How to Spot the Bench Press

Stay safe and strong in the gym by learning how to properly spot the bench press with these Pro Tips.

October 29, 2019

Ready to add more weight to your bench press workout? Before loading those extra plates onto the barbell, consider using a spotter. Spotters can help upgrade your safety, as they watch over you and the weight, making sure the right form is being used.

Spotters can be your regular workout partner or a fellow gym-goer lending a helping hand. Corrective exercise and performance enhancement specialist Drew Walsh says having a spotter when adding weight to your lift is vital.

“It is important to make sure that the athlete is comfortable and confident lifting heavier loads without sacrificing form or technique,” Walsh says.

He emphasizes that communication is key in the weight room.

“When it comes to spotting the bench press, the main concern is safety,” Walsh says. “Communication between the lifter and spotter is important to help execute the lift safely.”


Before getting into your spotting position, make sure that the lifter wants help with their set. If so, proceed to stand behind the bench. Your body should be facing the lifter, with their head closest to you.

Once the lifter lies on the bench and grabs hold of the barbell, the spotter will:

  • Use an alternating grip (one hand gripping the bar on top, the other underneath) to help lift the weight off the rack. Your hands should be inside of the lifter’s hands, not outside.
  • Wait for the lifter’s count and bring the barbell up into a starting position. Be sure to make note of the lifter’s movements, as their arms should be outstretched with the barbell in the air.
  • Keep your hands close to, but not touching, the bar. Your hands should remain in the alternating grip position, with one palm facing down to the floor and the other toward the ceiling.
  • Begin to assist when needed. Walsh says that when the bar takes a sudden drop, to immediately assist. “This is not to be mistaken for the bar slowing down or the athlete showing signs of struggle,” Walsh says.
  • Safely rack the barbell with the lifter.

Be sure to communicate with the lifter on how many reps they plan on doing. Ask the lifter questions if you’re unsure of their personal lifting preference.

Now that you know how to spot the bench press, learn how to assist others in spotting the barbell squat with these Pro Tips.