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Old 12-23-2007, 09:45 AM   #1
Jeremy Lafreniere
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The Thing About Platforms

Hey everyone,

CrossFit Loudoun-Dulles 606 (VA) opens in just a few weeks, and everything is ready with a few exceptions. One piece of equipment I am struggling with is platforms. Some people buy them (beautiful, expensive and heavy!) Others build them (cheaper and usually lighter.) And still others embed a sheet of plywood in their flooring.

All the oly lifting I've ever done has been on a set of Swain tatame mats at my gym in Old Town Alexandria (VA.)

So, are there any experts out there who can tell me what are the advantages/disadvantages of each? And why a platform at all? Why not just stay on the 3/8" rubber flooring? It is a pretty sturdy surface and durable to boot!

Thank you in advance!
Jeremy
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:15 AM   #2
Ahmik Jones
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Re: The Thing About Platforms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Lafreniere View Post
Hey everyone,

CrossFit Loudoun-Dulles 606 (VA) opens in just a few weeks, and everything is ready with a few exceptions. One piece of equipment I am struggling with is platforms. Some people buy them (beautiful, expensive and heavy!) Others build them (cheaper and usually lighter.) And still others embed a sheet of plywood in their flooring.

All the oly lifting I've ever done has been on a set of Swain tatame mats at my gym in Old Town Alexandria (VA.)

So, are there any experts out there who can tell me what are the advantages/disadvantages of each? And why a platform at all? Why not just stay on the 3/8" rubber flooring? It is a pretty sturdy surface and durable to boot!

Thank you in advance!
Jeremy
Professional Platform:

Advantages: You don't have to put it together. Good quality (most of them). Nice surface to lift on. Durable. It is nice that the area where a person is lifting is defined.
Disadvantages: Very expensive to buy and very expensive to ship weighs 300 lbs, there is an edge that some one could trip on in your gym.

Homemade:

Advantages: Much cheaper. Just as nice to lift on. Fairly durable. Not that hard to put together. Same springiness of a professional platform. Able to disassemble to move. Stays in place, so if you are not matting your whole floor you have a stable place to lift. Easy and fairly inexpensive to replace the center piece when it wears out. Again it is nice that the area where someone is lifting is defined. (This is what we did in our gym, since we were not matting the whole space)
Disadvantages: There is still an edge that people can trip over. Still heavy. Weighs just as much as the professional platforms.

Plywood in place of horse stall mat in floor:

Advantages: Cheapest and easiest to put together assuming that you are matting your whole floor with horse stall mats. No edges for people to trip on. Your whole space is available to configure however you like without having some of it as dedicated Olympic lifting space.
Disadvantages: Not quite as springy as the other two platforms. (This is so minor that it is not really noticeable. Every so often you may have to flip the wood over, and every so often you will need to replace it. (This is probably about one time per year)

Lifting on the matting:

Advantages: The whole floor is uniform. So you have the maximum amount of versatility in your space. You will never have to replace anything.
Disadvantages: Your feet stick slightly when you try to jump during Olympic lifts. It does not feel as nice as lifting on wood. It is actually slightly more expensive than adding wood. A horse stall mat costs more than a sheet of appropriate plywood.

You will be fine staying on the 3/8" rubber flooring and the platforms are not something that is required to start. The advantages to lifting on wood as compared to rubber that I listed above are much more minor for CrossFitters that for competitive lifters. However, if you have the room and the money I would eventually, put in a couple of homemade platforms. They will cost you about $150 each and are very nice to lift on. If you were going with the horse stall mats I would have recommended replacing some with plywood.
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:21 AM   #3
Scott Machalk
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Re: The Thing About Platforms

One thing I have to consider in my garage gym is that I have an in-floor heating system (there is tubing in the concrete). I would love to do the insert thing and keep everything on the same level but I intend to build a platform because of the extra protection it may give the floor.

Any thoughts on this are welcome.
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Old 12-23-2007, 11:03 PM   #4
Jeremy Lafreniere
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Mr

Thank you! That was an amazing answer to my question. If anybody else has something to post, please do! I eagerly look forward to figuring this thing out!!!
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Last edited by Jeremy Lafreniere; 12-23-2007 at 11:05 PM.. Reason: hit the "enter" button too early... oops...
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Old 12-24-2007, 10:58 AM   #5
Jason M Struck
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Re: The Thing About Platforms

someone with more experience in OWL than me will hopefully explain why lifting on a soft surface (swain mats (you're bjj school actually has swain tatami? nice!) will be detrimental to your performance in actual lifting.

If all you are concerned about is sport specific stuff for BJJ maybe it is appropriate, but for the x-fitters, especially the ones that want to compete in stuff like the games or OWL, they will be frustrated with their under performance (due to soft surface) and difficulty adjusting to hard surfaces for competition.
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Old 12-24-2007, 01:07 PM   #6
Spencer Friedman
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Re: The Thing About Platforms

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Originally Posted by Jason M Struck View Post
someone with more experience in OWL than me will hopefully explain why lifting on a soft surface (swain mats (you're bjj school actually has swain tatami? nice!) will be detrimental to your performance in actual lifting.

If all you are concerned about is sport specific stuff for BJJ maybe it is appropriate, but for the x-fitters, especially the ones that want to compete in stuff like the games or OWL, they will be frustrated with their under performance (due to soft surface) and difficulty adjusting to hard surfaces for competition.
Not only is it difficult to adjust, but like you said, you will not lift as much as you would with wood (haha, i crack myself up) under you. When you lift explosively (like in OL) much of you explosiveness would be absorbed by the soft mat. With wood underneath you, all of your energy goes into the movement and none is lost to a soft surface.

Last edited by Spencer Friedman; 12-24-2007 at 01:10 PM..
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:17 PM   #7
Jeremy Lafreniere
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Re: The Thing About Platforms

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you're bjj school actually has swain tatami
Those Swains are really nice At the Loudoun school we went with the Zebra MMA mats. Slightly softer surface, and a smooth, rather than tatame, texture. They have been used at the recent GQ events and are pretty awesome! I cannot wait to start rolling on them
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Old 12-24-2007, 03:49 PM   #8
Darren Clarke
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Re: The Thing About Platforms

Yes we have our school outfitted with Zebra mats(MMA school) how ever I have 2 lifting platforms. They our basically 2 sheets of 3/4' plywood, with horse mats on the side. One of the plat forms is portable so I take it out for martial arts class.
The lifting platform is awesome to lift on and I put varathane as a top coat just to seal the plywood and if you like you can logo it. Zebra mats will cut if you drop weights on them. Definitely the home made platform has an awesome feel to it.
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Old 12-31-2007, 12:03 AM   #9
John McBrien
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Re: The Thing About Platforms

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Originally Posted by Ahmik Jones View Post
Plywood in place of horse stall mat in floor:

Advantages: Cheapest and easiest to put together assuming that you are matting your whole floor with horse stall mats. No edges for people to trip on. Your whole space is available to configure however you like without having some of it as dedicated Olympic lifting space.
Disadvantages: Not quite as springy as the other two platforms. (This is so minor that it is not really noticeable. Every so often you may have to flip the wood over, and every so often you will need to replace it. (This is probably about one time per year)
CrossFit Eastside replaced horse stall mats with 4' x 6' plywood that was uniform with the entire facility's horse mat flooring. Does that still maintain the efficacy of the platform? Or is a dedicated area layered plywood-horse mat-particle board better? (That's how Mike's Gym described making it)

Here's the link to the picture and description at CrossFit Eastside:
http://www.crossfiteastside.com/2005/12/platforms.html (wfs)
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:21 AM   #10
Ahmik Jones
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Re: The Thing About Platforms

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Originally Posted by John McBrien View Post
CrossFit Eastside replaced horse stall mats with 4' x 6' plywood that was uniform with the entire facility's horse mat flooring. Does that still maintain the efficacy of the platform? Or is a dedicated area layered plywood-horse mat-particle board better? (That's how Mike's Gym described making it)

Here's the link to the picture and description at CrossFit Eastside:
http://www.crossfiteastside.com/2005/12/platforms.html (wfs)
CrossFit Eastside's setup is what I was describing above. I believe they were the first ones to do this. It has become very popular. I think that this is the best way to go for a CrossFit Gym. The differences between this and a 3 layer platform will not be noticed by CrossFitters, and may not even be noticed by competitive lifters.
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