What Is The Right Way To Spot Someone In The Gym?


Not everyone has the luxury of always working with a training partner in the gym so it’s merely a matter of time when you ask for a spot or someone else asks you. Although there is some personal preference involved, there is a set way to give a spot for any given exercise.

The main difficulty with giving someone a spot for the first time is not knowing his or her capabilities. Is that weight something that they have even tried before? Will I end up doing an unwanted set of upright rows because this dipshit loaded up the bar on the bench press?

Here are a few basic suggestions on the correct way to spot someone so that they can do a set until exhaustion (if that’s what they intended) and/or set a new personal milestone with how much weight that can handle.

BENCH PRESS

This is the easiest exercise to give a spot and all you need to do is guide the bar up evenly so that the person doing it doesn’t have their stronger arm leading. Even a two finger spot may be enough, as you don’t want to pull it up too much.

Another thing to keep in mind is to not stand to far forward so that your balls are dangling over the person’s head. Nothing can fuck up your concentration like a baggy short-wearing weirdo that is saying, ‘c’mon…you got this!” while his speedbag is hanging above like a cheap chandalier.

Another important part of spotting on a bench press is to either perform or help with the lift off and clipping the bar once the set is done.

SHOULDER PRESS

The barbell shoulder press spot is very similar to the bench press, so let’s worry about the dumbbell variety more. This is where it gets tricky and you may have read elsewhere that one way is better than the other, meaning where to spot from.

Here is a perfect example of how preferance comes into play. Most people like to be spotted from under the elbows to keep the arms even and assist (albeit very slightly) to complete the last rep or two. But others would rather have the spotter hold their wrists and guide it that way.

SQUATS

This is a spot where you need to stand directly behind the person and put your arms either just under their armpits or holding their chest. You need to go up and down with them and the reason for this type of spot is to help them keep their torso up, as fatigue will set in and cause them to tip forward slightly.

It’s also important for you to help them ‘walk’ the weight back to the rack and make sure it is re-racked safely.

BARBELL OR E-Z BAR CURLS

Spotting on both of these common bicep exercises is done the same way and that is to stand facing the person and use the two-finger method to help guide the bar up. Just help them enough to get past that sticking point and don’t make the rep easier, either. Let them do the work and this isolation movement should work the biceps hard.

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