T Nation

Think about Squats all Day

Hey guys,

In need of some help. I have been gaining weight and working out extremely on point lately. I’ve been busting my ass all summer. I need some advice from some older, more experienced lifters, or those who have been in a situation. Anything that will help me get psychologically back into the game.

In short, here’s my problem: When it’s squat day for me, I freak myself out all day thinking about squats. Not to sound like a bitch, but for real, it feels almost like I’m scared. I get nervous I wont be able to match me previous weeks best. I psychologically freak myself out. Granted, I have been going heavier than I have in the past, but still, I need a way to just stop worrying throughout the day. Has this ever happened to anyone?

When I have chest or back day, I go in with no or very little expectations. I go “by feel” for most my exercises with reps, sets, and weights. Not for squats. Squat day, all I have my mind on is my previous weeks lift. Squat day is something else. All day, every meal I eat all I can think of is “should I eat more because it’s squat day? Is this going to fuel me for squat day?” I am a little OCD in general, but with squats I usually take it to the next level.

How do I stop freaking myself out for squats, and just go with the flow? Even when I have a “good” squat day (as in, I tie or beat my previous week), I am relatively psychologically drained, and unable to hit the rest of my workout harder.

Any input will help.

OMG YOU ARE LIKE THE MALE VERSION OF ME!!!

ILUVU

Having a consistent program will help, I think. I’m a little OCD about things and just knowing my programming will take care of itself helps. Going by feel can set you up for failure in this scenario because you don’t go in the gym with a clear cut objective in front of you. Leaves a lot of room for over-thinking, IMO.

Also, just doing it helps. The more you push forward and just get in there and KNOW you’re going to get the lift, you’ll ease up a little on yourself. Wendler has said before, aim to have a great session on one or two movements and just have a solid day with the rest.

Just relax. I know it’s easier said than done, but you just have to realize if you do miss, nothing bad will happen.

There’s a couple of things related to your problem that can be discussed here. One of those things is visualisation. There’s a lot of material out there on visualisation and NLP type stuff that helps you control your thoughts and emotions. A popular branch extends to applying it to sports and athletic performance.

Another more intuitive thing (well at least intuitive to me) and sort of connected to visualisation is to ‘flip the switch,’ metaphorically speaking. Try to put yourself in the state of mind of where you can’t wait to get to the gym for squat day instead of dreading or getting anxious about it (and let’s be frank here, you “thinking about it all day” is a passive psychological state where you don’t really want to go and squat). Basically, try and look forward to squatting, for whatever reason. Most likely you should really be looking forward to breaking your PR. For me, I motivate myself by thinking about that lactic acid and pump in my quads when I’m squatting. I’m fucken massaging and tapping my quads and hams getting psyched. It may be weird but whatever.

An easier solution might just be going to the gym in the mornings for squat days (although I understand that may not always be possible depending on your personal circumstances.

Back in the day when I could squat like an animal, half the time I’d feel somewhat nervous about it like you and the other half of the time I’d just be plain excited about it. I think both feelings are good 'cause when you are feeling that way you are going to kick ass. If you aren’t all that excited about it it’s not likely you are going to be able to perform at the effort level you would want.

I’ve done this too, back when I would squat heavy.

I would worry about stupid stuff like my knees snapping and so forth too. Not kidding.

I also really like what gettinitdone said. That ability to turn on that “switch” is a really useful tool. Right now i am focusing on bringing up my squat, i watch a few vids or think about my goal a few times each day, but then i do other things. But on squat day, that “switch” is turned on. I know that no matter what happens that i will dominate the squat or the squat will dominate me.

Either way, i will be relentless and i will push as hard as i can. Once that switch is turned on and i watch andrei hit his world record squat, i can’t help but feel motivated to push harder and be fearless. I mean really, if you focus properly, your form is spot on, and you do all the little things you need to do ala tight core, knees out and etc, all you have to at that point is squat.

On a humorous note, what’s the worst that could happen. It’s not like you will experience a prolapsed anus or anything.

Check out this vid if you haven’t already. start around 3:45 regarding confidence

That means your intensity is right where it needs to be. When I did my first “homemade” 20 rep squats program (started at 245 lbs, added 5 lbs per session squatted every 4 days), once I got up to around 275 I started getting more and more scared of squat day. But it got my 20 rep squat up to 300 within around 3-4 months IIRC, so hey, it worked.

Having said that, don’t be afraid to get on a preset program; for someone like yourself, you’ll most likely find that when someone else tells you “Do these reps with these weights” it makes it a lot less stressful.

This should help.

[quote]TomRocco wrote:
Even when I have a “good” squat day (as in, I tie or beat my previous week), I am relatively psychologically drained, and unable to hit the rest of my workout harder.

Any input will help.
[/quote]

I take it for granted that you’re squatting in a cage with pins or something.

I’m not one to give advice, but if you’ve had a good squat day and just set another PR, you’re probably not psychologically drained but physically drained. Rest and carry on.

You’ve just got a small case of self induced performance fear, and don’t take yourself to court about it.

you said youre worried about beating your previous weeks max…well its kinda illogical to want to best yoursefl every week at strength. Do you ever just switch it up? Max one week, Speed another week, reps another, maybe even different variations. Like if you front squatted isntead and hadnt done so in a few eeks you mihgt not be so nervous to perform on them.

Sounds like you can do that with bench, for me its always just warm up and see how i feel, sometimesi just know im not gonna hit a pr so i go for volume, other times i come in a rape a 50lb pr out of no where. To me its much more relaxing to go with the flow of the body than to try and best yoursefl at the same thing week after week. Sounds like youre strong too so i imagine getting better a squats is not going to be a weekly things for your 1RM.

You gotta get in your head and realize that you can squat less than you did last week and still make progress via volume, speed, sets, reps, tempo anything and everything can make you better if you work ‘hard’ maybe thtas all u need. Something else to focus on besides just upping the weight.
-nate

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:
This should help.

http://youtu.be/icWlE6FZQWM[/quote]

Dude! I’m eating breakfast.

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:
This should help.

http://youtu.be/icWlE6FZQWM[/quote]

LOL, way to pump up his confidence ID.

Try this one OP:

YEEEAAAAAAHHHHH BUDDDDYYYYYYYYY!!!

[quote]super saiyan wrote:

[quote]Iron Dwarf wrote:
This should help.

http://youtu.be/icWlE6FZQWM [/quote]

LOL, way to pump up his confidence ID.

Try this one OP:

YEEEAAAAAAHHHHH BUDDDDYYYYYYYYY!!! [/quote]


huh?

[quote]TomRocco wrote:
Hey guys,

In need of some help. I have been gaining weight and working out extremely on point lately. I’ve been busting my ass all summer. I need some advice from some older, more experienced lifters, or those who have been in a situation. Anything that will help me get psychologically back into the game.

In short, here’s my problem: When it’s squat day for me, I freak myself out all day thinking about squats. Not to sound like a bitch, but for real, it feels almost like I’m scared. I get nervous I wont be able to match me previous weeks best. I psychologically freak myself out. Granted, I have been going heavier than I have in the past, but still, I need a way to just stop worrying throughout the day. Has this ever happened to anyone?

When I have chest or back day, I go in with no or very little expectations. I go “by feel” for most my exercises with reps, sets, and weights. Not for squats. Squat day, all I have my mind on is my previous weeks lift. Squat day is something else. All day, every meal I eat all I can think of is “should I eat more because it’s squat day? Is this going to fuel me for squat day?” I am a little OCD in general, but with squats I usually take it to the next level.

How do I stop freaking myself out for squats, and just go with the flow? Even when I have a “good” squat day (as in, I tie or beat my previous week), I am relatively psychologically drained, and unable to hit the rest of my workout harder.

Any input will help.

[/quote]

Interesting, you psych yourself out over squats? I can see that hurting your squat training…
I would think about squatting all day, but only because I couldn’t wait to get downstairs and squat.
I don’t know how to tell you not to give a shit about what you did last week. I think a good plan is what you need.
I am more of a ‘feel’ guy, but in this case, at least for squat day, map it out and follow it with a proper progression. Understand and even build in some less intense days. That way you aren’t worried about what you did before, all you have to worry about is following your plan, but you have to make it reasonable too. I know it sucks when you under perform… It sucks bad, and nobody around you gets it.

Understand that maxes are peaks, and you aren’t going to hit a new or even match a previous week’s max every week. That is unrealistic. Also, understand that improvement comes in multiple ways, max is one, volume is another, mass gains are yet another, visual improvement another, pant size is another, etc.

If you are really only concerned with squats, then make them the priority. If your going for all around improvement, you’re going to have more shaky performance in big lifts from week to week.

And don’t compete with people on the internet, they are a bunch of liars.

[quote]TomRocco wrote:
Hey guys,

In need of some help. I have been gaining weight and working out extremely on point lately. I’ve been busting my ass all summer. I need some advice from some older, more experienced lifters, or those who have been in a situation. Anything that will help me get psychologically back into the game.

In short, here’s my problem: When it’s squat day for me, I freak myself out all day thinking about squats. Not to sound like a bitch, but for real, it feels almost like I’m scared. I get nervous I wont be able to match me previous weeks best. I psychologically freak myself out. Granted, I have been going heavier than I have in the past, but still, I need a way to just stop worrying throughout the day. Has this ever happened to anyone?

When I have chest or back day, I go in with no or very little expectations. I go “by feel” for most my exercises with reps, sets, and weights. Not for squats. Squat day, all I have my mind on is my previous weeks lift. Squat day is something else. All day, every meal I eat all I can think of is “should I eat more because it’s squat day? Is this going to fuel me for squat day?” I am a little OCD in general, but with squats I usually take it to the next level.

How do I stop freaking myself out for squats, and just go with the flow? Even when I have a “good” squat day (as in, I tie or beat my previous week), I am relatively psychologically drained, and unable to hit the rest of my workout harder.

Any input will help.

[/quote]

Honestly, that sounds like a good thing.

“Satisfaction breeds apathy and apathy breeds failure.” - Kroc