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Spotter, how important?

I was thinking, how important is it to have a spotter to make gains? Alot of times when benching, or squatting I feel I could do a bit more weight, but I don’t just cause I have no spot. I do ask for spots on bench but for squatting I usually don’t. Ideas?

most of the people at my gym don’t know how to give a good spot and i just plain don’t trust them when i’m handling a potentially dangerous load.

if you squat in a cage you can just lower the weight onto the pins, but its a pain in the ass having to unload then reload the weight.

i don’t think its too important to have a spotter, i’ve lifted alone for the past 7 months and have made some of the best progress of my training life. you just have to learn to motivate yourself

Use equipment/machines that don’t require a spotter. Bumping up your weight on dumbell (over barbell) presses is a good thing! Or maybe you’re referring to the DUMB uses of the practice.

Today I saw “2 spotters” guiding the form of their partners through every rep of every set of skullcrushers as if you HAVE to have someone hold your elbows in place. Ugh… was getting on my nerves.

Frequently, I see guy “spotters” helping girls, assisting with each rep of arm curls, taking them beyond failure. I guess they just do what they’re taught 'cause there’s lots of arm curl spotters out there who could be spending their time doing better things… like quilting.

A spotter’s nice to turn 3/4 rep into a whole, and for occasional overload training but that’s it.

It isn’t necessary. If you wanted to max out, dumbbells are a good way to do this as you can simply drop them. If you are focused on the muscle group, slowing your movement with good form, concentrating on squeezing at the end of the movement and doing adequate reps for the target muscle group should allow you to make gains (assuming you are eating right).

A lot of times its a good idea to can the ego for a bit, lighten up, and do your reps with proper form slowing the movement down and causing constant tension on the target muscle group.

I train alone. The only thing I’ve ever ‘needed’ a spotter for is the occasional bench, which isn’t often. It’s easy to call over someone close and ask for a spot. If you need a spotter constantly, then you’re doing too much weight.

ya i agree, ive spent the majority of my training career without spotters and especially if your experienced enough to know your body spotters arent really needed. You dont need to go to failure to make gains infact it can be detrimental.

For Squats I’ve always used a cage with safety pins. Never used a spotter. To avoid the problems described by Lumburjak, I always stop before failure.
For bench press, sometimes I’ve asked a reliable guy in the gym to help me. If a spotter is not available, it happened to me that I was not able to raise the loaded barbell. Therefore I use to stop a couple of reps before failure and then perform some reps of “V dips”.

I feel same as lumberjak, once I started using a powerrack I had no need for spotters. If I miss I miss. Just means I hate missing cause I have to unload the bar to get it up again, which is a good thing.
A spotter might be nice for a hand off on bench and to get me set for squats but they have to know what they are doing and the position I like to get set in.
Incidentally spotters can mess you up more than they help. Like dumping the weight on you from the bench hand off causing you to lose tightness or just as bad handing off unevenly or (and this is the cardinal sin!) assisting you prematurely before you can grind out the rep.

Okay good stuff. Ah man I HATE when the only person in the gym to spot you is some new lifter who basically grabs the bar from your hand if you struggle at all. Makes me want to kill them. I’m deffinetly eating right, but man my bench is horrible. I did 155x3 last night. I’m eating alot 3500-4000 calories too. Hopefully it goes up now that I’m hitting chest 2x weekly.

For benches, I’ve successfully used a powerrack with safety pins. Drag the bench in and set pins just high enough so you can get out if you fail. This allows for slightly less than the full range of motion. It is also somewhat awakward if you do fail and have to get out, but probably better than the option of when you fail outside the caged with no spotter! I’ve only failed once in this scenario and it has worked pretty well. You can also raise the pins to support doing partials when you are attempting to add weight.