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Squats Feels Heavy While Lifting Off


Not really sure if that makes any sense so I'll elaborate.

When I lift the bar from the rack, it's heavy as hell.... I can barely do the walk back for the actual squat. But once I squat, it's easy to get back up. I guess I shouldn't say easy because it's not "easy", but I don't do a hard grind either.

Could it be a mind fuck? I know a mono lift would help significantly, but I don't have a gym around me with a mono lift. Any other suggestions?


Get used to it. Simple. If you can squat the weight, who cares how it feels coming out? I think some people just find the unrack and walkout hard. It could be symptomatic of a weak point too - maybe you aren't tight enough unracking? I've noticed when I go heavy if I get super tight to unrack and walk out it can feel like the bar is pretty light and that's a massive help mentally.

I found that squats against bands helped clean my unbanded walkout up a lot - simply because I had to get way tighter unracking so as not to get pulled all over the place by the bands. Or you could try really heavy walkouts, something like 120% of your max with the pins set super high or a spotter just in case.

Don't get too hung up on not having a mono. I love them, but where I train doesn't have one and in a way I'm glad because it forces me to get better at walking out my squats. A mono in competition is then a breath of fresh air for me - that being said, I set up in a rack as if I'm in a mono and THEN walk out: I set my feet to unrack exactly as I do to squat, and then walk out from there. It could be that may also help you if you're not doing it already.


Unrack the bar with authority. If you pick it up slowly, like you're testing to see how heavy it is, it's going to feel heavier. Get under it, set it in the groove, get your feet right, and snap the bar upward like you're trying to break it.


Squeeze your shoulder blades togheter as hard as you can (watch out for cramps), tense you lats as if you wanted to pull the bar down on your traps until it bends then take a deep breath and brace your abs as if Bruce Lee was about to punch your gut.

Practise RCK plank.


This issue held me back for years when I was trying to get a 500lb squat. Everything up to 500lbs felt the same, but once 500 was on the bar, it felt like it was going to crush me.

Most of that is psychological, yes, but there is some physiological element as well. What helped me get over it was heavy partial squats. I'd suspend the bar in chains in the rack and squat over my 1rm. Getting used to that weight made it so that my competition weight felt light.

And, of course, heavy ab/lower back work will go far here.


Perfect, thanks for the feedback guys. I've been lacking on core training as of late and I could be a hell of a lot tighter when un-racking.


This here is good advice. Nothing feels more awkward than the first time walking out a squat with bands, once you get used to that then it should no longer be an issue. Heavy walkouts can help for sure, I have never used them but Fred Hatfield was a big fan of that, he has them in his peaking program.

One way or another, stay tight! Don't let out any air until you are in position.


Like others have said, stay tight on the liftoff all the way to your stance. It's hard, I struggle with it, when you put 95-100% of your max on the bar, you can' get as deep of a breath, and you are just trying to not fall over, staying tight on the upper torso will help a lot.


Always set up tight and brace everything no matter what weight is on the bar. It should feel like you're getting ready to do lockout work when you unrack the bar, even if it isn't much weight.