Ok folks, here’s the deal. Deadlifts are a solo fight. You cannot be spotting someone.
You cannot lift the bar for them, you cannot press their backs or move their knees; you cannot even boost their morale, because your friend is probably focussed on how frigging heavy the weight is.
But that’s not to say spotting isn’t useful; it’s just not as useful as an enthusiastic superhero sidekick would imagine it to be.
So what really should you be doing when you spot? How do you help your Deadlifter friend better their form? Here are five things to keep in mind, which might help you out.
Focus on their form
Deadlifts are the most clear ways to find out if you have the form you’re aiming for.
A perfect deadlift requires sharp concentration, various joints and muscles need to move in sync, and you need to be aware of the proper technique to achieve the feat you’ve set your heart on.
When you deadlift, you can make out which muscles need more work and which ones are doing fine. But most importantly, a wrong lift can cause you a world of pain and injury.
So it’s good to watch their form when someone is attempting a deadlift, and give them pointers in your own capacity later.
Is your friend looking distressed?
There’s a healthy stress that’s visible on the face, in a keen expression which occasionally looks strained.
But there’s a different class of expressions too, which makes one look like they’re about to burst into screams, or when they begin to turn all shades on blue and red.
Or you notice a tremble in their muscles. If you do notice any of these, it might be prudent to make them stop and train more before attempting another Deadlift.
Has your friend eaten recently?
The jury is out on when exactly one should eat before a workout, but there are no two opinions over the fact that you need to have a good deal of energy to workout.
Deadlifts are perhaps the most energy consuming exercise of them all, since they engage so many muscles at such a high stress.
You probably wouldn’t want them to have guzzled something 15 minutes earlier or less. But a pre-workout meal with sufficient carbs is essential to do Deadlifts safely and easily.
Is your friend motivated?
It might seem silly to you if this is your first time spotting a friend as he deadlifts, but motivating exclamations can really boost performance of an athlete.
Deadlift is as much about your arousal and intensity of belief in your own ability, getting that adrenaline pumping, than just mechanically lifting a bar of weight and getting your heart pumping.
It doesn’t have to be meaningful; just say “Yeah, you can do it! You’re doing it! Wow!” or something of that sort with conviction, and chances are your friend will actually lift much better than he would have otherwise.
Should your friend be doing Deadlifts at all?
It’s common for people to think they can jump to deadlifts the moment they spot the tiniest bit of muscle definition on their arms.
Deadlifts might seem to be about your arms, but it involves tens of other muscles. You need a strong back, legs and most importantly, a cool, trained head to do deadlifts.
If either of these is missing, you’re promised tens of injuries.
So talk with your friend before they rush into lifting. It’s better to work out to be able to do those deadlifts, than attempt them prematurely and end up on the bed for a week.