The Importance of Spotting

If you’re an avid gym member and user of free weight, it’s no surprise that things can get a little scary if performing an overhead movement with too much weight. It’s really no one’s fault, either. Pushing yourself from one goal to the next is part of the process of bettering yourself. There is a safe and smart way to go about doing this, though.

Notice the compression of the mans body under the weight. This is why there are two spotters on the side.

There’s a video making it’s way around the internet of a bench at a power lifting competition gone wrong. Be advised that he was pushing 407 pounds that fell onto him. The end result was fractured ribs, diaphragm, snapped sternum, and a bunch more. Luckily those spotting him were able to get the weight off him in seconds. Unfortunately, even though the weight was off in seconds, it wasn’t a quick enough reaction. Consequently, the man passed away shortly after due to internal bleeding and hemorrhage.

The Point Behind Everything

Regardless of how strong you are, if you’re moving weight over your head that could potentially land on you, don’t hesitate to ask for a spot. This is especially for any type of bench press (incline, flat, decline) and seated barbell press. The limited mobility of these movements make it difficult to move out of the way if throwing the weight is absolutely needed.

Personally I think a shattered ego from asking someone for a spot is smarter than a shattered bone or pulled muscle for not asking. Heck, your spotter may even be able to push you to get an additional rep than what you anticipated, too.

Final Advice

Ask for a spotter. I cannot emphasize this enough. There are literally no negative consequences except a damage to your ego. And as a great man by the name of Frank Zane once said, “Leave your ego at the door.”

It doesn’t matter who is helping as long as they know what to do.

Warm up properly with some light sets. Doing so will get the blood flowing as well as warm up the tendons and fibers. Not to mention doing so will gradually help your body respond to the heavier weights opposed to the sudden stress of jumping to heavier weight first.

Keep stretching and flexing between sets. I don’t mean to make a scene of yourself in public, but to contract and relax the muscle group your’re training. By doing this, you will push more blood into the muscle. I would suggest doing this constantly throughout your workout and definitely right before your next set.

Stretching will help keep you loose. This is definitely important for shoulder movements (the most versatile joint of the body next to hips). Keep constant movement by just stretching in different direction.

Injuries are 95% of the time preventable. The 5% are done out of an outside source. Don’t let an overlooked precaution prevent you from anything. In the end, an overlooked safety precaution can keep you from doing things you want. Like the old saying, “Work smarter, not harder.”  Take the advice to heart and keep that in mind next time you see someone around you doing something unsafe. You could be helping more than you know.

Above all else, be safe, drink water, and think before you act.


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