What the Planet Fitness Smith machine bar weight is might always be a popular question for beginners. You can find the answer in this article.
A Smith machine is a weight training or bodybuilding equipment. If you are new to the gym, you might wonder about the Planet Fitness Smith machine bar weight. Actually, its weight is simply a number followed by a measure of weight (kilogram or pound). Nevertheless, it seems that the Smith machine barbell has no standard weight. It can be between 6 to more than 45 pounds, depending on different things.
So, in this article, I will discuss the bar weight of the Smith machine at Planet Fitness, how to weigh a Smith machine bar, as well as other important information relating to this. Without any further ado, let’s dig into it right now to find the right weight for you.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Smith Machine?
- What Is The Starting Weight Of A Smith Machine?
- Why Is It Important to Know The Smith Machine Bar Weight?
- How to Weigh a Smith Machine Bar
- Comparing Smith Machine Bars to Freeweight Olympic Bars
- Smith Machine Vs. Freeweight Barbell
What Is A Smith Machine?
Firstly, let’s start with the definition of a Smith machine. Generally speaking, a Smith machine is simply a piece of bodybuilding equipment with a barbell secured to a set of steel rails. As a result, it allows the machine to move up and down vertically (or nearly).
There are two hooks on the barbell of a Smith machine. One hook is on each side, and it rotates so that you can lock the bar in position alongside a chain of locking points. With this design, you can start with the bar at a wide level of heights. In addition, it offers a measure of safety for you because you can lock the bar fast to get away from the workout.
So, you might wonder what the major purpose of a Smith machine is. Its aim is to remove the need for bar stability from the equation. Not only is this great for novices who are struggling with stability with weightless barbell exercises, but it also lets you hone the key muscles focused by every exercise. With back squats, for instance, you can revolve around your glutes and quads without worrying about leaning too far forward, balancing, or falling backward.
In fact, the difference in weight of a Smith machine depends on how it is made.
You can see that almost all Smith machines are made with safety hooks and a fixed barbell. However, there are cases that several Smith machines are designed with a counterbalance mechanism and the angle of the bar and rail material too. Please note that the counterbalance is also different, depending on how much it is counterbalanced.
Now, you know what a Smith machine is. The next thing that lots of you might wonder is how heavy it is. So, let’s dig into it right now.
What Is The Starting Weight Of A Smith Machine?
First, let’s make this clear from scratch. In fact, there is no standardized weight for a Smith machine barbell. Unlike Olympic barbells, they have a globally standardized weight of 20 kg (45 lbs). Therefore, the initial weight of a Smith machine (it means that the bar only, plates are not included) will come down to the particular Smith machine that you are using.
You can also find another fantastic feature of the Smith machine, which is that most of them are made with a lower starting weight than most Olympic barbells. For example, an Olympic barbell typically weighs around 45 pounds (apart from Olympic barbells for women). A Smith machine, on the other hand, usually weighs anywhere between 6 to 45+ pounds (although the average weight of most Smith machines at commercial gyms is from 15 to 25 pounds).
Fortunately, I’m here to help you find out the average weight of the most common Smith machine types, as well as how you can calculate the weight on your own if your Smith machine is not the same as the ones that I discuss here.
Pro Tip: Many Smith machines have a label on the side that shows the bar’s weight. So, you can check around your Smith machine first. If you can’t see it, then head to the website where you bought your Smith machine online to see if the manufacturer has listed the barbell weight or not.
Why Is It Important to Know The Smith Machine Bar Weight?
Some of you might wonder if it is really necessary to know a Smith machine bar’s weight. I would say yes, for sure.
Let’s quickly find out why it is crucial to know the bar weight for a Smith machine, just in case you have no hope of searching for an accurate answer.
In fact, you can think knowing the Smith machine bar’s weight is as critical as knowing the weight of dumbbells or regular barbells. If you want to slowly overload (like increase the percentage of the weight you are lifting each session or week), it is vital to know how much you are lifting, and it should include the bar weight too.
When you know the actual weight of the Smith machine bar, you can easily decide the suitable starting weight for different exercises. For instance, if you can do shoulder presses with a 40lb dumbbell, knowing the Smith machine’s weight will help you determine how much extra weight you should load on the barbell.
So, it is just that simple. If you want precision in your lifts, which is really crucial for progression, then you should also know how heavy you are lifting.
How to Weigh a Smith Machine Bar
It is clear that not all Smith machine bars have the same weight as each other. Of course, there is an average weight for them, which is between 15 and 25 pounds (sometimes, it can be from 6 to 45+ pounds).
But, as I discussed above, some Smith machine models will have different weights compared to the general types. So, here are the two most common and easiest ways to calculate your bar weight.
Method 1: Hanging Scale – Most Accurate
This method is considered among the most accurate ways to decide your Smith machine bar’s weight. Some people call it a hanging scale, while others call it a fish scale or a luggage scale. It is very helpful for objects, which you need to weigh from odd positions and can’t be placed on a regular postal scale or bathroom scale.
Simply place the bar at your knees, and hang the scale on it. It is fine to use any cheap scale with a strap. Then carefully turn the bar to let it go from the machine lock. Now, you can easily read the weight of the bar.
Method 2: Get A Rope
Before calculating your Smith machine bar using this method, you need to prepare a few things as follows:
- A lightweight strap or rope, approx. 13 feet long
- Several weight plates
You just need to counterbalance the weight on your own to see how much it takes to stabilize it. And here are the detailed steps:
- Look around to make sure there is no gym staff nearby.
- Remove any weight plates out of the Smith bar.
- Securely fasten the rope/strap around the Smith bar shaft.
- Place the bar slightly above your head and lock the bar in place.
- Then toss the other end of the strap/rope over the machine’s top. You will want the rope/strap to be around 4 feet above the floor.
- Fasten the end of the bar to your heaviest weight plate. For the rope/strap length, the fastened weight plate should rest on the floor.
- Unlock the Smith machine bar.
- Leave the bar down enough to lift the plates off the floor. Then gently move the bar up and down to see whether it is balanced or not. Since the rope/strap creates many frictions with the frame above you, rather than going through a pulley, you will need to remove it.
- Shift the bar back to the height above your head. This is to lower the weight plates to the floor and lock the bar in its place.
- If you see it is balanced, congratulations! If not, you will need to repeat steps from 5 to 8 as required. In this case, you should try adding extra weight in 2.5-pound increments until it is balanced.
Using this method, you should be able to evaluate the weight of a Smith machine bar within one or two pounds.
Each time locking the bar overhead so the counterweight plates you are tying on will sit on the floor will ensure you can tie the panels as they are on the floor. This way, you will not be at risk of dropping a weight plate on your feet when you are performing this.
Comparing Smith Machine Bars to Freeweight Olympic Bars
One thing you should remember is that a typical 7ft Olympic bar at the gym usually weighs 20 kg (45 lbs). And a lot of people will start with that weight, or sometimes more, for almost all exercises. And an Olympic lifting bar for women weighs anywhere between 33 and 35 lbs (approx. 15 kg).
Of course, you will find other more lightweight Olympic bars too. For instance, several 5ft or 6ft bars are typically made to provide you with a starting weight of only 25 lbs. This is really helpful because some women or children can not bench press to start with a 45lbs bar.
For those who are training for the snatch or clean-and-jerk, 10-pound aluminum training bars are the most common type. You can even see hollow steel bars weighing only 5 pounds, which are designed for group cardio and light exercise training classes.
For weight training, on the other hand, as is performed on a Smith machine, then 15 pounds is considered a moderate starting weight.
Smith Machine Vs. Freeweight Barbell
It is true that using a smith machine is completely different from using a freeweight barbell. Even when you are performing with a well-built commercial-grade Smith machine, it is not similar to performing an unaided freeweight movement on an Olympic bench press, squat rack, or power rack.
Here are some key differences between these two.
Firstly, you should understand how it moves. Generally speaking, the bar is affixed to a carriage with internal bearings that slip down and up on steel guide rods.
The bearings will create some friction that prevents you from lifting the bar too quickly, which I noticed when trying to make a movement on a Smith machine more rapidly than it should.
Equally crucial, a machine’s movement is never similar to a freeweight’s. It eliminates the need to balance weights, which is a key part of exercises. Weight balancing means you need to engage other muscle groups in your body to steady the weight, giving you a fuller workout and making your body stronger. Freeweight barbell training is not like you sliding weights according to the instructions, only using your most powerful muscles without care. And that is how a Smith machine allows you to do it.
Aiming at individual muscles with restricted range-of-motion machines like a Smith machine is not considered a great idea for your training’s key portion. Bodybuilders and certain other weightlifters, and even those getting better from injuries, can use Smith machines as accessory work. However, it should be noted that they are not intended to use a large number of muscles at a rate that they can use with free weight barbells.
This mechanical support with a range of movement can make the weight figures you are working with drop dramatically. Of course, it is not ideal for comparing your max frewweight press or squat to your max Smith machine press or squat. Ultimately, you will always get more done on your Smith machine.
In a nutshell, Planet Fitness Smith Machine Bar Weight is usually between 6 to more than 45 pounds (2.7 to 40 kg). Sometimes, you can find the average weight of it is from 15 to 25 pounds (6.8 to 11 kg). With the different starting weights, it will be ideal bodybuilding equipment for different people, even including beginners.