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  • Writer's pictureBell City CrossFit

Spotting the Bench Press

Throughout this cycle, we’ve been bench pressing every other Tuesday. This Tuesday (12/10/2019), we’ll test out a 1RM Bench Press. Any time there is weight on the barbell during a Bench Press, you should have a spotter or use spotter arms for safety. It is critical to have a safe exit strategy in the event that you cannot press the weight up. We’ll be reviewing this method in group class this week, to get everyone comfortable with the mechanics of spotting.

Lift Off

The primary reason for spotting a Bench Press is for the lifter’s safety, but often times having a spotter simply gives the lifter piece of mind that in the event that they can’t press the weight up, they have support to help them get out of a sticky situation. It may also be beneficial to receive a lift off from your spotter to help get heavier weight into a good starting position.

How To:

The spotter should set up behind the barbell focused on the lift, ready to assist if necessary, but should not disrupt the lift. Prior to the Bench Press set, confirm if the lifter would like a lift off and if so, whether they’d like to count down or if they’d prefer a count down from you, the Spotter.

Stay Alert & Ready

Do not touch the barbell while the lifter is benching, Do not hover over the lifter disrupting their line of sight to the ceiling and do not stick your hands out under the bar to try to levitate the bar up to a successful rep. 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 calls for a 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, the spotter should quickly come to action by gripping the barbell and assisting the lifter to get the bar back into the rack. Spotters may choose to stand on a box behind the bench to have better leverage to lift heavy weight up. Practice this set up in warm-up sets to get comfortable with it.

*Note: especially in a max attempt, allow the lifter to struggle with the weight assuming that the bar continues to move upward. Do not step in, unless any of the above 4 cues occur.

Remember, as the lifter, DO NOT stop pressing the barbell up to the rack. You’re still doing the majority of the work to press the weight up, your spotter is 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!!

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