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Old 04-19-2013, 12:40 AM   #1
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Default Squat mentality, does it ever get easier?

Squats have always been hard for me and are still the one thing I dread when I workout. Doesn't matter if it's an easy workout or not, squats always daunt me. I always know they will hurt doing them and hurt later too.

Recently, I've done well improving my sqaut, but everytime I get up around 90%, I still feel scared or apprehensive. I know I can do it, but I also know I can get squished like a bug. And I use safeties. I am in no danger, but still squats scare me.

Bench, deadlifts, whatever. no problem, I can miss them and it doesn't affect me at all. But miss a squat and feel that weight crushing me into the floor, I can't deal with that. It always takes me a long time to recover from that. Why do you think that is?

Why do you think other lifts don't have that stigma with me? Bench is my best lift with best form probably, but it's a weight over my face for goodness sake, but I'm fine after missing one of those. Max deadlifts too hurt pretty bad, but you can just let go. What is it about squats that just drives pain into your soul?

I realize this is a personal thing and some people will say I'm a whiner and just suck it up because that is the thing you choose to do. But I am curious about the affect squats have on various people. Are some people that afraid of bench or deadlifts? I doubt it. What is it about squats?

JB recently missed a 935 squat but came back and grinded up a 1010 on the next attempt. That makes no sense to me at all, gear, no gear, angels, whatever I can't beleive he did that. Sure he can do those weights and had some muscle memeory or whatever other crap I don't beleieve in, but the reality was he missed a gdamn heavy weight and came right back out and hit a heavier one. God willing, one day I will miss 935 and I'm telling you for a fact, my next lift I go out there and get driven into the floor by 500. No kidding.

I can't even comprehend hitting a higher weight than the one you missed. Not that this is all about JB. Just saying, what kind of mind/training/animal instinct does it take to get to that next level with squats?

Late, and long night, just passing through and babbled out somethig that has been bothering me because squats seem to have so much to do with how I feel about the universe.

I respect them, why do they not respect me?
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Old 04-19-2013, 01:53 AM   #2
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Yeah I know what you are saying but I think it is more of a mindset thing. Fight or Flight. I love squats now days, I like the feeling of the weight on my shoulders when I unrack the bar. I like the feeling when I am descending towards the floor and not really knowing where the pain will end, and I like the hard grind trying to get back up. Squats scare the crap out of me but I do love the challenge. When I miss a 1rm it kills me a little, but on the flip side when I feel all worn out and sore as hell before my workout and I don't think I could hit anything, and I pull off a full squat workout I feel great, not a care in the world. Squats are a powerful thing.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:25 AM   #3
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The way you feel about squats is the way I've always felt about bench. It may have something to do with the high school football experience for me. Everyone around me was throwing up big numbers, it seemed. I could just never get it going. I could out-squat pretty much everyone, and do so comfortably and with a grin on my face. Bench press is somethilng I still beat myself up on. One bad set and I'm pretty much done with it.

As far as squatting goes for YOU, since that is the question on hand, I think it may have something to do with how a squat gets dumped. You're forced to your knees, forced into submission. You're being controlled by what you should be controlling. It's absolutely mental, and comes down to the mentality of getting knocked down and smashing it after you get back up.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:06 AM   #4
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Squats hurt. Light squats hurt less but they still hurt. Every time I work up to a heavy single, after a certain point, everything feels heavy. I have the same feelings as you and here's my theory as to why squats cause more trepidation than bench or deads:

1. Setting up. When you initiate a squat you walk the bar out and feel the full weight bearing down on you. Bench the weights are lighter and you can have a hand off. Deadlift you simply don't feel the full weight until you start pulling.

2. Safety. You alluded to this in your post but it's simply more difficult to get out of a squat than a bench or deadlift. Bench can be pulled off you or it's easy enough to put in the safeties. Deadlift can just be dropped but squats you are in a prone position at the bottom and if you can't come up, it's scary.

3. Weight used. The only time bench causes the same levels of fear is when I'm in my shirt and holding 180-200kgs over my face. Raw I rarely get scared. Squats simply use more weight and that is scary.

Now this isn't a bad thing. I actually find that if I can get scared and then use that fear, I will attack the squat more and lift better. If you're not scared it's not heavy enough or you're too stupid to know better. More often than not it's the former Embrace the fear, get angry, shout at yourself, sniff ammonia, do whatever it takes to get the job done. You'll find what works for you and soon you'll be a freak like the other powerlifters and you will look forward to the fear and chase ever bigger weights just to feel it again.

I have waffled but I hope that helps.
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Old 04-19-2013, 03:24 AM   #5
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squats are the same for me, they intimidate me more then any other lift and i feel squatting on my own pretty hairy at times.And tbh if they wasent one of the best exercises for strength and growth i probley wouldent do them.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:47 AM   #6
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First off your entire mentality seems off too me. You should never be scared to do a lift and if you are generally afraid of what might happen, then you need to step back and reevaluate things.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:51 AM   #7
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There was just an article on efs about fear.

I rarely ever get scared with a squat, once I get under a weight I'll be damned if I don't stand back up with it.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:17 AM   #8
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Only advice that I can give you is this. I have never got under a weight I didnt know I would get. I have missed a few, but it has never been because I wasnt strong enough. I attack the bar like its my worse enemy, like my life is on the line, because to some degree, it is. I do have a healthy fear of the weight, well fear might be the wrong word. I respect it, because I know if things go wrong, I will be seriously hurt. This does not stop me from attacking it. You can hear in some of my videos me yelling at the bar. Other lifters take a much calmer approach. I am perfectly calm until I start to wrap my knees, then everything changes. Just my .02!
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:21 AM   #9
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You mention that you have safety bars in place, have you never tried or practised off-loading a barbell, loaded slightly or otherwise? It may not be a bad idea and might help, being concerned that you are potentially in danger of being squished in to the floor indicates that you may not have complete confidence in your safety set-up, in which case trying it out may help.
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Old 04-19-2013, 11:52 AM   #10
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I read something once about how people are afraid of getting stuck in the hole on squats. The article said you should live in the hole. Thrive in the hole, and make it the best part of your lift. This is my mentality and it works pretty well. The weakest part of my squat is halfway up, but the strongest part of my squat is the bottom. As I decend I feel stronger, like the lower I go the more energy I'm storing up. Decending for me is stretching a spring. The more you stretch it the more pop it has.

Most people go into a lift trying to convince themselves they can make the weight. They tell themselves "you got this". I don't do that stuff. I focus on my form cues. If I do everything right and have the physical strength, I'll make the lift. It really doesn't matter if I "think" I can make it or not, and most of the time the reason people are trying to convince themselves they can make a lift is because they don't think they can make it at all, and that's no way to go into a lift.

As for the pain, you should look up some new warm up movements. Focus on all this new mobility stuff everyone is so excited about at the moment.

I don't consider myself much of a squatter. I'd say 500 raw is the point where someone becomes a pretty good squatter. But I'm getting there, and I think your mentality has a lot to do with your level of success.
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