You Can’t Deadlift At Planet Fitness (Why PF Isn’t the Best Gym For Those Serious About Building Muscle)

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Bodybuilding is hard work, especially if you’re serious about maximizing your results. And one of the most important elements in any bodybuilding plan is having access to the right equipment and resources. That’s why, when it comes to finding a gym for your bodybuilding needs, Planet Fitness isn’t going to cut it.

No matter where you’re at in terms of your bodybuilding goals, you need a gym that lets you do more than curl a few dumbbells and run on the treadmill. You need a gym that gives you access to top-of-the-line equipment and knowledgeable staff. And unfortunately, Planet Fitness won’t give that to you.

In this article, I’ll cover the ins and outs of why Planet Fitness isn’t the right gym for bodybuilding, and provide some alternative options that are sure to get you closer to achieving your goals.

What Makes Planet Fitness Appealing for Many

Planet Fitness though, is appealing to many—and it’s easy to see why. With low prices, seemingly endless treadmills, and an overall chill atmosphere, Planet Fitness has democratized the gym experience. For those who want a workout without the stress or ego of a full-fledged weightroom, Planet Fitness can be a great place to go.

But if your goal is to build serious muscle, Planet Fitness isn’t really worth your time. That’s because they don’t have the same equipment as commercial gyms and also have strict rules about deadlifting as well as grunting or “working hard.” This means that you won’t be able to challenge yourself with heavier weights like you could at a traditional gym, which can limit your progress in building muscle mass over time.

Planet Fitness’s Approach to Equipment: Why It’s Not Ideal for Bodybuilders

At Planet Fitness, the atmosphere, equipment and approach to fitness overall will likely be intimidating to those serious about bodybuilding. As we mentioned before, one of the most important aspects of bodybuilding is strength training—especially heavy weightlifting. But unfortunately, you won’t be able to do that at Planet Fitness.

They specialize in cardio and light machines—not free weights or heavy lifting platforms like you’d find at a true bodybuilder’s gym. This is a big problem for those focusing on muscle building. In order to build muscle mass, strength training with heavy weights—think barbells and plates—is essential, as this helps to create micro-tears in the muscle tissue which then repair and grow stronger over time.

The problem is that none of the equipment at Planet Fitness provides enough resistance for strength training needs, meaning that those serious about bodybuilding need to look elsewhere for their lifting needs.


The Role of Health and Safety Precautions in the Gym

There’s one more thing to consider when it comes to Planet Fitness and body builders: health and safety precautions.

At Planet Fitness, the staff is trained to make sure their members remain safe. That includes making sure that people aren’t lifting too much weight, regularly monitoring the gym for proper health and safety protocol, and providing support and advice when it comes to proper form.

In a lot of ways, these protocols make a lot of sense for most gym-goers. But for people who are serious about building muscle, this can be an issue since they often need to push themselves beyond their limits in order to progress.

That can be tough at Planet Fitness, because staff is trained to stop people from doing exercises that they consider dangerous – even if the person doing them knows what they are doing and is competent enough to do them safely. This can be stifling for those who have already mastered the basics and need heavier loads or alternative equipment in order to progress further.

What Bodybuilders Should Be Looking for When Choosing a Gym

If you’re a serious bodybuilder, then you should really be looking for certain features in a gym. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:


You’ll want a gym that has all of the necessary muscle-building equipment—free weights, barbells, weight machines, and benches. Planet Fitness only has free weights up to 50 pounds and weight machines, which means that if you want anything heavier than that, you’ll need to look elsewhere.


Classes can help with motivation and teach you proper form for exercises and lifts. Planet Fitness offers no classes with an instructor who can look out for proper technique.


The atmosphere of the gym is key for bodybuilders—you want to feel comfortable when lifting and know that the other people in the gym are there with a similar goal in mind. Unfortunately, Planet Fitness is known for having too much of a relaxed atmosphere which makes it hard to take your lifting seriously and get into “the zone.”

At Planet Fitness, a majority of people just come in to use cardio equipment rather than to put in the hard work and lift heavyweights; while this is great if you’re just interested in staying fit and toned, it’s not really ideal if your goal is building muscle mass.

At the end of the day, if you’re serious about bodybuilding then it’s worth taking some time to find a gym with all of the equipment and classes that you need – Planet Fitness probably isn’t going to cut it!


Planet Fitness’s Limits vs Other Gyms

Maybe you love Planet Fitness’s gym environment, friendly staff and cheap prices, but if you’re serious about bodybuilding then it might not be the best place for you. That’s because Planet Fitness has limits and other gyms don’t.

Types of Lifts Restricted

Planet Fitness restricts certain types of lifts, like heavy deadlifts, for example. Additionally, some of their gyms don’t even have Olympic benches or squat racks, making it hard to do exercises that involve the use of a barbell.

Limitations on Time

Another limit of Planet Fitness is that they place limits on the amount of time you can spend in the gym – they reserve the right to kick you out after 2 hours. This is of course a problem if your daily workout regimen tends to be longer than that!

Occupied Areas

Finally, certain areas within the Planet Fitness gym are always occupied by people talking or taking selfies – which means that sometimes there’s just no space for you to work out. If this isn’t fixed soon then it could really put a damper on your lifting experience!

So as great as Planet Fitness may seem at first glance – if you’re someone who takes their lifting seriously, then it might be best to consider an alternative gym that won’t limit your progress in any way.

Suggestions on Alternative Gyms

If you’re serious about building muscle and getting strong, Planet Fitness isn’t the best place to do it. From their strict dress code to crowded equipment, they aren’t really set up for people who want to go full-tilt in the weight room. But don’t worry—there are plenty of other gyms that are great for bodybuilding and powerlifting.

When you’re searching, look for something like this. This is what a real gym looks like. This is Metroflex in Murrieta, CA


Reputable Gyms

When it comes to places that can help you reach your goals, you want to look for a reputable gym out there. It’s worth checking online reviews and finding out about their history before you commit. Spend a day checking out gyms around your area and don’t be afraid to ask questions about their facilities and whether or not they offer personal training options.

Quality Equipment

Another thing you should look for is quality equipment; make sure the equipment looks new and well-maintained, there aren’t long waits at peak times, and that they have the right size dumbbells or plates you need for your workout program.

If you’re serious about bodybuilding, look for a gym with amenities like dedicated squat racks multiple benches or power cages, along with Olympic barbells and disks. Smaller gyms dedicated exclusively to powerlifters will also have more specialized equipment like deadlift platforms and chalk buckets ready for use.

The truth is that if you want to build muscle the right way, you’ll want access to a range of quality lifting gear in a space that’s clean and organized – something Planet Fitness just doesn’t provide.

Can You Build Muscle On Planet Fitness Machines?

If you’re serious about bodybuilding and putting on serious muscle, then Planet Fitness might not be the best place for you. If you’ve ever trained in a real weight lifting gym, you know that bodybuilding is almost exclusively done with free weights, not machines.


So can you really build muscle on Planet Fitness machines? Not really. While these machines are good for general strengthening and toning, they don’t provide enough intensity to challenge your muscles sufficiently. They also come at a fixed angle, which leads to a limited range of motion and joint stability, so they don’t promote the kind of functional strength building that allows for more advanced exercises.

Plus, the weights are very light compared to what can be lifted by real power lifters and bodybuilders. Sure, if you just want to do some basic strength training or cardio then Planet Fitness can work fine. But if your goal is serious muscle gains or maxing out on a lift like deadlifts or squats then Planet Fitness won’t cut it—you’ll need an environment with heavier weights and an intense training atmosphere that supports your goals.

Can You Lift Heavy at Planet Fitness?

So, can you lift heavy at Planet Fitness? Unfortunately, the answer is no. You won’t be able to deadlift, or even perform any Olympic lifts like cleans and snatches. This isn’t great news if you’re serious about building muscle.


Max weight limits

It all comes down to one thing: max weight limits. Planet Fitness has a strict policy when it comes to how much weight you can lift—there’s a limit of 45 pounds on most machines and bars. If you want to lift heavier than that, you’re out of luck.

Lack of availability of free weights

Planet Fitness also doesn’t have many free weights or power racks available for use by members, which makes it difficult to get in an effective workout with heavier weights. This isn’t ideal for those looking to build muscle and strength as these types of exercises are recommended for anyone wanting to reach their fitness goals quickly and safely.

So if you’re serious about building muscle and strength, then Planet Fitness may not be the best choice for you. It’s not just about the weight limits, it’s about the lack of free weights available for use—you’ll need a gym with more equipment if you want access to heavier weights and machines that can help take your bodybuilding journey to the next level.

Is Deadlifting Allowed at Planet Fitness?

If you’re serious about bodybuilding, you won’t be happy to hear that deadlifting isn’t allowed at Planet Fitness. Yup, if you take a look at their gym rules, you’ll see that “deadlifting, Olympic lifts and power lifts” are prohibited — and even if you’re a super experienced lifter, no exceptions are made.

That’s because Planet Fitness has created an atmosphere where people who aren’t really into bodybuilding can feel more comfortable. They have a ‘No Gymtimidation’ policy and although they don’t explain what the term actually means in the gym rules, it’s clear that any kind of intense lifting or grunting is frowned upon. Not to mention they discourage talking to other people or taking phone calls while working out.

So if building strength is your goal, then you’ll want to look past Planet Fitness. If on the other hand, you want to get fit without having to worry about social pressures or loud noises from others working out than this could be a good option for you.

Can You Bench Press at Planet Fitness?

No, you can’t perform a real free-weight bench press at Planet Fitness.

Planet Fitness typically has bench press stations, but they might be different from what you would find in a more traditional gym.

Instead of the standard free weight bench press setups with a barbell and weight plates, Planet Fitness often provides Smith machines or fixed barbell bench press stations.


These machines can still be utilized for bench press exercises, but their design offers more stability and safety compared to free weight bench presses. Keep in mind that the equipment available can vary from one location to another, so it’s always a good idea to check with your local Planet Fitness to see what they have on offer.

How Heavy Do the Dumbbells Go at Planet Fitness

At Planet Fitness, the highest weight of the dumbbells you can use is 60 lbs. That might seem impressive, and it is—but here’s the thing: it’s not enough for anyone who wants to take their weightlifting seriously and build serious muscle. Doing deadlifts with a weight like that is just not going to cut it.

Plus, if you want to get up to heavy weights, you’re going to need a squat rack or power rack and a bench press, which Planet Fitness doesn’t have. Those are necessary for really heavy lifters looking for gains in size and strength. You won’t find them there.

At some other gyms, you’ll find dumbbells that go up to 185 lbs., or even higher—plus adjustable racks and benches that let you adjust the weights as needed. That’s not something you can do at Planet Fitness—so if you’re serious about building muscle through weight training, it might be worth looking at other gyms in your area for better equipment.


So, the bottom line is if you’re serious about building muscle, Planet Fitness likely isn’t the right gym for you. With its strict rules and limited range of equipment, it’s clear that the emphasis is placed more on creating a judgment-free zone than providing the tools necessary for serious bodybuilders to reach their maximum potential.

That’s not to say that Planet Fitness isn’t great for anyone. If you’re a beginner who’s looking to get fit and don’t mind the strict rules then Planet Fitness might be worth checking out. And if you’re looking for a place to get some general exercise with no judgment, then Planet Fitness is probably the place for you. But if you’re looking to build serious muscle, you’ll likely have to look elsewhere.

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Hey, I'm Brian, the creator of I've been weightlifting / bodybuilding for 20 years and now I'm ready to share some knowledge. Check out my About Me page to hear my story.

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