Supporting Exercise Equipment with TJI® Joists

Exercise equipment, like speed bags, heavy bags and pull up bars, all have different installation requirements based on the manufacturer and the typical use of the equipment.  Fortunately, a variety of installation options exist so that homeowners can select the best option for their specific case.

 

Floor performance

The capacity of TJI® joists should be checked prior to mounting heavy equipment to them.  One must also consider that a joist may be able to support the additional load, but the joist will possibly deflect more than the adjacent joists, resulting in a noticeable “low spot” in the floor above.  How noticeable this low spot will be and if it will impact existing floor finishes should be considered by the homeowner.  Additionally, even lighter equipment like a speed bag can result in noticeable vibration being felt throughout the floor area.  In fact, some exercise forums specifically recommend free standing equipment for this reason (search the web with keywords like ‘house shaken by punching bag’ for more information).  Prior to installation, homeowners should always consider the impact the exercise equipment will have on floor performance.

What detail to use?

When suspending loads for exercise equipment, attachments to the TJI® Joist flange should be avoided.  Connections should be made so that the web of the TJI® is engaged.  When possible, it is recommended that the load is supported by at least two joists by spanning a support block between the TJI® joists for equipment attachment.

Ultimately it is up to the homeowner to decide what will work best for his/her situation and equipment.  One detail that is commonly referenced is S30 on page 21 of our Fire-Rated Assemblies and Sprinkler Systems Guide.  Although this detail is intended for a steel pipe, it can be easily adapted for fitness equipment attachment.  This detail shows a 4×4 (assuming joists spaced no more than 32” apart) supported by 2×6 members that are on top of the bottom flange and bolted to the web.

pipe-on-support-member

Another consideration for attachments is lateral movement.  While a heavy bag is relatively rigid and will exhibit minimal movement when being punched, mid weight bags or other applications (like a kid using the heavy bag as a tackling dummy) can create significant movement in all directions.  In cases where lateral loading could occur, adding blocking panels (see detail PB1) in the joist bays nearest the equipment is recommended.  It is also important that any block the equipment is attached to is also properly restrained against movement or rotation.

bracings

Jason Shumaker, PE
Jason Shumaker, PE
Jason Shumaker, PE is a Product Support Engineer at Weyerhaeuser. For 15 years, he has been providing engineering support for Trus Joist and Weyerhaeuser products to homeowners, builders, dealers, architects, engineers, and code officials.