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How to Mentally Release Myself to Squat Deep

Ok I have been training for the past 6 years,however I just became serious about training legs last year. My problem is this,on my lighter sets that’s anything below 225 lbs I am able to squat below parallel(olympic style) I even have a front squat of 90kg for 6 reps.

When I begin to exceed 225 lbs going up to 315lbs I find that I have a mental block to going as deep,especially when I open my eyes and see myself going down in the mirror,my brain just freezes and then I start coming up immediately,I have this fear that my hamstring will snap if I go below parallel. I have gone 315 for 10 reps at parallel to give you an idea of my strength, my major fear is getting used to squatting at parallel for the rest of my lifting days,so if you have any tips that has helped you kindly share, thanks

Move the pins in the rack to a place where you can bail safely if needed while still allowing you to get deep. Squat down and just get used to pausing and hanging out at the bottom position. Start light and build up weight until you get a very good idea of what #'s you can move out of the hole.

I’m in a bit of a similar situation. I used to go to parallel (or less) only, for fear of getting pinned or injured. Was upping the weight to try to make up for less ROM, and eventually my form got ruined. Turned my back squat into a good-morning hybrid thing. I decided to bite the bullet and ignore my ego, and go back to square one and work up properly. Full ATG starting with 135 explosively. It helped, but as soon as I “knew” the weights were creeping up to milestone marks like 185 or 225, my old fears kicked in, and form broke down again.

I dunno if this will help you, but I started doing front squats (like you) and focused on sitting in the bottom for a few seconds before coming back up. This got me comfortable in the hole, and got me some strength out of it as well. I know others have had luck with 1-1/4 squatting for similar reasons. My front squat is now ~200 lbs/90kg, and I just added back in high-bar back squatting, and it has been a great help to my form.

I’ve still got to correct some internal hip rotation once the weight gets heavy, so any tips on that would be awesome, but it’s likely just a stance issue.

[quote]stevekweli wrote:
When I begin to exceed 225 lbs going up to 315lbs I find that I have a mental block to going as deep, especially when I open my eyes and see myself going down in the mirror…[/quote]

So you typically squat with your eyes closed? ha

Advice #1: Stop being a pussy. Hamstrings won’t snap.
Advice #2: Don’t look into the mirror. Turn around and squat facing the other direction.
Advice #3: Keeping squatting to parallel - it’s perfectly fine for almost all purposes. However, make sure you actually hit that depth and not actually quarter squatting like most people.

Sit in your squat daily. No added weight. Just sit in the hole. Doing this as much as possible without weight will help you establish the ATG pattern.
Add paused in the hole squats.
Really flare you knees out and open up your hips.
And make yourself follow this rule: if you don’t squat below parallel for a set, it didn’t count, and drop it down to a weight you can do ATG.
Get Olympic weightlifting shoes or shoes with a raised heel.

These 5 tips have helped me tremendously fix my squat.

The main advice here is to just grow a pair and handle weight you can squat with a full ROM.

Unless you have a specific need to squat, I would say try box squats with the height set to where you need it to be. You’ll know if you hit depth or not.

[quote]Headache wrote:
Move the pins in the rack to a place where you can bail safely if needed while still allowing you to get deep. Squat down and just get used to pausing and hanging out at the bottom position. Start light and build up weight until you get a very good idea of what #'s you can move out of the hole.[/quote]
Thank you for your advice, the issue is where I train,there is only a squat stand and not a rack.

Thank you all for your advice,I’ll see how I can. Incorporate this tip in my training

Try pausing the first rep of each set in the hole for 2 secs to build confidence.

Paused but not necessarily all reps, whatever works for you. Use slower increases, you say exceed 225 and up to 315, so master 235 first.

[quote]Colbstar wrote:
Sit in your squat daily. No added weight. Just sit in the hole. Doing this as much as possible without weight will help you establish the ATG pattern.
Add paused in the hole squats.
Really flare you knees out and open up your hips.
And make yourself follow this rule: if you don’t squat below parallel for a set, it didn’t count, and drop it down to a weight you can do ATG.
Get Olympic weightlifting shoes or shoes with a raised heel.

These 5 tips have helped me tremendously fix my squat.
[/quote]

Good tips here. I also started warming up with the goblet squat on leg day. This helps reinforce the correct movement pattern for upcoming squat sets.

All sorts of ways for working on this:

-off pins squats starting from below parallel

-paused squats in the hole

-work up to where your mental barrier for the weight is and just train around there for a while, making sure every single rep is deep- to start to ingrain the motor pattern. Hitting them deep even when you’re really fatigued is great for confidence. This could be built into a hypertrophy phase for 4-8 weeks where only moderate weight is needed

-use a training partner or coach to cue and spot you for every rep

-use mental imagery prior to your heavy sets and at other times. Imagine yourself with 315 on your back - how it feels, the tightness in your torso etc. Then imagine yourself decending confidently to below parallel, feel your upper thighs compress against your body, the stretch reflex, and then driving up hard through a successful squat. Use this often and begin to expect this from your heavy sets.

-get rid of the fucking mirror if possible

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Unless you have a specific need to squat, I would say try box squats with the height set to where you need it to be. You’ll know if you hit depth or not.

[/quote]

Im starting this next week… great idea.

[quote]Colbstar wrote:
Sit in your squat daily. No added weight. Just sit in the hole. Doing this as much as possible without weight will help you establish the ATG pattern.
Add paused in the hole squats.
Really flare you knees out and open up your hips.
And make yourself follow this rule: if you don’t squat below parallel for a set, it didn’t count, and drop it down to a weight you can do ATG.
Get Olympic weightlifting shoes or shoes with a raised heel.

These 5 tips have helped me tremendously fix my squat.
[/quote]

All of this.

Use smaller increments on your climb to 315focusing on hitting depth

He said get rid of the mirror- ill say do that but start taping your squats from the side for depth check and some from front for form check.

get a spotter

[quote]CrushKillDestroy wrote:
All sorts of ways for working on this:

-off pins squats starting from below parallel

-paused squats in the hole

-work up to where your mental barrier for the weight is and just train around there for a while, making sure every single rep is deep- to start to ingrain the motor pattern. Hitting them deep even when you’re really fatigued is great for confidence. This could be built into a hypertrophy phase for 4-8 weeks where only moderate weight is needed

-use a training partner or coach to cue and spot you for every rep

-use mental imagery prior to your heavy sets and at other times. Imagine yourself with 315 on your back - how it feels, the tightness in your torso etc. Then imagine yourself decending confidently to below parallel, feel your upper thighs compress against your body, the stretch reflex, and then driving up hard through a successful squat. Use this often and begin to expect this from your heavy sets.

-get rid of the fucking mirror if possible[/quote]
Thank you,so what rep numbers do you advise I shoot for on the heavy set,I normally like to get at least 10 reps on any set of squat I do,but seeing as I will be going to depth I won’t be able to achieve this.

Also I my calves are really poor,could this have effects on squatting,because I know weak forearms could limit curls progress and a couple of exercises. Using this same logic will calves affect my squat,just wondering

I’d like to see a video.

We can guess at why you lack confidence in the bottom position - which should be very stable but without seeing it…

aside from fixing your form and what others have said just get familiar in the hole. For example I would just do BW squats throughout the day and emphasize going deep. I would imagine its a form thing and your’e not stable in the bottom. Make sure you’re keeping everything tight and try to “pull” yourself down into the hole with your hip flexors rather than just giving in to gravity. just a thought