Can You Deadlift at Planet Fitness?

The deadlift is one of the most exciting full-body workouts. Because of this, many weightlifters feel their leg days are incomplete without deadlifts. This importance means that most gyms should have adequate apparatus for deadlifts, …

The deadlift is one of the most exciting full-body workouts. Because of this, many weightlifters feel their leg days are incomplete without deadlifts. This importance means that most gyms should have adequate apparatus for deadlifts, yeah?  This article will examine whether you can deadlift at planet fitness and other things the franchise allows or disallows.  

The answer to this question is tricky for several reasons. Yes, you can perform deadlifts at any Planet Fitness gym. However, the deadlifts you get to perform may be different from the deadlifts you had in mind. Due to their no-judgment policy, the fitness franchise does not have bars or platforms where you can deadlift. However, Planet Fitness has smith machines instead, which may provide the same muscle engagement as regular deadlift bars, especially if you are starting. As such, while you can deadlift at planet fitness with the smith machine, you will be unable to deadlift with regular barbells. Another answer would be that you can deadlift at Planet Fitness if you do not mind using machines instead of free weights. 

This difference boils down to the franchise’s no-judgment policies. However, if you have a home gym and you need a barbell for your deadlifts, I recommend the Ohio Bar – Cerakote.

📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: Are Planet Fitness Weights Really Lighter Than They Should Be!?

What does Planet Fitness have and not have?

Many users have noted that the gym franchise excludes dumbbells that surpass particular weights. For example, some have pointed out that the dumbbells in their local Planet Fitness club only go up to 50 lbs, while others have noted that their clubs’ dumbbells reach 75 lbs but no more. Likewise, many gym goers have said that the Planet Fitness gyms have no bench press sets. Instead, they expect that you use smith machines for your bench presses. Similarly, you may not find adjustable barbells as the gyms have barbells pre-set with weight plates – like dumbbells. As a result, you only do your bench presses on the smith machine with these barbells. If you have a smith machine at home and want to do your bench presses on it, get the Rogue AB-3 Adjustable Bench.

💡 Quick Tip: Loadable dumbbells may be for you if you are just starting your weightlifting journey, as you can adjust them to various weight levels. I recommend the Rogue loadable dumbbells as it is the perfect combination of classy and functional.

Rogue loadable dumbbells

Other Planet Fitness common practices

Planet Fitness generally looks to attract amateur or beginner weightlifters or persons with a recreational interest in weightlifting. Because of this, they only have equipment that caters specifically to this target audience. In addressing this demography, the franchise discourages behaviors like dropping weights on the floor, grunting, and other actions they believe can intimidate their target market. The franchise believes that with free weights that weigh a lot, advanced weightlifters may intimidate beginners with the loud dropping sounds their weights make when they drop them or their grunts. As an extension, some Planet Fitness users explain that the fitness outfit discourages certain exercises that its target audience may find intimidating, including overhead presses and jumping ropes. 

In enforcing these policies, most Planet Fitness centers install a lunk alarm that rings off when any gym goer performs any behavior that the franchise discourages. According to users, the lunk alarm keeps sounding until the offender stops the offending behavior. 

Planet Fitness also has a reputation for frequently providing free meals to its members. Furthermore, these meals are typically unhealthy or unsuitable for anyone looking actually to realize their weight loss goals. The meals usually include pizza, bagels, candy, donuts, and cupcakes. 

In addition to these, you will not find a scale at any Planet Fitness gym, and the franchise has several related reasons. The fitness outfit believes its users may get discouraged from reaching their fitness targets if they use the scale and find that they have yet to make as much weight change as expected. Because of this, Planet Fitness would rather not have scales in its clubs so its members maintain motivation.

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Free weights vs. machines

It is necessary to look at this as these differences and similarities determine whether you will enjoy deadlifting at Planet Fitness.

Stabilizer muscles 

A primary difference between free weights and machines like the dumbbell barbell set and the smith machine is that the machines come fixed and can only move in specific, preset directions. On the other hand, you can move free weights in any general manner or direction you prefer. Because of this, free weights engage your stabilizer muscles to keep you stable as you control the weight. On the other hand, because the machine directs your motion, you do not need your stabilizing muscles to keep you in place.

💡 Quick Tip: If the dumbbell press is your go-to for developing your upper back, I recommend the Hex Dumbbells to help you build those ultimate shoulders.

Muscle building 

Generally, free weights stimulate more of your muscles than machines. Because of this, they are better for developing muscle in the long run. Most advanced weightlifters begin with free weights and switch to machines as they reach the end of their session when their muscles become sore, and they begin to compromise their forms.


While free weights are better for muscle building, machines provide more safety and can help you keep safe while weightlifting. For example, dropping your barbell while deadlifting is easy, which can result in severe injuries depending on where they hit.  However, you are far less likely to injure yourself with the smith machine while deadlifting if you use the machine as recommended. Nevertheless, you can still injure yourself or pull a muscle, especially if you do not warm up properly or lift a heavier weight than you can carry.

Target weaker muscles

Machines are also better for engaging smaller and weaker muscles. For example, with barbell squats, you may not convincingly train your hamstrings if you are quad-dominant. As a result, you can use the hamstring curl machine to recruit your hamstrings after your squats.