The bench press might be the most popular gym equipment when we talk about building the upper body, whether it is for strength or the muscles. If you are having your eyes on the benefits brought to you by Planet Fitness, you might be asking yourself: does Planet Fitness have a bench press?
Does Planet Fitness Have a Bench Press?
The answer is yes and no. Planet Fitness doesn’t have the typical bench presses but they offer Smith machines.
It might be confusing. They even have bagel days and pizza days (which seem unhelpful for folks who are trying to burn some calories though), so what makes them favor Smith machines over the original bench press?
We will have a walkthrough about the bench press and why Planet Fitness chooses the Smith machine for their clubs.
Bench Press: The Regular vs. The Smith Machine
What do they do?
The bench press, also known as the barbell bench press, is used for a group of exercises focusing on the upper half of the body, specifically the triceps of the arms, the shoulders, and the chest. The weights can move in any and every direction since there is nothing restraining them. Obviously, it requires experience and knowledge if you don’t want to get hurt.
Many gymgoers refer to the Smith machine as a reliable exercise for new lifters. The bar will move along the fixed track and help the person learn techniques properly, which even advanced lifters can benefit from. As they can determine the group of muscles to improve and predict the path of the bar, it will be quite easy to repeat the rep and target the wanted areas.
With the regular bench press, the bar stays on a vertical track. When your arms are fully extended, the weights will be at the highest peak over your shoulders. But when you lower the bar, it will also move towards your feet.
However, you can’t maneuver the bar back and forth with a Smith machine. It means your chest and shoulders won’t go under as much pressure.
Another difference that not many Planet Fitness reviews included is the weight of the bar in each model. The Smith machines come with a variety of bar weights: 25, 30, 35 pounds, but the standard for bench presses stay fixed at 45 pounds.
If it is your first time working out with a Smith machine, we recommend starting from the lightest weight and level up slowly. You can always ask for professional advice from Planet Fitness instructors!
Read more: Planet Fitness Personal Trainers
If you have difficulties lifting the weights with a Smith machine, you can use the hooks to lock the bar, giving yourself a rest. This way, the barbels won’t slip and harm you. However, when you use a regular bench press, you will need an assistant to rescue you from the weight you can’t carry.
Moreover, the bench press belongs to the dangerous side, and most newbies don’t know how to use it accurately.
Why doesn’t Planet Fitness have a bench press?
For a no-pressure gym
Planet Fitness targets a certain category of customers who don’t stress over gains and muscles. Meanwhile, having something like bench presses and squat racks in their clubs will surely attract serious lifters. $10 per month is a very affordable price that the gym rats wouldn’t want to miss out on.
The sight of seeing such intense workouts, as well as the idea of being judged by the veterans, can discourage many gymgoers from visiting Planet Fitness and subscribing for membership. Would Planet Fitness cater to this 85% of clients or the veteran group? It is a matter of economy, and you have already known the answer.
For no concern about the law
The fact is most Planet Fitness membership owners have little to no experience when it comes to gym equipment. If one of these rookies accidentally drops the barbells and gets injured, the branch will face a lawsuit that is far too expensive for a club with a $10 monthly fee.
The lunk alarm
The person might let out loud grunts while lifting the heavy weights or slam them onto the floor afterward, which causes discomfort to others. The newbies might feel intimidated and judged. And if they can’t exercise confidently, it will be entirely against Planet Fitness policy.
Nonetheless, serious bodybuilders can still benefit from the equipment offered at Planet Fitness. The clubs have a variety of machines and tools for building muscles, as long as you know how to make the most out of them.
Why use a Smith machine?
Although many gym rats like to make fun of Smith machines, the equipment has its advantages! (1)
It’ is safe
Let’s prioritize safety here. The longer you work out, the more likely you are to face accidents. The locks are the key to your safety as you can simply twist your wrists and put the bar back to place if you don’t feel like you can handle the weight.
Secondly, the Smith machine leaves less pressure on your muscle groups, you can isolate them efficiently and strengthen them as you want.
Last but not least, if you consider a workout session your means of privacy and relaxation, you will love the fact that Smith machines require no assistant to keep you safe.
The downside of Smith machines
Since the bar of a Smith machine moves in a specific vertical direction, it is impossible for you to try benching, deadlifting, or squatting on the machine. The motion of the bar tends to put so much pressure on certain parts of your body, rendering them vulnerable to injury.
No stabilizer muscles
In compound exercises, you need great stabilizer muscles to keep yourself steady during the intense phase of the movement, and the Smith machine cannot train these muscles for you.
You won’t see a person doing well with the bench press on their first try if they have only used the Smith machine. Don’t be surprised if they shake and tremble, no matter how strong they normally are.
How to use a Smith machine bench press?
As we have mentioned, you don’t need a spotter to start practicing. The machine features multiple safety hooks to hold the weights when you can’t finish a rep. Here are the steps to using the Smith machine:
– Position a bench under the bar at a compatible angle. You should be able to see and grab the bar when you lie down on it.
– Hold your hands forwards. The distance between them should be a little larger than the width of your shoulders.
– When you are ready, unlock the bar and move the bar closer to your mid-chest. If the weight is within your capability, gather more strength and push the bar backward. You will feel the tension in your core and chest.
– Repeat the movement and lock the bar on the rack when done so you can prevent any unwanted accident.
Furthermore, if you are recovering from an injury or concerned by any physical incapability, don’t forget to consult your doctor in advance.
Is a Smith machine as good as free weights?
Free weights are very different from every machine. When you work with free weights, the area around your shoulders has to exert in order to hold the bar stable and move it precisely.
Nevertheless, you are subject to injuries when you change from a Smith machine to a regular bench press with free weights. You will need a partner or a spotter to help you with the weights you cannot carry.
Do bodybuilders use Smith machines?
As far as we are concerned, serious lifters can benefit from Smith machines!
If you have extremely strong abs, you can try hooking your legs over the bar and attempt full sit-ups. The upside-down position is clearly challenging and not for casual gymgoers.
Another advanced exercise to try is pull-ups with the bar as the leverage. You won’t need the bench for this position!
How heavy is the Smith machine bar at Planet Fitness?
First of all, the machine bar is usually compared to a barbell even though it is significantly less heavy. The barbell mostly weighs 45 lbs, while the bar is about 15 – 20 lbs. The exact weight depends on the size of the machine.
Does Planet Fitness have a bench press? You have the answer now, along with a load of information. Bench presses are amazing if you want to tone the upper body, but they are not exactly good for common gymgoers. Therefore, to maintain a friendly and safe environment, Planet Fitness has replaced them with Smith machines. What are your thoughts on this solution? Will you consider purchasing a Planet Fitness membership? Don’t forget to let us know so we can provide you with our assistance!
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