Evaluation by the International Association of Resistance Trainers
by a Competitive Power Lifter
COMMENTS FROM FREE-SPOTTER USERs
Just a quick note to say "thanks" for such an ingenious device!! The Barbell Free Spotter is easily one of the best additions to my home gym. I work out alone, and have never been able to confidently bench (flat bench) over 185-195 lbs, and even when benching this amount of weight I could not go to failure. I have now used the Free Spotter for about a month and am very impressed with my confidence and strength gains! Originally my goal was to get up to 8-10 reps with 225 lbs. I am already at 3-4 reps with this weight and have set my new max at 275 lbs - once unthinkable for me! In addition to using the Free Spotter for Flat, Incline, and Decline Bench Press, I use it for Shoulder Press, Squats, and Pull-ups.
You can tell I really like the overall product, since I keep buying more stuff. I saw the testimonial where the guy said he hoped it would make you rich, and I'm surprised you don't emphasize some of the less-obvious but really great aspects of the spotter. Maybe you've considered some or all of these, but I'll mention them anyway. You are also welcome to use all or part of this email on the testimonial page.
1. The benefit of not accidentally dropping the weight on yourself is obvious,
2. The benefit of being able to lift maximal weight to failure for performance improvement is obvious,
What is less obvious to a prospective buyer seems to me to be,
3. The ability to begin with the weight in the starting position. On a normal rack with a heavy weight
a. you're joints are not in a strong position and you risk injuring yourself
b. you can't move as much weight off the rack as you can do reps with, so you limit performance gains
4. This is doubly true for dumbbells, where the weight you can move in the performance range can be much more that you can get from floor to starting position
5. You could theoretically use your olympic bar as a pullup bar, eliminating one more thing from a cluttered gym space.
6. You could have a whole gym that takes up very little space when not in use. If you hang the ropes directly from the ceiling, the only things that "have" to be on the floor when not in use is a bench and a plate rack. With the barbell as pullup bar, that's one more thing out of the way.
7. And if you have a foldable Hoist Bench like me (love it), the bench doesn't even take up any space.
8. On that note, if you promoted the "whole gym" aspect, you might also build a Shermworks foldable bench and a plate rack (assuming shipping was affordable) and sell the whole "Shermgym" package.
9. In any case, even if you're not building benches and such, I'm surprised you don't have a page on the website showing such a "Shermgym", with everything in use in a few pics, and then everything out of the way and the family happily playing games or some such thing in the freed-up space.
Anyway, those are musings I've had as I've pondered the best way to use this equipment. I actually have mine hung on a power rack because I already have one, and because I rent my ceiling. Also helps when I need to do exercises the freespotter hasn't really worked with, like the close grip presses we've discussed, and also - I've discovered - front squats. Haven't tried adjusting the springs yet as you suggested.
I've used the Free-Spotter for a full rotation of my
exercises and I have no complaints. I've used my bar for
pullups (a nice bonus, now I don't need a separate
pullup bar), military presses, and squats, and all of these exercises
are improved by the Free-Spotter. No more worries about
controlling the weight and no more
stopping before failure. This morning I maxed out on bench
presses and worked to failure without fearing the reaper. The
last time I had such a good chest workout I was trapped under the bar
and lifting for my life! I hope the Free-Spotter's making you
rich. (not yet - Sherm)
I have to say Sherm the free spotter is the best thing I have ever used. It is only second to a person spotting for you. I have a smith machine and I am sure I will never use it again.
I received my free spotter today and was using it in 30 min. Great product.
Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I liked your product in just one workout.
I normally don't post on any forums but without this piece of equipment I wouldn't have been able to reach my goals . I lift at home about 70 percent of the time by myself. All of my heavy benching is done on this machine. I have had it for about five years and have had no problems out of it. I have had as much as 590 on it and I would trust it for much more. If you lift by yourself with heavy weights this is a must have. I feel the range of motion is as close as you can get to benching with no spotters. There is no way I could have won at USAPL bench nationals if I didn't have this equipment. Like I said I train by myself most of the time but I always feel safe maxing out. Thanks Sherm (2/12/08)
I have had a chance to use the Free-Spotter, and I love it. I am able to do incline, decline, and flat benches, then just move my bench and do squats. I have been able to get that extra rep, or at least attempt it, so I know that I have exhausted the muscles completely. I was contemplating buying a smith machine prior to finding the Free-Spotter, and I feel this is so muchbetter, takes up much less room and costs so much less as well. I could have bought a leverage bench too, but you don't get to work all the other muscles as much, because you don't have to control the weight, just lift it. When I am not lifting, I remove most of the weights and push it right up to my floor joists and don't have to worry about my son getting hurt either. Thanks so much for inventing this, I think a lot more people would lift more in their own homes if they knew about this. Don't worry I am spreading the news to everyone that I know. Take care and thanks for the solution to my lifting situation. (10/27/06)
--I have been using the Olympic collar free-spotter for over 8 months now and I can honestly say that this is the best investment I have made for my home gym. When I'm training with the free-spotter every set can be done with maximum intensity! I push and push until I can't move - then just let go. The free spotter grabs the weight and holds it there until my next agonizing set. Even if you do have a training partner, the free-spotter eliminates the need to haul heavy dumbbells around and is a heck of a lot cheaper than having a set of 100 pound to 200 pound dumbbells. I've lifted more weight with those things than I can count. All the training for the contest I was in was done using them and I'm using them while training for the next one. I've added 50 pounds of all natural bodyweight (250 up to 300 pounds) since my last contest and good, heavy, painful dumbbell exercises are part of what is packing that on. I can't push heavy without trusting the free-spotter to catch me when I'm screaming on that last rep - of each set!
Sherm, I just wanted to email you to let you know my thoughts about the Freespotter. I received the Freespotter barbell and dumbbell kits about a year ago. I loved the Freespotter from the first time I used it. I used the Freespotter with my Power Rack, and was convinced that this was something people must own if they want to work out at home. The combination of the Power Rack and the Freespotter offer something that most commercial gyms do not offer. I don't know of a gym that has a self spotting Free Weight machine.
I loved the concept of the Freespotter so much, I thought I would "upgrade" to the Prospot. I purchased the Prospot 100, which is similiar to the Freespotter as far as the self spotting concept. I returned it within the first week. The electrical sensors would constantly lock during squat exercises. It just didn't feel or work as well as my Freespotter. Just thought I would share this story with you, to let you know what how well your invention works. Thanks again, Sherm.
Received today. This has
to be one of the best inventions I have ever seen. I went up to
600lbs, and I was more worried about my squat rack holding the weight
than the free spotter. This is the best thing since sliced bread, you
have to be a genious. Should go to some the weight lifting forums and
tell everyone about this. There is alot of guys that train alone like
myself that are very interested in your product. Thanks again
days ago I spoke with Sherm who politely answered all my questions
and so, I ordered out the free-spotter.
It arrived in two days and today I installed it. The instructions were well written down to how to tie the knot around the upper rack.
All components were of good quality and heavy-duty enough to support far more than I will lift. Everything went together easily as outlined in the instructions.
I tested it by doing a flat and inclined bench press. The operation was smooth and the release and latching was immediate and firm without a hint of binding.
All in all, this is an example of simple but excellent design that is very affordable and carries a good warranty.
In my case, it allows me to concentrate on lifting heavy without the fear of getting into trouble. five stars ***** Sherm
--Anyone involved in strength training has been forced to listen
to a mmm
frequent debate: "Which is better - machines or free weights?"
Invariably, the trainee is presented with a "pros and cons" list of
both. Probably the biggest advantage claimed for machines is the greater
safety afforded by their design. And free weights benefit the trainee by
developing both the smaller muscles required to balance and stabilize,
and the larger, primary, muscle groups of the body.
I recently has the opportunity to test a product that combines the
best features of machines and free weights. The Dumbbell Free Spotter
allows the trainee to perform all of the heavy, time tested dumbbell
movements at the same safety level as a machine.
It took just a few minutes to hook up the Free Spotter to a power
(you can also use a chinning bar, ceiling joists, or any strong overhead
structure). You can use the Free Spotter for any dumbbell movement
performed on a vertical plane. I tried it on overhead presses and bench
was nice to begin my set without having to clean or otherwise wrestle
the dumbbells into position, but the real benefits came at the end of
the set. I simply relaxed my grip slightly and the dumbbells froze in
position! No crashing to the floor with plates cracking. No broken
toes. No hyperextended shoulders trying to ease the dumbbells down from
the bench. In other words, the Dumbbell Free Spotter allows trainees to
focus their effort and attention on the actual movements that produce
the results. I would recommend it to any trainer looking for an intense,
yet safe, dumbbell workout.
--The free spotter is working out great! I was impressed with how easy it was to setup, and even more amazed at how well it worked from day one. When I reach the point of failure and activate the locking mechanism, it locks immediately-- which is great because it doesn't allow the weight to gain any downward inertia that would put stress on the ropes or the ceiling joints that the ropes are attached to. I've never done a lot of free weights, because of the safety factor and because I'm too independent to have someone to work out with and spot me. I'm not a big guy and still working on toning up before I start doing heavier lifiting, so I can't speak too much to how safe it is when working with alot of weight. I did load up all 300 pounds of weights with the plates just a few inches of the ground and bounced it around pretty good to load test the ropes, ceiling joist attachments, and the locking mechanism. It seems rock solid and I feel confident that I can work with heavy weights safely. You have invented an fantastic, inexpensive solution to self spotting. I saw a similar machine in a fitness place right before you're product arrived. It was a large frame boat anchor contraption that had an electrically activated locking mechanism similar to your free spotter-- but the cost was almost $3,000!! I remember thinking "Man, I sure hope Sherm's free spotter works, because it is a fraction of the cost, doesn't require a small truck to move from place to place, and requires very little assembly in comparison. My wish came true and I am extremely pleased to own your product instead-- and I saved thousands of dollars! I will probably buy your dumbell free spotter in the near future as well. I am somewhat of inventor myself and had spent alot of time in the past trying to think of an inexpensive way to spot myself without building some large, heavy boat anchor appartus to accomplish it. I never imagined anything as simple and effective as your product.
-- I bought the dumbell free-spotter from you last fall. Always meant to tell you how much I like them, but never got around to writing. Well, tonight those bad boys saved my bacon. I was on the first rep of my first set of bench presses and I lost control of one of the bells. Don't know why or how, but...instead of sustaining a serious injury, I just let go, stood up slowly, took a couple of deep breaths, and reset the bells to the top. I was able to knock out my sets no problem. It only takes one time. No way would I be able to train alone without the free-spotters. I tell all of my friends who train alone they gotta get 'em. Thanks again for a great product.
--Just wanted to give you a bit of feedback and say that the Free Spotter really is a great piece of equipment. I am enjoying my training and it fantastic to be able to train at home without fear of getting pinned, or failing on the squat and doing myself damage. Thanks for producing such a wonderful and innovative device - it has breathed new life into my strength training.
-- Over the past few months, I've told numerous friends about
and made copies to your web site to illustrate your unique device. Its so simple and logical I often
wonder why I haven't thought of this myself . I was never a big fan of
going to commercial gyms so when I found your site (by accident ) it was a
For many years I've been working out from home using heavy weights and with
no spotter often get into a bit of trouble that usually causes injuries. For
instance, bench presses(without a spotter) constant muscle tears and strain
to my shoulders when straining to put barbell on rack which causes major
set-back and refraining bench presses until properly heal,very fustrating!!
and very dangerous!
But now that I have the Free spotter I can truly say this is a must for
any serious bodybuilder/weight lifter who likes to train heavy and workout alone
without the fear of injuries. You just let go the control bar and the
barbell locks into place!! Similar to the Smith Machine, the Free-Spotter
allows more freedom of movement because of the ropes which to me is more
natural in comparison to the Smith machine that uses the gliding rods. And
lets not forget the money you will be savings in comparison to buying a Smith
I also recommend getting the Manta Ray for heavy squats. All in all this is
a truly a Great investment for any home gym.
-- I just wanted to let you know how I love the freespotter.
The best piece of
equipment I have ever purchased that performed even better than I expected.
It makes me want to go out and lift.
-- I've had my Free-Spotter now for almost three years and a note
to you is
long overdue. All I can say is that that the Free-Spotter is, by far, the
single best investment I have made in weight training equipment. As an older
guy who largely trains alone and prefers to go to failure during each set,
the Free-Spotter has been invaluable in helping me maximize my training
regimen. Combined with a power cage the Free-Spotter has been the center of
my workouts. Aside from normal considerations, I have had no undue concerns
about the safety of the Free-Spotter.
Thanks again for your great product.
-- Comment form a DAX Safety Gym owner:
Yes, the Free-Spotter works with the DAX just like any other
tie the ropes on the support bar at the top of the DAX). The technique for
using it is just to stand behind the DAX.
I don't know how many "DAX SafteyGym" owners there are out there,
but they should all get this. It actually makes the "SafetyGym" safer...
--THE FREE-SPOTTER IS GREAT. GOT MY FREE-SPOTTER 3-14-01. I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS FOR YEARS BUT DID NOT KNOW WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR UNTIL I SAW THIS IN POWER-MAG. BEEN POWER LIFTING FOR 15 YEARS. I WILL BE 68 AUG. 4 OF THIS YEAR, BODY WT. 185LB. I HOLD 7 STATE RECORDS AND ONE U.S. RECORD. THANK YOU.
-- Just a note to tell you how much my son and I enjoy your
work out in our attic "gym" and I feel so much safer lifting with the
free-spotter. I bought the spotter for squats, bench presses, and
overhead presses, but find that it is useful in a number of other
assistance exercises as well. A great piece of equipment.
-- I just logged on to my computer this morning after my first
your "Free-Spotter" and I want to tell you how it worked for
me! By far Sherm, this is the best investment I have made in
equipment! IT WORKED GREAT! I train at home alone, in my home gym, and
even though I have a power rack I have had some close calls with
injuring myself, but with the Free-Spotter I can't see how anyone who
uses it properly could hurt themselves at all.
I used it for my squats, and even though I didn't want to go to
failure I felt more confident and safe that I was able to get several
more good form reps without fear of crashing. On my benches, both
regular and incline, I could also get one more good rep and also have
perfect positioning throughout the set. Sherm, this is the greatest! I
will tell everyone I know who weight trains about the "Free-Spotter".
Keep up the good work, and thank you for such a high quality piece of
equipment! Sincerely, Dave Bradley.
--Just thought I'd let you know that my free-spotter
arrived yesterday.I installed it today and tried it out, and I have to
say that I am very satisfied with it. There is much more
freedom of movement than I had expected, and I was
pleasantly surprised by the quality of the components
and the smoothness of operation. I would certainly recommend this
piece of equipment to anyone.
--I just received the Free-Spotter yesterday, got it set up without any problems, and did my first workout with it tonight. I was able to push my bench workout to a new level of intensity, without any worry for my own safety. I also was able to do a heavy incline bench press workout for the first time. I'm looking forward to doing squats soon. This piece of equipment is absolutely ingenious. I've already told some friends about it, and they're eager to try it out.