If you deadlift heavy, then you already know that one of the biggest pains in the rear of deadlifting is switching weights out once you have a good amount of weight loaded onto the bar.
Someone then came along with a solution to that problem: The Deadlift Jack.
While deadlift jacks work great, they bring their own share of issues.
First, they’re expensive. Deadlift jacks can easily run you close to $100, if not more. Two, they take up a ton of space when they’re not being used (which is literally every lift other than deadlifts). Finally, they can almost be as much of a hassle as just switching weights without it.
There are alternatives to a deadlift jack, and a few of them are free and something you probably already have in your gym.
In this article, I’m going to show you a couple of simple solutions to make changing deadlift weight much easier. (And save you a good bit of cash over a deadlift jack)
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Deadlift Jack Alternatives
All four of the alternatives that I’m going to give you are all essentially wedges. Wedges work by lifting the plates up off the ground which allows the outside plates to be slid on and off much easier.
1 – A 2.5 Pound Plate
My go-to for lifting the plates off the ground to switch weights is to use a 2.5 pound plate. A five or even a ten could work as well if they’re thin.
Align the plate to the inside most plate and then roll the weights up onto the plate.
The alignment is the key here.
Only the inside plate of your stack should be sitting on the plate (maybe the second one a bit, but the first two plates are going to be 45s and there isn’t much of a need for this solution until you get past two plates anyway)
The rest of your plates should now be free of the floor and much easier to take on and off. Once you have your new weight on the bar, simply roll the bar back off the plate. Easy, right?
2 – Leftover Flooring
Maybe you’re deadlifting with iron plates and you really don’t want to be rolling metal on top of metal. I get that.
Another great (and free) solution is to use an extra piece of flooring mat.
For a lot of us, when we’re putting in our flooring, we have to make a couple of cuts to get all of our mats to fit properly. Take that extra piece of flooring and cut two roughly 8″ x 3″ rectangles.
Use these rectangles in the exact same way I described using the 2.5 pound plate above. The difference now is that you have a nice (relatively) soft surface for the plates to roll up on.
3 – Block of Wood.
If you don’t have any extra pieces of rubber flooring, you can make your own ‘wedge’ out of a block of wood.
I would go with about the same size, about 8″ x 3″. Make one side of the block angled so the plates can easily roll up onto it.
Then, if you’re good at working with wood, make the platform of the block slightly concave. This will give the plates a little nook for them to settle down into and will help prevent them from rolling off the block before you want them to.
If you’re having trouble visualizing what I’m saying, take a look at the Dead Wedge just below for inspiration.
4 – The Dead Wedge
However, if you’re okay with spending a few dollars for an actual product designed what our DIY wedges are doing – check out the Dead Wedge.
It’s a wedge made from natural rubber, with a concave shape, designed so you can easily roll your plates up on it and change them without worrying about them rolling away from you.
It’s a pretty good option for less than $15 if you don’t have the materials or desire to make your own.
No matter which of these four solutions you go with, in my opinion, all are better alternatives to a deadlift jack.
Most of us garage gym owners are either tight on space, tight on budget or both.
Deadlift jacks are awesome pieces of equipment, but they are both really big and not cheap.
I strongly encourage you to at least try out a few of the alternatives I’ve outlined here before buying a jack.