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Proper Techniques for Spotting Squats

by
author image Michael Hartman
Michael Hartman is a sport scientist, and recognized expert in training for performance. He earned his doctorate in exercise physiology and has previously worked as a collegiate strength and conditioning coach and sport scientist at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, where he was a member of the USA Weightlifting Performance Enhancement Team.
Proper Techniques for Spotting Squats
A man is squatting. Photo Credit Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

The barbell squat is an exercise used to increase strength and size of the lower body. The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles are used to raise and lower a barbell through a deep knee bend. The position of the barbell, placed across your upper back at the base of the neck, requires proper spotting technique to ensure safe execution of the exercise.

Safety Equipment

The barbell squat enables you to move a large amount of weight through a complete range of motion with experienced trainees often capable of squatting in excess of two-times bodyweight. Based on the amount of weight used, it may be necessary to perform squats inside a power rack. A power rack is designed with safety bars in place in the event you are not capable of completing the lift.

Single Spotter

A single spotter stands behind you when you perform the squat exercise. The spotter will place hisr arms under your arms with his hands against your upper chest. If necessary, the spotter can assist you in completing the movement by applying pressure to your torso, raising you up to the finished position.

Multiple Spotters

When the amount of weight used in the squat exercise exceeds what a single spotter can safely lift, it is necessary to use multiple spotters. Two spotters will stand on opposite sides of the barbell. If necessary the spotters will assist you in completing the movements by lifting the ends of the barbell until you are able to finish the exercise. A third spotter may be used to stand behind you during the exercise and assist, if necessary.

Communication

Regardless of the number of spotters employed, proper communication between lifters and spotters is necessary to ensure safe execution of the squat exercise. You should inform your spotter how many repetitions you are attempting to complete. The spotter should inform you when he is assisting you in completing the exercise. When you know that he is there to help, you are able to continue to push through the complete range of motion of the exercise.

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