Planet Fitness has been one of the most successful gym chains around the world in the last five years. There’s a lot to like about how they approach cardio and strength-based training, offering a judgment-free zone for newbies to get on track.
The primary distinguishing feature of Planet Fitness gyms is their affordability. Membership plans start as low as $10 per month, making it one of the cheapest but well-maintained gym brands in the United States.
Apart from being affordable, PF also has a range of equipment for cardio and strength workouts. In many fitness circles, Planet Fitness is popularly known as the “giant purple and yellow warehouse” because of the bold color scheme used within the premises.
The popular gym chain places greater emphasis on cardio training. As such, many weightlifters are wondering – will Planet Fitness offer the right kind of facilities to support their bodybuilding journey?
A lot of it depends on the kind of equipment provided by PF. One common doubt is whether or not Planet Fitness provides free weights for ambitious lifters.
Let’s find out.
Does Planet Fitness Have Free Weights?
Luckily, Planet Fitness is well-equipped with free weights, including barbells and dumbbells. But because the gym brand is mainly targeting newbies, amateurs and regular working people to work out in a judgment-free zone, they only provide free weights ranging between 2.5 pounds and 75 pounds.
Of course, the number also depends on the exact PF branch and location. For instance, some PF gyms only have free weights of up to 50 pounds. But the maximum limit anywhere is 75 pounds.
So, Planet Fitness is equipped with all kinds of cardio and strength-based machines while also providing a decent range of free weights to members.
What Free Weights Does Planet Fitness Have?
Planet Fitness has a myriad of well-kept machines, including treadmills, stair machines, ellipticals, and bikes. The cardio section is stocked with all kinds of equipment that you could think about.
The gyms are also well-equipped with some coveted resistance-based machines like ab machines, pec dec, chest presses, bicep curl machines, leg presses, smith machines, and so on.
The only department in which Planet Fitness is slightly shy is the free weights sector.
Mostly, all Planet Fitness branches will contain free weights that are primarily barbells and dumbbells. The barbells start at around 10 pounds and end at around 50 to 75 pounds depending on the location and gym policy.
Dumbbells, on the other hand, start as low as 2.5 pounds and can go up to 75 pounds.
Experienced lifters would be disappointed to know that PF branches do not have free weights heavier than 75 pounds. They also don’t have regular bench presses to lift heavy barbells. The absence of a squat rack is also notable.
As a substitute to squat racks, however, PF gyms offer the multi-functional Smith machine. As it’s more of an exercise machine rather than a free-weight equipment, it suffices to say that Planet Fitness focuses more on machine-based and cardio-centric workouts.
To make up for the lack of heavy free weights, PF gyms offer a range of exercise machines that you can use to target specific areas of their bodies.
How Heavy are the Free Weights at Planet Fitness?
Planet Fitness mainly markets itself as a judgment-free zone for beginners and newbies looking to start their bodybuilding journey. As such, they don’t provide heavy free weights to avoid the risk of injuries.
In any Planet Fitness branch, you can find barbells and dumbbells up to 75 pounds. In some areas, the weights only go as far as 50 pounds.
So, if you want to know the exact equipment used in a specific Planet Fitness branch, it’s better to call in and ask directly.
Why Does Planet Fitness Have No Free Weights But Only Machines?
The main reason why Planet Fitness does not have heavy free weights is because of safety concerns.
PF branches are mainly filled with newbies looking to start their fitness adventure in a non-judgment space. Using weight machines is safer for them as they won’t be able to mess up their form and pick up any injuries in the process.
Moreover, even newbies can easily work with weight machines as per their own capabilities without needing any assistance for trainers.
The same benefits of machine-centric training can also be experienced by experienced weightlifters. Sure, 75 pounds of free weights might be too light for them. But they can always continue their journey using weight machines and other equipment.
As per a research paper, dropping weights is one of the most common problems, causing about two out of three upper-body injuries during weightlifting. You’ll be surprised to know that about nine of ten bone-breaking injuries at the gym occur while lifting free weights.
So, when there are so many health risks associated with lifting heavy free weights, Planet Fitness’s decision not to include them is highly justified. Besides, they offer adequate substitutes for all kinds of free weight exercises.
Moreover, using lighter weights have tons of other benefits besides reducing the risk of injuries. Using them, lifters can perform exercises with a full range of motion, providing better results and improving technique.
It’s also pretty good for training to lift heavier weights. If you practice lifting with low weights and high repetitions, you’ll eventually be able to adapt to heavier weights while maintaining proper form.
On the surface, not having heavier free weights at the gym sounds pretty dreadful. After all, using free weights can help you work on the target muscles while also engaging your core for maintaining posture.
But there are several advantages to using lighter weights for exercising, including injury risk reduction. And that is exactly what Planet Fitness is leveraging by keeping their free weights limited to up to 75 pounds.