T Nation

Benching with No Spotter


I don't have access to a spotter at this point (just moved, at a new gym) and was wondering what the best option for spotter-free benching is...?

Smith machine
Weightloaded Decline bench machine set flat
Barbell + bruised ribs



is this new gym opened exclusively to you? If not, then just ask someone for a spot


No but I go in at opening because it works with my schedule and most of the people in there at 5:30 are older guys on treadmills and women doing 10lbs free weights. I'm not sure they'd be willing, and if they were I'm not sure they could help. :\


How much do you bench?
Does your gym have a power rack?
I bench to just before failure without a spotter. With time you'll learn how much you still have in the tank.

If all else fails: bench without collars on the bar. When you get pinned, lean the bar to the side and let gravity unload the plates for you.


Stay a rep or two shy of failure.


Well then what the other two people have said. Failing that, if its for development and not strength, then dumbells


Also to add, you would be surprised how little people actually have to pull on the bar so that you can get it up. Used to have my little bro come with me, and he's a 130lbs and 5'8" with no muscle...just don't be pulling max effort singles. This stays true until you creep over 300 for reps, then you might want a sturdier spotter. Lol


If they have a power rack at your gym, set the J hooks at the same level as a normal bench stand, set the safety bars just below chest level, and then drag over a flat bench from the dumbell section of the gym.

Benching this way you can roll the bar back off your chest to just above your neck or to your waist on to the safety bars, assuming they are smaller than your chest.

I do this at home in my power rack and it works fine.

I rarely ever go to complete failure, but when I have, I have safely been able to get out from under the bar with no spotter.

Or, as others have said before, just grab a trainer, gym employee or another person working out to give you a spot.


Appreciate all the help/thoughts guys! I'll take a look at the Power Rack. I've never really used it, even when Squatting. It probably looks worse than it is. The bars are bent to hell and the whole thing looks battered. I'm only benching 4x15x155 (no where near failure) as of last work out. I am sure I can do more weight but I have a mean bar sway I'm trying to get rid of and with no spotter I didn't want to screw myself up. Call me a nervous-newb.




I'm pretty much a nube too, but if you have 'mean bar sway' you're probably benching too much. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but 'mean bar sway' = bad form = too much weight, right?

I also bench without a spotter(and squat) so I'm saving for a power cage. In the meantime I just stay well shy of muscle failure.


Do it like this fat homo


I am sure, as in all things, I have a lot to learn but it isn't weight dependent. When I have the problem it's as much an issue with an empty bar as it is with more weight. Mainly I need to get used to feeling the bar in space rather than trying to follow it with my eyes. Long story...

The good news is the hot T-vixens on the site seem to be inspiring my wife who has started lifting. If we get our schedule worked out I got me a spotter...and a wife who does weights. Win/Win.