Why do you need a spotter during weight lifting?

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

When you are lifting weights, it can be easy to overestimate how heavy you can lift and how many reps you can do. When fatigue sets in, your spotter should be there to save you from a falling weight. But a spotter isn’t only there for your safety. There are other benefits to having a spotter!


Unless you’re an introvert, doing things alone isn’t a lot of fun. With a spotter, you are less likely to skip your gym day. They are also great for cheering you on to give you that extra energy to do the last rep. A spotter can also challenge you which makes you try harder.


Through motivation, a spotter can also boost your confidence. Constant reassurance and praise from them is a great way to build your confidence and, in turn, make you work harder and better.


When lifting weights, it is important to maintain the right form and to control your movements. It’s easy to get sloppy with your form and movements as you get tired.

A spotter can tell you what you are doing wrong and help you fix it. In this way, you get the most out of your workout and avoid getting injured.

Placebo effect

When you are struggling to get through a rep, a spotter can do something as simple as putting his finger under the weight. This tricks your brain into thinking that you have some assistance and makes the weight feel lighter so that you can carry on.

Keeps you honest

It’s easy to start counting short when you get tired. This is unless you have a spotter. With a spotter there, they can help you push through the exhaustion and push you to that next level of your workout.

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Exercises that require a spotter

In general, a spotter should be around when you are under the weight and using free weights like barbells, dumbbells and weight plates. A spotter is not needed as much when you are using machine weights. Here are some exercises you need a spotter for:

  • Bench press
  • Barbell pack squat
  • Military press
  • Skull crusher
  • Upright row
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Dumbbell flies
  • Dumbbell shoulder

There are some exercises that require a spotter to stand clear, as it could put both of you at risk:

  • Deadlifts
  • Crunches
  • Power cleans
  • Hyperextensions
  • High pulls
  • Push press

What makes a good spotter?

A spotter should take a wide stance with one foot forward and one foot back. Their hands should be ready in a position relevant to the workout. They should be stable, balanced and alert. It’s their responsibility to let you know if you are doing something wrong so they should have the knowledge to be able to correct you.

Their attention should never stray from you. If they get distracted, you could end up getting hurt.  The most crucial thing is to be able to communicate and to understand each other. You need to be able to plan and execute the right strategies for the workout.

Lastly, a spotter should only step in when it’s absolutely necessary. The goal is not to make your workout easier; its to catch the weight when you have been pushed past your limit.

Having a spotter is not only good for your safety but helps to motivate you, improve your form and movement and helps you to get to the next level of your workout. It is important for a spotter to know what they are doing, how they need to stand and react when its time for them to step in. It is also important to know which exercises they can and cannot help with. Its all about staying safe and preventing injury.

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