There is a very real sense of panic that seeps in whenever you step into the squat rack. When you start chasing those PBs you’ll be pushing your body further and further out of its comfort zone, and with that comes the very real risk of failure.
However, if you learn what to do should your legs ever decide to give out, you can avoid injury and potential YouTube embarrassment like this guy.
All joking aside, knowing how to fail properly could literally be a life saver, and knowing you can fail will give you greater confidence to succeed.
1. Prepare properly
You’re SO much more likely to fail if you’re not prepared. This means warming up properly, performing dynamic stretches to ensure you have sufficient mobility to perform the movement, and mentally preparing.
Perform a few sets at a comfortable weight in order to get your body ready for the real lifts. Start with an empty bar and then add on some weight in increments. Take 2 or 3 sets to properly warm up if need be. Squats are an incredible exercise and should never be rushed.
- Brace your abs
- Pull down on the bar to “set” your lats and upper back
- Maintain proper weight distribution—not too far forward on your toes or too far back on your heels.
- Screw your feet into the floor, which will reduce your chances of tipping over.
Concentrate on what you’re doing, pay attention to how your body feels during and after your warm up. Are there any twangs, aches, or pains that aren’t normally there? If so, don’t just “power through” as that could cause long-term injury.
2. Use the safety pins
If you’re squatting in a proper squat rack, you’ll have seen those pins that slide in and out of holes on the outside of the squat rack. They’re called safety pins for a reason, they’re there for your safety. You don’t lose manly points by using them and you could save yourself from serious injury if you ever fail a squat.
Do a test run with an empty bar in order to determine your lowest squat depth, then set up your safety pins one or two notches below that.
Everyone’s squat depth is different so don’t assume you’ll squat as deep as the guy before you.
Now if you get to the bottom of your squat and realise there’s no way you’re coming back up, you simply sink a little lower and allow the bar to land on the safety pins.
Then you can gracefully roll out from underneath and sashay away.
3. Quit while you’re ahead
If you start to feel fatigued, then cut your set short. After squatting for a number of years you’ll soon learn the difference between chickening out and not being able to carry on.
Listen to your body and your instincts, not your pride and your lifting bros. If you barely managed to finish that last rep or your form is seriously deteriorating, then stop, rest, and start again.
Not only will this protect you from fails,
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