Fitness Magazine

How Be A Good Spotter

By Gjosefsberg @gjosefsberg

This guy is doing it right

We’ll be back to our “taming Grok” series on Wednesday, but I just had to write this post because of a couple of things that happened today.

I know that when I ask you to be a spotter, I’m asking you for a favor.  I know that I’m interrupting your workout and asking you to help me out.  So first of all, let me just say to all you spotters out there, thank you.  As someone who was once stupid enough to bench press without a spotter and get stuck under the bar, I love you all!  That said, a few guidelines:

Don’t Yell – I know you think you’re encouraging me but you’re not.  Yelling out “YOU CAN DO IT!” and “JUST ONE MORE!” doesn’t help me.  In fact, when I’m trying to focus on lifting a lot of weight, unexpected screaming near my head is really distracting.

Pay Attention – I’m lifting a lot of weight here and I asked you to help because I’m not sure I can do it.  Can you please pay attention to me and not the TV or the guy talking to you or the pretty girl working out next to us or whatever else will distract you from saving me when I blow my shoulder.

Don’t Help Unless It’s Needed – Part of paying attention is noticing when I need help.  Until then, don’t help.  I want to lift this weight on my own, you’re just my insurance policy in case I can’t.  Keep your hands near the bar but not on it and don’t start helping until it’s clear I need help.

General Hygiene – If you’re spotting for someone doing bench presses, you’re standing right over their head and looking down.  That means sweat from you falls on my face.  That’s kinda disgusting, really distracting and it stings when it gets in my eyes (Girls, I know what you’re thinking but don’t say it).  As someone who sweats a lot, I wipe my forehead before spotting.  It’s quick, easy and prevents uncomfortable moments for you and for them.

Only Help If You Can – You know all those insurance companies who fold after disasters because they can’t pay out the policies?  Yah, don’t be them.  If you can’t squat the weight I’m bench pressing, you won’t be able to lift it off of me when my elbow pops.  That means you’re a poor insurance policy.  No offense.

Be Honest – If you can’t be a spotter, you’re too tired, you can’t lift that weight, you’re too sweaty or you just have no clue as to what you’re doing, for god’s sake, TELL ME!  It’s ok.  Really.  I know I’m asking you for a favor and it’s perfectly fine to say no.  I won’t be mad, I’ll just find someone else, and if there’s no one else, I’ll do something different.  Saying no is way better than being a bad spotter.

So on behalf of all us idiots who try to lift more weight than they should, please take the time to be a good spotter.  My shoulders will thank you!


And to you, my spotter at the gym today, I forgive you but my ribs will hate you forever.

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