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KimShea

Is a spotter necessary?

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Hi all, Probably should post this in the Powerlifting board, but I'm feeling slightly more comfortable here.  My question is for the ladies who've done some powerlifting type lifts...  Especially Squats and bench press or overhead press.  Question is, do you need to have a spotter to do these?  I'm not ready for them yet, but I've started a dumbbell routine and I'm working on increasing the weight that I can manage until I feel I can handle the bar.  I'm thinking I'd like to try StrongLifts once I can press and squat the bar.  I'm fairly sure I wouldn't kill myself at 45 pounds, but the only people going to the gym with me are my 13 and 17 year old daughters.  They could spot me a little, but if I get very much weight going, they won't be able to help me if needed.  Plus they're even more clueless than I am.  So how does this work?  Do I need to hire a trainer?  Look for some poor burly dude trying to mind his own business and try to coerce him to help me?  I assume I'm months away from needing to know any of this, but I keep wondering how this is going to work.  I'm a major introvert so this is giving me some anxiety, actually.  Stupid but there you go.

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As long as you aren't maxing, but rather being at about 80-85% of max, then your daughters CAN spot you. Honestly, the spotter usually only needs to put 10-15 lbs. of force on the bar for you to lift it(depending on total lbs., of course. Not gonna take 10-15 off a 600 lbs. bench and make too much difference.),

 

Alternatively, maybe you can bench in a power rack, with safety pins in place. I know people hate power rack benchers, but it's your damned workout and they can kiss it. As long as someone is putting in work and not being chatty, taking too much time, I see no problem with it.

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Overhead Press - you do not need a spotter, you just set the bar back down. 

 

Bench Press - you only need a spotter for days when you intend to push past what you think is your limit. A lot of people train without a spotter and then only ask for a spot when they know the set is going to be hard or are testing their max.

 

Also, what Brawlrus said, the spotter only need to be able to relieve enough weight that you can push it up the rest of the way, just 5 to 15#. I can only bench about 85#, deadlift 200# but can easily spot someone benching 300# because all I need to do is pull up with enough force that they can get it the rest of the way.

 

It takes a long time for a woman to bench enough weight that they would need more help than your daughters could give. Have them practice spotting you at a weight you know you can do and you will see what I mean. :) 

 

@Emerald_Dragonfly is another female lifter and she lifts in her home gym and can second my thoughts / add her own two cents to the coin purse.  

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Hi!

I lift at home, usually by myself.  I agree with all of the above. 

 

Overhead press needs no spot - if you 'fail' the lift, you just can't lift it up (past your forehead if you are like me), and it settles back down to starting position.  I guess it's possible to fail it catastrophically, but even then, you would just drop it and make a loud noise.  :-)

 

Squats need no spot if done in the power rack with the adjustable safety bars put in place.  If you fail a squat, that just means you squat down and can't get back up.  So you squat down even more and the bar itself rests on the safeties, you climb out from under.  No harm, no foul. 

51V47Lk5LpL._SY355_.jpg

The bars on the sides that look like they can be pulled out are the safeties.

 

 

squat-girl.jpg

This lady is squatting (I'm not going to critique her form here).  - notice how she has the safeties at a height which allows her to squat down, but that if she fails, she can set the bar down and get out.  I have failed several times - only thing hurt was my pride.  ;-)

 

Bench, though...bench is a bit trickier, because if you fail a bench, the bar could be resting on YOU, which is bad news.  So we either drag the bench into the power rack and use those same safeties

maxresdefault.jpg

(second choice, cuz boobs) or get a spot.  

 

 Noworries, your girls can totally spot you - they will only lift a few pounds, even when you fail, you will still push as much of the weight up as you can, they are just there to help a bit!

A spotter should not be taking the weight from you, but should give you a teeny tiny bit of an assist. 

 

I say train your girls to spot you!  They will be lifting less than the weight of a gallon of milk when they give you an assist.   Big burly stranger spots are also acceptable - I have never had a guy say that he wouldn't spot me - they are sometimes too helpful, though and assist before I need it.  /Shrug

 

 

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Emerald Dragonfly, OMG, thank you!  I don't know anything about the rack and didn't know there were even safties to use.  That was so very helpful, and relieves a lot of my anxiety about switching up to using the bar.  Thanks!!

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