Can You Have a Weight Bench Press Upstairs?

Man lifting weights

You just moved into a new house, and you have visions of turning the spare bedroom into a home gym. It's conveniently located next to the bathroom, but, considering it's on the second floor, you're wondering if the structure will hold your weight bench press without damaging the construction or causing the floor to collapse.

A Good Possibility

If the only piece of equipment in your home gym is the weight bench, a barbell and an assortment of weight plates, you'll probably be safe in putting it all in an upstairs room. In his 2002 book "Lou Manfredini's House Smarts," Manfredini told readers that typical residential homes are constructed to handle 40 pounds per square foot. Determine how much your weight bench, the weights and bar weigh to ensure that it doesn't exceed that amount. Remember to calculate in the weight of the floor covering and anything else that you'll have in the room, including yourself.

Ideal Bench Press Location

Usually, a home gym is located in the basement or garage instead of upstairs. The floors in those locations are made of concrete and can easily handle whatever load you put on them. If your home gym includes other equipment in addition to the bench press, you'll want to opt for one of those choices instead of the second-floor bedroom. If your garage doesn't get too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer, it's actually the ideal location because you won't have to carry all of your heavy gym equipment up or down stairs.

Your Home Gym Floor

Regardless of whether you put your bench upstairs or if the floor is wooden or concrete, you should install rubber mats under the bench for safety and comfort. The mats offer essential cushioning but also cover imperfections on the floors such as splinters, holes or other gaps in the surface. "The Crossfit Journal" recommends buying rubber horse stall mats at a feed and tack store because the quality is the same that you'd find at a fitness supply store but at a lower price. If you do end up putting your bench press upstairs, you may not need to worry about modifying the floor covering, as spare bedrooms typically are carpeted. Carpeted rooms provide necessary cushioning similar to rubber mats.

Reinforcing the Floor

You always can reinforce your upstairs floor if you're unsure that it is sturdy enough, or if you want to put more than just a bench press up there. In an article for "The Washington Post," Jeanne Huber lists several options for reinforcing a floor from underneath, such as installing an extra joist, cross-bracing between the existing joists or attaching a 2-by 4-to the bottom of several joists. Doing so evenly divides the task between the joists of supporting weight on the floor.