The following are the rules for Manual Resistance.  Rules 5 and 5a seem to require the most coaching.  Pausing at the top of movements with pressure necessitates excellent effort from the lifter and the appropriate application of force by the spotter.  Easing into the lowering phase of the movement is critical for maximum recruitment and growth of the musculature. 

Manual Resistance Rules

1). Each athlete must know and understand the rules.

2). The Lifter begins each exercise with the goal of 6-8 reps. This requires pacing, in other words, the first repetition is not an all out effort. The effort must be increasing for every subsequent repetition.

2a). The Spotter should allow the lifter to perform each repetition at the same pace or speed of movement. This will require different amounts of pressure by the spotter during the rep (because of leverage). The lifter will feel as though the resistance is similar at all joint angles (the resistance will feel smooth).

3). The lowering phase of every repetition should be slower than the raising phase. A guide in learning manual resistance is raise the involved limbs up in 1-2 seconds or at a 1-2 count and lower them in 4-5 seconds or at a 4 or 5 count.

3a). The Spotter must make sure that they feel more force by the lifter during the lowering phase of each repetition.

4). The Lifter should continually contract their target musculature during the raising phase and the lowering phase of every repetition.

4a). The Spotter must give feedback to the lifter to ensure there is always a constant contraction on every repetition performed. The spotter should identify any relaxation or loss of force by the lifter during the movement.

5). The Lifter should pause with pressure against the spotter's resistance at the top of every movement. Pausing with pressure and no relaxation is extremely difficult.

5a). The Spotter should insure the lifter is applying force at the top of the movement. The spotter must feel if the lifter is relaxing. The spotter must ease slowly into the lowering phase of the exercise. Slowly easing into the lowering phase or descent is extremely important.

6). The exercise is completed when the athlete reaches momentary muscular failure.


Manual Resistance Lateral Raise 1

Figure 1

The lifter begins the lateral raise with his arms slightly above parallel and no higher or lower.  The lifter is pushing upwards against the spotters hands.  The spotter makes sure there is a constant force and at no time any relaxation by the lifter.

Manual lateral raise

Figure 2

The transition from slightly above parallel to almost parallel is an extremely important part of the exercise. Though it is only several inches the spotter must feel the lifters constant upward drive as he gathers his strength and recruits more muscle fiber.  The spotter must not push down quickly to overcome the lifters strength, but slowly ease into the movement with the appropriate force.

Manual lateral raise2

Figure 3

The lifter and spotter must work together, especially from figure 1- figure 3, once they master this part of the exercise, that is, the lifter always maintaining upward tension in the paused position and during the descent, manual resistance becomes a tremendous exercise.

Momentary Muscular Failure

Figure 4

When a manual lateral raise is properly performed, after 6-8 repetitions the lifter will not be able to raise his arms with the greatest of effort and zero resistance from the spotter.

A great way to Get Strong.