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Platform, Fit, and Function

By Sean | In Olympic Weightlifting | on March 25, 2013


For those who remember our previous location you may recall the wooden platforms inlaid within the rubber floor mats.  Lifting platforms are used primarily in Olympic weightlifting, a sport that includes the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk as its only two events.  All of you are familiar with the movements, although we could all stand to get more practice with them as technique takes time and effort.  It’s precisely that reason that platforms came to be.  Before the development of the rubber bumper plates, serious lifters’ only option were the classic metal plates.  Although slimmer in profile, they packed a nasty punch on the floor if dropped, oftentimes damaging the floor, the plates, or both.  Lifters had to take the extra care and effort not only to lift the weight but to also lower it back down so as not to damage the plates or the floor beneath. This hindered progress and left little room for error. In search of a way that allowed themeslves to get the most out of their training, lifters and coaches created lifting platforms. The basic purpose of a lifting platform is to provide a solid, secure area for lifting. Affording the lifter a sure-footed surface as well as something to help dampen the blows of dropped weights.  Here’s how the platform accomplishes those goals:

  1. First, the wood down the center is where the lifter performs the lift and is more forgiving than the concrete floor on your joints.  Especially when you consider the ballistic nature of jumping and landing, which is essentially what we’re doing with the snatch, clean, and jerk.  The wood is sturdy but still offers enough give to dampen some of the force on the knees.  Also, the wood allows for less footwork mishaps as the feet move more freely from pulling (under hips) to receiving (under shoulders) as in the snatch and clean, or in the jerk from drive (under hips) to receiving (shoulder width if push jerk or lunging if split jerk).  There is less friction meaning the feet move faster with less chance of catching too early and throwing off the lifter’s timing and position.  That being said if the surface gets wet for any reason you’ve got to dry it off or risk slipping and potential injury.
  2. Second, the rubber on the sides helps dampen the sound of the plates dropping as well as the force of impact.  This helps your bars and plates last longer as well as keeping neighbors off your back.
  3. Third, the platform itself defines a zone that should be the exclusive territory of the person lifting at any given moment on the platform.  It gives the lifter boundaries as well as any spectators or other gym-goers that might be in the vicinity.  This is also important in the sport of weightlifting itself as the lifter must practice keeping themselves within a set area or miss the lift.  Although in weightlifting competitions the lifting area is roughly 12’x12′, that size platform is impractical for most gyms to lift on from day to day.  Most lifters will tell you that size platform is more than enough space than you’ll ever need to make a lift, so typically platforms are reduced in size to 8’x8′ or 6’x8′ for convenience and space.

Although it has been over a year now in our current location, we’ve yet to install any type of platform…that is until now.  Refined Roots, the same folks that made our jerk blocks, are making us a lifting platform.  Here’s a sneak peak below of the platform before Roman adds the finishing touches to seal the wood.  We aim at installing this platform in the coming week or two.  Stay tuned!


WOD 03.25.13

Press 3×5 or Wendler

21 Handstand Push Ups
21 Kettlebell Swings
15 Ring Dips
15 Kettlebell Swings
9 Push Ups
9 Kettlebell Swings

One Comment to "Platform, Fit, and Function"

  • Mathew says:

    March 25, 2013 at 10:10 AM -

    Carl’s Jr #4 here I come! Wahoo! I made it through the whole30!

    Just kidding. I’ve had such good results in these short 4 weeks I’m going to push for 90 days of it.

    Thank you CF Intrepid for lighting the way to my fitness goals.

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