T Nation

Too Scared to Squat


hi im pretty much a beginner been lifting since may at home w/ free weights
i got one of those bodymax set of squat stands and i im at the point where im squatting over my body weight .

i workout alone and the last couple of sessions ive nearly lost balance or been unable to squat back up (sticking about 1/3rd way up) now basically i have serious reservations about continuing after this and ive lost my nerve at the very least i predict this will injure me significantly
there are spotters catchers but they dont allow much room for error (you have to be in a very specific position )and i find when i clip them on the bottom of the movement it is very offputting
does anyone have any advice,wud volume training be better?

ive been down to local gym and all they have is a smith machine and a leg press
i had one session on legs with the leg press machine and i found it just hurt my lower back and didnt benefit the muscles
i have heard that smith machines can cause injurys too
any advice i want bigger legs but i dont look forward to these workouts anymore for fear of serious injury

i might also add i dont know if its of any significance that this started after i incorporated deadlifts into routine i usually dl 2 days before squats
do dls work the quads significantly to impact on squats ?


you could try front squats, that way the weight on the bar would be lower (initially) and you could easily dump it forward off your shoulders if things go wrong.


i did initially try fs when i got the stand but found it tough on the wrists i think i used the non crossed grip
are these as effective as squats as an all round exercise ?is there a good method for gripping the bar?


Have you tried low bar back squats? You put the bar across the middle of your traps rather than high on your neck - it makes it easier to ditch the weight if you fail. Takes some getting used to but you might find it helps. Most people find they can handle a lot more weight that way after cleaning up their form too.

Personally it takes me about 3 days to recover from a big deadlift session, so I wouldn't put the two so close together, but if you feel good to squat, then do it.


Learn to dump the weight off your back.


Get on craigslist and start looking for a power rack. Decent ones come along for cheap all the time, you just need to keep looking. There is no excuse not to get one.

Also, get some squat instruction or get some vids up of your squats to make sure your form is safe. My bet is form is more of the issue than the equipment regarding the fear factor.


ive been using the books and video s by rippetoe i might just switch to front squats i honestly dont think backs are safe alone with the bodymax stands


Investing in a power rack would be a very good idea if you are serious about squats. Heck, if you have a bench, you can bench press in it too!

I use the cross grip when doing front squats, and always have, I've never found the clean grip to be comfortable for me. Some say the cross grip is less stable, but I've front squatted a lot of weight with it, so as long as you're fairly upright-- it doesn't matter.

Also, remember the squat is a very complex exercise and does take a lot of time and practice to master. It isn't like a curl where most people can pick up a weight and execute. Check out the "Squat RX" series on YouTube for some extremely great instruction on squats.

If you have a trap bar or heavy dumbbells, you can do trap bar style deadlifts, and these work the quads very well with a close stance and you can dump the weight safely.


thanks everyone i think ill put some pads for shoulder rests on bar and do front squats from now on until i can afford a power rack or find a local gym with facilities


I don't know why people are claiming front squats are safer. It is easier to let the weight roll off your back than to try to shove the bar forward and miss your knees. Unless you are falling forward when back squatting, in which case you need to work on technique. Plus the same can be said for falling backwards on front squats.

Could someone tell me how front squats are safer?


maybe their not its psychological i think i would feel much more comfortable with the bar in front of me in the event that i failed or was about to fall


Well, not sure about everyone else, but I'm not advocating one is safer than the other. In any circumstance, it is always safer to have a rack or something to catch the bar.


I was like you not too long ago, scared to do back squats. After i got a power rack i saw how safe they actually can be even without a spotter. The most important thing to learn initially is how to rack the bar over your back so that you can handle more weight. Its intense, i wont lie, but its also a crucial lift to learn.

If lifting was easy everybody would do them. Id suggest checking out Rippetoes dvd, which helped me immemsely learn the big lifts. And hey, learn and practice the lift initially with an empty bar. Everybody has to start somewhere. Even if its just 80 or 90 pounds, youll get stronger and more confident as you master the back squat.


you mean these
ive been using these and they are helping


Work on your form - if you feel like you have a comfortable and balanced groove you will not feel fear. Falling forward is definitely a form issue

Do sets with empty bar or light weight on non-leg workout days to practice form. Lower your working weight if necessary to stay in control

If you are working in a higher rep range like 6-12 (which I would recommend for this reason...), the squat is a damn hard lift to "fail." You just grind it up. I've never actually missed a squat. Stopped moving for a moment, but not missed lol. I imagine if you have no spotter you will definitely not miss.

Switching to a different lift that is equally or more technical (front squat) isn't going to fix things. If you can't back squat correctly, you probably won't front squat correctly. Being able to stay on your heels and keep weight centered is key in both cases, I imagine you would be dumping the bar like crazy.


Power rack for the win!!

Can't imagine training without one, after having mine for almost two years. Not only does it make the big lifts safe, there are other lifts you can do on it that can't be duplicated.


yeh when i get some spare cash i will either buy a proper rack or join a gym with facilities for aquat i was just looking for a temporary fix
think ill go with front squats tll then just seem safer with the bodymax stands i got as i can see the spotters catchers if i need to dump the bar
when its on my back doing b squats i cant see the catchers and they are very small
thanks everyone


Such as?


Squat rack curls


just don't miss the lift haha