Spotting the Back Squat
By: Coach Melo - 06/17/2018
As we approach the end of our cycle, we’ll be lifting some near max effort loads on the back squat; especially as we enter week 9 of our cycle, which includes a 1-RM or 3-RM attempt. It becomes critical to have a safe and effective exit strategy in the event that you cannot stand up the weight. We’ll be reviewing this method in group class over the next few weeks, to get everyone comfortable with the mechanics of spotting.
The primary reason for spotting a back squat is for the lifter’s safety. While some athletes may be accustomed to bailing the bar off of their back, there are a multitude of things that could go wrong with that strategy. Often times, having spotters simply gives the lifter piece of mind that in the event that they can’t stand the weight up, they have support to help them get out of a sticky situation.
The most effective and safest method I’ve found to spot the back squat utilizes two spotters, one on either side of the barbell. Both spotters should be focused on the lifter and the bar path throughout their set.
As spotters set up, the crook of the elbow should be placed under the bar with both hands near the plates. As the lifter squats, so too should the spotters following the bar down in a position that will allow them to secure the weights if need be.
Do not touch the barbell while the lifter is squatting, keep enough distance between yourself and the barbell so as not to disrupt the lift, but be close enough to jump in, if needed.
When to Spot:
There are several cues alerting a spotter to jump in and help:
The lifter calls for a spot
The coach yells spot
The bar path goes up, then starts to descend again
The lifter gets stuck at the bottom of the lift
If any of these events occur, each spotter should quickly, but not forcefully react by supporting the weight in the crook of their elbow with both hands secured around the plates.
Remember, as the lifter, DO NOT bail the barbell onto your spotters. You’re still doing the majority of the work to stand the weight up, your spotters are just assisting by easing up some of the load.
If you are uncomfortable with spotting, or have any questions about it, ask your coach.
Now, let’s see some PR’s!!