Help a fellow gym rat push more weight – and rescue him if he can’t

1 Assess the lift

You don’t need to be able to lift the entire load – you just need to help him re-rack the bar if he struggles. Uncomfortable with the weight? Politely decline or you both
may risk injury.

2 Know his plan

Ask his rep count and if he wants a lift-off from the rack – that is, help with the initial placement. Knowing both will make for a smoother, safer effort.

3 Stand strong

Place your feet about shoulder-width apart behind the lifter’s shoulders. Find a sturdy, comfortable stance that lets you reach the bar without having
to bend your back.

4 Lift-off!

If he wants a lift, agree on a countdown and then, at the end of the count, use a comfortable grip to gently guide the bar to his preferred starting position. Don’t throw or jerk the weight; that can put strain on his stabilising muscles and shoulder joints.

5 Spot smart

Stay focused and watch his reps. Allow the lifter to struggle – to a point. If it looks like he won’t complete the lift, or the bar starts moving downwards, place your hands back on the bar and gently guide it, lifting with your legs, back onto the rack.