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How to Build a Weightlifting Platform

In recent months, we have received a multitude of emails requesting a guide on how to build platforms: I have condensed our years of experience building platforms into a simple, how-to format anyone can reference and follow. Over the years, our ten platforms have been able to sustain the vigorous training schedule of over 50 in-house athletes. There are many ways to build platforms, but this is how we build ours:

Step 1: Gather Materials

Disclaimer: Due to Texas weather being 50 degrees one day and 105 degrees the next, we used a triple layer method which is not necessary, but highly suggested for longevity.

4 – 3/4 inch 4 feet x 8 feet plywood

1 3/4 inch 4 feet x 8 feet Sande Plywood (or Birch)

2 4 feet x 6 feet horse stall mats (Tractor Supply)

X-Acto Cutting Knife

1 Box Grip Rite 1-1/4 in Construction Screw

Compact Drill with appropriate bit


Step 2: Where Do I Build It?

Find a level and appropriate space. You need exactly 8×8 for your platform and I would suggest at LEAST 2 feet of space around each side of your platform for bouncing barbells, walking space, etc. You also want a dry surface that is AS LEVEL AS POSSIBLE. Indoors is ideal, but a covered location is a must.


Step 3: Assemble Your Platform

Place two of your pieces of plywood side-by-side. Ensure that they are exactly where you want your platform because moving a fully built platform is not an easy task.

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 10.05.09 AM

Place two more pieces of plywood side-by-side on-top of the existing pieces, perpendicular to the boards underneath. Place screws matching the locations shown on diagram with X’s.

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 10.08.16 AM

Next, cut one stall mat length wise using the X-Acto knife into two, 2’x6′ pieces. Then, cut the other stall mat into one, 2’x4′ piece, and then into two, 2’x2′ pieces.

Stack one 2’x6′ and one 2’x2′ piece along the side of the platform to create one side of the platform where the plates on a loaded barbell will land. Then, place the piece of Sande Plywood (or Birch) next to it. Finally place the remaining 2’x6′ and 2’x2′ stacked on the other side of the topper.

Secure both rubber and wood as shown below:


We suggest NOT placing screws on the inside of the rubber where the barbell could land. We have found that when you do, the plates will hit them, as the rubber is forgiving and this will place small nicks into your plates. The rubber stays put with the outer screws and your plates stay unscathed.


In order to keep your platform clean, functional, and aesthetic as long as possible, we suggest cleaning both your rubber and wood once a week. This can be done by mopping the rubber sections and using wood cleaner to take up any blemishes. We also suggest sweeping your platform after each training session so that dirt does not becoming ingrained into the wood.

If you have any additional questions regarding this article or setting up your gym, please email Brittany at

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USAW Youth Combine

USA Weightlifting launched its combine series as its latest recruitment project aiming to find weightlifting’s next Olympic hopeful. Combines are open to athletes ages between the ages of 12 and 24. Each combine will include the following events:

– 30m sprint
– Vertical jump
– Triple hop
– Power clean
– Back squat

All athletes are welcome to attend, but please be aware that the combine is meant to find new athletes to participate in the sport of weightlifting. The target athlete will not already be a member of USA Weightlifting. The combine series is free to attend, and members of USA Weightlifting are encouraged to invite friends, family, and classmates!

The final two hours of the combine will consist of a Weightlifting Fundamentals session to go over the basics of the snatch and the clean and jerk for athletes with little or no experience with the Olympic lifts.

Top athletes will be contacted at the end of the combine series with an invitation to attend a USA Weightlifting camp in the summer of 2019. Collegiate opportunities are available. 

Follow this link to register for a combine near you:


– 9:00 AM-1:00 PM: Test Events
– 2:00 PM-4:00 PM: Weightlifting Fundamentals

Event date and Location:

Date Location Gym
03/30/2019 San Antonio, TX TSS Barbell

If you or any of your athletes are interested in participating in this Combine, please email us at to set up a tour of the gym and a time to speak with one of our coaches.

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Grim Reaper Qualifier

TSS Barbell presents our second annual Grim Reaper Qualifier on October 20th, 2018:

Youth, Junior, Masters, and Open divisions offered! Medals will be awarded to the winners of each weight class (first through third place) for each division. Sinclair winners for the Open Women division and Open Men division will be awarded prizes from our title sponsors: Our past sponsors include United Lifters, Snortlife Singlets, Lifting Genie, Healthy Changes, and Gym Gypsy. Registration closes on October 15th!


This is a USAW sanctioned meet: USAW membership is required prior to entering and singlets are required to be worn during the competition.


Early Registration (through September 30th): $65.
Event Shirt: $25 (available in crop top, t-shirt, or women’s muscle tank styles)


PLEASE email us at TSSBARBELL@GMAIL.COM with the following information after you register:

Full Name:

USAW Number:

Birth Date (MM/DD/YY):


USAW Club Affiliation:

Weight Class:

Entry Total (Projected Snatch + Clean and Jerk):

Event T-Shirt Size and Style (if purchased):

Location & Contact Information
Facility: Tenacious Strength Society
10415 Perrin Beitel Road
Suite 202
San Antonio, TX  78217
Coordinator: Jilly Jaworske
Phone: (941)330-5147
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TSS Heartbreaker Qualifier

TSS Barbell presents our second annual Heartbreaker Qualifier on January 27th, 2018:

This is a last chance qualifier for American Open Series I (The Arnold). Youth, Junior, and Open divisions offered! Medals will be awarded to the winners of each weight class (first through third place) for each division. Sinclair winners for the Open Women division and Open Men division will be awarded prizes from our title sponsors: Our past sponsors include United Lifters, Snortlife Singlets, Lifting Genie, Healthy Changes, and Gym Gypsy. Registration closes on January 21st! This is a USAW sanctioned meet: USAW MEMBERSHIP IS REQUIRED prior to entering and SINGLETS ARE REQUIRED to be worn during the competition.

Early Registration ONLY (through January 2nd (12:00 AM): $50

Late Registration ONLY (through January 22nd, 12:00 AM): $60
Pre-Order Event Shirt (Pick Up ONLY): $25 (available in crop top, t-shirt, or women’s muscle tank styles)

For Registration Go To:

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Culture by John Broz

ATTENTION: This article is taken from Average Broz’s Gymnasiums website. It is written by John Broz himself. The link to the entire article is:



So what is Culture?

Culture is the soul of a Gym, Business, Club or Team.  It’s what defines it.  It’s the reason why people associate with or be become part of it.

OHC 4Here at ABG, it all began with my experiences.  I grew up in a very old-school gym.  Hand made equipment, vinyl half-moon gym bags, headbands, polyester bell bottom sweat pants, sweatshirts with the sleeves cut off, the smell of liniment and sweat.  Pull chain ceiling lights, two tiny obstructed windows that didn’t open, and one small one in the back that opened as far as its old, warped wood frame would allow– which wasn’t much.  The door was your only glimpse of the outside world.  The view was of inner city ghetto that you really didn’t want to see anyway.  When the door opened, everyone would stop training to look as if opening the refrigerator door at night.  It was a dark, dingy, old, and stinky place, but there was nowhere else in the world I’d rater be!  I miss that place.

What made this place so special?  The people and their attitudes.  It began with the head coach / owner.  He was a great man, an empathic man.  A man’s man.  Marine, Golden gloves boxer, Bodybuilder, and Weightlifter. His thundering laughs and never-ending stories kept you laughing and thinking.  The lifters were committed individuals–people who really wanted to be there.  Not people that were in and out, fly by night folks, but people who truly loved working out.  Driving from two hours away on weekends to come there was common place.  The kind of people who drop postcards to the gym on vacation to say hi, the kind where on their family holiday cards was a picture of young brothers doing a group deadlift.  Everyone’s expectations were high.  These people always expected more, the best from themselves.  Always aspiring to be better than the day before, in the gym and in life.  Good days or bad, they would always show up and put in work.  When someone hit a big lift, whether it was a PR or not, everyone would say nice job and really mean it.  People were truly happy for one another, and everyone fed off that positive energy.  It was contagious like laughter.  Great energy, big lifts, and laughs were the norm.  No matter how bad your day was, just being there made everything ok.  These were the happiest days of my childhood.  The mentorship that was provided by the elders to the younger lifters transcended lifting into life lessons.  The collective experience, history, and wisdom was just another reason to want to be a part of that gym.

We never listened to music.  Radios were not allowed.  Earphones?  Never.  The silence of the gym was broken by the clanging of iron, the banging of dropping heavy cleans, or just a simple question or story that someone would tell.  The stories became epic, and the group laughs loud.  The camaraderie that was developed lasted a lifetime for most of us.  Most of my friends I have today were met in gyms over the years.  Regardless if my friends still compete or even lift at all, we still remain friends.  It’s the bond  you make when you train hard, share pain, excitement, frustration and joy with other warriors of the iron game, regardless of sport.  Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, or Weightlifting.  It didn’t matter.We always showed respect to each other.  OHC 3Respect by paying attention and not walking in front of someone when he were lifting.  To be attentive of how much others were lifting and to help watch their form.  To help out as you would want to be helped.  To be quiet and stop — regardless of what you were doing, even mid-set when someone was attempting a PR or huge lift.  To not walk over a loaded barbell.  By not putting your feet on the plates or stepping on plates lying on the floor.  To put your stuff away and go the extra mile to help keep the place tidy.  By not showboating, screaming or slamming equipment.  To be humble, modest, and grateful.  By being a true sportsman and to genuinely care for your other lifters, like brothers.

There were times when someone didn’t fit the mold.  Could be they were obnoxious, disrespectful, loud, or rude. It didn’t matter.  The owner simply told them to leave and never return.  When I was younger I clearly understood.  They didn’t fit in.  They weren’t one of US.  As I got older, I realized that he was actually throwing money out the door.  He was firing customers.  It was then I knew why.  Like a father to us all, he was protecting the integrity of the gym — its culture.  It must be preserved and cherished at any cost, even if he lost income.  He clearly knew culture is what makes a house a home, and what makes an old building in the ghetto the coolest place in the world.


My goal at ABG is to duplicate that environment the best I can.  We have ejected people who didn’t fit our culture.  Not because of how much they lift, but because of their attitude and the negative effect it has on everyone.  We have also embraced homeless kids, total strangers, and visitors with open arms.  It’s all about attitude.


ABG 1When I first started ABG, it had no name.  No ideas of becoming a gym or even a club.  At the time I owned a granite countertop business, along with a mortgage company.  I was so busy with both that it became difficult to make it across town to train, so I took a small room in one of my offices that was supposed to be a showroom for the granite, and moved some of my weights in.  I began to train daily, but it was not as fun or as effective as it used to be.  Even at the now-closed Golds Gym on Flamingo, where I lifted for over ten years, there were other bodies around.  They were not Weightlifters, but it didn’t matter to me.  That place had culture.  It was THE gym in Vegas.  All the “hard core” people would flock from all directions to train there.  It was the dumpiest location of all the Golds’, but for serious people, the only one.  Because there were like-minded people there, regardless of sport I was able to train effectively.  After I moved my things out of there and into my makeshift gym / showroom, I needed to create an atmosphere.  I went to the National High School Power Clean Championships here in town and asked some of the class winners who were seniors if they wanted to continue to do the lifts after they graduated.  A small group took me up on my offer.  My motive was simple: Get like-minded training partners to build an atmosphere that I could make gains in, as could they.
It was not because I wanted to coach them, and I didn’t recruit them with lofty goals of world domination and Olympic glory.  My sole motivation was to benefit myself as much as them by providing an awesome place to train for guys who live to lift.  I chose class winners because I wanted their mentality around me.  To be the best, you must so desire.  Winning does not happen by accident.  It happens by design.  These kids had the same mentality I had developed, but they simply weren’t aware of it.  As time went on, I noticed they didn’t know fundamentals, gym etiquette or how to lift properly and I fell into the coaching role.  It was not my initial desire, but because I invited them it became my responsibility.  I’m grateful that it did.OHCAs others came by, they either fit in or didn’t.  People came, people went.  The like minded always stayed.  As time progressed, the word spread.  When like-minded people find each other the energy multiplies.  It attracted more like minded lifters.  As we grew, granite equipment slowly moved out, and more weights moved in.  Ultimately we out grew that space, so I sold those businesses, and we moved and and opened a real gym.  One of the lifters came up with ABG when we needed a name before our first team meet in Utah, which we won.  Average Broz’s Gymnasium was born.  I was an average lifter, so it all made sense.


Evolving from lifter to coach, I find myself telling stories about lifting and life just like John, my first coach used to do.   When John passed away a few years ago, I was the one blessed with the job of closing down that historic place, just as we were moving into the new gym.  It was as if the torch was passed from OHC to ABG, from one John to another.  I have the original outside gym sign hanging up inside at ABG as a daily reminder of where I came from and where we must go.  I hope I do him proud and keep that culture alive for generations to come.

Today we all try to do our best, regardless of what is going on in our lives, how much is on the bar, and whatever our age may be. This is what we are all about. Helping and encouraging one another, staying positive, and most of all telling epic stories and building life-long friendships.

If you find yourself in town and want to swing by, we love meeting and training with others like us.  It’s not how much you lift, but how you try that matters.

John Broz

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We get a lot of questions about what it takes to be a weightlifter on TSS Barbell: We have athletes varying from college students to military officers to stay-at-home moms and even a nurse practitioner. We don’t require that our athletes compete on a national level; Bringing us home medals isn’t a requirement either. We don’t offer discounted programming because you’re a more talented weightlifter than the guy or girl on the platform lifting next to you. We do ask that every member gives us 100% of their effort the moment they walk in the door to warm up and that weightlifting is a priority.  We require that members are uplifting and supportive of their teammates. Most of all, we require that our athletes have goals and they stay in communication with their coaches to achieve them. Below is what we consider our “Team Standards:” We have created these standards to facilitate an environment that we feel best represents our culture and what we believe in.



  1. Register and compete in at least two meets on the team schedule per calendar year.


2. Pay for programming and coaching on time via Square or cash. Keep card information up to date on Square.


  1. Complete all programming as written unless discussed with Brittany, Fernie or Jilly BEFORE or during training sessions (not after the fact) on the days of the week we have written in the program. Not completing programming as written is a three strike policy: We will sit down and discuss why you decided to work off programming after the first incident: Examples of “working off the programming” include engaging in strenuous training that has not been previously discussed with us, such as intense conditioning workouts or maxing out above the prescribed work. If it is discovered you have worked off the programming a second time after our discussion, your membership will be suspended. We will resume writing programming when you agree that you can and will to the best of your ability follow your program and sign a written commitment agreeing to following our training protocol moving forward. If the commitment is found to be broken a third time, the member will be asked to leave the team without refund.      **We have included more information below about what it means to “work off programming.”


  1. Record results and important information regarding training in Google Drive each week before 10:00 PM on Sunday.


  1. Attend Practice (on time) at least once a week. This rule only applies to our in-house lifters, not our semi-remote or remote athletes, although attending is highly encouraged.


  1. Clean up after Practice (wipe plates, wipe bars, sweep platform).


  1. Come to coaches with questions via email or during Practice when the coach is not directly coaching. If you have many questions, attend Weightlifting Therapy on Thursdays at 6:30 PM: You have an hour window to ask our coaches questions regarding weightlifting or competing.


  1. Be respectful of all teammates and coaches. Be encouraging, supportive, and positive. If your attitude is more negative than positive, you are not upholding the standard.


  1. Act appropriately during training and competition. An example of acting inappropriately would be bar slamming 75% of your max and/or flicking off the bar.


  1. Respond to all questions pertaining to your name on the team whiteboard or in the WHITEBOARD Google Doc if you are remote. The WHITEBOARD Google Doc is located in the same Doc as our team Meet Schedule.


  1. Keep personal issues personal and outside of the gym: There are exceptions to this standard, like after Practice if you need to talk to one of our coaches one-on-one or you’re just having a really bad day and you don’t realize it until you pick up a barbell. However, we have a zero tolerance policy for members who knowingly come into the gym and bring personal matters from outside the gym onto the platform. If you find yourself in a rough spot and you need to talk to one of us, call us so we can help you get back to a more positive mindset to train or so that we can refer you to our team therapist.


Meeting the standards above are the bare requirement to remain a member of TSS Barbell. For some individuals looking to join the team, those standards may be daunting and it will deter those individuals from joining. Here is what our “best” athletes do to separate themselves from the rest:


  1. Participate in most or every event (home meets, away meets, team dinners, etc.) and encourage their teammates to do the same.


  1. Volunteer for all team-related activities (Weightlifting For Free Day, home meets, etc.)


  1. Show up early to Practice to be ready to train when Practice starts.


  1. ALWAYS elevate the mood of teammates who may be having a bad day with encouragement or support.


  1. Clean up or assist teammates in cleaning up their platforms above and beyond the basic requirements.


  1. Email Jilly, Fernie or Brittany questions or issues that need resolved if they are questions/issues that require us to stop coaching during Practice and conduct research to answer them.


  1. Ask Jilly, Brittany or Fernie for private coaching outside of Practice to reach your goals.


  1. Create goals that are challenging, but achievable. The athlete continually shares these goals with their coach so that we can help in any way we know how to reach them and write effective programming for each athlete.


  1. Demonstrate personal growth as a result of participating in TSS Barbell. A good example of this is wanting to learn more about the coaching process and enlisting Brittany or Jilly to assist with the process. Another example would be a new member with a negative attitude who transitions into an experienced member who is positive and eventually elevates the moods of other members.


Working Off Programming

Working off the program is blatantly disregarding the program and choosing to 1) Engage in other strenuous weightlifting work in place of what is written, 2) Engaging in excessive conditioning (Hero-Type CrossFit workouts, CrossFit competitions, Spartan Races) in place of what is programmed or 3) Not completing the workouts at all without discussing reasoning with your coach, or 4) Maxing out movements that have not been programmed as maxes without your coach’s consent.

Requirements for the military branches, attending GPP class even though it was not programmed, occasionally pushing training back a day (but completing the days in order as written as discussed with your coach), adding in more body building or accessory work, dropping into the occasional fitness class with a friend are ALL acceptable and are NOT examples of working off the programming.

Most members of the team are learning to be weightlifters. Experienced weightlifters have more say in adjustments to their programs. Every member of our team has hired TSS Training, LLC to achieve a specific weightlifting goal. This rule is for individuals who are not used to being held to a standard and prefer more choice in their workout activities and use programming as a guideline. These individuals may prefer to make their own programming choices instead of leaving them up to the coaches they hired for this very purpose and thus do not require our coaching services, nor do they necessarily need to be a member of our team.

For those athletes mentioned above and those athletes alone, we have the strictest rules around programming. Our standards are in place to keep you healthy, to monitor your progress and to ensure that you reach your goals. If you have a concern regarding your programming, we are always available to talk so we can modify programming to better fit your schedule and your needs. What is not allowed is significant modification to the program without coach’s consent.

Weightlifting is not an inherently dangerous sport, but engaging in any form of strenuous strength training needs to be monitored and programmed safely (we carry insurance for this very purpose). If any athlete puts themselves and thus our business at risk, it is our responsibility as coaches to have a discussion with the athlete and outline the reasons as to why following their program is so important.