Working out at the gym is a great way to get in shape, meet new people, and become a healthier person.
The most important part of weightlifting is making sure you stay safe while doing it.
When you don’t exercise proper safety and caution in the gym, you could be dealing with life-threatening injuries.
This is what makes having a friend or a spotter with you at all times so important.
Before you start your next workout session, carefully consider the following exercises to make sure you don’t need a spotter.
Which Types of Lifts Require Spotters?
1. Dead Lifts
Dead lifts require a person to lift a weight that is on the ground.
The weight is usually a barbell, and the person bends at the waist and then lifts the bar up as high as they can before putting it back down.
Many times, when a person completes a very heavy deadlift, they drop the weight and move out of the way.
Deadlifts are actually one of the safer exercises when it comes to a spotter.
If you are going to be doing some dead lifts, you will need to have a spotter to watch your form.
You won’t want a spotter to get involved with catching the weight or assisting if the lift fails.
With a dead lift, if the weight starts to fail, you should simply drop the weight.
Spotters need to be careful where they stand to make sure they are out of the way of any danger when the weight is being dropped or picked up.
2. Bench Presses
If you have seen spotters in the gym before, chances are you saw them working during a bench press.
The reason the bench press is such an important time for a spotter is because of the position of the weights.
When you do a bench press, you are lying on your back and lifting an incredibly heavy weight up over your chest.
Without the spotter in place, the bar with the weight could land on your chest and cause some serious injury.
The job of the spotter on a bench press is to make sure they can help if the lifter gets weak.
They will also help to make sure the position is perfect, and the weights are secured prior to attempting the lift.
Some weightlifters who bench press don’t like to use a spotter.
They feel as though they may become dependent on the spotter and not get the true idea of how much weight they can bench press.
It’s important to make sure that, as a weightlifter, you don’t become too dependent on a spotter, but you should still have one in place to prevent major injury.
When you first start weightlifting, you should start with very low weight and see what you are capable of.
Slowly start adding weights in ten-pound increments to figure out where you stand and what you can lift on your own.
Starting to bench press a very high number just because your friend can is a poor idea and will likely leave you with a muscle strain or more serious injury.
3. Barbell Squat
Weighted squats are another time you will need a spotter when you are completing the exercise.
When you do a barbell squat, you will lift a heavy barbell and then usually drop it down to the ground.
There are quite a few ways injury could occur during this exercise.
Sometimes on the initial lift, a weightlifter could hurt their back and feel as though they are going to collapse and fall.
When they can lift the weight up high, they may also get weak and drop the weight.
When the weight drops, it can land on them if they are not in the proper position.
The barbell squat is not as controlled an exercise as the bench press.
Since a person is standing while they are doing a barbell squat, there is the added risk of potential injury from a fall.
When you are doing a barbell squat, you should really have two spotters.
One spotter should stand at each end of the barbell.
There is a very specific protocol for spotters when it comes to these lifts.
If the lifter starts to struggle, the spotter is supposed to hook their elbow under the end of the bar.
Then the spotter will take the weight and hold it in both hands.
Both spotters will have to work together to do this simultaneously and then carefully lower or lift the entire bar.
The hard part about spotting for a lift like this is that you may have to act fast to help the person who missed the lift.
You will only have a quick second to grab the weight when the person starts to struggle.
Spotters need to be strong enough to handle the weight with the help of a friend.
If a spotter is not strong, they will not be able to help in the proper way and could end up injuring themselves.
It’s a good idea to have the spotters practice this before the lift happens.
If one of the spotters ends up taking more weight than the other, it can be a terrible situation.
This also shows you why it is so important to have two spotters at any given time with the barbell squat, not just one.
If you have no other choice than to go with one spotter for this squat, the person will stand in front of the lifter and lower it if they get into trouble.
This is not as good a situation when it comes to safety and should be avoided if at all possible.
4. Skull Crushers
A skull crusher is the name of a triceps exercise which happens while lying flat on a bench.
With a skull crusher, the lifter is lowering a bar towards their head and then lifting it back up again.
Obviously, this lift’s danger factor is the chance that the bar could drop on the person’s head.
When you are a spotter for the skull crusher exercise, you will keep your hands just under the bar.
As the lifter lowers the bar, your hands are always in place should they need some relief.
If the lifter starts to get a bit weak, you can simply step in and assist to return the bar back to the proper position.
It’s essential to make sure the person doing the skull crusher and the person spotting can both handle the weight that is being lifted.
They will have an easier time lifting the weight back up for the spotter because they will get to use other muscles than just the triceps.
This is a difficult exercise but one that can help to get your triceps in excellent condition.
5. Dumbbell Military Press
The Dumbbell Military Press is another lifting exercise that would benefit from having a spotter involved.
With the dumbbell military press, the lifter will have two weights in their hands.
The weights start on a rack, and the lifter lowers the weights down and then lifts them back up.
Some people find that having a spotter with this exercise is unnecessary because you can just drop the weight away from you.
Experts will agree that you should have a spotter anytime you have a weight near your chest or face.
When you have one spotter for the dumbbell military press, it’s hard for them to do an adequate job of helping you get the weight back on the rack.
Knowing which weight to grab and making a good choice about where the lifter needs the most help is quite difficult.
It’s best to develop a plan where the lifter can toss the weights to the side if they get into a bad situation.
6. Dumbbell Overhead Press
Here we are with another exercise which requires a weight to be positioned over your head.
When a weight is above your head, you need a person to make sure you don’t experience a head injury.
When you are spotting a person who is doing an overhead press, you will stand behind them.
You can look at their arms and see how they are positioned to make sure they are in the right place.
The spotter should put their hands under the triceps of the person who is lifting.
Make sure to stay clear of the weights unless the lifter says they need some help.
When people who are lifting weights start to struggle, sometimes the best solution is to let them get themselves out of the situation.
If a spotter interferes too much, it could result in injury to the spotter as well as the lifter.
As with any weightlifting exercise, always start with a weight you can handle.
Most people don’t think of pull-ups as being a dangerous exercise.
Depending on the height of the bar, these can indeed be a bit dangerous.
When a person gets weak and feels as though they may come off the bar, they could injure themselves.
The best way to spot a person doing a pull-up is to be prepared to pull them up if they can’t do it themselves.
You should provide a base with your hands or arm that they can push on to complete the pull-up and then safely get themselves down.
Don’t ever push up on the legs of a person doing a pull-up.
Give them a solid base to push off but do not try and pull-up for them.
What Is the Role of a Good Spotter?
A great spotter will not just help you protect yourself from injury.
They will also make sure you are doing the exercises correctly.
When you are doing an exercise, you should be looking in a mirror to make sure your form is perfect.
Without perfect form, you will tend to injure yourself.
You may not feel it the second you do the exercise wrong, but chances are you will feel it later on.
To be a great spotter, you must communicate well with the lifter.
The better the communication, the better the chance the lifting session will go well.
Getting to know your friends at the gym and helping each other to reach goals is a gratifying process.
Hopefully, after reading our guide, you feel a bit more equipped to handle your next lifting session.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a spotter.
If you are unsure if an exercise is safe or not, ask a trainer at the gym what they think.
They will usually be more than happy to give you a few pointers, and the next time you need a private session, you can return the favor by using them.NEXT: 16 Apps You Can Use To Listen To Music Without Wi-Fi (Complete List)