Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Spot Like a Boss

There will be times you'll need an extra pair of hands at the gym. Typically, this would be when you're bench-pressing and want to push yourself to the limits of your strength and endurance without being crushed under a loaded Olympic bar. Occasionally your day will be ruined when an overenthusiastic spotter steals your final rep from you by jumping in too early, usually proclaiming the lie: "It's all you". 

While you can't ensure this never happens to you (unless you always train with a buddy, more on buddies at a later date) you can ensure that you're never the mook who overspots. Here's how:

1) Ask the spottee what they need from you. Do they want the bar handed to them or are they happier to unrack the bar themselves?
2) Establish how many reps they want to perform.
3) Don't shout words of encouragement at them. While some people like that sort of thing, it's safer to assume they don't.
4) Let them know you won't touch the bar unless they signal for you to do so. It's reassuring to know you can take your sweet time squeezing out that last rep without unwanted "help".

If someone asks you to spot them and you don't think you can do it, it's fine to politely decline. If you want to spot someone bench-pressing but have never done it before, here's what to do: Stand behind the bench, close enough to get your hands on the bar when needed, not so close as to be a distraction. If the person wants help unracking the bar (while their hands are on the bar ready to receive) bend your knees, clasp your hands together and nestle the bar in the crook of your elbows (this is safest for your back). Count aloud to three, lift the bar into position (mid chest, or when they provide resistance). Say: "your bar," as you transfer the full weight to their hands. If you need to help them with the bar at any time use both hands to rerack the bar. They will still be pushing so don't be intimidated by the weight. It will be a joint effort.

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