T Nation

Weightlifter Dies After 315 lbs Barbell Drops on his Neck


At first I thought they meant actual Weightlifting, and I got worried that there was another thing to worry about with weight over my head. Then I realized they just meant benching.


In my many decades of lifting, I’ve had 2-3 close calls with a bench. Mainly on lift off where my wrist does something funky and spastic for no apparent reason. Obviously the best thing are bar catches and a spotter.

But, then, I am a moron who generally lifts by himself in his basement.

I tend to bench in a power rack and set the safeties where I’d might crack a rib, but not break my neck.

I then start in the hole – from the safeties at the bottom. I have to twist and turn a bit to get under the bar. I used to bang my head a fair amount until I figured out how to do it. (I generally finish on the hooks.)

Not sure the reason, but I’ve never gone wonky pushing from the hole.

In my old age, I also tend towards dumbbell training. Angling the weights is a much more natural movement for me – and I can launch them sideways if need be. In fact, when pushing to failure by myself, I almost always use dumbbells.


Well yes. I always use the safeties, something brought home to me when I
tore something in my right shoulder under a big bench press. The crash into
the bar catches was pretty special, but it sure beat stopping it with my


If you suspend the bar with chains, it is easier to get under


I’ve seen some comments on this elsewhere where people are blaming the spotters, which I don’t think is fair.

You’d have to have the strength and reaction time of Superman to be able to catch a dropped 315 barbell in time.


This reminds me of when Professor X would talk about how he would do Hammer Strength Bench Press only out of fear for this very reason.


Yeah there is a difference between a drop and a missed rep which is the main thing your watching for when spotting. In powerlifting with people on both sides they might be prepared to catch a dropped lift but in a regular gym setting your mostly waiting for them to say they need help first which is often a failing but not yet failed rep, far from a drop.


Very clever


We had somebody come in that dropped a bar on his face. I changed my setup on the bench after that.


Not true a guy at my old gym was pressing 250ish plus chains, I wasn’t spotting him but I saw he was about to lose his grip so I ran over and caught an end of the barbell and basically flipped it so it wouldn’t hit his face.


Very sad.

I feel bad for the spotter. You’d just feel terrible if you thought you might have prevented it.

I do not like to have a spotter’s hands in my line of vision when I’m benching. I’d rather have them slightly behind the bar with hands close, but not actually hovering around the bar. Anyway, stories like this almost make me not want to spot someone! I have been spotting for a friend who just benched 315 lbs yesterday. Talk about hyper vigilance. I was watching like a hawk.


So if he’d locked it out over his head and then let go, you could’ve caught it?


When I first read this, I thought you were talking about X-men. Really weird mental image.

Then I remembered the good old days…


Bubbula read what I wrote more carefully


sigh, I understood you perfectly. You don’t seem to understand the difference between what you did and catching a dropped barbell.


I know guys who powerclean 315lbs with axles, drug free, I don’t think it is impossible for a person to accomplish a feat if they are under adrenaline or paying attention. There are plenty of recorded instances of people lifting cars after getting in an accident to save someone’s life. Besides, you only need to stop it from hitting their neck or lower ribcage where their heart and throat are. So you don’t have to catch it, per se, just give the bar enough momentum so it hits their chest. I fell from an ATV while doing a jump when I was 13 years old. I landed on my chest and broke my solar plexus, but not my sternum. Youd be surprised how tough the human body is.

Id like to also say, despite whatever is reported in the story, I believe whoever was lifting was clearly beyond their limits in doing so. I also believe they had shit spotters. I don’t expect this to be told in the news report, however. As far as Ive experienced, it is hard to get seriously injured lifting unless you are not obeying your personal limits.


Cocaine’s a helluva drug.


Well do us all a favour and unrack 315 and drop it on yourself to see if your spotter can catch it.

You’d be doing t-nation a service.


Youd be less stressed out if you didn’t take everything I (and probably other people) said personally. If the guy was really dropping it on himself as you described, it would have probably been a suicide attempt, but it seems like it could be attributed more to error in his judgement and his spotters judgement. Sad but sometimes life works out that way.


I take nothing personally. I just want you to drop a really heavy barbell on your face so you’ll stop saying stupid stuff all the time.