The “SPOT”

March 25th, 2011 by Lou Leave a reply »
Staff Sgt. Brett Garmon, G-4 air staff noncomm...

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 Somebody SPOT me!

Ever been to a gym and see someone hovering over another doing a bench press. The person doing the hovering is called a “spotter” Spotters can be spotted…er seen… throughout the gym; at the squat rack, shoulder press, leg press, practically anywhere barbells, dumbbells, plate-loaded equipment, and selectorized machines are used. You see with a spotter one feels safe or should. Spotters are there in case something were to happen; your strength may “give out”, a machine might break, etc. A host of mishaps can occur. It is always prudent to have a spotter when exercising with moderate to heavy weights.

Your next concern should then be, “who is a good spotter?” Or “What constitute a good spot” There are some spotters that may be asked to spot, say a bench press. The spotter obliges only to look away at the precise moment the lifter needs help. What happens next? In a split second  the barbell comes crashing down. Not fun; trust me, been there. Or same scenario with a different outcome: the lifter needs a slight assistance… BANG!! the spotter practically takes the barbell OFF their hands! The lifter is left wondering what just happen? Unfortunately been there too.

Before I get into who makes a good spotter I would like to say something concerning the lifter the spotter is helping. The lifter or exerciser should know the spotter is NOT there to SPOT EVERY rep!! A spot is to help you with the LAST TWO TO THREE REPS!! In other words to get you “over the hump” A spotter is not your personal forklift. I have seen plenty of a-lifter expect the spotter to do the bulk of the work. As a spotter you should not allow this to happen. Again been there.

So what makes a good spotter. First, unless you’re a powerlifter with specific goals, a spotter should assist in those last few reps IF NEEDED. The SPEED of those reps should mimic the ones preceding them. Example; if you’re doing 12 reps but can only manage 9 on your own then the last 3 should be close to the first 9 in speed. Otherwise the spotter will have their hands at their sides yelling, “come on!,  3 more!!!”, while you struggle, the bar going nowhere. Read this carefully, “a bar ALREADY MOVING against gravity is easier to spot than a bar that begins to settle” Why(?) because now the spotter has to fight not only gravity BUT the weights also. Does this make sense? Good.

So how do you find a good spotter. First; observe, ask a trainer, finally talk with your spotter. Let him/her know what you expect from their spot. Communication is key. It is essential for a good teamwork. I have trained with some of the strongest men around, bench pressing over 600 lbs, squating near 1000 lbs, etc.; but my best spotters were always women. That has been my experience. A spotter can be invalauble. You have to find a partner(s) whom you can count on when you need it most.

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ps: Check out, “Somebody Spot me” Very funny



  1. Logan Vandam says:

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