Does Planet Fitness Have a Bench Press?

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You can build muscle with a variety of gym equipment. Perhaps the most popular machine to help you build muscles in the upper body is the bench press. Many bodybuilding enthusiasts use bench presses to improve the tone of their muscles. But does Planet Fitness have a bench press?

Well, the short answer is sort of. They do have bench press-like machines. However, most are “Smith machines” rather than typical bench presses. We’ll look at why Planet Fitness chose that machine below.

Regular Bench Press Vs Smith Machine Bench Press

Those who want to lift heavier weights will definitely be looking for a bench press. This is a machine that allows the user to lift weights while lying down on a bench with their feet are on the floor.

Working out with this machine will target the upper body such as arms and chest. 

Most gyms have a regular bench press. But there are also some, like Planet Fitness, that have the Smith machine bench press.

Smith Machine Example

With a regular bench press, the weights are free and can be moved in any direction. However, with a Smith machine bench press, the barbell is fixed. It is only allowed to move up and down in a straight line and is attached completely to the frame of the machine.

Usually, these bars weigh about 20 lbs.

That said, some don’t consider Smith machines to be as good as a traditional bench, and traditional bench presses are among the banned exercises at PF.

Why Does Planet Fitness Have A Bench Press?

Planet Fitness offers a variety of gym equipment for its members including free weights, treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, etc. They have various machines that can be used for the arms, core, legs, stretching, and weights. For heavier weights, they have the Smith machine bench press. 

Instead of having a regular bench press, they opted to have a Smith machine bench press for a variety of reasons. The first of which is for safety.

If you are struggling to lift the weight in a Smith machine, you can simply slide the barbel into the hooks to give yourself a rest and to lock the bar in place. This prevents you from accidentally harming yourself. 

Additionally, with a regular bench press, you absolutely need a spotter to come to the rescue in case you can’t carry the weight. A spotter plays a very important role when you are attempting to carry a weight that you are unsure of.

With the Smith machine, you can lift weights without having the need for a spotter or a partner. They’re also very flexible and can be used in a variety of ways, including as a substitute for a squat rack.

Not all people who go to the gym are also knowledgeable about the different equipment. Many gym equipment could be dangerous if it is not used properly. This is especially true of beginners. And Planet Fitness’ offerings are definitely targeted at casual gym members, not to gym rats looking for a complete gym with a pool, sauna, etc.

Although there are trainers at Planet Fitness, they may not be able to see and assist all the members at the same time. Also, some members don’t really ask fitness trainers about how machines work.

Injuries can better be avoided with the Smith machine bench press than the regular bench press.

By improving safety, Planet Fitness will also be able to avoid hefty liability insurance as they also prevent injuries from happening.

The spotters, of course, may also push the lifters into giving it their best by yelling at encouraging them, cheering “one more rep”! Additionally, Planet Fitness doesn’t allow those that slam weights or lifts loudly. When that happens, the “lunk alarm” will go off. 

Not all people are comfortable with the loudness of some muscle builders. Planet Fitness aims to provide a gym for those who want to work out in peace and quiet. That’s why they avoid equipment like punching bags, and why they have the lunk alarm. Some people may feel intimidated if they hear or see such noises while lifting the weights or doing workouts.

Planet Fitness aims to provide a gym for people who can’t stand the noise or those who get intimidated working out in other regular gyms like Crossfit gyms.

However, this doesn’t mean that serious bodybuilders may not benefit from working out at Planet Fitness. They still have a great selection of gym equipment that you can use to build and tone your muscles. You just have to know how to work out various areas of your body and make use of the various gym equipment available. 


Bench presses are great for those who want to work out their upper body. There are different types of bench presses and the one that you can find on Planet Fitness is the one with a Smith machine.

Planet Fitness chose this kind of bench press for a few reasons such as for improved safety of users and for more beginner-friendly gym equipment. It fits into their Judgement-Free Zone ethos.

Written by Kayla Young

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