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Progressive Overload Benching w/out Spot?


The ideal of gaining strength or muscle size is to progressively increase the weight or volume.

How can you safely do this without a spotter? Do you just tilt the bar to one side and let the weights fall to the ground if you can't get that rep up? Do you squat in the safety squat rack?

I see people in my gym doing the same weight month after month and year after year on the bench press. When i did powerlifting we always had a spotter and were able to increase the weights.

I have seen some modified bench presses online that allow people to bench alone and inrease weight with safety. I can tell by the OLD bench press machines in most gym most gym owners do not care or know about better bench press machines. It amazes how OLD this equipment is. The only way to make the most effective gains with the barbell bench press is to have a spotter.

Sure you can ask someone to spot, but the problem with that is you get different quality spotters every time. What an old sorry piece of equipment.


yes. Squat in the rack.

just explain what you want to the spotter before you lift. The spotter shouldnt be touching the weight unless you cant get it up anymore and at that point your set is over so whats the big deal?

its easy to get stronger without a spotter. I dont have a training partner and lift without a spotter every day. If I really feel like I need one I'll ask someone at the gym and people are always helpful.


the power rack is the best piece of equipment in a gym...end of story. you can squat and bench without a spotter in it. problem solved.


Nothing wrong with keeping a rep or two in the tank if no spotter around


You can also curl in it without a spotter.

...felt good


^^^ In fact, many people have gotten significantly bigger and stronger without EVER needing a spotter... because they never go to failure. THe "overload" in Progressive Overload doesn't have to be taken literally.


Hey meat, I'd actually like your input on this. When you bench in the rack, do you press off the pins?

Maybe it's the height of the benches in my gym, but I can't seem to get a pin setting where I can still touch my chest with the bar without hitting the pins, yet have them just below that level for safety. Maybe I'm just half a retard, and the obvious eludes me, but it seems like such a fine line. What do you do?


Put the bench under some plates

Or set it to the lowest possible setting still above your chest. Stopping 1 inch above your chest isnt a detribment to pec development

put some plates* under the bench


i've done pin presses in the past but it's one of those movements that most people do incorrectly and when incorrectly, there's a high risk of injury.

as for the setup for benching in the rack, if the pins aren't quit right can you elevate the bench with some mats or something??


In my rack at home, my chest is about 1 inch above the pins. So when I bail on the last rep, I just have to drop the weight closer to my upper chest/neck area. I might be tough if you have a big upper chest, but unfortunately I don't so it works for me.


I bench in the power rack every time. The way I set it up I can touch my chest and if I am about to fail I push it over my neck/face. Make sure you first test this with an empty bar, decapitation is a side effect of doing this improperly.


The rack works good.

A few years ago when I failed a bench set without a spot....


As much as I see your posts around a bit and you seem pretty cool, I was really hoping that video of you failing on the BP would be more entertaining (read: more painful for you).

You seem to have a pretty good home gym set up there.


Lol, theres been much worse accidents, but none on film, worst was with 155 when I was 15, and slmost killed myself....didnt think of sliding the weight off and had the bar chilling on my face before somone heard me crying for help.


Haha I remember when I used to train alone a bit after hours at my old gym, lifted a max and it came up so easy I went for a second. I had to roll the bar down onto my thighs, Lucky I was weak.


The need for a spotter becomes more important with lower rep training, but if doing higher reps (e.g. 6+), you get a pretty decent feeling when you're going to fail and can always just leave a rep in the tank as has been mentioned.

Aiming for 3-5 reps on a set can be very hit or miss, you can be just 1/2 a rep out before a failed lift...whereas aiming for 8-12 reps you would easily be able to finish/control the rep if you feel failure close by.


I actually do pin presses sometimes, I like them.

I've thought of mats and such, but for what's available at my gym, I haven't found anything that gets is just right. I guess everyone else have benches that fit perfectly within the pin slots. Sucks for me.