Is A Weight Training Spotter Required For Significant Muscle Growth?

By: Francesco A. Castano


One of the most vital bodybuilding concepts for maximum muscle building is reaching muscular failure, where a bodybuilder takes a certain weight training exercise to a level of fatigue where no additional repetitions are possible, and this requires some form of spotting on several exercises, especially those involving the chest and legs, so many choose to pair up with a weight training partner so that they can always have a safety mechanism to protect against injury.

Even bodybuilders who otherwise would rather perform bodybuilding workout sessions alone decide to seek out a partner specifically to allow failure on certain weight training exercises, and for those who cannot find a companion for such a purpose, they will soon join a gym and bother other busy weight lifters to provide spotting during certain sets, which is not only agitating to any bodybuilder who is attempting to complete a workout without distraction, but realistically, finding such a spotter is not always easy depending on the circumstances. Although there are some bodybuilders who can locate reliable weight training partners to accompany them for each workout session, the chances are great that this will not be possible, leaving either the random spotter method (asking various gym members for assistance), which as mentioned is bothersome and annoying to others, or requires using machines exclusively, which naturally prevents the need for any spotting whatsoever.

But what if a bodybuilder seeks to train with free weights on workout exercises such as the bench press, and wishes to perform these particular weight lifting movements alone, without the benefit of a partner? This is easily doable through use of a power rack, where two beams allow positioning at various locations to guard a bodybuilder from becoming incapacitated underneath a heavy weight during the workout session. Since a power rack has movable spotting bars, the unit is not only useful for upper body weight lifting exercises such as the bench press, but also for the squat and calf raise, lower body movements which many seek to engage in using a free weight barbell instead of machines.

Some mistakenly choose to use a squat rack instead of a power rack, and this is a mistake given that the spotting beams which comprise a power rack are designed specifically to serve as a protective mechanism in case a bodybuilder relinquishes control of the bar, while a squat rack does not allow this vital level of protection. With a power rack, spotting is easily doable without assistance from a weight training partner, as you can place the weight on a small set of pegs for initial lift off, and the large, long spotting beams are positioned lower for complete protection during each weight lifting set. Many gyms provide power racks, although some may only purchase one, and any bodybuilder who understands the value of this particular piece of workout equipment will quickly monopolize the device, which requires others to either try and "work in" (which is extremely intrusive unless both bodybuilders are using identical workout exercises and weight, which rarely will ever occur), or wait for the power rack to become available, which is wasteful if you are on a strict schedule (and others may then ask you to "work in" as well!). So, if you have sufficient room at home, purchasing a power rack for your basement or home workout room is a superior alternative, as utilizing a power rack along with a workout bench, barbell, two dumbbell collars and free weight plates, dramatic muscle building is possible at home, alone, as you will achieve failure safely on all weight lifting workout exercises without need for a spotter.

The other serious difficulty with attempting to find a weight lifting partner to spot during heavy bench pressing and other similar workout exercises is that, unless you train with an army of numerous extremely powerful bodybuilders, it's quite easy to become incapacitated underneath a weight even when a spotter is watching you train, as reaching failure requires that you can no longer muster the energy to complete a repetition on your own power, and for any spotter to lift dead weight from a standing position is especially difficult, to the point where the spotter may be unable to help you avoid becoming stuck underneath a barbell as your available strength declines during a workout set. But with a power rack, this is never an issue, as you simply transfer the spotting beams to a location where the barbell cannot cause you to become trapped underneath, regardless of how monstrous a weight you may be using for your bodybuilding workouts, so I strongly recommend, even if you train with a reliable and very powerful partner, to always use a power rack for spotting during all pressing exercises so that you can ensure a heightened sense of safety and maximum intensity without needlessly risking a significant injury.

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Francesco Castano owns IncrediBody.com, an online fitness superstore selling fitness equipment at guaranteed lowest prices.

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