Gym Etiquette - Spotting

This is a great example of what actual real life spotting looks like: like shit

This is a great example of what actual real life spotting looks like: like shit

Why is the rudest son of a bitch writing an article series on etiquette? Because I have more experience with gym etiquette than I do wit normal etiquette. Suck my blender balls!

I googled “spotting” and got a ton of hits about vaginal bleeding.  I refined it to “spotting lifting” and got this gem:

The idea behind spotting is not to lift the weight for the lifter (that defeats the purpose completely,) but rather to be there to support proper form as you allow your lifter to “struggle” through weights that he or she might not be able to manage safely alone. As you spot, let the lifter fight through the “sticky spots” a bit and do not lift anything for him or her.”

Of course this was written by a girl. What total horse shit!

Fighting through the “sticky spots” and “struggling” is how you tear your shit to pieces. The PURPOSE of the spotter is to keep the bar moving in a smooth continuous motion the entire set, EVEN THROUGH MULTIPLE FORCED REPS. This puts the muscle under maximum tension for the total rep range. Weight is irrelevant, what matters is that every set and every rep is conducted with the maximum force output possible. IF your dealing with a weight which you can’t get on the 5th rep and your partner helps you get 4 more reps then that means you exerted maximum force over 8 reps instead of 5. Highly purposeful indeed!


Asking For a Spot

If you want to make gains you have to go to failure. But, so few people know what they are doing it’s scary to ask for a spot. I would trust a woman I have trained myself in how to spot over any man I havent. This is because there is science and art to good spotting and bad spotting is worse than no spotting at all. Every time I hurt my rotator cuff it was from having some asshole do a shitty job spotting me. That being said you sometimes don’t have a choice and a stranger you must ask…

When to Ask For a Spot

Very close spotting from the wrist

Very close spotting from the wrist

Ask for a spot when going heavy on higher risk exercises such as the bench and squat. This reduces the amount of times you have to go ask other people to help you, which is rude to some. Real men like it however, the opportunity to help their brother in iron possibly break a PR. This is a monumental moment and sometimes a lifetime achievement goal. I remember every single person who has spotted me through a life changing lift.

Utilize fitness staff before approaching a gym member you do not know for a spot. The other gym members aren’t your bitch.. or are they? None the less most of the staff lift enough to know how to spot, since the employees usually train with one of the trainers at the gym. And these days most gym staff are either an amature fighter, powerlifter, or bodybuilder. Unless its a foo foo ‘fitness center’ like Lifetime of course;)

Close spotting from the elbows

Close spotting from the elbows

If there is a staff member who is selling a membership or who is training a client leave them alone, don’t butt into that other customer’s time.

Sad that I have to say this but don’t distract or interrupt someone while they are in a middle of a set to ask them for a spot. Thats dangerous as well as rude.

Don’t approach a woman you don’t know, many will think your hitting on them. Unless of course shes looking at you like she WANTS you to hit on her. Just remember the chances of you misreading her body language are higher than the chances she actually wants you to hit on her so she probably doesn’t and you should just go bother someone else:)



How to properly spot a squatter. Wear dark clothes!

How to properly spot a squatter. Wear dark clothes!


Communicate to the spotter before your set about what your expectations are. This is where you tell them how many reps you’re going for and if they are to help you with forced reps and if so how many forced reps before they take it.

I myself say “Im going for eight, so dont help unless the bar stops moving. If so, then lets convert to forced reps to accumulate 8 reps.”

This is also where you tell the guy or gal to spot by your wrists, by your elbows, by the dumbbells or by the barbell. Also if you need a lift off and on what count for that lift off.

Example: “Hey could you spot me on incline [bench]? I’m going for 6 total reps but I may not get it so feel free to help me with forced reps. And can I have a liftoff with a bring out on 3? Awesome you rock!” Of course I never wait for them to say yes, just proceed like ‘of course’ they want to help me, I’m ME!

Obviously with a single there is no forced reps, just take it. To let someone struggle with a single is silly, if you would red flag an attempt for double pumping or they don’t have the pause press they wouldn’t get the lift anyway.

The bar or dumbbells should always be moving and its the spotters job to make sure they are applying force enough to keep the object MOVING. If it STOPS then the muscles may TEAR.

A close spot is having the person nearby and ready to take the bar if it stops moving. A far spot is if you want them to stay back because your gun shy of over eager spotters stealing your lift by being overly cautious. And a very near spot is when they have “ghost hands”. This is where your spotter has their hands on the bar or other device but not applying force, just tricking your subconscious mind into thinking they are helping thus giving you confidence in your combined strength greater than your confidence in your individual strength which allows you to tap into your true strength potential and handle more weight.

Now for dumbbells there is no real reason why someone has to help you get them into position. The first rep is usually spotted for presses since getting them up is harder than lowering them then re lifting them. Weird but true.

Now there are ways of using your bodyweight to get the dumbbells in position and those are called mounting techniques and I should do a video of that if I was less lazy.

A Word on Silliness

"Hey brah, how do m ballz smell?"

“Hey brah, how do my ballz smell?”

While it is common for women to playfully sit on your face when they spot you for a bench press it is not fun to smell another mans balls in that same situation. So guys please, bathe.  Men should change their gym clothes daily and be showered when they come to the gym. Women break this rule often but they often smell good dirty, men don’t.

Dont be texting someone when your person starts their lift, and if the bar starts to slow don’t put your phone away, just toss it to the side.  The amount of time to put your phone in your pocket could be the amount of time it takes to tear a pec or cut a head off.  I havent seen a fatality, but I have seen MANY near fatalities and its often from either powerlifting equipment failing without a ‘very close’ spot or just careless spotting.


Nothing in this article or on this site should be considered medical advice or as an endorsement to violate any law of the country in which you reside.  The information given is for fun and entertainment purposes only.  All claims are 100% dependent upon proper diet and exercise.  Please consult a medical practitioner prior to any diet and exercise program.

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