In free weight areas, gym floors take the biggest beating of all. Besides dropped dumbbells and plates, free weight areas have to put up with benches being dragged and people taking little care when moving weights around.
For this reason, free weight areas need flooring that is not only resilient and durable but capable of absorbing shock and reducing the risk of injury. The right floor will stand up to severe punishment and last a very long time.
What we recommend
Here’s what we recommend for free weight areas:
Free weight areas are best-served by interlocking rubber floor tiles. The reason we recommend rubber tiles is because they are available in greater thicknesses than rolls and the individual tiles can be replaced when worn.
Your standard rubber floor tile is 30mm to 40mm in thickness. That extra 10mm makes a significant difference in terms of shock absorption. Thicker tiles are better-suited to heavier weights, such as 40kg to 50kg dumbbells.
30mm to 40mm rubber tiles are capable of protecting a concrete or wood subfloor, but for the best floor protection, you might also need underlay. Underlay absorbs shock and reduces noise from dropped weights for better acoustics.
Underlay prolongs the life of rubber floor tiles by providing a softer, spongier, and more forgiving surface to compress into when weights are dropped. If you have a commercial gym underlay will be a worthwhile investment.
30mm to 40mm interlocking rubber floor tiles are sufficient for free weight areas with dumbbells and plates, but what about deadlift and power-lifting zones? For these, you need thicker, heavy-duty impact protection slabs.
Impact slabs can be paired with tiles in free weight zones to allow heavier weights to be lifted safely. Impact slabs are typically 80mm in thickness and medium-density, absorbing impact to minimise bounce back and improve safety.
The aim with gym floors is to make lifting weights as safe as possible and protect the floor underneath from damage. Free weight areas get a beating, but you don’t want a gym floor that absorbs impact and bounces the weight back.
The best gym floor in free weight areas is medium-density rubber floor tiles. If you can get interlocking tiles, this makes installation easier. Tiles are thicker than rubber roll and they’re replaceable in single units, making maintenance simple.