Be a Hero in the Weight Room — Here’s How to Properly Spot Someone in the Gym

picture this. You ’ re on workweek three or four of your newfangled gymnasium routine, humbly grinding through one of your workouts in the system of weights board when one of the locals approaches you out of the blue with a proposition :
“ Yo, can I get a smudge ? ”
evening if you ’ ve been lifting weights for a while, that prognosis might even inspire terror as your new supporter, the 220-pound-plus powerlifter, confidently sets up for his set on the bench press with a weight you could merely dream of rise. He ’ south placed his safety in your hands — indeed what do you do ?
bench press hand-off
A good spotter can make the difference between hitting a new personal record or not when you go to test your military capability. For bodybuilders, spotting is a way of helping your training spouse realize their full likely for vitamin a much brawn growth as possible.

Spotting is an artwork, and you shouldn ’ metric ton paint with broad strokes if person asks you for avail. here ’ s how to get it right, and why it matters .

The Ultimate Guide to Proper Spotting

What Is Spotting?

You can think of a spotter as your shepherd in the burden room. Spotting is the practice of observing, guiding, and, if necessary, saving an errant lift that may pose a physical danger to the athlete .
Spotters are used in amateur bodybuilding workouts and at powerlifting meets alike. Anytime you ’ re working with ultra-heavy weights, you may want to have a spotter present to help you out of a oblige should things go improper .
alternatively, a dear spotter can besides encourage you to work arduous during your set by providing you with the security and constancy to train to failure safely. This allows you to get deoxyadenosine monophosphate much juice as possible out of every rep, meaning more muscleman growth long-run .

What Are the Goals of Spotting?

As an athlete, you have one goal — lift the burden. As a finder, your problem is a little more complex. not only do you have to ensure that the person you ’ rhenium spot remains dependable and in control condition, but you can go the extra mile to help them perform a act better equally well .

Goal 1 — Secure the Setup

Some exercises ( like big dumbbell exploit, for exemplify ) can be cumbersome to set up, evening if the weightlifter is impregnable enough to hit all their reps. Getting into status on the terrace weight-lift, for exemplar, can make or break the lift itself .
Any finder worth their salt knows to help the athlete set up by rights to execute whatever movement they ’ re do. furthermore, as a spotter, you can help them save equally much energy as potential by doing much of the setup legwork yourself .

Goal 2 — Guide the Path

once you ’ ve helped your athlete set up for their lift, your next undertaking is to do nothing. much like a lifeguard, you ’ re not stationed at your post to help people with their backstroke, lone to intervene if things go awry .
many forte athletes regard uninvited aid as the cardinal sin of spotting. Once they ’ ra good to go, let them lift .
however, you should be cook at a moment ’ s notice to spring into action if needed. As such, you should keep your hands at the ready, out of the path of the slant they ’ ra rise but close enough to catch a falling barbell or assist with a squat that ’ s moving in the wrong direction .

Goal 3 — Spring Into Action

You shouldn ’ metric ton expect it to happen, but you must be ready if it does. In the consequence the athlete is in queer, or outright signals to you that they need assistant, you must leap to their help as debauched as possible to ensure they get out of the lift — and damage ’ s way .

Goal 4 — Listen

Synergy is what separates a mediocre lookout from an excellent one. Your job is to make everything but the face-lift itself feel casual for the athlete you ’ ra working with. It is consequently essential to listen to their preferences .
Some lifters want a helping hand getting their judiciary press into place, some don ’ thymine. Others want a moment of an assist if their bar speed slows down, while others still are identical adamant that you shouldn ’ t lay a feel on their measure unless it is visibly moving in the wrong direction .
The most significant thing you can do is necessitate questions. If you ’ re going to spot person, ask them how they like it. You should have a game plan in put once they ’ ve begun pilfer .

How to Spot Properly

The best spotters can make utmost attempt lifts feel casual. hera are the lifts that matter as a spotter, and how to set the booster up for achiever every prison term .

Back Squat

The back squat is unparalleled for building serious leg forte. however, specially for low-bar squatters, it can be a bit chancy to get pinned under a clayey squat with no way out. A thoroughly finder can help the athlete finish their squat safely — you ’ ll good have to get up close and personal .

How to Spot the Back Squat

squat spot
Stand several feet behind the booster as they unrack their barbell and step backward into place. Once they ’ ve secured their foot, step forward so you ’ re slenderly behind them and your foot mirrors theirs .
As they descend, crouch with them with your arms hovering outside their torso. If they hit a stick point, ask you for help, or the bar begins traveling down, grab their trunk with your arms and help them stand up .
note : Squats aren ’ thyroxine constantly hardheaded to spot. If your booster hits the bottomland of their range of gesture and can ’ thymine stand up at all, it ’ mho well to have them dump the bar manually than attempt to pick them up out of the hole yourself .


You don ’ thyroxine normally need to spot pulling movements. There ’ randomness no practical way to help person pick up a max-effort deadlift. That said, athletes do get a bite lightheaded from fourth dimension to prison term, specially when trying to pull extra-heavy weights. Your problem is to be there to catch them if they fall .

How to Spot the Deadlift

deadlift spot
Stand one or two feet behind the athlete as they set up for their pull. Once they begin pulling, take a slight mistreat forward with your arms at the ready. If they stumble or fall backward from dizziness, reach out and help them catch their balance .

Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbells are great for muscular symmetry, proportion, and hypertrophy. That said, they can be awkward to work with on movements like the workbench press. Heavy dumbbells can about have a mind of their own, indeed as the finder you need to help your athlete get them where they need to be .

How to Spot the Dumbbell Bench Press

dumbbell bench press spot
Stand or kneel behind the back end of the bench as the athlete grabs the dumbbells. As they sit back onto the workbench, grab their elbows with your palms and help them push the weights to arm ’ mho length .
From here, keep your hands just underneath their elbows as they lower and press the dumbbells. If they request aid, push up on their elbows with your arms. If they want to dump the weights, move your hands out of the way so the athlete can drop the dumbbells to the floor .

Barbell Bench Press

few lifts are subject on a good spot ampere much as the barbell bench press. If you get your technique fair properly, you can legitimately help the athlete add pounds to their personal criminal record with a proper spot.

Read more : Bread Pudding

How to Spot the Barbell Bench Press

bench press spot
Stand clear up of the place as the athlete goes through their frame-up ritual. Once they ’ ve signaled that they ’ re ready to lift, approach the station. Do not stand directly over their head. lean forward and grab the middle of the barbell .
On their signal, help them pull the bar horizontally out of the hooks. Do not pull the bar up, as it may release their shoulder brace .
once you ’ ve guided the barbell into the depart position, release your grip on the bar but hover your hands a few inches away from it at all times. If the weightlifter signals that they need aid, grab the bar and pull it rear into the torment .

Dumbbell (or Barbell) Shoulder Press

big presses make for strong shoulders, but getting big dumbbells into the proper starting status can be both challenge and draining for the athlete. You can help them save energy as a finder by guiding the weights into the decline situation .

How to Spot the Shoulder Press

shoulder press spot
If the athlete is working with dumbbells, stand behind the buttocks. When they go to “ recoil ” the dumbbells up with their knees, clasp their elbows in your palms as fast as possible and push their arms upward until they ’ ra true .
From here, follow the same protocol as you would while spotting a dumbbell bench wardrobe — follow their elbow path with your hands, but do not provide aid unless asked .
If the athlete is pressing with a barbell, you can stand behind them and help push their elbows up if they ask or, in a worst-case scenario, catch them should they fall backward with the barricade .

Benefits of Spotting

A good spotter can inspire confidence, increase guard, and help an athlete work hard in the gymnasium. Though no one needs a finder in all cases, you ’ d do well to consider having ( or being ) one for many types of heavy train .

Easier Setup for Heavy Lifts

even first athletes with incredible levels of forte can have perturb getting their barbells into the right position. After all, a heavy hardened of dumbbell presses doesn ’ thyroxine get down until the weights are at arm ’ randomness length. There ’ s no shame in having a finder assistant you out with the apparatus so you can focus on arrant phase on every rep .

More Safety

Far and aside the best cause to have a spotter portray is guard. Working with release weights comes with frightful benefits, but there is always a risk gene give to some degree .
A good spotter won ’ metric ton guarantee complete guard in every individual situation, but they will be able to help you out of a adhere most of the prison term and spare you from a potentially-injurious situation that may arise from losing control of a heavy weight .

Improved Confidence

It may not be obvious, but having a spotter can do a draw for an athlete ’ sulfur confidence. Knowing that you have person watching your back ( literally ) should help you feel more conviction when you go to unrack your barbell or kick up those dumbbells .
squat posture demonstration
A spotter is more than a safety internet, they ’ re besides a reference of motivation. even a small bit of healthy anxiety, or a hope to want to do well while you ’ ra being watched, can help you perform better during your fit .

Higher Training Intensity

A lookout has more than one job. Preventing accidents and mitigating risk is one thing, but as a lookout, you can besides help your athlete or educate partner put in more attempt .
A good spotter can take an active character and help the booster crank out a few extra reps or push button themselves to the brink of failure in a way they wouldn ’ thymine be able to do alone. Forced reps and hearty verbal encouragement can go a long direction in the right context if your finish is muscle growth .

Lifts You Don’t Need to Spot

While you technically could spot any lift under the sun, sometimes there ’ south just no necessitate, no reason, or no sensible way to do so. here are some of the cases in which you shouldn ’ t need to come to the rescue .

The Olympic Lifts

In the mutant of weightlift, athletes compete alone on the rival platform. Unlike in powerlifting, which occurs under controlled conditions with multiple spotters, weightlifters learn from an early train age to “ bail ” out from underneath heavy barbells that are flying in the wrong focus .
furthermore, it ’ randomness just not virtual to spot person while they perform a clean, snatch, or yank. There ’ s besides much active movement at play for you to make a meaningful impact most of the time .


Pulling movements are all-important for developing a potent and brawny spinal column. From rows, to deadlifts, to pull-ups, every buttocks chain practice you can possibly think of is a valid creature for gaining size. fortunately, you don ’ t need to spot person on most attract movements .
The physical nature of the movement — drawing a weight toward your body preferably than pushing it away — means that a booster can abandon a bad attract exercise safely plainly by letting proceed of the weight. Most of the clock time, there ’ s no dependable way to protect person on a set of dumbbell rows in a fashion they can ’ thymine do themselves .


Since there ’ s no external resistance, the risk of something going amiss on a bodyweight exercise is relatively broken, even for beginners. That said, advanced calisthenics exercises can be unmanageable to get the hang of on your own — something gymnasts are plenty familiar with .
partner calisthenics
You may not need to spot a bodyweight exercise in the traditional sense, but you can be salute to manually adjust the athlete ’ mho position if they can ’ thymine quite figure out the shape on their own .

Spot the Difference

What may have been an intimidating know — “ helping ” a stronger, more have weightlifter perform a heavy set on the bench press — was credibly more of a respite for that person than you realized at the time.

As a finder, you bring peace of mind, security system of motion, and heaps of inspiration to anyone you ’ ra working with. good spot is a skill, one that you can hone and practice in the gymnasium over time .
not alone will it help you feel more confident in your own lift, but you can besides improve your educate partner ’ s own workouts the same way they do for you. Get good at spotting — it ’ s the closest you ’ ll come to being a superhero in your gymnasium .
Featured image : Riley Stefan

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Category : Tutorial

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