How Do Deadlifts At Planet Fitness? (Yes, they’re allowed)


Planet Fitness is a gym where members cannot use squat racks or heavy dumbbells, but they have pizza days and bagel days (wink). Many people hate this gym, but I still think you can get a decent workout and do all exercises that you want (even deadlifts).

In general, planet fitness does not have bars or platforms where you can perform deadlifts because of the no-judgment policy. As much as dropping weights, grunting, and other lunk-like actions are prohibited, planet fitness does allow its members to do any type of exercise, including deadlifts.

This is my brief answer, but if you wanna know more about how to do a deadlift at planet fitness, keep reading.

Are You Allowed To Deadlift At Planet Fitness?

One myth that I hear over and over again is that Planet Fitness banned deadlifts, as well as other compound movements like overhead presses and bench presses. This is complete nonsense.

Here’s why.

I’ve been using plant fitness for many years because they offer great value for money. Plus, they have tons of cardio equipment (which means I never have to wait for the free weights as everyone else is on the elliptical).

I’ve been doing deadlifts and bench presses in planet fitness ever since they added smith machines. It works, and it works great.

Why is this story about banned deadlifts?

The planet fitness gym is famously known for its strict policy against anyone who makes other members intimidated or judged. One of these rules includes you’re not allowed to drop weights on the floor and yell during workouts.

However, this does not mean you’re not allowed to do deadlifts (or any form of exercise). According to the Planet Fitness Twitter feed, the company allows deadlifts and overhead presses on their smith machines and free barbells.

Planet Fitness about deadlifting:

Feel free to lift any of the weights you see at our gym.

We don’t allow unnecessary grunting or dropping weights because this behavior may feel threatening or intimidating to some who doesn’t like going to gyms.

We always want our members to feel as comfortable as possible.

In other words, you can do anything you want, including deadlifts. Further in the tweet, you can read that “there aren’t any exercises that “are not allowed” at Planet Fitness (as long as you’re not grunting and dropping weights”.

Does Planet Fitness Have Deadlift Bars?

Overall, planet fitness does not have squat racks, barbells, bumper plates, or deadlifting bars. However, they have dozens of smith machines, which are equally effective and much safer for recreational gym users.

Smith machines are the perfect alternative for anyone who likes deadlifts and is a member of planet fitness. Now, I understand that there will be some people out there who are ready to throw me under the bus for saying that.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m the biggest fan of using deadlifting bars where you can load up your plates and smash the weight on the floor and nobody will tell you anything.

I get it.

But at the end of the day, I don’t like to pay $100 for a gym membership. I much prefer to compromise and get a membership at planet fitness for $10.

To be frank, I don’t need deadlifting bars to do deadlifts at planet fitness. All I need is a smith machine. Plus, if you really want to work on your hip hinge movement, the gym also has a range of kettlebells.

Learn more: Click here to learn more about if “planet fitness has barbell pads

What about the deadlift platform?

Nope.

Planet Fitness does not have an Olympic platform or deadlifting platform. The purpose of the deadlifting platform is to reduce the impact of the weights that are being dropped on the floor. The company’s strict rules are against any weight dropping, which means the platforms won’t be allowed either.

I must admit that compared to other well-established gyms like Gold’s Gym or Powerhouse Gym, Planet Fitness is behind. They don’t offer powerlifting tools and gadgets like hex bars, racks, or sled hammers, which can help you to mix up the workouts a little more.

(You can laugh at planet fitness as much as you want, but keep in mind that this company has a net worth of $6.31B. They’re not stupid).

The only free weights you’re allowed to use in the planet fitness are kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells with fixed weights, and smith machines. You also have a range of medicine balls and resistance bands. All the rest of their equipment is resistance training machines and cardio (a lot of cardio).

Learn more: Click here to learn more about “How much does the planet fitness bar weight

How To Do Deadlift At Planet Fitness

The best way to do deadlifts at the planet fitness is by using the smith machine. This equipment has a fixed range of motion and does not engage stabilizer muscles. However, is much safer and puts less stress on the joints than a barbell. Plus, the smith machine allows you to lift more weight, compared to dumbbells.

If you see me in the planet fitness, be sure I will be sitting at the smith machine. This is one of the most underestimated pieces of equipment in the whole gym. For deadlifts, the smith machine is much better than dumbbells.

The difference between doing deadlifts on smith’s machine and dumbbells is that dumbbells at planet fitness go up to 80lbs. On the other hand, the smith machine allows you to load up to 7 plates on each side (675lbs).

Here’s how you can do deadlifts at planet fitness.

#1 Check if someone else is using the smith machine

Before you start loading the bar, ensure someone else is not using the smith machine. You don’t wanna be that guy who comes in and starts putting the plates on the bar while there are people using it. Have some respect for others.

If all of the smith machines are currently in use, you can either wait or perform some glute activation exercises like back extensions that will help you to recruit glutes better during the deadlifts.

#2 Don’t make unnecessary noise

Unless you’re training for some powerlifting competition, chances are you don’t need to make noise while lifting weights. Don’t try to show everyone how strong you’re (probably not). This is not a drama theater.

Your fellow gym-goers do not need to listen to how heavy your bar is. Keep your mouth closed and if you’re getting out of breath, take a little extra rest before you start your next set.

#3 Don’t slam your weights on the floor

One of the worst things you can do at planet fitness while doing deadlifts is to drop the bar on the floor. Sure, going for PRs or lifting 1RM is impressive, but chances are that you will likely drop your weights down.

Instead, try to avoid doing 1RM and focus more on 5RM. 5RM is less taxing on the body but stimulates muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth better than 1RM. It also facilitates acute testosterone, IGF-1, and growth hormone response better.

#4 Always put your weights back at the end

To ensure no one will start the lunk alarm while you’re doing deadlifts, always ensure you’re picking up your weights and putting them back on the rack. Leaving your weights all over the place is wrong. It is also a sign that you don’t respect others.

$5 Be genuinely nice to others

If you’re a friendly person that always smiles and greets people, chances are people will like you and want to make friends with you. And when people like you they won’t mind if you do something occasionally that is “against” the rules.

For example, if you enter the gym and everyone “knows” you (not because you’re some celebrity, but because you’re friendly and smile to your fellow members) nobody will say a word if you’re doing heavy deadlifts.

On the other hand, if you act like a jerk, you look like you’re angry all the time and you never smile at people, that’s intimidating.

Be friendly, say hello, give hi-fives and head nods, make fist bumps, and spread positive energy. Chance are people will give that good energy back to you.

Learn more: Click here to learn more about “how to get to 4 plate deadlift

Planet Fitness Deadlift Alternative

You can use dumbbells at any planet fitness location; they’re a great alternative for deadlifts

Let’s say that you want to do deadlifts at planet fitness but all smith machines are taken. Or you don’t feel confident enough to perform deadlifts with the right form, and you want to find something similar.

What can you do?

The best deadlift alternatives that you can do at planet fitness are dumbbell deadlifts, kettlebell swings, back extensions, and hip thrusts. These are all hip hinge movements that target your posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings).

Kettlebell swings

Planet fitness has a variety of kettlebells that can be used as a deadlift alternative. In fact, if your goal is to develop strength and stamina, a dynamic kettlebell swing is better than a heavy deadlift.

First, it provides more range of motion (as you can see in the video above). Second, it doesn’t require maximum load, which means it’s less strenuous on the body.

Dumbbell deadlifts

Dumbbell deadlifts are another alternative to regular barbell deadlifts here at planet fitness. I like to use dumbbells because they offer more shoulder range of motion.

With the barbell, your arms stay in a fixed position, whereas with the dumbbells, you can rotate your shoulders, as well as pronate and supinate your hands.

Unfortunately, planet fitness only has dumbbells that weigh up to 80lbs (which is not enough if you wanna build strength). However, you can manipulate your intensity by adding more TUT (time under tension), which will also trigger hypertrophy.

Adding more time under tension means you spend more time during both eccentric and concentric phases of the lift. Instead of performing the lift 1 second down and 1 second up, you can do 5 seconds up and 5 seconds down.

Learn more: Click here to learn more about what is the “heaviest dumbbell in the world

Hip Thrusts

In planet fitness, I do hip thrusts and I do hip thrusts a lot. Mainly on the smith machine because I can add more plates. However, there are other alternatives. You can do hip thrusts with a bench and a dumbbell (see the video below).

Hip thrusts are great for people who want to get glute activation, but don’t feel confident with deadlifting. It is also great for guys who have a range of motion restriction.

(This is one of the reasons why people think deadlifts are bad. They’re not bad. It’s the people who do them that have a limited range of motion).

Deadlifts require a full range of motion in your hamstrings and lower back. People who spend most of their days behind the desk may have poor flexibility, which will lead to incorrect form when doing deadlifts.

Learn more: Click here to learn more about “why did planet fitness charge me more

Conclusion

Overall, you are allowed to do any type of exercise at planet fitness like deadlifts, squats, bench presses, and rows.

You can do deadlifts using the smith machine, but ensure you’re not doing that to feed your ego and attract attention. Planet Fitness does not appreciate people who like to showcase and flex their muscles in front of other members.

For the deadlift alternatives, the gym offers several dumbbells where you can do any strength training exercise, as long as you’re not violating the “no intimidation” policy.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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