T Nation

No Partner, No Lift!: Help Needed!


I am sure I am not the only one experiencing this kind of problem. I have a gym partner that wishes to pitch when he feels like a “quick pump”, I doubt there is anything more annoying than that! He makes it rather difficult for me to do any kind of bench presses.

My question:

How different is it to do any bench press exercises on a normal bench with a partner providing a “spot”, compared to using the smith machine?

I know there is a difference in motion and resistance. I am just concerned that I will not be able to do chest exercises “properly” if I just use the smith machine. It seems I don’t have a choice because I train to late in the evenings for anyone to assist me.

Any feedback regarding this will be appreciated!

Regardless of what a lot of people will tell you, Smith machines are not all that bad. You can still make some great gains on it. You can always adjust the bench for differnt ROM’s.

Also, if there is a power rack (squat rack) simply set the pins to your depth and that is your spot. Works for me.

[quote]Mavric wrote:
I am sure I am not the only one experiencing this kind of problem. I have a gym partner that wishes to pitch when he feels like a “quick pump”, I doubt there is anything more annoying than that! He makes it rather difficult for me to do any kind of bench presses.

My question:

How different is it to do any bench press exercises on a normal bench with a partner providing a “spot”, compared to using the smith machine?

I know there is a difference in motion and resistance. I am just concerned that I will not be able to do chest exercises “properly” if I just use the smith machine. It seems I don’t have a choice because I train to late in the evenings for anyone to assist me.

Any feedback regarding this will be appreciated!!

[/quote]

Just lighten the load man. A spotter should only come in on the very last rep IF you reach failure. In an ideal world, he doesn’t need to touch the bar.

In my gym if anyone else touches the bar, for any reason, you missed the lift.

[quote]Kal-El wrote:
Regardless of what a lot of people will tell you, Smith machines are not all that bad. You can still make some great gains on it. You can always adjust the bench for differnt ROM’s.

Also, if there is a power rack (squat rack) simply set the pins to your depth and that is your spot. Works for me.[/quote]

Thanks.

Will do!

Just lighten the load man. A spotter should only come in on the very last rep IF you reach failure. In an ideal world, he doesn’t need to touch the bar.

In my gym if anyone else touches the bar, for any reason, you missed the lift.[/quote]

No doubt, the way you describe it is the correct way. It’s nice to know regardless that someone is there to keep an eye on things. Since I have discovered T-Nation I have really tried to push myself like never before. I consistently try to increase my load on a weekly basis by 1.5/2kg. Keeping this in mind I suppose it might just be a mind thing. Thanks for your input.

[quote]Kal-El wrote:

Also, if there is a power rack (squat rack) simply set the pins to your depth and that is your spot. Works for me.[/quote]

I do this and it works well. I use mats to adjust the height of the bench so that when I expand my chest and the bar touches my chest, it’s only an 1" or so above the pins. If I miss a rep, I let my chest deflate some and the bar will rest on the pins.

Is there no other members at your gym to spot you? Not even a trainer?

[quote]Matt P wrote:
Is there no other members at your gym to spot you? Not even a trainer?[/quote]

Unfortunately I train very late in the evening. The only person available at our 24h gym is the person manning the reception area.

In addition to using the safety pins on the power rack, you can also do dumbbell presses. You can always put the dumbbells down if you’re stuck. And also, it would also work your hands unilaterally.

[quote]Mavric wrote:
Matt P wrote:
Is there no other members at your gym to spot you? Not even a trainer?

Unfortunately I train very late in the evening. The only person available at our 24h gym is the person manning the reception area.[/quote]

Why not ask them then? If it’s really that slow then I’m sure they wouldn’t mind spotting you. They’re probably bored out of their minds and would appreciate the opportunity to do something anyway.

Dumbbells are an option, but you can also just not use collars on the barbell, just dump the bad boy one side at a time if you get stuck.

Smith machine is fine, I used to absolutely love Smith Incline’s, never tried flats. Shrugs were awesome on Smith Machines as well, I’d do front then turn around and do reverse.

For the past year and 4 months back to lifting I’ve had no spot, and workout in my basement with free weights and with no problems. I don’t lift anything I can’t get more than 3 times and stop once I really have to struggle. But never pushed too far that I could lift it…(knocks on wood)

But it is better to push beyond what you can do in my mind, if I had friends that could keep up with my workouts I’d be fine with having a workout partner. It doesn’t sound like yours can keep up either!

[quote]Ghost22 wrote:
Dumbbells are an option, but you can also just not use collars on the barbell, just dump the bad boy one side at a time if you get stuck. [/quote]

Hell yeah, I’d go with dumbells and supersets.

Dumbells and dips. When you can do the heaviest dumbells for sets of 10 worry about getting a spotter. It isn’t ideal, but it’ll do donkey, it’ll do.

I rarely have a spotter. Doing all the variations of the bench press, pullovers, and dips has been nice and all and has helped with my athletic goals and getting better at those motions but my conventional bench press has suffered because of it. My weakness is at the very bottom of my lift and in order to work that I need a spotter that I just can’t get.

In order to remedy this I wish I had done more military barbell presses bringing the bar all the way down to my clavicle. And now I’m doing more of those. I’m pretty convinced that if you can’t flat bench with a spotter you’re in jeopardy of losing the power at the bottom of the bench press and the best way to get back that power is either with bench press or military press. Jerks and push press won’t help any weakness in the start of the lift. Trust me.

But yeah I’d use the smith machine if I were you. I’ve dissed the smith machine a lot but you should be moving the bar in a straight line anyway. Whats bad is when the smith machine is used for squats, good mornings, and rowing. Yuck.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
But yeah I’d use the smith machine if I were you. I’ve dissed the smith machine a lot but you should be moving the bar in a straight line anyway. Whats bad is when the smith machine is used for squats, good mornings, and rowing. Yuck.[/quote]

Thanks for the reply, I will need to do what I can with what is available.

P.s. Nothing worse than guys doing good mornings on the SM