Having a good spotter with you in the gym could be a very good asset to have especially on those heavy PR days. A good spotter will know when to assist you in order to give you that extra push or support to allow you to squeeze out one or two more force reps when you’re reaching failure, that extra support could be all you might need in order for you to break a plateau and achieve a PR.
There are a lot of clueless spotters are there who have no idea on how to safely spot someone in the gym. In this blog I will give you five tips that will help equip you with the basic knowledge you will need in order to spot someone in the gym safely.
Ask the lifter how they would like to be spotted
As a spotter you are there to assist and support the lifter so ask them how they would prefer to be spotted. For example when some people are performing dumbbell chest flies on the bench some people might prefer to be spotted at the elbows with you kneeling down on both knee in front of their heads and supporting their elbows with the palm of your hands in order to give them the slight push and Leverage upwards when needed, whilst other may prefer you to support them at the wrist by pulling both their wrist upwards as their become more and more fatigued during the latter stages of their rep range. Do not assume that one way of spotting fits all, communicate with the lifter and take in to Account what they prefer.
Agree on the rep range before hand
Again make sure that you communicate and agree on the rep range the lifter is aiming for before their even begin their working set. This is very important because if the lifter is planning on completing ten reps and you begin to spot them at five reps you will interrupt and ruin their set, or on a more dangerous note if there is miscommunication or lack thereof the lifter could seriously get themselves hurt, a good example of this could be if the lifter is just planning on only completing 3 reps unassisted and expecting you as the spotter to step in after the third rep to help them squeeze out two or three more reps safely and you fail to do so the weight could end up dropping on them causing a serious injury
Use both hands on the bar when spotting someone on bench press
When spotting someone on the bench press do not lean over the bar and spot the lifter with one hand holding the middle of the bar and the other hand resting on the stand as this will cause an uneven balancing point on the bar, and as the lifter becomes fatigued either the left or right side of the bar will begin to tilt this will then cause the bar and weights to tilt to one side and could lead to a serious accident.
When spotting someone on bench let them know when your about to let go of the bar.
After the lifter has positioned themselves on their backs on the bench press with their face looking straight up at the ceiling and both of their hand stretched out and securely gripping the bar at shoulder length ask them if they are comfortable. Then if they want you to help them un-rack the bar then, proceed to do so by un-securing and remove the bar off the stand. At this point it is extremely important to let the lifter know when you are about to let go of the bar, the best way to do this is verbally.
Verbally make the lifter under the bar aware that you are about to let go of the bar by verbally doing a mini count down from three to one and then saying very loudly and clearly to the lifter “your bar” as you’re putting the bar into their hands this will prevent any accidents from occurring where the bar drops on the lifter..
Spot around the waist on squats, not on the bar.
When spotting someone on a sqaut make sure to lower yourself along with the lifter and guide them as they are going down and then follow them back up making sure to help them to re-rack the bar at the top of the movement after they complete their set.