So I was listening to a vlog the other day (by Ellyssa Brooks for those YT watchers) and she was discussing the types of spotters in the gym. As I listened, I thought this would be a great topic to share my thoughts on for a Fitness Friday because there comes a time in a serious lifter’s career where they’re gunna need a spot and I want you all to be able to avoid those who really can’t get the job done.
Plus I have seen and experienced my fair share of bad and horrific spotting in my 10 years of training..
The OVER spotter
Out of this one and the next one I don’t know which is worse. I guess the next because it’s risking your life and all…. In this case, your spotter doesn’t take his/her hands off the weight during your entire lift making you feel as if you did nothing.
OR in some cases where appearances are what matter, you may spout off saying you got a new PR when really it was a team effort.
The first case is really bad for female lifters. From my experience, I can tell some people until I’m blue in the face to NOT TOUCH THE WEIGHT unless it’s going the wrong way but they will still grab it the entire time.
Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I can’t do the job alone. I asked for assistance for the last 1-2 reps or just to watch to make sure I was good, not for you to help me through the whole lift.
Thanks but no thanks.
For the second issue, this is a problem because you may have just given them a false perception of their strength. When they go to lift again, they may try to do that weight on their own and ultimately struggle, or worse, fail and get hurt.
The UNDER spotter
Either they forget they are spotting you or are really determined to see if you can pop a vein trying to lift that weight up themselves when they are failing. This also includes a kickup help. I don’t know how many times I have asked someone to help me with the initial kickup and they than just stand there…
Thanks for watching me struggle, nod at you like I’m asking for help, and you still stand there. -_-
If someone asks you to spot them, they are assuming that if the weight is coming down on them you will help them out. Don’t be the hard ass or the distracted/clueless spotter who just stands there and lets them fail. PAY ATTENTION!
The UNEDUCATED spotter
The one who agrees to spot you but has no idea what they are doing.
Example: When someone tried to killed me when spotting my decline dumbbell chest press. When helping a person kick up the weights, DO NOT grab the dumbbell portion of the DBs. This type of spot led to the DB falling inward and putting too much force on my tiny wrists and they fell…on me…ON A DECLINE!
Hello 40lb weights to face.
Thanks to the fact that I know to tuck my chin and turn away or my face may have been a bit more colourful leaving than it was coming in.
The SNEAK ATTACK spotter
You know when you don’t ask for a spot but magically someone appears anyways? Yeah, they just slide themselves behind you and will say “just helping ya out.”This may be more of a girl problem but for me personally, I apparently freak people out when I lift a weight up so they feel the need to jump in a save me…when I don’t need saving.
Thanks for ruining my set brraaaahh
If they don’t ask, don’t jump in. That is all. Unless they are clearly failing, than it’s more of an act and talk later…
The BUDDY spotter
You know when you ask your ‘bro’ to spot you and he decides to do everything but pay attention to you. Text. Snapchat. Stare at the wall. Whatever, and lets you do your own thing and than maybe, just maybe help you out when you fail.
This is mostly directed at guys…
Guys, if you’re with a buddy in the gym, make sure if you ask them for a spot that they are actually into lifting and are not just there for the social hour. Your life will thank you later. OR, don’t and you and your crushed face will end up on their snapchat.
So some final tips…
For the person doing the spotting
~Say no if you know you can’t lift the weight in a case of an emergency
~Ask how they want to be spotted
~Say no if you’re not sure how to spot properly or if you never have spot someone
For the person being spotted:
~Tell them specifically what you want and how you want them to do it. Wrists vs. elbows. Help up? Etc
~Come into the lift knowing how many you can approximately do. They are there to help IF NEEDED, again this is not a team effort. If the arms of your spotter are flexing or straining, they are doing too much work.
Also a few things to keep in mind..
Squats. This is a tricky topic. Some say never to spot a squat because it’s too dangerous. Some say you can. I say, yes, but with a few important things to note.
~DO NOT SPOT FROM THE BAR or do that stupid “I’m giving you a hug” spot. Most of the time a squat fail that can cause the most harm comes from the core failing. In this case, they may come back at you with the bar and all. You want to spot from the ribs to support the core.
~With that in mind, you should be large and/or strong enough to be able to support the person squatting and their squat weight
~Do not even attempt to spot a squat if you feel uneasy about it at all. I have heard of people being crushed trying to spot a squat, so don’t make yourself part of that group.
I hope the next time you ask for a spot, you are now more prepared to make a good choice. Just because a guy is big doesn’t mean he’s a good spotter. Be aware of how people lift and act in a gym as that will be a good indicator as to who will do it right.