A good friend of mine once wrote a book called “Failing Forward” his name is John Maxwell. It’s a great read that has nothing to do with fitness but I am able to channel my inner fitness nerd and draw an important parallel. I have a client who says “stop increasing the weights, I don’t want to fail.” My response after I of course increase the weights is, “yes, I do want you to fail!” Quality spotting is not only about injury prevention, it allows you to push yourself beyond your capacity. As you have heard me say many times.... "Push yourself BEYOND what you thought you could do, otherwise you will always stay the same.” Quality spotting is important for this. If you have been training for a while (6 months or more) you are going to challenge yourself to the extent of failure. Going to failure is not being able to complete the repetition goal [with good form] for the workout. We are going for 5 reps this week, so expect to fail at 3 or so, but push through and fail forward!!
Spotting needs to be address considering the groups we work out in at Fuse, typically have 3-8 participants and only 1 trainer. Yes, your trainer may be the best trainer in the 5-state area, but he or she is only one person. Check your spot technique. Your workout partner will appreciate it.
This week’s lifts are doing to be arranged in a “I go you go” situation. Example, you will do a set of chest press for 5 reps then your partner will go as you spot them. This is the format for the entire week.
Let’s get started:
DB Chest Press:
Spot Form: guide their arms by holding on to their wrists. They likely won’t need you touching their wrists until rep 6 or so. Only apply pressure to keep the weights moving (unless it’s moving quickly towards their head!!). Don’t spot them from the elbows.
The dismount: When the person is done have them hold the DBs in the down position and assist them in sitting up by pushing on their back as the do what kind of resembles a sit up.
Verbal Ques: exhale on the exertion (on the way up). Bring shoulder blades together as you go down, this allows the chest muscles to open up.
Spot Form: stand close to them with your arms ready (hands near the armpits). Make sure the weight continues to move upwards. If the momentum stops, you are too late….give them a spot!
The dismount: assist your partner into the rack. When putting the bar back in the rack, don’t worry about being gentle and quiet. Slam them back into place and let your partner get in for their set.
Verbal Ques: exhale on the exertion (on the way up). Keep the weight on the heels, sit your butt back, looking straight forward. Goal should be for the person to squat to a depth that gets their hips as low as their knees (depending on flexibility).
Hang Clean and Press:
Spot Form: stand behind partner and assist with the press portion of the lift. You can spot them from the bar or their elbows.
Verbal Ques: lots of ques on this one. Most important to remind them not to “muscle” the weight up, but to use the “hips” and momentum to move the weight.
Pull Ups or Assisted Pull Ups:
Spot Form: Unassisted pull ups should be spotted from the shoes/shins. Keep them moving up. It is important to only give your partner help on the way up, let them control on the way down.
Verbal Ques: most important is to ensure their shoulders don’t round at the top. Shoulder blades should depress not elevate.
There are many ways to spot your partner but I feel that this clears up our expectations at Fuse Fitness Coaching. Let’s get in the gym, load the rack, and fail forward!!
That being said, a lot of you are likely to set new PRs (personal records) this week, which is AWESOME! However, your coaches want you all to keep in mind that a PR is about how far YOU have come. It's about YOUR progress and no one else's. You might fail at 100lbs on bench press, but your partner fails at 150lbs. That's totally okay! Everyone's fitness journey, body, and progress is different. Progress is progress, no matter how small. That's why it's important to remind yourself that the only person you're competing with is YOU. Don't worry about the guy next to you, just remember how far YOU have come! Have I emphasized the word 'you' enough? Keep this in mind throughout the week, and remember how important it is for YOU to fail forward in the weight room!
"Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." -Samuel Beckett.