After years and years of weight training in a variety of gyms, I’ve come to realize that very few people actually know what they’re doing in there. It’s really frightening to see at times.
But if I had one wish for you this upcoming year, it would be this: learn how to spot!Many of us go to the gym solo – no workout partner. I’m one of them. I hate the feeling of waiting for others and the temptation to talk in between sets – it just slows things down for me. That’s just how I am.
But there are times throughout some heavier workout days that I want to max things out and for this I need a spot. I look around the area to find someone who seems to be a regular and politely ask them to “give me a spot“. I have to be picky – my life is on the line here!
Unfortunately, I find out midway through my set that the guy has no idea what he’s doing.
This makes things really awkward – he keeps asking me if I “need one more” and I shake my head as I search for a new spotter.
As a personal trainer, I’ve been taught the proper spotting technique so maybe I take it for granted and assume that everyone knows this. That’s just not the case.
When I’m bench pressing and I need help on the last one, don’t just pull the bar up for me. I know you think you’re being safe but what you’re doing is not effective. If I wanted to end a set early I would’ve just set the bar down myself.
Here are some things you need to remember (for a bench press spot).
The spotter’s responsibility’s include:
- Help the lifter get the bar into and out of starting position,
- Ensure lifter is maintaining proper form throughout the lift,
- Have your hands out and ready to assist but do not touch the bar,
- If the lifter is struggling to lift the bar, assist him by slightly helping him push the bar up – make the lifter do the majority of the work,
- Encourage the lifter to complete his set,
- In case of danger of muscle failure (should rarely be the case) or something drastic, be ready to fully grab the bar and place it back on the stand.
Spotting technique varies slightly from exercise to exercise. It’s important to understand the concepts listed above.
So take some time to learn how to spot properly. Read a little about spotting technique for various exercises. This isn’t just to benefit others – the day will come when you’ll need to ask somebody for a spot and you’ll want to make sure they know what they’re doing.
Do you have any interesting stories of bad spotters? Please share in the comments below.