T Nation

Gym Mirror Messes Up Form?


#1

So I lift in my garage and I have this huge mirror that for a month I decided to place it in front of my squat stand to help with form. It has helped with overhead presses and positioning for the snatch and clean.

So since it helped with those I thought this would help me make with my squat form in terms of making sure my knees are pushing out/not caving in and help with being able to keep my torso upright.

I removed the mirror today and did squats. My form felt completely off and wrong. I did maybe 60% of the weight I was doing on Monday and it felt ridiculous heavy. I felt like I was leaning over more and not as in control as I have been the past month.

Has the mirror just been playing tricks with my eyes? Or have I just been relying on it too much?

I know for sure moving forward I'm not going to use the mirror, but just wanted to know if anyone has had the same issue?


#2

This is what I mean by in front of squat stand.


#3

I have no idea why that photo flipped upside down like that, it’s set to be normal lol. Sorry guys!


#4

I squat with and without a mirror with no difference. Perhaps you just had a bad day?

The problem may be you attached your platform/stands to the ceiling, that will throw your form right off - mirror or not :stuck_out_tongue:


#5

Entirely possible that you are relying on the mirror for visual cues.

Conversely, I know lifters that find that squatting in front of a mirror throws them off.

I don’t notice much difference, but I learned to squat without a mirror first.

Keep at it. Learn how to use proprioceptive cues instead of visual ones and a mirror won’t make so much of a difference.


#6

[quote]Apoklyps wrote:
Entirely possible that you are relying on the mirror for visual cues.

Conversely, I know lifters that find that squatting in front of a mirror throws them off.

I don’t notice much difference, but I learned to squat without a mirror first.

Keep at it. Learn how to use proprioceptive cues instead of visual ones and a mirror won’t make so much of a difference.[/quote]

Whatever you’re not used to will throw you off. I started squatting with a mirror and then had to readjust as I changed gyms. Working out in general worked better for me without one once I got used to it.


#7

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

Whatever you’re not used to will throw you off. I started squatting with a mirror and then had to readjust as I changed gyms. Working out in general worked better for me without one once I got used to it.
[/quote]

This happened to me as well when the gym I was at moved premises but didn’t put the mirrors back up immediately.

OP - you’ll probably get used to it again quickly enough


#8

You should seriously get rid of the mirror in general, especially since your goal is to compete. You will not have access to mirrors in competition, and training without one and competing without one is going to screw you up.

The squatting with a mirror thing is a pretty common phenomenon. You become reliant on visual cues rather than obtaining body awareness. In all honesty, you shouldn’t be concerning yourself with form: you should be concerned with technique. How the movement looks is completely immaterial to your success, it’s what you’re doing during the movement that matters.

Like, you could look at yourself deadlifting and see you have a rounded back. Great. All you’ve done is identify “bad form”. HOWEVER, if you realize that your feet are too far apart and it’s preventing you from getting your hips under your shoulders at the start of the pull which is forcing you to stiff leg the initial pull and causing your back to round, you’ve now identified improper technique. A mirror does nothing to help you identify the latter, that’s simply a question of body awareness.

If you’re really itching to see how you look while you’re lifting, record your sessions.


#9

[quote]Apoklyps wrote:
Entirely possible that you are relying on the mirror for visual cues.

Conversely, I know lifters that find that squatting in front of a mirror throws them off.

I don’t notice much difference, but I learned to squat without a mirror first.

Keep at it. Learn how to use proprioceptive cues instead of visual ones and a mirror won’t make so much of a difference.[/quote]

x2

In the past I used a camera to record every set and depended on it for feedback. It’s similar to a mirror but just not in real time. Once I completely stopped using it I learned to better depend on proprioceptive cues like Apoklyps mentioned. Now a mirror won’t make a difference.

Edit: It’s not a bad thing to use a camera when learning to improve technique. But once you feel technique is consistent enough, eliminate your dependence on it.


#10

Even getting away from a wall can be disorienting. I remember totally feeling off balance the first time I lifted “out in space.”


#11

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
You should seriously get rid of the mirror in general, especially since your goal is to compete. You will not have access to mirrors in competition, and training without one and competing without one is going to screw you up.

The squatting with a mirror thing is a pretty common phenomenon. You become reliant on visual cues rather than obtaining body awareness. In all honesty, you shouldn’t be concerning yourself with form: you should be concerned with technique. How the movement looks is completely immaterial to your success, it’s what you’re doing during the movement that matters.

Like, you could look at yourself deadlifting and see you have a rounded back. Great. All you’ve done is identify “bad form”. HOWEVER, if you realize that your feet are too far apart and it’s preventing you from getting your hips under your shoulders at the start of the pull which is forcing you to stiff leg the initial pull and causing your back to round, you’ve now identified improper technique. A mirror does nothing to help you identify the latter, that’s simply a question of body awareness.

If you’re really itching to see how you look while you’re lifting, record your sessions.[/quote]

Punisher always has great posts, but this has to be one of my favorites. Listen to this.


#12

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
You should seriously get rid of the mirror in general, especially since your goal is to compete. You will not have access to mirrors in competition, and training without one and competing without one is going to screw you up.

The squatting with a mirror thing is a pretty common phenomenon. You become reliant on visual cues rather than obtaining body awareness. In all honesty, you shouldn’t be concerning yourself with form: you should be concerned with technique. How the movement looks is completely immaterial to your success, it’s what you’re doing during the movement that matters.

Like, you could look at yourself deadlifting and see you have a rounded back. Great. All you’ve done is identify “bad form”. HOWEVER, if you realize that your feet are too far apart and it’s preventing you from getting your hips under your shoulders at the start of the pull which is forcing you to stiff leg the initial pull and causing your back to round, you’ve now identified improper technique. A mirror does nothing to help you identify the latter, that’s simply a question of body awareness.

If you’re really itching to see how you look while you’re lifting, record your sessions.[/quote]

Thanks man! This makes perfect sense to me. Explains why my form feels all out of whack without the mirror. No more mirror going forward! Appreciate the advice once again!