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Bench Pressing safely without a spotter?


New member
I train at home by myself. Currently I am doing the Three Day Split barbell prog. I have been benching without a spotter but began with a 12 rep max for a safety buffer. I work up to 8 reps per set. I want to bench safely but I know that over time the margin for safety will shrink. So continual monitoring for fatigue at every rep is critical in order to avoid a barbell necktie. Today I was reading in MUSCLE LOGIC by Charles Staley the lifting technique of CAT (Compensatory Acceleration Training) where you lift a somewhat moderately/lighter weight - but you lift it very quickly (speed lift) on the eccentric then more slowly on the concentric which creates muscle tension in much the same way that lifting a heavier weight more slowly would. For those who bench without spotters (sounds stupid right?) does sound reasonable?..Dennis


New member
I've been doing the "work out at home" thing for years, and I've learned to stick to Dumbell 15-35% incline benches. I don't know what the Three Day Split barbell prog is, but if your working for a set of 12 I don't see why you couldn't improvise the safety of two dumbells that will equal the one barbell of whatever you have to calculate. Also it's actually much easier to get those dumbells in/out of position if your using a 15% degree angle as opposed to doing a flat benches, AND you'll work your pecs better (if that's what your looking for, btw). You can generate a lot of tension with two very heavy, awkward dumbells. To give an example, I just did 5x2 with a pair of 110 DBs today. I failed on the last set and was still able to easily set the DBs down. Well, maybe not "easily", but I didn't have to just drop them like you see on several youtube videos.

Also, I take what Charles Staley says with a grain of salt. I tried EDT a while ago (as instructed on the DVD I bought) and platued pretty quickly. And never really got a clear answer as to what to do when the platue (sp?) happens. I also may be a little nit-picky with this next statement, but the guy isn't very physically impressive, and I've never read about any really great strenght accomplishments from him, so that leaves me a bit unimpressed. You could call what I do to be a version of EDT (amount of work done in a given amount of time), but I had to water it down with a mindset of 5/3/1 to make it work for me.

If you can substitute DB benches for a Barbell Bench, then do so. The only people who truly need to BB bench are competitive power lifters. If you can get a pair of olympic handles and good collars, you can put a lot of weight on those things. If you don't mind shortening the ROM, then even using 35# plates is a possibility, though I prefer using 25# plates. I'm nowhere near this, but I'd like to think a set of 12 with a pair of 150's would make me pretty hot sh%t, and I could always pursue this in the happiness that is my garage, WITHOUT the need of a training partner.

Just food for thought.


New member
I have Power Blocks and C&P dumbells. For now I can handle a BB without fearing the weight. I am in solid control and the weight is not heavy - yet. You are right. Pressing with DBs is the safest alternative if you don't have a spotter. I asked about CAT because I understood it to be a method of benching a lighter weight and reap the same strength benifits as you would get from lifting a weight somewhat heavier and is safer. Thanks for the reminder about DBs. Looking at my 3Day Split prog from Purposeful Primitive I see that Barbells and Dumbells are alternated btwn benching sessions. I know at some point I will do strict DB benches, until I can get me a spotter...Dennis


New member
Deadpress is an excellent option for heavy solo pressing, no risk of injury at all. You can set this up in the power rack, on jerk blocks, or off the floor with homemade wooden blocks.

I made my own station for this. Put a rubber mat on the floor. Cut to pieces off a 6x8 two feet in length, these will serve as the blocks, add small strips of scrap wood to each end, I used a 1x2, this will keep the weight from Rollin off the ends. Take a 2x6 cut two pieces three feet long and screw them together to make a 4x6, this is the bench. Now you have a deadbench station that can accommodate over 1000lbs safely. Depending on your arm length and chest diameter you may need to add height to the blocks.

Get to work.


New member
I got a squat cage and weights for $300 off of craigslist. The bailout bar heights are at just the right height that I can position them such that if I need to I can roll the bar up or down and slip out if I put the bar on the bailout bars. If the pre-drilled positions don't work for you with this kind of setup, you can always get tow chain and adjust to the right height.

The rack allows one to easily do max effort rack pulls, bench presses, etc.

I've been reading Louie Simmons books, and although he advocates the 'dynamic method' of accelerating submaximal weights with maximum speed to develop maximum explosive strength, he notes that it's not the same as lifting max weights.
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