A good spotter can save you, whether that be from a weight crashing on to you and leaving you injured. Or even from you taking the weight up too high then embarrassing yourself or worse, wearing yourself out.
A good spotter is not someone who will upright row your bench press off of you while insisting “it’s all you.” A good spotter is a partner, someone who understands you and your training and can offer advice as and when you need it.
Ever went for a heavy bench single without someone to spot you? Terrifying isn’t it? The psychological element of having someone there “just in case,” will help massively. Even if you’re not sure they can help you, they can go get someone else and you won’t just be left there, pancaked into the floor or bench.
At a powerlifting competition you will have at least three, and upto five, spotters for squat and bench. The guy in the centre on either lift is the one you’ll entrust your safety to. On a squat, he or she is there to grab you and keep you under the bar if you fail. By keeping you under the bar the other two to four spotters can focus on lifting the bar up so that you don’t die. On a bench the centre spotter is who will hand the weight off to you in just the right way. If they get it wrong, believe me, you’ll know about it.
If you’re in the middle of training and meant to be working up to a level of exertion (RPE or RIR style training) then having a spotter or training partner who understands your training is massively important. If you’re unsure of whether or not to go heavier, you can receive some feedback from your friend here.
You might want to jump up by 10kg next but your buddy says “hey, that slowed down more than usual, maybe just go up by 5kg today.” At which point you either agree, and hit a good weight at the right percentage, or you disagree and fail the weight, at which point he jumps in and saves you. Win/Win…ish.
Knowing your style.
This is more so for powerlifting, but when it comes to squats and bench press some people have some slightly bizarre set ups. I can think of a few times where I’ve accidentally headbutted an unknowing spotter in the groin on my bench set up.
The psychological comfort you get from knowing that your spotter will step up as you need them to help hand off the bar will relax you and allow you to focus entirely upon your next lift.
To Sum Up.
It’s not all you, bro. A good spotter, or a good partner can help you improve more quickly and more efficiently than you might realise. Arnold had Franco for this reason and won 7 Mr Olympia titles and then went on to write a book on his training. Get a spotter, and get a good one.
Author: James Wilks
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