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Power Spot Self-Spotting Barbell and Dumbbell Machine

Article and photos by Darrell Greenland

When I started working out back in 1973 at age sixteen, safe and affordable gym equipment was not readily available. If you owned a wobbly narrow grip bench press and a 110lbs Weider weight set that was considered a home gym. Back then safety was not an option there were no Power Racks, Smith machines, or leverage gyms. Today's home gym enthusiasts have all the information they need on training, equipment and supplements available on-line or on forums such as this one.

rogue power rack

As a solo home gym lifter I never liked having to rack dumbbells into position or occasionally having to dump them. It was when I moved my home gym to my office that the noise of dropping dumbbells became a problem. Every time I worked out and dropped my DB's, the tenants in the building thought we had an earthquake. The tenant's complaints written and verbal to me and the owner suggested that the weights had to go.

Faced with this new challenge of refusing to give up my office gym, I decided to develop a self-spotting machine that would be safe, easy to use and enable a full free range of motion. In less than three months the first prototype of the Power Spot Self-Spotting Barbell and Dumbbell Machine was born. Through trial and error, and a few more prototypes I finally arrived at the current design for an affordable home gym alternative.

self spotting barbell
self spotting barbell

Although this is only a light duty proof of concept prototype, a manufactured production unit would certainly be built out of much heavier materials. The machine is simple in design and is basically a pair of multi directional pivoting arms connected to rotating free weight holders.

self spotting barbell
self spotting barbell
self spotting barbell
self spotting barbell

This unique combination enables a barbell or dumbbells to float freely throughout your natural range of motion. A pair of adjustable safety spotters supports the free weights when you’re unable to re-rack them.

self spotting barbell
self spotting barbell

The weight holders have a V grove inside them that allows the weight bar to nest securely within the holder. Linear ball bearing slides within the articulating arms allow the guide rail to have forward and rearward motion while being protected from dust. An adjustable racking bar allows weights to be racked so the lifter can start in an upper or extended position. The machine remains relatively compact in size, and can be fitted with a 200lbs weight stack high and low pulley system (not shown in the pictures.)

Now in my fifties, my home gym is a lot safer than back in the 70's. I own a Power Rack and a Smith machine with a high and low pulley weight stack. I wish when I was sixteen, I had a Power Spot.


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