Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Spotters Are Key

Weight-training is a very demanding sport that requires good form, control, and full range of motion throughout the exercise. All athletes strive to excel in their chosen sport, but unlike team sports, ours is a personal sport. No one wants to disappoint teammates or a beloved coach, but never is taste of failure more bitter than when we fail ourselves.

The athlete will exhaust his/her all and wear out the reserves. The concept of training to failure (far surpassing the fatigue-level) is ideal, but without proper supervision, the athlete runs the risk of injuries (ranging from soreness to injuries requiring therapeutic and/or surgical treatement). But what is proper?

Lifters need to scan the gym for guys that lift according to their needs. A good spotter is someone that listens to you. Some people want a lift-off, others want help towards the end. If you look good & hard, you'll find strong people in the gym and unless they're total douchebags, they'll gladly help you out. Remember, though, that brute strength will not suffice.

Lifters progressively get stronger, gaining better control of the weight, so too do spotters grow more insightful as to your strengths, weaknesses, and insofar as what you're limits are. A spotter that's there for you on a regular basis will have the insight to gauge at what point you have reached failure and when to come in with much-needed assistance - AND - how much.

Remember, if you can't lift the weight on your own, the spotter is useless. We want spotters that can shadow us on the tail-end reps of heavy, intense sets; we don't want our spotters to be co-lifters with us.

Great spotters don't come over night, they develop into these roles, but until you find that perfect spotter, make sure to shop around. Unless you're in warm-up sets, never workout alone and don't be reluctant to ask for help. You will get your chance to repay the favor soon enough!