How to Be the Best Spotter and Get the Most out of Yours

by Jessica Lakes

Having a spotter at the gym can be one of the biggest advantages you can have, but also could be a huge hindrance depending on how they’re used. No one wants to be in that situation at the gym where someone calls them over for a spot, and they have no idea what to do.

Most people know the general basics of spotting like not yelling in their face like a lunatic drill instructor and to not walk away in the middle of a set. These are just things that require common sense,  but many don’t know much more than that.

The next time you are asked to spot someone, or if you are in need of a spot yourself, here are some helpful tips to get the best use out your spotter.

1 – First You Have to Learn What the Spotter’s Job Is

Like with anything else, before you can become a good spotter or know what to look for, you have to first know what their job is, and what functions they are supposed to perform.

preview-full-shutterstock_446448223When you are spotting someone, you are there in case they need assistance in physically doing the exercise, or you may just be there for encouragement. Either way it is important to understand that you should be hands off unless otherwise asked to do so.

When exercising for both strength and size, range of motion is extremely important. Getting a spotter can help a person get a better range of motion in a particular exercise than they couldn’t without a spotter. This is common in many exercises, but especially in strength training.

If you are doing shoulder press for example, the help from a spotter with a little push at your elbows may just give you that little extra effort needed to complete you rep, which will help your muscles grow and develop further than you would be able to do on your own.

2 – Someone May Need Help, so Know What to Look For

If you are regularly going to exercise at the gym, inevitably at one point or another you are going to come across someone that needs help.

preview-full-shutterstock_651863860Someone who is struggling to do an exercise is not only in danger or hurting themselves but could also hurt other including yourself if they don’t know what they’re doing.

Many times the case is that someone is lifting weight that is too heavy for them to do comfortably, and as a result their body twists and contorts to complete the exercise. This person is probably too embarrassed to ask for help but it is pretty obvious.

Keeping an eye out for these people is important, in that you can help save themselves and others from injury as a result of their pride.

On the other hand you will routinely see people struggling to complete an exercise, but are still doing so in a controlled manner. These are the people that you shouldn’t help unless they ask.

3 – Learn How to Properly Apply Resistance in Spotting

Another awesome benefit to having a spotter is that you can get more resistance out of your training than you could otherwise. One effective method in training is to add resistance after failure with weights.

The next time you are doing drop sets, don’t stop after you reach failure with the weights. Continue on with a few more reps or sets if you are up to it with only your spotter applying resistance manually with their arms or hands. This can be effective in military press, shoulder press, and bench press for example.

When you really start to know what you’re doing and are familiar with the person you are spotting, you can even vary the resistance you are applying yourself to give even more variation to the routine.

If you’re spotting or having someone spot you another thing you can do is very the weights you’re using during the routine as well.

You have a spotter so if you want to switch up the weights in between sets or even within the sets themselves to give yourself more resistance, have your spotter get up and grab them for you really quick. This is something that would extremely time consuming and annoying to other people as well if you were to do it on your own, but is great with a spotter.

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