The Importance of Spotting

I tried to come up with a wonderfully witty title for this post, but I got nothin’ for ya.

The title says it all and I learned this the hard way today. Spotting during weight training is important, especially when you were almost squashed like a helpless bug, as happened to me yesterday. As you may know, I’m trying to build mass and strength in my upper body. This can only happen if I increase the weight I lift and lift heavy. I am seeing a lot of gains in the bench press. On the Olympic bar, I can now add 20 pounds (10 per side.) This weight is becoming easier for me so today I had the “bright” idea of adding 5 more pounds (2.5 lbs per side) to my bench press. Well, let me tell you, the lifting of the bar down off the rack and down to starting position was a challenge, yes, but lifting it up off my chest was not going to happen. The bar almost snapped my skinny arms like twigs when I attempted this. I managed to somehow rest it on my chest, but could not lift it off my body. I began to utter a rather meager, “help, please. I need help, please.” (remaining polite although crushed under the weight of the bar.) Fortunately, a lady stopped mid tricep pull down to come to my rescue. Together, we lifted the bar back into the rack handles. Without this lady’s help I don’t know how I would have managed.

The ideal situation would be to have a training partner. There are so many benefits to training with a partner, such as:

1. They can spot you to prevent injuries like the one described above.
2. They can watch your form and take note of errors, such as swinging your back, hyper extension of your knees or improper breathing.
3. It may be more enjoyable to work out with a friend/partner to keep you company.
4. You might be less likely to rush through a movement if someone is counting for you.

Most of the ladies I am social with at the gym don’t weight train. They primarily use the cardio machines and light toning weights. Not many ladies want to lift heavy at my gym, and fear the she-man look. With my friends at the gym we solely go to Zumba, cardio intervals, spin and Tabata together. They are not going to touch the Olympic bar with a ten foot pole. Thus, I am alone in this area. I won’t attempt to lift heavy again on my own. There are personal trainers at my gym but they come at a cost. There are no floor staff walking around ensuring safety and giving tips on form. What I will have to do is rely on the kindness of strangers to spot me when I execute a heavy set on the bench press. If not, I may just convince a friend to help me out and serve only as spotter duty. (that is if it doesn’t interfere with Zumba.)

Do you train with a partner at the gym?

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