T Nation

2 Chicken?


I am a 26 year old male who has been lifting since 12-13. Anyway, by stumbling on this website as well as Joe Defranco(wSbb) my strenth has went through the roof!

Anyway, my question is, when ever I squat 315lbs or more I get scared. I feel like someting is going to break or pop in my back. What can I do to get around this?



squat 315 or more freaquently. Nothing will make you comfortable with alot of weight on your back other then putting alot of weight on your back.


As you approach the rack with the loaded bar, stare at that motherfucker like you're going to rip it apart. Put your hand in front of your shorts and feel your balls (it doesn't matter if other people stare at you, they're just looking at you in admiration). This way you'll can be damn sure that you do indeed have a pair.

Seriously though, this is stupid. 315 isn't much for someone that's been training (even on and off) for over 10 years.


Get a strong, reliable weight belt, like one from ABC belt company. (www.littlepowerhouse.com is a good site). Those thin leather pieces of crap they have at the gym aren't going to do much for you. It'll cost 80-100 bucks; I don't know about you but my lower back is worth it.

You could also do weight walkouts, where each workout you just put 315 on your back, walk out with it, then put it back. Or try something heavier, like 365 or 405.

Finally get some competent spotters. If you don't feel 100% on your spotters, they're not much use to you.


Thanks for the tips! As far as one comment that was said about 315 not being alot.

You are correct, however; not to make excuses for myself it wasnt until about 1 year to date that I learned about T-Nation, WSBB, max efort lifts and so forth.

All the years before I just ran track and lifted weights in the gym like a wanabe bodybuilder. I have always felt that someting was missing...

So, to further this conversation, as a 6'1, 180lbs sprinter who wants to make Olympic trials, whats a recomended max Bench/Squat that I should be able to lift?? Anyone????



If you haven't been on Charlie Francis' site, I sugget you do so immediately.


What one should be able to lift is completely individual. Many factors go into why and how someone can lift what he/she lifts including leverages, training age, specific training age and many others.

I do know what you mean about being mentally blocked from lifting weights that you've never tried.

I was affraid to put 135 pounds on my clavicle for front squats because I didn't know if we were made to be able to hold weight there without something breaking. I eventually saw a guy doing 500+ pounds with front squats and got over my fear.

I think lifting with other people who are stronger than you also helps. If I just saw a guy squatting 455 for 5 easy reps, putting 365 on my back doesn't seem so bad.

Of course you should also pay attention to your own personal limits. Just be sure that your form is perfect and don't try a new weight that's a whole lot more than you've ever done, right away. Gradually work up to more and more and find out where your weaknesses are.


start doing front squats, then the 315 won't be such a big deal, lol



Don't do it, it is possible you intuitively feel your back is not up to scratch.

My advice is focus more on back work for awhile especially bridging exercises.

Also, instead of squatting, work on calf raises with that poundage and above. You should be able to do calf raises with a bar on your back with far, far more weight than you can squat.

Perhaps also consider some partial squats in a box.

Make sure you have safety in place as well.

And possibly consider getting a checkup, perhaps a chiropractor, I found them to be excellent if you get a good one. I know one guy who had a neck that was on its way to fusing solid, the chiro detected and fixed it.

Remember that if you do in fact have some inherit back weakness, and you bully your way through it, and it goes wrong, it can be the end of you.

Possibly I am over-reacting, everyone feels a little fear when confronting their max squats, whether that is 100 pounds or 700 pounds.

I am just trying to be pragmatic here. Maybe it is only nervousness, but best to ensure everything else is OK.

Please note that if you are already on 300lbs squat then probably your back is not dodgy, but probably just a bit lagging.

Maybe if you posted your other lifts people might look at them and realise your back is lagging?


the only time i've ever really been "scared" of any weight was during squats too...it was the first time i had 600 on the bar and going for five reps, as i aproched the bar and looked up at that amount of weight it was almost like the ground was opulling me and keeping me from going under the bar, i just couldn't do it...just remembering this reminds me just how much i hate that feeling, but i overcame....turned around, faced the wall, forgot about the weight, it was just me and the bar...there was no weight, just the bar...that's not much....turned around and did what i do best...move that damn bar!


My advice would be to squat without a belt to build core strength. Use a weight that is comfortable to you and get used to it. you'll eventually feel comfortable with more weight. My back hasn't felt better, and the big weights feel more comfortable since I quit using a belt.


Great news! I am now at a 405 squat and going! I did as told; I used front squats, I got the biggest guys in the gym to spot me and I used NO weight belt. It was all in my head!

But now my next puzzle is my bench! I am at 250 and I feel that I need to be at 315 lbs. I am so stuck its not funny. Any ideas?

Some info on me; I am 6'1 with a sprinters build @ 190 lbs.


As a fellow sprinter (6'1" 200 lbs) I have to tell you to stop worrying about your bench press. The chest plays no roll in arm swing while running and is just extra weight. Instead, focus on push presses and military presses. Those will build up muscle you can use in your event.

Personally, I didn't want to get rid of bench in my own routine (I got up to 305), but I did so for performance's sake.



Weren't we talking about squatting?


Hmm, thnaks RJ24! Even though I do believe what you say is correct do you do you have any evidence to to uphold this claim?



Do you bench in your taper? I ask this because I know Charlie Francis actually likes to increase the intensity of the bench press at times during a taper because it can stimulate the CNS without taxing any muscles that are really used in sprinting itself.


A technique which has worked for me:

Just before I do my squats, I do three or four sets of Hise shrugs, loading the bar with more weight than I plan to use for my heaviest set during my squat session. Or, if I'm having an "off" day, I simply do walk-outs, using the same loading strategy.

Once the time comes to pull myself into the hole, the weight on my back feels pretty light.

I demolished my last plateau this way, both physically and mentally.