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How to build a Car Deadlift frame

The following article was Written by Rob Howe. He trains out of  Lancside Athletics in Lancaster, PA


I’m writing this article for Kalle and for the Starting Strongman page with the hopes that some of you find it useful.  I’ve being doing strongman for a little over a year now and really wanted my own car deadlift frame so that I and everyone at my gym could have it to train on. There are ways to simulate a car deadlift, but nothing really compares to the real thing!! If you price one out it runs about $350 plus the ramps plus the shipping which, depending on where you live, can be almost as much as the frame itself. This was the case for me so I decided to measure a few frames and come up with one that could hold anything from a Mini to an F-150. Here is a brief step-by-step on how we built it.  It cost me about $270 for the metal and about a day worth of time.  And yes, I will include a drawing with measurements so that any of you can build it. After all, if I didn’t include that, what’s the point of the article!!

photo (13)

If you all find it useful, I will post more as I make my own equipment. The short list includes some wall mounted bar holders, an axle to use in my yoke j-cups for stone over bar (to save the cross member of my yoke from being damaged), a shot/sand loadable women’s circus DB, and possibly 3” axle


Refer to the plans for measurements. All pieces we tack welded into place and checked for square before final welding took place.

photo 1 (1)


  1. First, we tack welded the rear 30″ cross member on the back of the frame BETWEEN the 9′ (108″) pieces. photo 2 (1)
  2. We then tack welded the front 30″ cross member BETWEEN the 9′ (108″) 4
  3. Next came the 78″ piece tack welded to the 9′ piecesphoto 1 (5) photo 2 (5)
  4. Followed be the 22″ pieces tack welded between the 78″ pieces. photo 3 (4)
  5. The plate horns (8″ schedule 80 pipe) were tacked onphoto (14)
  6. We made up the handles by drilling 1″ holes into 1 side of each of the 13″ 1 (6)photo 2 (6)
  7. The 1″ drawn over mandrel tubing fits between the 22″ pieces to make the handlesphoto 4 (4)
  8. Tacked them onto the main section of frame about 1/2″ from the 3 (5)
  9. The U channel was tacked into place (refer to pic to see that U channel rides under the 22″ piece but flush with the main section of frame)photo 1 (7)photo 2 (7)
  10. At this point, we checked the frame to make sure it stayed square during the tack welding process and did all finish 1 (8)photo 2 (8)
  11. We built the ramps using two 10″ pieces of the 3″ U channel and 2 pieces of 10″x14″ plate steel 1/4″ (15)
  12. Set the one end of plate steel on the edge of the edge of the U channel and welded it in place on top and 1 (9)photo 2 (9)
  13. Once this was all done, I tested it by putting a VW Jetta and a Honda Pilot on the frame. All welds held and the frame didn’t 1 (10)photo 4 (5) photo 3 (6)
  14. Car deadlift frame successfully made.image (1)
  15. The final step is to wire brush the frame and paint it your color of choice!!

Couldn’t have done any of it without the help of my younger brother Matt. He’s been to EVERY comp I’ve competed in and welded everything for me…….thanks little brother, I appreciate ALL of it!!




  1. ian permalink

    Where did you get your steel? I’m going to build one and Home Depot sucks.

  2. gibby permalink

    Is this frame adjustable, to adjust weight at the bar, or do you rely on using different vehicles for different weight?

  3. Stuart permalink

    How has this frame held up?

    Thinking about making one!

  4. Walter permalink

    Could I bolt this together? I am not very experienced in welding and would like to keep from having to pay someone. Do you think it would hold if I just bolted it?

  5. David Rogers permalink

    What gauge steel did you use for the car deadlift frame? Thank you

  6. Chelsea permalink

    What amp welder did you use by chance? We’re trying to gather the necessary items to ensure I have an apparatus here for training. Many thanks.

  7. Tanner permalink

    I’m curious if you would do anything differently if you did it over now that you have used this one. Not saying there is anything wrong with it, but I’m going to build one, and I have the opportunity now to improve if you can think of anything. Thanks

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Science of Strongman: How heavy is the car deadlift? - Starting Strongman | Starting Strongman
  2. How To Deadlift A Car With Alan Thrall & Kalle Beck - Starting Strongman | Starting Strongman

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