By Mike Bennett
Our club, North London Weightlifting Club recently realised the need for another training platform.
Previously we had built some from our own designs and also had purchased some budget solutions.
The ones we made ourselves from Birch plywood and inlaid horse matting have been quite successful although the base layers are now beginning to disintegrate where repeated plate/disc impacts have taken their toll. Also, they do tend to creep across the floor unless fixed into place. They cost us about £650 in materials for a 6ft x 8ft solution and required a certain level of practical skill and tools to assemble.
The retail budget solution (about £400) of a wooden board centre strip with 2m x 1m square mats at both ends, surrounded by a steel angle iron frame has proved to be a disappointment. The crumb mats are splitting, the bumper plates rebound with too much energy and height in various directions and the component parts, which are loosely housed, move around creating gaps between themselves, not dangerously but enough to provoke a lack of confidence that you are lifting from a rigid or secure base.
So, faced with a limited budget, I reviewed our options. After looking at similar retail solutions many of which were priced only for commercial and municipal investments (£1500 and upwards) I did some internet research and found a company based in India that markets solid rubber interlocking mats with edgings that are bevelled.
They kindly sent me samples of their many and various products from which we selected a solid rubber, about 5/8th inch thick, that had a textured surface on top for good grip and a ribbed underside that allows for ventilation to stop any build up of dampness. Puzzling from a large variety of interlocking sections we arrived at configuration size that would work adequately for a lifter using a 20Kg bar, measuring out at 2.64m x 2.04m (8ft 8in x 6ft 8in).
As most of these large manufacturing companies will only trade at wholesale level, I managed to persuade them to supply us through a UK company with which I have an association, although we had to pay up front.
Anyway, after placing our order, the 100kgs (14 pieces) of solid rubber arrived on a pallet 3 days later. It literally took only 15 minutes to knock it together with a mallet, dead easy, and it was ready to go.
It is now the most used and preferable platform that we have, and for good reasons.
The surface is non-slip and rigid enough for a firm foot placement, although not as hard on the feet as wood.
The whole assemblage stays fixed together and does not creep around.
The density of the rubber is enough that dropped weight plates have a limited bounce and enough shock absorbency so that the plate centres do not bear the brunt of the impact.
The rubber is not showing any signs of wear and tear after some months of punishing sessions.
So, after some negotiation with the manufacturing company, in a spirit of enterprise, and the sharing information of a great product at an affordable price, we have now managed to place the complete training platform as a solution on Ebay for £349.00 plus delivery.
You can purchase yours here.
If you are interested, you are most welcome to visit our site at the Lee Valley Athletic Centre, N90AR and give it a work out.
Please be aware that the platform needs to have an arranged delivery, arriving on a pallet to firm, level ground and received in person, they will not leave it outside.
Mike Bennett – Secretary & Coach
North London Weightlifting Club