The Art Of The “Lift OFF” – Dylan Spina

Dylan Spina – @DylanSpina61

“How much ya bench?!” has to be the number one phrase asked by all gym bros at least once. Anyone who has ever laid their back down on a bench press knows, the heavier the weight the harder it is to un-rack.  Leading to the inevitable question of “Bro, can you spot me??”

Anyone can spot someone. It doesn’t take much knowledge to be able to help lift the bar off the rack for the athlete benching. When the bench press becomes more serious as lifters are practicing for competitions or the weights get heavy, where every inch counts, the more particular and specific the lift off needs to be.

Things to avoid:

Pulling the bar to high off the rack

  • This forces the athlete to get out of position because you literally pulled him out

Not setting the bar in position

  • One thing I see often with new spotters is not ‘walking’ the weight into a set position
  • Doing this forces the lifter to struggle to get into position giving the risk of not engaging key muscles such as the Lats therefore putting more strain on the anterior deltoid.

Not staying with the athlete throughout the lift

  • Most of the time when an athlete needs a lift they’ll need a spot also
  • Some newer spotters will just leave and continue their session without watching the athlete complete the repetions. This should go as a no-brainer as to how dangerous of an outcome this could be, as you may need to bring the bar back to the rack for the athlete.

Things to do:

Giving just a bump

  • When the athlete is ready to un-rack the weight, hell signal by either the big breath or a 1,2,3 countdown variation, he’ll push against the bar.
  • The only job the spotter has at this point is to “Bump” the weight over the lip of the rack.
  • Ensuring you’re not lifting too much or too little

Set the bar into position

  •  This is completed by helping guide the weight over where the lifter would like to start the lift.
  • Ensuring the bar is set properly once again takes the stress off the muscles that aren’t intended to use for the lift.

Stay with the athlete

  • As more of a mental clarity for the athlete, knowing the spotter is there will help the athlete by knowing you’re there just in case
  • This is also where it is your job to save in case of failure and to safely walk back into the rack


“Are you asking for a lift-off or hand out?” – Dave Tate

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