At Planet Fitness, you won’t get much of a variation when it comes to weight training equipment compared to other commercial gyms. For example, there are no free weight barbells or free weight Olympic bars here.
You can only utilize smith machines and dumbbells at best. As you know, Smith machines can incorporate counterbalance weights, therefore you have to also consider the offset weight force along with it. What if we talk about an isolated bar?
How much does the bar weigh at Planet Fitness? A precise answer to your question is 15.9kgs (35 pounds). Planet Fitness has smith machines with stronger bars installed on them in comparison to other popular smith machines.
Unlike free Olympic bars, smith machines have fixed bars that simply work by sliding up and down the machine in a fixed pattern and are attached using latches on the sides. Smith machines don’t need the same tensile strength of an Olympic bar to accommodate all the plates.
That being said, there are different ways to figure out precise bar weights, and thus we are here to talk about different kinds of bars and their corresponding weight factor.
How Much Does Planet Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weigh?
A bare smith bar shaft’s average weight is 30 to 40 pounds in contrast to a men’s Olympic bar, which is 45 lbs (22kg).
Fitness savant Bela Nirin Asma says on Quora “A typical smith machine barbell only weighs about 15 pounds when you factor in the pulley set up. Whereas a free-weight barbell weighs 45 pounds. So if you have the same weight plates on a smith machine compared to a barbell, it’s going to feel lighter.”
On a smith machine, manufacturers try to cut out the effective bar’s weight by adding angle motions and counterbalance weights. So in such cases, the smith machine bar measures just 6.8 kg (15 pounds).
Smith Machine Bar Vs Barbell Weight
Many people have the misconception that smith bars and barbells are the same. The truth is, they are not. Barbells are free weights that you can move and shift as you will, but smith machine bars are more like fixed barbells attached to a sliding rack.
Smith Machine Barbell
The sliding barbell on the smith machine is a tailor-made sophisticated bar that can be used to work out different muscle groups. As we already stated, the smith machine bar weight at planet fitness is around 35 pounds (16 kg), more or less.
In reality, fixed smith bars feel lighter because of the counterweight that nullifies the impact weight of the smith machine’s bar and makes it feel lighter.
On the majority of the counterbalanced smith machine, the effective weight of the bar is around 15 pounds. The effective weight of this unit does not depend on the actual weight, but rather the speed and angle play a big role.
Such a machine has a spring system to terminate the excessive weight and works to make it feel lighter. Integrating your momentum and working angle onto the machine, the overall weight doesn’t feel too strong on a counterbalanced machine.
Practically the average bar weight on most smith machines is around 15kg (6.8 lbs).
With No Counterbalance
Smith bar shafts have weight plate compatibility, length, and weight capacity similar to an Olympic barbell. What sets them apart is their construction materials and their way of functioning.
The Smith bar works on a sliding motion and is fixed using clamps and bearings, whereas free weight Olympic bars are portable and are heavy compared to the smith machine bar.
The majority of free Olympic bars have a standardized weight of 44 pounds (20kg), whereas the smith bar weights 30 to 40 pounds approximately without the counterbalance. If you include the counterweight, the smith machine bar weight will be half the weight of the bare bar.
Angled Smith Machines
A slanted smith machine is another type of machine that has both counterbalanced and no counterbalanced smith machine bars. The steel rails on such a machine are slightly angled rather than upright.
The actual bar weight without counterweights is 30-40 pounds in general. Whereas the effective weight of a bar in a counterbalance system is the resultant of the additional weight forces and the barbell weight together.
Traditional Barbell Weight
A standard straight barbell weighs 45 pounds, and this can be topped with additional weight plates ranging in varying sizes. For example, you can start with weight plates of 2lbs, 5, lbs, 10 lbs, 20 lbs, 35lbs, 50 lbs, and so on.
Conventional Olympic barbells are best suited for different workouts, like, overhead press, bench press, squats, deadlift, and many more.
The worst part is, PF won’t give you access to standard barbells, as they don’t support deadlifting and many other exercises. You can use a smith machine instead to perform alternative exercises.
How Heavy Is the Bench Press Bar at Planet Fitness?
If you are a PF member, you will have to be adaptive to the lack of gym equipment. Planet Fitness doesn’t have any squat rack (power rack) or Olympic bench press machines like other gyms.
In this case, the commercial smith machine shaft acts as a bench press bar. The weight of it without the counterweight is 30-40 pounds. The effective weight with the load shift is curbed to 15 pounds.
Other Equipment At Planet Fitness And Their Bar Weight
Although PF might not have all the essential gym equipment as you see in a high-end facility, they do have some good tools for comprehensive workouts for beginners and intermediate gym freaks.
There are many different types of smith machines at Planet fitness branches, which include pieces of machinery from renowned brands like Hammer Strength, Life Fitness, Precor, and many others.
Precor Bar weight
The brand Precor has some of the most user-friendly instruments out there. PF has set up Precor machines in their fitness zone to let the users have a realistic weight lifting experience.
If you are starting weight training, do it on a Precor for adequate usability and get a similar experience of freeweight barbell training. Pecor units can make up good residential smith machines.
Precor has angled clamps for steel guide rods, allowing smooth transitioning, more like a free Olympic bar. It has a starting bar weight of 25lbs (11.3kg). The max weight tied on it can be 600 lb (272 kg).
Life Fitness Machine Bar Weight
The Signature series Life Fitness machine comes with a 7° bar angle with a natural movement path.
It is certainly not what advanced level lifters prefer, but this multi-adjustable bench from Life Fitness suits people who do low or moderate-intensity workouts or someone who is starting to get the hang of weight training from scratch.
The fixed bar weighs 20 lb (9kg) and has 8 weight horn adjustments. You can put up to 20 kg load plate on each horn weight of the smith bar.
Hammer Fitness Barbell Weight
To sculpt your body, simply accommodate yourself onto the hammer fitness machine. On most units, you get a 7-degree slant that allows you to carry heavy weights without any fuss.
For Hammer Fitness equipment, the most common reading you will find at Planet fitness is between 15 to 20 lb steel bar rod, which is lower than lightweight Olympic bars (short Olympic bar).
What Is the Starting Weight of a Smith Machine Bar?
Starting weight is known as the minimum weight a workhorse can carry in their weightlifting endeavor.
Starting weight varies depending on the type of commercial smith machines and residential smith machines. The most common smith machine types have a similar counterbalanced shaft weight of 30 pounds (13.6kg) and isolated bar weight of 15 pounds (6.8kg).
Smith Bar Weight in Comparison to Free Weight Barbell/Free Weight Olympic Rods
Most 7 feet men’s Olympic bars/barbells weigh 45 pounds, and women’s units are 33-35 pounds. Smaller Olympic bars can be as lightweight as 25 pounds. Smith bars, on the other hand, have a typical starting weight of 15 pounds.
Smith machines are no way near free-weight barbells. The first thing that separates them is the attached weight on the standing rack (smith machine). It is not like a free weight that you see in a standard barbell.
On a smith machine, you have to glide and adjust your body force to balance the external load but on free barbells, you need more brute force to lift it.
Keep in mind that pro athletes will opt for free weights because it targets a wide range of muscles compared to a smith machine which is best for accessory workloads and recovery exercises.
How to Weigh a Bar at Planet Fitness?
“Most if not all machines will have it posted on there for you to read. Generally, 15-20 pounds is the base resistance” — mentions a Planet Fitness member on Reddit.
The weight of the bar should be numbered on the majority of the Planet Fitness equipment. If you can’t find the weight limit, ask your nearby instructor, they shall guide you with the exact number.
If you are someone who has a smith machine at home and wants to find out the shaft weight. You can also use these manual techniques to identify the exact rod weight.
You simply cannot separate the bar from the machine like a free weight bar. In a smith machine, it is locked with safety hooks and clamps. So, in this case, how do you determine the weight? Let us see two effective ways of finding out the exact weight of the rod.
1. Hanging Scale
Also known as the luggage scale or fish scale, this is an ideal way to check the weight. This gadget is really helpful because you can’t put a smith bar shaft on a bathroom scale, thus this is the only way to measure critical loads.
Start by placing the bar on your knee height and latching the safety hook of the hanging scale. Now gently rotate the bar and try to unearth it from the machine lock. Once it is done, you should get a reading on the fish scale.
2. Using Straps or Rope
For this technique, you will need some extra apparatus, such as:
- Weight plates
- Strap/Rope (13 feet minimum)
Step 1: Remove Any Added Plates
The first thing to do is to ensure the rod is completely isolated and no weight plates are attached to it.
Step 2: Placement of the Bar
Then you need to lock the rod in the desired height, your head height should be fine. This is ideal to get the desired counterbalance reading.
Step 3: Secure the Rope
This is where you tighten the rope knot on the smith bar rod. Then throw the rope over the machine and let one end touch the ground with 4 feet of rope touching the ground.
Step 4: Unlock the Bar and Counterbalance It
Simply unhinge the shaft from its settled position and let it down. Your other end has to be connected to the heaviest weight plate.
Now you have to try to balance the rod and the offset weight on the other side. Move the bar up and down to try to balance it. When you place the bar over your head height, the string should balance the weight and lower the plates towards the floor.
Adding weights with increments of 2.5 lb is advised. When the matching weight is fitted, the rope attached to the rod should start balancing rather than sliding up and down. This is how you get to measure the bar weight.
Your reading might be a pound or two here and there than the pinpoint weight. This method gives you an estimation and not an accurate result.
How much does the bar weigh at Planet Fitness? If you have gone through this article, you know the weight limit of the shafts available at Planet Fitness. Customarily a Planet Fitness smith machine bar will weigh 35 pounds.
Hammer Fitness bars can range between 15-20 lbs, and Life Fitness rods are generally 20 lb.
The weight limit varies on different machines, and you should easily identify it from the marked numbers on the side of the rod. If not, you can follow the steps we mentioned to find the shaft weight.