Get a Spot!
It blows my mind when I see people bench pressing without a spot for multiple reasons. We’ve all seen the fail videos, obviously it is very unsafe to bench heavy without a spot. However, there is also research to back up that you will be able to lift more weight, complete more reps at that weight, and the perceived effort of the lift will be less if you have a spot.
Greg Nuckols from Mass reviewed an article observing the benefits of lifting with a spotter. The most prominent finding was that subjects completed an average of 1.5 reps across 3 sets of bench press. Having a spotter also increased the levels of blood lactate, a measure of anaerobic fatigue, however the perceived exertion was actually lower.
The risk of failure and potentially failure that can cause injury inherently causes hesitation in the body. It is a natural human trait that if we sense danger that we should proceed with caution. Proceeding with caution is not something you want to be doing when in the weightroom. You want to be aggressive, confident, and be able to unleash the greatest force you can without any sense of reservation. That can only happen if you have a spotter, so you know for sure that you will not injure yourself during the lift. Using a spotter does not only help with bench pressing, but can provide the same benefit with squats as well. That little extra sense of security can put more of your energy and focus into crushing the lift rather than figuring out how you are going to recover from a fail. If you don’t have a trainer or training partner, do be afraid to ask a stranger to spot you, even if they are just standing by.