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Top 4 Spotting Tips for the Squat

In this quick article, I am going to show you some important coaching cues for how to correctly spot for back squats. An important note to remember is that while spotting technique for different squat variations is similar, there are a few minor tweaks here and there.

For example, the spot for front squats is set with the coach locking onto the lats and driving up on the triceps / elbows – to keep the athlete’s torso upright.  And for powerlifting box squats, the coach would setup back a little further due to the greater range of the hip hinge.

For this article, we will focus on back squats.

Top 4 Coaching Cues for Spotting Back Squats

 Tip #1:  Give the Lifter Some Space

Don’t crowd the lifter during the movement.  If you’re too close, you’ll knock them out of the pattern/groove.  If you’re too far back, you won’t have enough leverage to assist when they need it.

Tip #2:  Keep Control

When spotting, you need to control everything that is happening with the athlete’s torso to ensure it remains upright and they remain in a good position throughout.  This means not only reaching past their chest and supporting them from the front, but also clamping down – with your forearms – on their lats to secure them tightly.

Tip #3:  Keep Cuing and Calling Out Technique

Through each rep and each set, keep giving your athletes cues and corrections to make sure they are focusing on the task at hand.  Hey, even elite powerlifters are coached with each rep.  Head up, chest up, spread the floor, catch your air, get tightrepetition with the cues is the key.  They might already know them if they’ve been with you for a while, but keeping them focused and hyper aware will always keep their form tight.

Tip #4:  Check the Setup

Is the bar loaded evenly?  Is the bar centered on their back?  Do you need additional side spotters for a max effort?  Are the collars on the bar?  Always look for these small things because they can make a big difference in safety and proper execution.

By on June 26th, 2012


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Comments (7)

  1. Posted by - Darren on June 26, 2012

    Thanks for this Smitty. There is a lot of technique stuff about but little on spotting the squat. Cheers.

  2. Posted by - Grant Lofthouse on June 26, 2012

    Love it Smitty. Thanks bro.

  3. Posted by - Tim Coon on June 26, 2012

    Very helpful. Thanks

  4. Posted by - Tim Coon on June 26, 2012

    Very helpful. Thanks

  5. Posted by - Conor on June 28, 2012

    Cool tips Smitty!! Keep it up!

  6. Posted by - Ss_stingray on July 3, 2012

    Hey thx smitty this was amazing I’m in the process of getting my certification for a PT. I’ve bought several of your programs and the more I watch the more I’ve been learning just like this video for spotting on squats. Keep the good work up! Steve

  7. Posted by - momboteri on October 4, 2012

    Hi Smitty, I’m a first time visitor, here. I’ll be back. Great instructions. I train ONLY women (I’m also female), and I’d like to know if the “cupping” grip you’re featuring, along with squeezing the lats, is close enough to the armpits so that I’m NOT grabbing someone’s boobs! Funny question, I know… but not funny when I think about having to spot someone and ending up in an embarrassing situation. My gals aren’t squatting huge weight, but some of them are newbies who also require a legitimate spot. Thanks!

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