Last Updated on April 15, 2013 by Jimson Lee
Part 1 was posted yesterday.
How To Be A Good Bench Press Spotter – Part 2
6) A little spot can add higher intensity, resulting in better gains
Sometimes a little spot and assistance is healthy for the lifter. If the spotter keeps his hands on the bar during the lift, this can actually increase the intensity of the lift and help the bencher get stronger. For example, let’s say a bencher can only do 315×3 on their own, but with the assistance of a spotter they might get 6 reps. This could actually help the bencher train harder and this could be effective if it’s done every once in awhile and not during every single workout.
7) Dangers of assisted reps for the spotter
On the other hand if a bencher can only bench 315×1 and the spotter assist the bencher so he does 315×15, or 365×8, then that isn’t useful for the bencher or the spotter. The bencher is actually putting the spotter in a great deal of danger because during every single rep, the spotter has to perform an awkward rowing motion to help the bencher get the weight up. The spotter is doing most of the work and he could fall onto the bencher while the bencher is benching. This puts both the spotter and the bencher at great risk of injury.
8) Mental dangers of assisted reps
If the bencher is always doing force reps, then it’s a great way to get weak fast and ruin your journey of strength. For example if a bencher struggles benching 240 once and then if they throw 300 on and have a spotter do the weight with them, the bencher might believe that they are doing the weight. This will automatically give the bencher a false sense of strength and the bencher won’t learn to control the weight on his own. Most of all, the bencher will have doubt and never want the spotter to let go of the weight because the bencher knows that he isn’t as strong as his self proclaimed benching ability. The thing is, if a bencher has a 200lbs bench max and they are being assisted with 250lbs, and the bencher wants to get to 300lbs, then they are 100lbs away from their goals instead of 50lbs. Forced reps are one of the biggest mistakes that rookies and young benchers make and they are a habit that is very hard to break. Early on in the benchers training careers, they should do their reps on their own and get assistance when they can’t go anymore. If you are stuck in a rut and you can only train with force reps, then I suggest you get a home gym and train where people can’t see you. This way you can get stronger and trust me you will see a 50lbs increase in your bench press fast.
Finally, remember being happy with yourself is the key to being a good bencher. For example, some guys can bench 350 but they think that 350 isn’t a strong bench because they desire 500lbs in their minds and feel that is where they should be. So they refuse seeing the best benchers in the world and getting help. On the other hand there are guys that only bench 250lbs as a max and they will say “I’m okay with myself, it’s okay that I only bench 250”, since the second guy thinks that it’s okay that he benches 250lbs he has an open mind, he will learn from the best, do the lifts on his own and obviously improve.
Remember, there are many 700+ benchers out there and they aren’t the brightest and they have awful technique, and that is why they bench in the 700s instead of the 900s. They have so much hubris (excessive pride) that they aren’t willing to look at their bad habits. The guys who are comfortable with themselves even if they bench 225 will eventually be the strong and happier benchers in the end because they can train right without letting the concept of “never being good enough” ruin them.
9) How to spot an ego lifter
bench press spotting If a bencher comes into the gym and loads the bar and says spot me, give them a tiny bit of assistance. A tiny bit means, gently guide the weight up as the bencher is trying to move the weight from off their chest to lockout. For example let’s say a bencher loads the bar to 275lbs and this is their one rep max but for whatever reason they want to feel secure and want your hands on the bar. So, spot them in slow motion for the first rep. Then if they want to attempt another rep, spot them again in slow motion so that the lift takes 5-6 seconds for them to perform. Trust me they are going to want to rack it and not do three painful reps with 275. The purpose for a “gentle guide” instead of “force reps” is that if you forced their reps the lifter will do 10 reps and he will keep going heavier. If he goes too heavy then the lifter is putting him self at danger. Some lifters will in fact step under weights 100lbs over their max, if they get a good spot.
I know that there are lifters like Jimmy the Bull who benches over 1000lbs with 3 spotters assisting him but that is a different type of training and if you want to gain mass that way, then make sure that you get many spotters for safety. I also understand that there are plenty of men whether they are training with boards, bands, shirts, or even without any equipment at all, who always load the bench press bar past 500,600, and 700lbs. If you are one of these men then having reliable spotters is important because you can’t mess up. So if you are ever in need make sure that you have 3 strong spotters with 3 extra buddies along the side because you can’t mess up with 700lbs, or you will get hurt. This is the world of bench press extreme.
10) Get the right spotter
Remember, everyone is different and everyone has different goals. The best advice is to find what works for you, as nobody knows what you truly want as much as you do. Some benchers want a spotter that cranks up the volume, yells in their face and others want silence and concentration. As there are others in the grey, who want some intensity but they want to focus at the same time. So follow some of these tips of course but remember some lifters want more assistance and others are against forced reps completely. So, find the spotter and training partner that works for you! I believe by finding a spotter that is always trying to find “what could be better”, a spotter that sees huge weights as being “attainable”, and who is always believing that you can make consistent progress is the way to go. Get a spotter who thinks that benching 500lbs is not a big deal because the stronger your mind is the easier it will be to bench 500lbs! So get a good partner today and let the attitude of training and gaining begin!