Muscle-Building Tips 101: How To Spot Someone At The Gym

Muscle-Building Tips 101: How To Spot Someone At The Gym

8 min read


27 May 2024

Hack Beast Mode

  1. What is ‘spotting’ and why is it important?
  2. How to spot someone at the gym: THE golden rules
  3. How to spot according to muscle-boosting exercise
  4. Final thoughts…

If you’re migrating from muscle-building home workouts to the gym, chances are that you find some parts of the experience a little intimidating.

But, listen. You don’t need to be—and we’ll tell you why. When you’re in the gym, everyone is focused on getting their pump on. And any good gym goer is always willing to lend a helping hand when it’s needed.

Sure, you get your odd sour-faced, self-obsessed poser, but most people will have your back when it comes down to brass tacks. And, usually, it comes in the form of ‘spotting.’

Spotting someone at the gym is one of the best skills you’ll ever learn. Knowing how to spot will boost your confidence, help you connect with like-minded muscle-builders, and make you pretty popular.

Yeah, spotting at the gym will level up your gym game. And the good news is…we’re going to tell you how to do it right now.

Time to get pumped.

Woman spotting man

What is ‘spotting’ and why is it important?

Before we tell you how to spot like a boss and earn maximum kudos at the gym, let’s look at why as a muscle-building gym goer it’s important to know about.

Keeping things safe 

Spotting at the gym isn't just about lifting heavy—it's about avoiding disaster. A good spotter (like you’re now destined to be) can swoop in if things go south, preventing potential injuries like getting pinned under a barbell.

Pushing limits 

Being a good spotter means that you’ll empower your gym buddies to go all out without worrying about getting stuck mid-lift. It's like having a safety net for your gains—lifting heavier weights, breaking through plateaus, and leveling up your strength game. 

In a sense, being a good spotter is like being a motivational coach and a muscle mass-boosting safety warden. And, if you’re a good spotter, people will return the favor. It’s a win-win. 


As we mentioned, if you’re a good spotter—you’ll earn serious kudos at the gym. Not only will this make you more popular, but being well respected where you work out will make for a far more fun, pleasant, and encouraging training experience. If you’re really popular, you might even be invited to cut the queue when waiting for the machines (on occasion, of course!).

Better together

Whether you're hitting new PRs or just trying to stay safe, spotting makes the gym experience, well…better. It's not just about the gains—it's about the camaraderie and shared victories. So, grab a buddy and spot each other to greatness.

Read: The beginner's guide to proper gym etiquette

How to spot someone at the gym: THE golden rules

man spotting man

Now you know why knowing how to spot someone in the gym is so important, we’re going to tell you how to get the job done.

But first…

What is a gym spotter, exactly?

Being a gym spotter is all about assisting a fellow weightlifter in performing a certain exercise (like a bench press) in a way that is safe and controlled.

By standing above or behind the person you’re spotting, the aim is to help them perform as many reps of an exercise as they can using the correct form and preventing injury.

And if things you wrong, and they can’t get the weight up off themselves, or are stuck in a squat, you’re there to help them out of that tricky situation. 

Identify when someone needs a spot

When it comes to increasing muscle mass, consistency, as well as confidence, is key. When you’re in between sets or waiting to use a piece of equipment, scan around and see if you can spot someone who needs a spot.

If you see someone about to take on a colossal compound exercise with a pretty serious amount of weight on their own, go and ask if they need spotting.

Be friendly, ask if they want a spot, and if they say yes—assume the position—which brings us to our next point.

Get your stance right

Once you’ve decided to spot someone, you’ll need to get your stance just right for maximum success—and safety.

Here are some pointers on how to get your ‘gym spotting stance’ just right…

  • Start by positioning yourself close enough to grab the weight if needed but not so close that you're in the way of the person you’re trying to spot
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart for stability, with your knees slightly bent. Maintain a straight back and engage your core muscles
  • Bend your arms at the elbows with your hands ready to support the weight if necessary 
  • Stay focused and attentive, ready to assist without interfering unless the chips are down and you need to lift the weight from above the person you’re spotting
  • Always communicate clearly with the person you're spotting to ensure you know what exercise they’re attempting and when they’re planning to start their set 

With the right stance and attention, you’ll never fail. You’ve got this!

Work together. Be motivational.

Just now, we touched on the importance of communication. When you’re spotting someone in the gym, you should see yourself as a teammate for gaining muscle.

Check-in with your teammates to make sure they’re comfortable before they start their sets—and be as encouraging as you can throughout. This will help your ‘spotee’ get the most out of their workout, resulting in more muscle growth.

Read: Level up: Progressive overload to take your bulk up a notch

How to spot according to muscle-boosting exercise

Now that you know the golden rules, let’s look at how to spot someone in the gym according to three popular muscle-boosting exercises.

Let’s start with a classic.

Bench press

man spotting bench press

The bench press is a chest-boosting heavyweight of a training exercise. It requires strength, control—and a kick-ass training partner—to get the job done. 

Here’s how to be the best spotter for the bench press.

Hand position

Use an alternating grip, keeping your hands around shoulder-width apart. Avoid grabbing the bar or obstructing the lifter's movement.

Lift off 

Help the lifter in taking the bar off the bar rests and positioning it over their chest. Doing so will help them start with better form and reduce any unnecessary  strain on the shoulders.


Before they start lifting, make sure your training partner is comfortable and have the bar securely positioned.

Follow the bar

Once they begin pressing, keep your hands close, following the movement of the bar without actually touching it. That way, you can take action and take the weight of the bar if needed.


woman spotting squats

When it comes to building muscle in your legs and strengthening your core, weighted squats are an icon of a movement. Here’s how to spot someone when performing squats.

Arm position

Stand close with your arms just underneath the lifter’s armpits.

Leg position

Take a wider stance to squat directly behind them without blocking their movement.

Follow the bar

Keep your hands ready to assist, but don't touch them unless needed. If they struggle, be ready to pounce into action and lift from underneath their armpits.

Safety spotters

Consider having extra spotters for extra safety, especially if you think the lifter could struggle to return to a standing position. This way, you can bail them out safely in the event of a lifting emergency.

Shoulder press (seated)

shoulder press spot

The shoulder press is a powerhouse of an exercise. It’s perfect for building muscle in your delts, traps, tris, and pecs. And, it’s an essential part of any muscle-boosting training routine. 

Here’s how to spot someone performing shoulder presses.

Weight placement

Help your lifters get into position before they start. If needed, help them lift the dumbbells into the shoulder press position.

Hand position

Check if the lifter wants support at their wrists or elbows. If they need elbow support, position the middle of your palms underneath their elbows to assist when they struggle. For full wrist support, cuff your hands close to their forearms to step in if necessary.

Leg position

Maintain a stable stance with a wider leg position to ensure your stability while spotting the lifter during the shoulder press.

Follow through

Let the lifter take the lead and closely follow their movement without touching them unless requested. Keep a small gap of around 2cm to quickly step in and assist if they struggle.


The deadlift is a beast of an exercise and, if executed right, will result in maximum muscle gains in the glutes, hamstrings, core, back, and trap area. In most cases, people don’t need a spotter when doing deadlifts.

But, when someone is going heavy, it doesn’t hurt to have someone's back. Here’s how to do it the right way.

Starting Position

Feet shoulder-width apart, with the barbell over mid-feet, hips higher than knees, back straight.


Push through your heels, keeping your back straight. Follow your lifter as they execute their movement with your body weight evenly distributed.


Ensure smooth, controlled movements and provide feedback or encouragement if you think it will help.

Read: Free weights vs. machines: Which is best?

Final thoughts…

woman spotting woman

Spotting someone in the gym is a vital role. Not only is it an essential training skill, but it will help you to build friendships and tap into community, which can help you push through when things get touch and motivation gets low.

Building muscle is all about pushing yourself and being consistent. And if you scratch someone’s back in the gym—they’re likely to scratch yours back. That way, everyone wins (epic gains all around!).

Now, lace up those gym shoes and get spotting—you’ve got this! Oh, and for more insider advice for building muscle, check out our full library of training and recovery guides. It’s time to hack Beast Mode.

Over 299,434 purchases

Over 509,389 bottles sold

Over 30,563,340 pills taken



Flash Sale

Get 20% off using the code sale20



Offer expires in






Offer expires in