Instances where you DON'T need a spotter.
DeadliftsKeep people away from you when you're deadlifting. If it's too heavy, drop the damn weight. Don't have anybody help you with forced reps or anything ridiculous. You either do or don't.
SquatsSome people think you should have a spotter when it comes to squats. I completely disagree. You should either be squatting in a squat rack with pins that you can rest the weight on in the bottom position if you get pinned, or you get really great at dumping the weight behind you. There's no need to have someone awkwardly hug you, your butt in their groin. It's awkward for everyone.
Instances where you NEED a Spotter.
Heavy Bench Press - Specifically, your attempts at a one rep max.You shouldn't be going for a one rep max every time you hit the bench. It's stupid and it's counter productive.
But, sometimes your program calls for it. When it does, get a spotter.
1.) Ask somebody that looks like they've been in the gym game a few years.
2.) Ask someone who looks like they could row the weight you're benching, if not at least double it.
3.) Be clear about what you want. Tell him not to touch the bar unless the bar begins reversing direction.
4.) Do a count off for the lift off. One two three - lift.
5.) Make sure to thank them whether they did a good job or not.
Until next time,
Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.
The Opera Bro