T Nation

What to Do Without a Spotter?


#1

I lift at home, so at times I don't have a spotter. I only really need a spotter on the bench press, since my other lifts I can safely set down in my power rack.

If I struggle with the bench press on my last rep or something, its not possible to set it on the safety bar of the power rack because im unfortunately right in between the settings on the height for the hole, so its either too high and the bar hits it during the set or its too low and wouldn't catch the bar if I couldn't make it up.

Does anyone have ideas of what to do so I can safely bench if I don't have a spotter availible?

Also, kind of random question, but is it smart to sit down in between sets of squats? I've heard that its good to give your legs a rest but also that its bad. Or does it really not matter?


#2

Put chairs next to the bench?

Only go to active failure?

Use dumbells?

I use do a light dynamic hamstring or glute stretch between my squats.


#3

Dont go too heavy.

Rig some sort of 'spotting system' with saw horses and boards (like a pin in a rack)

DO DUMBBELL PRESSES. The barbell bench aggravates my shoulder, and I also dont often have a spotter. I prefer Dumbbell.

Find a spotter

I TOO HAVE HEARD BOTH about the squats. I prefer not to "rest" in between sets, but to do so between exercises. I feel like I lose momentum if I sit down.

Also, sititng down tends to let ourselves fall into poor posture, thus letting our back misalign after we have just been squatting with it aligned, thus forcing us to realign it next set

So, IMO, dont sit down, keep the energy up (your legs wont get that tired from standing/ walking around between sets)
and dont possibly compromise your back by sitting down and slouching forward

that is, unless you sit like you have apole up your ass (aka like we are supposed to be sitting...)


#4

Could you get some plywood and put it under your bench to lift it up? I think plywood comes in different thickness. Just figure out how much extra height you need so that the safety pins are in the right place.

bpeck


#5

Set your bench in your power rack and adjust the pins so that you can have a maximal range of motion but can still set the weight down without it crushing you.


#6

You'll have to monitor during the set whether you think you can make the next rep or not....if you are in any doubt do not attempt it! Due to the fact that you can't really push yourslf to very near failure I would add a couple (JUST 2-3) sets , this will give you the same affect of a couple or so sets less done to vey near failure.


#7

I think he's saying that the holes are spaced too far apart for protection without hitting the pins at the bottom of the lift.

Just set it too low and let the bar roll down your chest to your stomach where you can flatten down and squeeze out. Or, lift the bench up with boards or some plates as has been mentioned. Be creative.


#8

Crap, I missed that.

I would probably opt for the lowest setting you can use and maybe tie in some DB work.


#9

What type/model rack to you have? How "too low" is the lower pin setting? If it's just an inch or so, I'd probably try to rig something to pad the pins and use that setting.

It's neither smart nor dumb, it's just preference and people do both. As long as you're out from under the barbell, your legs are resting just fine. Fidgeting and walking around a bit could actually help circulation and further improve recovery.

Sometimes in between sets of squats in my garage, I'll putz around and shoot a few baskets with the hoop in my driveway. I still suck at basketball, so maybe I need to squat more. :wink:

I bet you, like most people, sit plenty during the day. Spending an hour or so on your feet, in the gym, would be a good idea.


#10

so far you guys have given me some good suggestions. I did try to use some wood in my garage to prop up my bench, but it just moved me up in between the next set of holes.

It is about an inch or so too low, the setting above is almost perfect, but unfortunatly, it will hit just barely and screw me up. I need to find a new bench anyway, just trying to find a good deal, so anything I do will be temporary. I'll try the wood blocks again, try to find some different sized ones at least.

As for squats, I'll just keep standing, probably do some stretching. Thanks for the advice


#11

don't go to failure


#12

don't put jackets on, and when you start to feel your chest cavity being imploded by the weights, drop one arm, and that will drop the weights.

honestly though, i can not think of anything constructive


#13

I have been lifting alone in my garage for a year now. Only failed 2 times on my rep work with bench. I go as high as 2 rep maxes and singles alone. I know my limits pretty damn well, and a couple of times i really had to push harder to get the last rep.

Anyway, the 2 times i failed i just rolled the weight down my chest and sat up. once with 185 or 195, and the other time with 225. If your bench is much heavier then it might be kind of hard.


#14

The simplest solution is to avoid missing lifts.


#15

I've done the same thing, I do 5x3 on the bench and have put it on my chest about 4-5 times, I've just rolled it off down to my hips and sat up to get out from under it.

I've learned that you can cheat it to the posts if you think you're in trouble, just raise your ass off the bench and it gives you a little more power to get it on the posts.


#16

Then actually there is no problem. You will not be screwed up by the lowest point of the rep being some "just barely" distance above your chest.

It might bother you from the standpoint of philosophical preference, or being able to make technically absolutely accurate claims about what you can bench based on a lift done to a fraction of an inch above your chest, but it will not harm your results.


#17

I don't know, I don't like having to bar hit the safety bars. It messes up my push up, especially if one end of the barbell is slightly lower then the other, it really throws off my balance.


#18

...Everything.

I haven't used a spotter in a long, long ass time.

Basically the ONLY exercise that truly requires a spotter are heavy barbell bench presses. Just replace those with dumbbell bench pressing and you're golden.


#19

Then touch very lightly and go, or touch very lightly, pause while keeping virtually no weight on the bars, and go. There is no reason to put weight on the spotting bars (or the chest for that matter.)

The bars should not be unequal height. If they're equal height yet you don't touch evenly, the problem is form. And if you only touch lightly, as you should, it should not throw off your balance.

There is no reason to be resting significant weight on the spotting bar at the bottom of the rep: both hands should still each be carrying almost entirely half the weight of the bar.

Anyway, you either have a non-problem or at the worst, you say it's a fraction of an inch so it should not be hard finding something thin, like a very thin piece of plywood or an exercise mat or something, to put under your bench if you instead want it exact. As others have already mentioned.


#20

Ummm, what about floor-pressing instead of bench pressing? Even if you fail bit time you wont get majorly crushed by the bar. The change to floor press might be a good change for you anyways.