Spotting: A skill every CrossFit athlete must learn!


Spotting: A skill every CrossFit athlete must learn!

We have finished our first week of Coach Peterson’s programming and it has been like hell week upsideimg_3835 down. I see great work from everyone and previous PRs have fallen. Under Coach Peterson’s programming we have had little time for the usual chit chat between lifts. The hour has been filled with learning, lifting and focus. Personally I have loved the change. As your coaches we have stepped up to the challenge.

We walked away from Week 1 with a better understanding of what is needed moving forward. As a coaching staff we will continue to work with Coach Peterson to address these areas. One change you will see right away is co-coaching in the evening. Mel will step into this role during the week in the evenings to assist at 5:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I will co-coach on Mondays. Until we find a new coach that fits with our community you will see us helping out on the floor as we implement the new program. This will allow the head coach to finish with each class without having to rush off to coach the next class. One of the best qualities of CrossFit is the social aspect and we want to be able to provide you with the time to enjoy the shared suffering!

Now, the next change we are making and the main point of this blog–Spotting. This skill can help you lift the heavier weights safely. Without a spotter you are left with the option of bailing out of the weight. If thisoly5 is done improperly you can injure yourself. Spotting also has the added benefit of helping you get to know your fellow Iron & Grit mates a little better. This is because spotting requires communication between athletes. A deeper connection allows each of us to know that a nod means you are ready to lift. A “help” whispered is your way of letting your spotters know if the lift just isn’t happening today or perhaps you are more vocal and need to yell out that you need help. No matter your style of lifting, having team mates who literally have your back can help you hit PRs but more importantly stay safe.

The first thing you must know is that some lifts just are NOT to be spotted: The Olympic Lifts (Clean & Jerk/Snatch), Push Press, Jerks! Any kind of movement with speed behind the bar is not to be spotted. Those can be dumped or bailed safely to the front or back and definitely not safe for the spotter because of the power and speed behind the bar. Don’t do it!

Shoulder press is not a movement that needs to be spotted either. Do not stand behind someone hoping to help them. Sometimes as coaches we stand behind the lifter to help them bring it down safely but we have experience with this and communication with our athlete has happened prior to the lift.

The best spotting lifts are the back squat and bench press. Front squats maybe, those can be dumped to the front but still possible to spot if done properly. Over the next few weeks we will add spotting technique to the program on days we are lifting back squat, bench press and front squat.

Meanwhile, here is a little tutorial:

img_4537Be in the squat stance ready incase the lifter can not complete the lift. Eyes should be on the lifter and not wandering around the gym. As soon as the lifter communicates he/she can not complete the lift then you are ready for Step 2.




You are now in position to hook the bar into the nook of your arm and position your other hand on the bumper plates to safely hold the bar from falling forward or backwards. It is important for the lifter to know they can not bail out or nose dive out of the way–I’ve actually seen this done! You have to stay with the barbell. You will put both you and your spotters in danger if you leave them to lift the weight on their own. Instead stand up with the bar as they help you stand up the weight. If you are feeling injured let them know you have to bail and drop forward out of the way. This is only if you are unable to stand up!

img_4538Walk the barbell back to the rack and call it a day! Don’t let ego get inimg_4542 the way of your safety or those around you. Remember we are doing this for longevity and health. PRs are awesome but an injury will sideline you and that is no fun.

Happy Lifting! Stay Positive and Keep It Safe!

Peace, Deadlifts and Donuts,

Coach Tina