How To Spot Someone Bench Pressing & Not Be A Gains Thief!

aprox reading time - 8 minutes

How to Spot Someone Bench Pressing – Article Outline

  1. Intro
  2. What Not To Do
  3. Questions to Ask
  4. What To Do If They Fail
  5. Conclusion

Intro: How To Spot Someone Bench Pressing

We’ve all been there before. You are in the middle of your set looking swole and then a gym bro (or girl) comes up to you and asks you for a spot on bench press. This isn’t your first time being asked and surely won’t be your last. So what should you do? Do you know how to spot someone bench pressing? Maybe the best way to answer this question is to first identify what you shouldn’t do and then highlight what you should do.

What Not To Do

The video below highlights what not to do. Don’t grab the bar prematurely….ever!


Believe it or not, spotting someone on bench press can be tricky. You don’t know how strong the individual is nor what their goals are. Sometimes, people ask for spots that only half rep because they heard that “benching to chest is bad for your shoulders” which may have you wondering why they even asked you for a spot to begin with. While it is incumbent upon the person asking for a spot to specify how exactly they would like for you to spot them, sometimes people forget to tell you and expect you to know. In these situations and as much of an inconvenience it may be (since you are the one spotting them), you should take the initiative to ask them a few questions such as…

Questions To Ask

  1. How Many Reps are You Going For?

Some people have dedicated programs they are following where they are trying to hit a certain number of reps and plan on going to near failure to complete all the reps. I mean, we hope that if they are asking for a spot to begin with, it’s because they need one. It’s a waste of time to ask someone for a spot for a weight you know you can get. If it’s a 1 rep max, then they may also need a lift off and some help towards the end if they are in danger of hurting themselves.

2. Do you Need a Lift Off?

This is a critical question to ask as I have seen some people who expect a lift off and others that hate one. As simple as it may be, all a lift off is is a lift up and slightly out. Avoid throwing the bar towards them. Also, don’t be afraid to get very personal with them by having your reproductive organs dangle over them in order to be able to properly help them with a lift off. As soon as they have the bar in control, then you can back off slightly. Also be sure to ask them if they want your hands hovering the bar while they are pressing. Some people don’t mind while it throws others off.

3. When Should I Grab The Barbell?

This is probably the most crucial question. Some people can grind out reps even if they hit a sticky point. The last thing you want to do is grab the bar when they are grinding it out. On the contrary, some people will need help once they need a sticking point in which case you should aid them gently. In order to help the individual get the most benefits out of the lift even they fail, you should help them only enough where they can actually move the weight. Do not move the weight for them! Don’t be a gains thief lol.

What To Do If They Fail?

In the event that the person you are spotting starts to fail on the rep and you know that they won’t be able to get the weight up you have a few options. The choice you make ultimately depends on your own strength.

  • If you are capable of moving the weight then you should lift the bar up and place it on the main hooks.
  • If you are not capable of moving the weight but you can hold the weight, then pull the bar back and place it on the safety hooks where you can then un-rack some of the weight and move it back up to the main hooks.
  • If you cannot lift the weight or hold the weight (worse case scenario) then grab one side of the bar and lift up with all your might! One side of the bar will fall but should still leave room for minimal crushing or injury and you only have to lift 50% of the weight.


To put it very simply, when you ask for a spot, take 30 seconds to go over with your spotter your expectations. Tell them if you need a lift off, whether you want their hands hovering the bar, when they should help, and how much they should help.

And for some laughs here’s a hilarious video by Dom Mazzetti depicting how to ask for a spot.