Spotting at the Gym

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 16, 2008 7:20 PM GMT
    Ok, this sounds really naive, but yesterday I guy asked me to spot him in the weight room. I wasn't sure what to do, or what NOT to do as he was bench pressing an ungodly amount of weight. I wasn't sure if I should help, cheerlead, or be there "just in case". What is the protocol?
    Thanks!
    Gym Newbie
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    Dec 16, 2008 8:24 PM GMT
    I would have told him you're a spotter "novice" and asked him what he wanted you to do. He might have thanked you for your honesty and asked someone else.

    A gym trainer there can tell you how to best spot on their equipment. Basically it's to avoid injury by catching dropped weights, and insuring they're correctly secured after each set. There's another kind of spotting for someone doing gymnastics on equipment like the parallel bars, and for floor exercises.
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    Dec 16, 2008 8:33 PM GMT
    Play it safe - faint.
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    Dec 16, 2008 8:49 PM GMT
    Its always best to ask what they want you to do. Some guys just want you there in case of emergency. Others may want you to keep your hands on the bar and guide it but not hold the bar so hard that it takes away from their work out.
    So, just ask.
    Its also a great way to make a gym friend. Next time you see him say hello, talk about the weather, etc.
    No, its not a hook-up thing (well it could lead to that if you really like each other). Its more of mutual respect thing that he asked for your assistance. Take it as a compliment.
  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    Dec 16, 2008 9:03 PM GMT
    I generally chime in with most of the suggestions made so far. You may also want to pay attention to guys around you at the gym who are leaning over each other while they bench press or whatnot. They are basically spotting (unless it is a gay porn movie, then all bets are off).
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    Dec 16, 2008 9:26 PM GMT
    As he's about to start his set, and it looks like he might be needing a spot, I might be apt to say, "Hey man, d'you want a spot?" Then, he'll tell you whether he wants any *help* or if he just wants you there for that last rep that he might have trouble with.
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    Dec 16, 2008 9:42 PM GMT
    Tooo funny McGay. I guy asked me to do the same. I the guy bencing close to my close to my body weight. I politely told him, I don't think that's a good idea because I know what I can help you with and that ain't it.

    Perhaps you should asks the next to me you two are about evenly matched.

    Know you're limits and strengths! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Dec 16, 2008 10:11 PM GMT
    When spotting, the person lifting the weight will give you some guidelines what they want you to do. In general, I usually help the guy lift the bar off the bench to get started. Then, I stand back until the dude has clearly maxed out and then requests some help. Most dudes will tell you how many reps they are going for so you have some guideline what they are trying to accomplish. Don't be intimidated or afraid to say "NO, I don't want to spot you" if they are lifting an ungodly amount of weight. Some dudes will put way too much weight on the bar to get an ego boost expecting the spotter to muster 90% of the load and risk possible injury.
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    Dec 16, 2008 11:16 PM GMT
    I have to agree with what others have said.

    If you can't spot the weight, don't step behind the bar. Or ask someone else to help you and then each one of you can spot one end of the barbell.

    If someone needs a spot, I ask them how many reps do they expect to do. If they say "I don't know," ask him again. Not knowing on their part could end up hurting you in the long run. Then ask if they need a "liftoff" which is you helping them lift the bar off the rack. Then ask them how much help they want with the spot. Most guys will say "if the bar starts to go in the opposite direction it should, then help me out."

    Now...if you are spotting someone doing a Back Squat...that's a whole different story.
  • torontoguy222...

    Posts: 410

    Dec 17, 2008 2:23 AM GMT
    Generally when someone asks me to spot (or I ask them) the protocol is to help them lift the weight off the rack, then stand back until they seem to be struggling. Once they start to falter a bit I place my fingers just below the bar to make sure it doesn't fall on them. Usually the lifter can get it up with just a bit of help from the spotter on the last rep. It's certainly nice to have a spotter though, cause you have the reassurance that you can lift as hard as you can without being too tired to re-rack the bar on the last rep!

    Edit: Oh, I shoulda added. The lifter usually tells the spotter roughly how many reps they're aiming for. When I'm lifting I might tell the spot: "I can probably only manage 5 or 6" or whatever the case is. This is important.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 17, 2008 5:06 PM GMT
    Thanks for the help, guys!

    I got some very helpful information. "All you need to do is ask!"

    :icon_biggrin.gif

    Bill
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    Dec 17, 2008 5:13 PM GMT
    I've always asked the guy what exactly they want me to do and how many sets they'll be performing. This way, I know for a fact if I'll be able to perform the act requested.
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    Dec 17, 2008 5:17 PM GMT
    Even if you're outmatched, sometimes just that little bit of extra help can be all he needs to get the barbell back up and on the rack (unless, you know, he's lifting every weight in the gym and you're still working on a bare barbell). Just keep your stance wide for support, and don't be afraid to teabag. It's a form of male bonding and conveys the message, "I like you, and I've got your back."
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    Dec 17, 2008 5:58 PM GMT
    Texian said and don't be afraid to teabag. It's a form of male bonding and conveys the message, "I like you, and I've got your back."


    LOL so true! I have been teabagged and I have teabagged gay and straight guys. None of the times was it on purpose. It was that or the weights were going to be dropped.
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    Dec 18, 2008 6:21 AM GMT
    I always ask (if it's a bench press), "Do you want help with the liftoff?" I'm not sure if anyone's ever said yes. Very rarely, if ever.

    Years ago a guy asked me to spot him on his biceps curls, then he got annoyed with me because I didn't do correctly whatever the hell it was he wanted me to do. I couldn't really figure out what I'd done wrong.
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    Dec 18, 2008 6:48 AM GMT
    streetbobfx saidIts always best to ask what they want you to do. Some guys just want you there in case of emergency. Others may want you to keep your hands on the bar and guide it but not hold the bar so hard that it takes away from their work out.
    So, just ask.
    Its also a great way to make a gym friend. Next time you see him say hello, talk about the weather, etc.
    No, its not a hook-up thing (well it could lead to that if you really like each other). Its more of mutual respect thing that he asked for your assistance. Take it as a compliment.


    Yes! That's the ticket! =D



    Some guy wanted me to spot him on some waaay heavy weight on the bench press, a lot more weight than I could lift myself. The way I handled spotting him was by putting hands on the bar but only LOOK like you're helping a lot. That way he gets the most out of his workout and you get to help out a potential friend. icon_biggrin.gif
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Dec 19, 2008 11:31 AM GMT
    You sure you're not Miscarrying ?

    That's Never a good sign icon_wink.gif
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    Dec 19, 2008 1:23 PM GMT
    As a rule, you're not going to be having to lift that entire "ungodly" amount of weight. What you'll be lifting is like 20 pounds worth of the bar, just enough to let their failing arms get the weight back up.
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    Dec 23, 2008 4:56 PM GMT
    I'm kind of intimidated by these requests but at the same time flattered to be asked. I had one guy helping me out regularly... all I had to do was look his way and he'd come over. I felt bad because he's way ahead of me strength wise and thus I'm not able to help him as often. Now his schedule has gotten crazy so he's not around as much. I guess I need to get more confident about asking people and try to be a good citizen and help the people I can. Karma n' all that.
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    Dec 23, 2008 5:02 PM GMT
    Last night a guy had asked me if I would help spot him while he did shoulder presses on the smith machine. I looked at the rack and he had a total of about 110 - 130lbs plus the bar. Now mind you, this guy is 6' 2" and weighs in at a whopping 250lbs...and freakin' SOLID...again...SOLID. Here I am at 5' 7" and 160lbs whit an average build. I knew I'd be able to handle the weight while spotting him because I had seen him lifting the exact amount not 5 minutes ago, and he was struggling a bit on rep 4/5.

    Again, know your own limits and don't be afraid to let the individual that you may not be able to handle the weight or perform the task properly. Believe me, they'd rather you be honest than end up in the hospital for a torn ligament or compound fracture.
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    Dec 27, 2008 4:49 AM GMT
    I have yet to be asked to spot someone on a squat. I think that situation calls for someone that is at least on a first name basis with the guy, and not a total stranger. icon_wink.gif
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    Dec 27, 2008 5:27 AM GMT
    xrichx saidI have yet to be asked to spot someone on a squat. I think that situation calls for someone that is at least on a first name basis with the guy, and not a total stranger. icon_wink.gif


    I used to get asked pretty frequently to spot guys on squats at gyms I went to in the past. Not too many guys do them at my current gym and there is a cage, so there's less need for those who do them at my current gym to need a spot.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 27, 2008 5:30 AM GMT
    ask him what he wants you to do. some guys want someone to be there "just in case" - but they're pretty confident that they can handle the weight. sometimes they really do need you there to help guide them on the last rep or two. but don't spot for someone if you know you can't handle the weight they're lifting.