground to help propel your body upwards.
Obviously then, for the sake of this article, we’re going to be talking about stone lifting vs. rubber lifting. I’ll admit that I’ve never actually used rubber for this purpose so I can’t give too much insight on how it works and what I think about it. However, I do know that it can’t be too much different than lifting on traditional squishy floors such as concrete or wood.
Lifting on stone
As someone who’s only lifted on a stone surface before, I can tell you that it is the best way to lift if you’re serious about getting strong. The stone at my gym isn’t like lifting on a solid rock though. It has just enough give that you can dig your heels into it, but not so much that you’ll ever fall completely through it. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s about 1-inch think all the way around.
I imagine this gives roughly the same amount of “bounce” as a plywood platform with mats on top that some gyms have. In other words, it doesn’t really bounce at all since the surface is fairly solid.
Lifting on rubber or on a thick rubber mat
Rubber is of course great for bouncing since it’s designed to take impact. If you try lifting on a thick rubber mat, you’ll notice that it does actually react to your lifts in such a way that the upward momentum is slightly greater than if you had just lifted on concrete or wood.
However, I personally believe that lifting on stone is going to give much better results than on rubber for building explosive strength. The main reason for this is because you’re literally lifting much lighter weights than you would be if you were lifting on a hard surface.
For whatever reason, your body seems to get confused when you’re lifting on soft ground.
What does 100lbs feel like?
Well, it can feel like anywhere from 40lbs to 90lbs if you lift on rubber.
It feels much lighter than it should for some reason. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it has something to do with your body trying to balance itself when your feet are lifting up off the ground slightly. This is only a guess though since I haven’t studied any of this formally.
Lifting on wood or concrete
Wood and concrete are of course the best ways to lift if you’re looking to build explosive strength. This is what I lifted on for the first three years of my training so I’m quite familiar with it.
While lifting outside or in a basement on wood may be similar, lifting in a public gym tends to be quite different. For whatever reason, most gyms have wooden floors that just aren’t verylevel.
You’ll even notice this if you look down at them. They may be level where you’re standing in one part of the gym, but not in another. Also, some parts will just be slightly more elevated than others no matter what you do.
This is probably for the best since having an entire gym floor that was level would cause some serious injuries if people were throwing heavy weights down on it (this actually was a problem in the old days before rubber was commonly used).
Of course after years of lifting on wood, I personally know how to adjust my feet and body when lifting so I’m not thrown off by minor unevenness. This is probably why I never had any problems lifting in the gym, even when it was a much rougher place.
As far as your results go, you’re going to get different results from each type of surface since each one forces you to lift slightly differently. This is probably also why you’ll read about great powerlifters such as Kirk Karwoski who could reportedly lift over 800lbs in competitions that were also known for lifting unusually heavy weights outside of competitions as well.
These guys were obviously lifting on the hardest surface possible, so their strength transfers over to other surfaces as well. The only problem is that it’s very hard on your body. Most people don’t have perfect form when lifting outside of a competition and even the most minor deviation from proper form while lifting heavy weights can cause a lot of injuries.
For this reason, I personally believe that lifting on wood or concrete is best for building raw strength. This type of training can also be used to build explosive strength if you use the proper form and don’t lift beyond your capabilities.
This type of training is best for building raw strength since it forces your body to get use lifting very heavy weights. Lifting like this on a regular basis can also help you develop very strong joints, bones and muscles which in turn can help protect you from common sports injuries.
Of course this type of training isn’t without its own set of problems. Lifting heavy weights causes a lot of stress on your body so it’s not uncommon to get sore for several days after a heavy lifting session.
Sources & references used in this article:
The use of strongman type implements and training to increase sport performance in collegiate athletes by B Zemke, G Wright – Strength & Conditioning Journal, 2011 – cdn.journals.lww.com
Safety of historical stone arch bridges by D Proske, P Van Gelder – 2009 – books.google.com
The performance of asphalt mixtures modified with lignin fiber and glass fiber: A review by D Luo, A Khater, Y Yue, M Abdelsalam, Z Zhang… – … and Building Materials, 2019 – Elsevier
A Geological Perspective on Climate Change and Building Stone Deterioration in London: Implications for Urban Stone-Built Heritage Research and Management by S Basu, SA Orr, YD Aktas – Atmosphere, 2020 – mdpi.com
The Handbooks of Sports Medicine and Science: Strength Training for Sport by WJ Kraemer, K Häkkinen – 2008 – books.google.com
Limestones in Germany used as building stones: an overview by S Siegesmund, WD Grimm, H Dürrast… – Geological Society …, 2010 – sp.lyellcollection.org
Experimental study to evaluate the effect of travertine structure on the physical and mechanical properties of the material by M Chentout, B Alloul, A Rezouk, D Belhai – Arabian Journal of …, 2015 – Springer
The ecology of building materials by B Berge – 2009 – books.google.com