T Nation

Squatting Without Mirrors


Hello everyone. At my first powerlifting meet in March, one of the biggest problems I had was having to squat without looking at a mirror.

Preparing for a meet this July, on about half of my working sets I have been covering up the mirror during training and am having a hard time setting up for my squat and my form feels off. Anyone experience similar problems? Anyone know any remedies?


stay the hell away from Mirrors and get used to feeling it,. Its prob mainly mental just dont think you know what your doing GO SQUAT a LOT get used to it



  1. Instead of covering up the mirror, can you turn and face away from it so that you're not tempted to look?

  2. Otherwise, start by keeping your eyes closed on your light/warmup sets. Slow down the movement and try to think about what you are feeling at each point: what's the feeling when your hips break, when you're in the hole, when you begin the ascent, and so on.

  3. Which parts of your set up are thrown off by the lack of mirror? Try to identify exactly what is "off". Do you use verbal cues for your set up? Of those cues, are any of them really dependent on looking in the mirror?

For example: if you are currently using the mirror to decide if your hands are equally spaced on the bar, could you accomplish the same thing by simply looking at the bar directly, or gaging where the hands are by their distance from the knurling?

Similarly, do you need to look at the mirror to see where your feet are, or could you accomplish the same thing by quickly glancing at them. Etc.




There use to be a squat rack in front of a huge mirror in a gym I frequented and it turned out to be distracting.
I could see everything that was going on behind me while squatting. People racking weights, people coming and going, women bending over, cameltoes (I), etc.

My current squatting situation is much better:

I suggest you practice squatting w/o the mirror to become comfortable with your stance w/o having to look at it.



Its all about concentration. Set up the the j hooks facing away from the mirror if you can and just practice your set up without looking. if that's not possible just pick a spot at the top of the mirror/wall, (it can be anything, a small crack, a pipe and piece of tile) and just keep your eyes locked on that all times. It takes some getting used to but after a while your set up will become second nature.


Ironic. I have been squatting without a mirror in front of me for so long now, I can't stand to squat in front of one. It never ceases to amaze me what a mind-game powerlifting really is.


I would say try and pick a point above the mirror and look at it, but, correct me if I'm wrong, don't you need to at least be keeping an eye on the judge in competition?

I think it would serve you better to squat facing away from the mirror.

My old gym, I had to bring newspapers in because I couldn't set the pins away from the mirror and had to cover it. Try that out, and just get used to it.


I hate mirrors so much. The gym I go to now, I use the squat rack backwards to face away from the mirrors. Before when I wasn't doing that, I started using the mirror unconsciously to assess my squat form during reps.

Eventually I lost kinesthetic awareness, right glute stopped activating and BOOM hip flexor pain.

Powerlifting, Weightlifting, our stuff cannot be done in front of mirrors, we need that mind to muscle connection, not eye to muscle connection.


I don’t know if this will help or not! But, I personally look at the ground. About a foot or two in front of me. I don’t feel off balance or anything with that, at my first comp it was actually really easy for me. I look down at the ground, I’m not distracted by the official, or the audience or anything. It’s just me, the weight and the floor.

So, just focus as much as you can on the floor and the weight. And with some practise you should feel like you can’t be distracted by a single thing.

But that’s what works for me, I’m not an expert. I haven’t even been powerlifting for 6 months yet, but give it a go! If it doesn’t work, try (if possible) to face the other way in the rack. But it’s up to you!


Like one or two other people suggested, see if you can switch the hooks so that you are facing away from the wall rather than into the mirror. I’ve been squatting so long without a mirror that when I occasionally have to face one, I find I lean into it and it pulls me forward. I’ve tried half closing my eyes and unfocusing so I can see enough to balance but not enough to move into the mirror.

The nice thing about facing into the gym is that it’s much more entertaining. You can watch people watch you while you squat :slight_smile:


Use the mirror for warm ups to judge depth/warm up. When you get heavy, you shouldn’t even notice yourself in the mirror. If you watch yourself, then you aren’t squatting right. Look at the mirror, but not into it. Basically, mentally black out.

I never remember any of my lifts, on the stage, or at the gym on the heavy ones. Tunnel vision sets in pretty good


Folks, this is an 9 year old thread. Tunamonkey quit posting a while ago.


lol, nice catch, I never look at the original date!


Any idea if he gave up and quit because of the mirror issue?


Haha, no I didn’t quit. I won a few national titles in the USAPL and a World Master’s Title last year (this year I failed to make weight at Raw Worlds).

After squatting without mirrors for so long, it is really awkward to see myself while I squat.


Sorry to hear you didn’t make weight. That must have been very disappointing. My worst was flying across the country to bomb on bench at nationals. Sucks.