Prof. Leonard Sherston’s recently published bench-press study has sent shockwaves through the bodybuilding and powerlifting communities, casting doubt on thousands and perhaps millions of personal records.
The study, which tracked 10,000 athletes over 10 years, determined that spotters contributed significantly to 90 percent of PR lifts despite emphatically shouting “all you!” during the lift.
“In nine-tenths of the reps we studied, spotters were providing anywhere from 10 to 250 pounds of assistance while emphatically denying they were providing any assistance at all,” Sherston said.
The professor, who does not even lift, noted a correlation between the volume of the spotter’s assertions and the likelihood that assistance was being provided.
“One spotter was literally screaming ‘all you, bro!’ repeatedly while straining to pull a 405-lb. bar upward. Even though the spotter admitted he ‘tweaked his back a little’ while spotting, he firmly denied that he even touched the bar and congratulated his partner on the new record.”
When asked about the legitimacy of most existing bench-press records, Sherston was blunt: “Come on. As if you didn’t know the spotter was helping.”