Can You Deadlift at Planet Fitness? (What You Need to Know)

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Tonya McIntosh

Tonya McIntosh—The main person behind TGFFitness as its Founder and Chief Editor. Get to know more about Tonya


Have you ever wondered if you can do deadlifts at Planet Fitness? You’re not alone. I’ve been in the same situation, feeling frustrated when I couldn’t find the equipment I needed.

Well, I’ve done some digging and found some answers. In this article, we’ll explore Planet Fitness’s rules, equipment and how they affect your ability to perform regular deadlifts.

So, let’s get to the bottom of this and answer the question: “Can You Deadlift at Planet Fitness?”

Can You Deadlift at Planet Fitness?

Yes, you can perform deadlifts at Planet Fitness, but not in the traditional way with a free-standing barbell. This is due to the gym’s focus on creating a judgment-free, beginner-friendly environment. 

Planet Fitness has implemented policies such as the “lunk alarm” to discourage behaviors like grunting, dropping weights, or any other actions that could disrupt the gym’s overall atmosphere.

Instead, deadlifts can be performed using the Smith machine, which has a fixed barbell. This machine allows you to perform exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. 

While it may not be the same as using a regular barbell, the Smith machine can still provide a challenging workout and engage the same muscles as a regular deadlift. 

What is the reason for Planet Fitness’ ban on deadlifts?

At Planet Fitness, the decision to ban deadlifts was based on several factors. Let’s explore the reasons behind this choice.

Safety concerns

Deadlifts, if not executed correctly, can pose risks to your body, especially your back. By prohibiting deadlifts, Planet Fitness aims to minimize the potential for injury among gym members.

Loud noises

When you perform deadlifts, it’s not uncommon for weights to make loud noises as they hit the ground.

Planet Fitness prioritizes providing a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, and they believe that the noises from deadlifting may be disruptive to others.

Preventing intimidation

Planet Fitness wants to create an inclusive environment for everyone. Other gym members might feel intimidated seeing others lift heavy weights, so they choose to ban deadlifts to maintain a non-intimidating atmosphere.

Space constraints

Deadlifts often require more space compared to other exercises. Planet Fitness wants to maximize available space for its members, which means prioritizing equipment and exercises that take up less room.

Liability issues

Injuries from deadlifts could lead to potential lawsuits against the gym. By banning them, Planet Fitness reduces their liability risk.

Brand image

Planet Fitness aims to be a gym for everyone, regardless of fitness level. Banning deadlifts helps to create an environment where novice exercisers feel less pressured and intimidated.

Higher expenses

Deadlifts require specialized equipment, such as weightlifting platforms and bumper plates. By banning deadlifts, Planet Fitness can save on costs related to this equipment.

Planet Fitness Equipment: What’s Available?

At Planet Fitness, you’ll find a variety of equipment designed to help you achieve your fitness goals. 

This includes cardiovascular machines like treadmills and ellipticals, resistance machines targeting various muscle groups, and free weights such as dumbbells and kettlebells

The gym also provides a functional training area featuring equipment like medicine balls and TRX suspension systems to help you with full-body workouts.

How to Deadlift at Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness may not have unassisted squat racks or deadlift areas like other gyms, but you can still perform deadlifts using the Smith Machine.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to safely and effectively perform a Smith Machine Deadlift.

Step 1: Set up the Smith Machine

Choose a Smith Machine that is not in use and adjust the bar height to the lowest setting. Make sure the safety pins are in place and the bar is secured before you begin.

Step 2: Load the weights

Attach the desired amount of weight plates to each side of the bar. Ensure the weight is evenly distributed, and secure the plates with a collar to prevent them from sliding off during the lift.

Step 3: Get into position

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. Position yourself so that the bar is over the middle of your feet.

Bend at your hips and knees, lowering your body to grasp the bar with both hands. Use an overhand grip and place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar.

Step 4: Perform the lift

Before you begin the lift, keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged. Start the lift by extending your knees and hips simultaneously.

As you lift the bar, fully extend your legs, keeping the barbell close to your body. At the top of the lift, stand tall with your shoulders back.

To lower the weight, reverse the movement by bending your knees and hips and slowly lowering the bar back to the starting position.

Make sure to maintain control and keep your back straight throughout the lowering phase.

Smith Machine Deadlift Mistakes to Avoid

One common mistake when deadlifting at Planet Fitness is using the Smith machine improperly. 

To help you avoid errors and maintain a friendly tone, we’ll go through some common mistakes and how to prevent them.

Not setting the bar at the correct height: Ensure the bar is positioned just below your knees. This allows for proper form and prevents unnecessary strain on your muscles.

Overextending your knees: Keep a slight bend in your knees throughout the lift. This helps you engage your hamstrings and glutes effectively.

Improper grip on the bar: Make sure you have a firm, even grip on the bar, with your palms facing towards you. This ensures better control and prevents wrist injuries.

Pulling with your back instead of driving through your heels: Focus on pushing through your heels and engaging your glutes rather than solely pulling with your back muscles.

Failing to engage your core: Before lifting the bar, brace your core as if you’re about to receive a punch in the stomach. This helps stabilize your spine and prevents lower back injuries.

Rounding your back: Maintain a neutral spine throughout the lift, avoiding both a rounded and an over-extended back.

Pros & Cons of the Smith Machine Deadlift

When working out at Planet Fitness, one of your options for deadlifting is to use the Smith machine.

The Smith machine can be a helpful equipment for some exercises, but it has its limitations for others.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using the Smith machine for deadlifting.

Pros of Smith Machine Deadlift


The fixed barbell in the Smith machine provides stability during the deadlift, making it easier for you to focus on your form and prevent injury.


Since the barbell moves along a vertical track, you have more control over your movement, which can be helpful for beginners who are still learning proper deadlifting techniques.


The Smith machine allows you to adjust the starting height of the bar, ensuring that you can find the most comfortable and appropriate position for your body.

Less intimidation

If you’re new to the gym or deadlifting in general, using the Smith machine can be less intimidating than working with a free-weight barbell.

Cons of Smith Machine Deadlift

Limited range of motion

Because the Smith machine only allows vertical movement, it can limit your natural range of motion during the deadlift, preventing you from fully engaging all of the necessary muscles.

Less functional

Deadlifting with a Smith machine may not translate as well to real-world lifting situations, as it doesn’t require you to balance and stabilize the weight in the same way as a free-weight deadlift.

Not optimal for advanced lifters

If you’re an experienced weightlifter seeking to increase your deadlift strength, the Smith machine may not provide the level of resistance and challenge that you need for optimal progress.

Potential form issues

Because the Smith machine restricts your movement, it’s important to focus on maintaining proper form to avoid compensating for the limitations of the machine and potentially developing bad habits.

Muscles Worked With the Smith Machine Deadlift

The Smith Machine Deadlift, like the traditional deadlift, works several major muscle groups. 

These include the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, and core. The upper back and forearms also get a workout as they help to stabilize the weight. 

However, because the Smith Machine provides some stability, the engagement of these muscles may be slightly less than with a free-weight deadlift.

Alternative Deadlift Exercises at Planet Fitness

If you’re at Planet Fitness and want to get the same benefits as a regular deadlift, there are several other exercises you can do:

Smith Machine Rack Pull:

This is like a deadlift, but you start from a higher point. This focuses more on your upper body.

Dumbbell Deadlifts:

This is just like a regular deadlift, but you use dumbbells instead of a barbell.

Cable Pull-Throughs:

This exercise works your glutes and hamstrings. You can do it using a cable machine.

Kettlebell Deadlift:

This is another good alternative to a regular deadlift. You can do it with one or two kettlebells.

Single Leg Deadlift with Dumbbell:

This exercise works the same muscles as a regular deadlift, but it also helps with balance and stability.


While not exactly like a deadlift, lunges can work many of the same muscles, especially your glutes and hamstrings.

Other Planet Fitness Common Practices

Planet Fitness is known for its emphasis on creating a comfortable, non-intimidating environment. This includes a focus on machine-based exercises, which can be less intimidating for beginners.

However, free weights are also available for those who prefer them. Planet Fitness encourages safe exercise practices and provides plenty of options for targeting weaker muscles and building strength.

Planet Fitness Deadlifts FAQs

Is it OK to deadlift on a Smith machine at Planet Fitness?

Yes, you can perform a version of the deadlift on a Smith machine at Planet Fitness.

Can you deadlift at LA Fitness?

Yes, LA Fitness typically allows deadlifts and provides the necessary equipment.
However, some LA Fitness locations may not allow deadlifting, dropping of weights, cleans, and power lifts. It’s best to check with your local gym to see if deadlifting is allowed.

Is bench pressing available at Planet Fitness?

Yes, bench pressing is definitely an option at Planet Fitness. Depending on your preference, You can use dumbbells or the Smith machine. The Smith machine can be particularly useful for beginners or those looking to focus on form and stability.

The Bottom Line

While Planet Fitness may not be ideal for heavy lifters or those who prioritize exercises like the deadlift, it offers a welcoming environment for beginners and casual gym-goers.

With a bit of creativity and flexibility, you can still get a great full-body workout and target the same muscles as you would with a traditional deadlift.

Key Takeaways
  • Deadlifts at Planet Fitness are performed using a Smith machine, not a free-standing barbell.
  • Planet Fitness banned traditional deadlifts due to safety, noise control, space constraints, and brand image.
  • Alternative exercises at Planet Fitness can effectively target the same muscles as traditional deadlifts.

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Chief Editor
Tonya McIntosh

Hello there! My name is Tonya McIntosh, and I’m the Founder and Chief Editor of TGFFitness. I’m also a NASM-certified Nutrition Coach and Personal Trainer. With eight years of experience under my belt, I’ve found that one of the most common issues my clients struggle with is remaining consistent.

Finding your main motivator to keep going is easier said than done for Keep Reading.

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