Tips for Safe Spotting in the Weight Room

By Alex Ewalt, FNF Coaches Contributor

Head coach Robert Weiner of powerhouse Tampa Plant (Fla.) also oversees and implements his team’s strength and conditioning program. He shares tips on how to avoid injuries in the weight room.

It may seem secondary at times, but there is a right and a wrong way to spot every lift.

A coach or trainer should know his lifting group’s capabilities, Weiner says. In the weight room, players of different strength levels will inevitably mix, and it’s important for the spotters to be able to handle their duties given the amount of weight being used.

It’s also important to train spotters to know when the lifter has reached his limit.

“It’s a fine line,” Weiner says. “We teach them the balance of having their hands around the bar as the spotter and being ready to re-rack it when necessary – but not to pull it too early, because strength gains are in the struggle.”

Spacing is important as well.

“Sometimes we’ll have our kids get really close to [the lifter] if they’re doing a lot of weight and they’re just repping it out, at which point we can help them through that.”

But the key is coordinating all spotting duties for each lift, and making sure players know what is expected of them as spotters.

“I’ll often be spotting and have our players watch and model that behavior,” he says.

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