Due to my circumstances, I have to lift without people spotting me. I have some concerns about the safety of my lifts. I would appreciate it if anyone could answer some questions about safety, or comment on my concerns.
Bench press: I perform this in a power cage with safety catches. First: how safe is the average safety catch? Second: when the barbell is on the safety catches, it mostly doesn't touch me. However, it does touch at the sternum, and I feel some pressure. Should that be a concern? The pressure isn't injurious when the bar isn't loaded, and when I put 50 lbs on the bar, the pressure feels the same. I can also roll the bar back to where it doesn't touch me, and slide under the bar to where it doesn't touch me. I'm still concerned that at heavier weights I might be unable to move the bar or slide, and the pressure could be injurious.
Overhead press: I can't do this standing in a power cage. I read people writing that you don't need a spot for this exercise, since if you failed in the exercise, you could just drop the weight. Is that right? It seems wrong to me. The barbell could hit you on the way down.
Deadlift: Again, I read people writing that no spot is needed. But I can imagine hazards: falling over, the barbell falling and hitting knees and fracturing them, or tearing skin on shins, for instance.
Bent-over row: Similar concerns.
Squat: I can have side catches when squatting. Still there could be damage from falling over, or the barbell hitting the body on the way down.
Chin-up: I use an assist machine for this (not sure of brand, it's at a commercial gym). If I were to fall straight down could I cause the machine to collapse on me?