Thinking about expanding your home workout options by adding a squat rack?
The only issue is that you live in an apartment, not a house, so you may be unsure if it will fit and if your floor will hold.
Not to worry, with careful consideration and safety measures, you can select a squat rack that will fit perfectly into your apartment and assist you in working out comfortably at home.
This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to safely and efficiently utilize a squat rack in your apartment, starting with determining where to place it.
Find Your Ideal Space
Before installing any gym equipment in your apartment, you must consider where to place it.
The most crucial factor is whether you have enough floor space.
Most squat racks have a square or near-square shaped footprint, ranging from 40” x 40” to 60” x 60”.
Measuring the floor space and verifying that your desired squat rack fits may seem sufficient, but you must also leave ample room for maneuverability.
When it comes to the length required for your squat rack, a good rule of thumb to follow is to have at least another 50 inches in front.
This is to accommodate any spotter arms, which are typically just under 30 inches long, and a compact weight bench, which is approximately 50 inches. Additionally, you’ll need that extra space to stand for exercises such as deadlifts.
When it comes to room width, it’s important to take barbell length into account. For squatting, athletes typically use a Power or Olympic barbell, which are at least 7 feet (roughly 84 inches) in length.
You also need ample room to add or remove weight plates while the bar is mounted on the squat rack. Factoring in the 2.5-inch thickness of the heaviest (55 lbs) standardized bumper plate, you need slightly more than that amount on both sides. Therefore, the width of the room must be at least over 90 inches to safely use the barbell (84 for the barbell + 2.5 x 2 for mounting plates on both sides).
Lastly, you need to consider squat rack height. Most modern apartments have ceilings between 8 and 9 feet high.
Fitness manufacturers keep this in mind so many squat racks fall just short of 8 feet tall (usually around 90 inches), but this can vary from brand to brand.
Check The Floor Weight Capacity
The most important thing to consider before putting any gym equipment in your apartment is whether or not your floor can withstand the weight from it.
The standard weight capacity for an apartment floor in the U.S. is between 30 and 40 pounds per square foot. This can vary from building to building depending on its age and construction.
There are a few ways you can check this information.
First, you may be able to find this out online, particularly if you live in a big city.
If not, refer to your landlord or realtor – they may be able to answer this question outright.
If they don’t have the answer you’re looking for, perhaps they can ask or instruct you on how to inquire with the construction or holding company, as they should have this information on record.
Worst-case scenario, you’ll have to inquire at your local government office. Usually, this information can be received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
After you learn your exact floor weight capacity, here are the things you have to take into account:
- The weight of the squat rack
- The weight of the barbell and weight plates
- Your own weight
To calculate whether or not your apartment floor can take on the combined weight, simply multiply the floor capacity per square foot (based on the information you found) with the footprint (length times width) of the rack.
This means that if we take the lower end of that number and compare it to the typical squat rack footprint, the numbers look approximately like this:
30 (pounds per square foot) x 4 x 4 (smaller squat rack footprint) = 480 pounds
30 (pounds per square foot) x 5 x 5 (medium squat rack footprint) = 750 pounds
30 (pounds per square foot) x 6 x 6 (larger squat rack footprint) = 1080 pounds
Based on these measurements, it should be easier for you to find the ideal squat rack for your apartment.
Choosing The Right Type Of Squat Rack
Now that the logistics have been sorted out, it’s time to find the ideal type of squat rack for your apartment. Here are some common rack types to consider:
- Power racks, also known as full racks, typically have four vertical posts and two horizontal safety bars. Power racks can carry lots of weight and are very stable, but they require the most space and can be expensive.
- Half racks are similar to power racks, but only have two vertical posts. They’re less expensive (on average) and take up less space than power racks, but may not offer as much stability or versatility.
- Squat stands consist of two vertical posts separate from each other. This makes them ideal for smaller spaces, as you’re free to adjust their width as you see fit. That said, they’re the least stable and offer lower carrying capacity on average.
- Mounted racks consist of two beams attached to a wall or doorway for additional support. They offer great carrying capacity and are quite stable, but since they require attaching to the wall they always require a designated space. That said, there are also folding racks, which have the capacity to be folded in when not in use, making them easier to store.
The list covers all the listed squat rack types and more, along with detailed specs, pros, cons, and other useful info to help you get the most bang for your buck.
Protect Your Floor
After finding the perfect spot for your squat rack, it is essential to protect the floor underneath it.
Typical apartment flooring such as hardwood, laminate, tile, or carpet is not suitable for gym equipment and exercise due to the high likelihood of damage and slipperiness.
Investing in a protective cover for your floor makes your workout area safer and can save you on maintenance costs.
Additionally, it gives your workout space a more professional look and feel.
Most squat rack manufacturers offer accompanying floor mats made of rubber or high-density foam, ideal for placing their squat racks and other gym equipment.
While a lifting platform can also serve as a good solution, it can be slightly more expensive and create more noise during workouts.
Alternatively, interlocking rubber or foam tiles made for use in professional gyms are an excellent choice while also being on the affordable side.
Mind Your Surroundings
When working out in your apartment, it’s important to be mindful of the noise you’re creating as it can impact those around you.
However, by handling your equipment with care and being aware of your surroundings, you can minimize the noise level.
Dropping the barbell should be avoided, not only for noise purposes, but for safety reasons and to prevent damage to your floor.
Consider scheduling your workout during hours that are least likely to disrupt your neighbors and tenants, and have a conversation with them about their daily routines to find a solution that works for everyone.
If noise remains an issue, you can explore DIY solutions such as adding acoustic panels to your walls or additional floor covering to reduce vibrations and sound.
Before setting up a squat rack in your apartment, it’s important to consider the weight capacity of your floor and available space. From then, you can find the ideal type and size of rack.
Make sure to protect the floor from damage and work out responsibly to avoid creating too much noise.
By following these tips, you can create a safe and effective workout space for your squat rack in your apartment.