That is reflected in their choice of gym equipment. Unlike other gyms that have loads of barbells and various weights, Planet Fitness has a Smith machine.
While working out with this piece of gym equipment, have you ever wondered how much does the bar weigh at Planet Fitness? Usually, the bar weighs around 15-20 lbs. But there are some that weigh more.
To confirm how much the bar of the machine you’re using weighs, you can check the side of the Smith machine. The bar weight is usually written there. You can also measure it manually using a scale (if there was one at Planet Fitness…) or a rope and some weights.
Just remember that bar weights vary and there are various factors that could affect the weight of the bar. Let’s talk more about that below.
How Much Does The Bar Weigh At Planet Fitness?
The bar on a Smith machine can vary in weight. Unlike Olympic barbells that have a standard weight of 45 lbs, the ones on a Smith machine are almost always not that heavy. They are often only heavy enough to be able to sufficiently support the maximum weight of the machine.
The weight of the bar will depend on different factors such as the following:
The materials used can highly affect the weight of the bar. An Olympic bar is made of high-strength steel. However, the bar on the Smith machine doesn’t have to be.
Due to the presence of support on each side, it isn’t exposed to the same bending stress as compared to a free-weight bar. That means it could be made lighter and you’ll still be able to use weights on it safely.
It is possible that the bar weighs around 30 to 40 lbs on its own. Adding the weight of the hooks and bearings can add more to that weight.
Another factor that could affect the weight of the bar on the Smith machine is counterbalancing. This simply means that although the bar weighs 30-40 lbs on its own, it could feel lighter to the user.
That’s all thanks to the system of pulleys, counterweights, and cables fitted in the Smith machine. You may not easily see this when you look at one because they can be covered.
Due to this, the weight of the bar could feel as light as 6 lbs depending on the counterbalancing system used.
Remember that the Smith machine is designed for beginners. The lighter weight is perfect for those who are new to weightlifting.
Although the perceived bar weight can be altered to be light, the manufacturers don’t make it feel like it doesn’t weigh anything at all. That’s because it could damage the machine. It is possible the bar may feel light, but it still has to have some weight.
Angle of Rails
Depending on the Smith machine used for the gym, it could have guide rails that are at an angle on an incline. It is placed there to ensure that the movement matches the natural movement better.
The angle helps with form and safety of the user.
The angle could slightly alter the weight of the bar. When the incline is steep, as it is with a vertical Smith machine, there is more force needed to move the bar because you would feel the bar pushing down on you due to gravity.
As the angle is changed to a flatter one, the force required is lower. The incline on the Smith machine will take the load so it feels easier to move the bar.
Imagine pushing a box on top of a tabletop that’s inclined.
Even if the box is heavy, some of the load is shouldered by the tabletop so you can easily move it by pushing it on an incline compared to carrying the whole box and moving it vertically.
Measuring The Bar Weight
If you really want to know the actual weight of the bar in the Planet Fitness gym that you go to, there are several ways to do that. You could use the scale method or the rope method.
In the scale method, you simply place the bar over a scale placed on top of a box. The box has to be stable and it should be capable of holding the bar weight.
The next method is the rope method. For this, you need to tie a rope in the middle of the bar. Then you have to let the rope pass over the top of the crossbar.
Once it is on the other side, you can now tie the other end with weights. The only thing you need to do now is to unhook the bar and see if it balances.
You may not get an exact balance between the two sides. Your goal is to find the near-perfect balance.
That’s because there is a limit to the weights that you have access to. It’s trial and error and you have to add or remove weights in increments of about 2.5 lbs, depending on what is available in the facility.
The Importance Of Knowing The Bar Weight
The two methods above give us a way to measure the weight of the bar. But is it that important to know the actual bar weight?
Well, most people figure out the weight of the bar in order to help them more accurately adjust the weight of what they lift. This is part of the progressive overload plan so that you can become stronger and build more muscle.
Apart from adjusting the weights, it helps you better calculate your base or starting weight for exercises that are similar to it.
If you do a 135 bench press, you could add about 10 more lbs on each side if you decide to use the Smith machine.
However, you have to remember that the result between the two exercises could vary because you may be using different muscles for each of the exercises.