Gym Spotting Guide For Weight Lifters: How To Spot Safely

Farma Darya

When you’re really pushing yourself in the gym and working close to your limits with heavy weights, you need a spotter. They’re not there to lift the weight for you, but they will make your workout safer – as long as they know what they’re doing.

For all the info you need on how to spot someone safely, including how much to help, we spoke to Elliot Upton, global head of online training for Ultimate Performance.

What is spotting?

The easiest way to think about spotting is that it is allowing someone to lift to their limit safely. A lot of people assume spotting is taking someone way past their limit, but safety is the key thing.

When someone is approaching their limit, it’s not that they have an inability to generate the strength and the force to move the weight. Very often, it’s the ability to coordinate stabilising the weight while generating that force that’s the problem.

Spotting helps someone approach or just mildly pass that limit by 2%. This allows them to stress the muscle as much as it genuinely needs to be stressed in order to push past plateaus and generate adequate amounts of muscle damage. 

If you’re bodybuilding, specifically, you do want to be pushing that muscle pretty close to failure. Every now and then you’ll overstep that mark. So spotting allows you to approach that limit or go just beyond it safely.

How much should you help someone when spotting?

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