Check out my Mad Spotter Hooks review on Youtube!
Be sure to use discount code: MATT5 to save 5% off a pair of Mad Spotter Hooks!
To start things off….
If you have been following me on YouTube or Instagram for any length of time, then you’re probably aware that I’m a huge fan of bench-pressing. It is easily my strongest lift, therefore I love doing it (I DESPISE leg day by the way, lol). Although I primarily bench press with barbells, I find pressing with dumbbells to be quite satisfying as well.
While the basic idea behind both movements is the same (lower the weight to your chest followed by pressing it back up towards the sky), from my experience, the amount of focus and energy required due to the instability aspect of dumbbell pressing far exceeds barbell pressing. Dumbbells allow the user’s arms to travel independently from each other while also gaining them the ability to maintain a comfortable wrist orientation. With all that being said, my biggest issue with dumbbell pressing is getting them up into position (especially when dealing with heavier weights). Well, these Mad Spotter Hooks might just solve that problem. Continue reading to find out….
Why do they exist?
Before I dive too deep into the product, allow me to elaborate on my previous statement by explaining why these Mad Spotter Hooks exist in the first place. Imagine that every time you bench-press with a barbell, rather than taking advantage of j-cups and starting at the top of the exercise, you have no choice but to begin pressing from the bottom of the movement. That would be complete INSANITY!
Think about it, not only would it be incredibly difficult to lift the bar into position just to set up for the first rep (especially if you’re a HEAVY lifter), you would also waste an incredible amount of energy in the process! This sort of behavior could negatively impact the ACTUAL workout itself and possibly put you at risk of serious injury! It sounds awful and makes absolutely no sense, yet we do this when lifting with dumbbells! It’s complete madness!!! (See what I did there?)
How do they work?
Now that I’ve covered why the Mad Spotter Hooks exist, let me briefly explain how they work (not that they’re overly complicated or anything). The hooks have an elongated “S” shape to them. The larger, rubber coated portion of the “S” hooks over a barbell positioned above the user. The remaining, smaller portion basically acts as a “cradle” for a dumbbell handle to rest in. Although the “cradle” design is different depending on which version of the Mad Spotter Hooks you have (more on that later), the basic function remains the same.
Once the dumbbells are placed into the “cradles”, the user simply grabs the dumbbell handles and lifts (causing the spotters to unhook from the barbell). Because the dumbbells are in the “cradles”, the user is essentially holding onto both the dumbbell handle and spotter hooks simultaneously, which in turn keeps the hooks attached throughout the entire movement. Upon completing their desired repetitions, the user will then re-rack/re-hook the spotters back onto the barbell overhead and that’s it! Absolutely no struggling at all to get the dumbbells up and into position. It’s such a simple, yet so effective idea!
The hooks are made of solid steel and rated to hold 170 lbs EACH. They are finished in a black coating (I’m honestly not sure if it’s a powder coat or a paint), which seems plenty durable. The larger end of the “S” shaped hook is coated in a thick rubber to protect the finish of whatever bar you hang them from. Included with the hooks is a pair of neoprene wraps (which are completely optional). I honestly have zero complaints with the overall construction of the spotter hooks.
Two different models?
As previously mentioned, Mad Spotter currently offers two versions of these hooks (a standard and a pro model). While both ultimately perform the same function, there are some distinct differences between the two.
The standard Mad Spotter Hooks are less expensive (currently $59), they are 4.75 inches wide (meaning whatever dumbbell handles you use MUST be at least 4.75 inches long, otherwise they won’t fit), and finally, the “cradle” portion is basically comprised of two individual hooks with a crossbar welded between them. The crossbar, along with the dumbbell handle, is what the user holds while lifting (which is essentially what keeps everything together/the hooks attached to the dumbbells). The crossbar works as designed, but does require some getting used to as it tends to feel slightly unnatural and dig into the users hands (this is especially apparent when using heavier weights). While this certainly isn’t a deal breaker in my opinion, It’s worth keeping in mind while trying to decide which pair of Mad Spotter Hooks is right for you.
The Mad Spotter Pro is slightly more expensive than the standard (currently $69), they measure 4.5 inches wide (allowing them to accept a larger variety of dumbbells), and finally the “cradle” portion has a completely different look and feel to it. Instead of a crossbar, Mad Spotter basically welded in half a piece of pipe which follows the natural “S” shape of the bottom hooks, forming a super comfortable “cradle”. The pipe also features decent knurling, which allows for a better grip while in use.
I had a hand in the design!
Now I want to be completely transparent (mainly because I want to brag on myself, lol), The Mad Spotter sent me a prototype of their Pro version SEVERAL months before release and requested my feedback (prototype pictured above). The original “pipe handle” version did NOT feature knurling, therefore it was borderline slick/hard to hold onto. Well, I suggested that they add knurling (which they loved) and here we are today! Ladies and gentlemen, we officially have knurling! I know I’m going to sound completely biased, but I REALLY like the Mad Spotter Pro version because of the improved “cradle” design over the standard. It feels so much more natural in my hands and the knurling is such a sweet addition (it practically blends into the dumbbell grip itself).
In this article, I’ve technically covered Mad Spotter’s 2nd and 3rd generation of these hooks. I’ve had the privilege of owning/testing all three generations (as well as the Pro prototype) and while the idea and use behind them has remained the same, each new iteration improves upon the previous version. As a consumer, watching a company strive for perfection means a great deal to me.
How is the Mad Spotter customer service?
Another point worth mentioning is that Mad Spotter has AMAZING customer service! They legitimately stand behind their products by offering a 60-day 100% satisfaction guarantee (and that’s not just fluff they added to their website to sound good either). I’ve had a few people reach out since my initial review stating that the hooks didn’t work out for them for whatever reason and Mad Spotter was more than willing to accommodate/remedy the situation.
Save yourself some money!
While I personally feel like Mad Spotter has built an excellent product at a reasonable price (especially when you compare them to all other dumbbell spotter systems currently on the market). I do recommend taking advantage of my Mad Spotter coupon code MATT5 to save yourself an additional 5% IF you decide to purchase a pair. (Discount code can be applied to either the Mad Spotter Hooks or the Mad Spotter Pro).
I can’t speak to if these hooks are right for everyone, but I can say that I’m definitely a fan of mine and will continue using them. I find them most useful when I’m moving heavier weights. Not only do they prevent me from having to kick dumbbells into position (saving my energy and preventing possible injuries in the process), they actually give me the chance to position myself for the lift. I’m able to plant my feet exactly where I want and perform scapular retraction, thus ensuring I can completely concentrate on the task at hand (moving heavy freaking dumbbells). That’s all for now; I appreciate you reading and hope you found this article helpful!
Remember to use coupon code MATT5 to save 5% off your order!