T Nation

Where to Look While Squatting?

I was at the gym today squatting and this guy told me not to look up but to keep my eyes straight at the wall. I’m not doubting what he says cause he squatted 685 before so he’s definitely good with the squat. But idk I heard from so many different people to keep eyes up. I tried looking straight forward and it felt like I was gonna fall forward and I had to drop the weight. My squat’s bad as it is so I would like to get any of the form tips down quick

I’ve found that with a Westside style box squat, I’m looking forward to just a little down. But when my back is really upright like in an Oly type squat I look up a lot more.

Yeah you will hear a lot of differrent opinions on this. From what I gather, keeping your eyes mostly forward or slightly down keeps a more neutral spine, and there are all kinds of articles and info out there showing that a more neutral spine = better lifts, period.

On the other hand, for a lot of people (especially people who are not experienced squatters), keeping your eyes a little higher helps keep you from rounding your upper back or getting caught with your weight forward. So even though it might not be “ideal,” if it allows you to squat with the least amount of problems, I would say probably don’t worry about it. Head position has never seemed like as big a deal to me as some people make it out to be.

But as I said, there are a lot of people who very vehemently argue that keeping a neutral head position and spine is REALLY important, so maybe some of them will post soon with advice and explanation.

One of the biggest reasons why people say that you should look up is because it encourages you to push back against the bar, but you don’t need to crane your neck up in order to push your head back into the bar.

If I look to high up, my back hurts near the top of the lift on the ascent. I think it’s because I end up overarching and in APT.

Anywhere other than a mirror. As long as you are packing the neck, you can look pretty much anywhere.

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:
Anywhere other than a mirror. .[/quote]

I’ve recently learned this when I switched gyms . the old place had mirrors at both racks . the new place I mostly use a monolift with no mirror . I couldnt believe how much I depended on those damn mirrors …I felt a little “lost” the first couple times in the monolift .

I look straight when I squat oly style and I look up when I use a super wide stance in gear.

[quote]marlboroman wrote:
I’ve recently learned this when I switched gyms . the old place had mirrors at both racks . the new place I mostly use a monolift with no mirror . I couldnt believe how much I depended on those damn mirrors …I felt a little “lost” the first couple times in the monolift .[/quote]

I will take an incline bench and set it up in front of me to block my view if I have to look into a mirror.

Why does everyone say that about the mirror? When I squat at the gym, I use the mirror. When I squat at home, I have no mirror. I’ve not once noticed a difference. What is the ‘disadvantage’ of the mirror?

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
Why does everyone say that about the mirror? When I squat at the gym, I use the mirror. When I squat at home, I have no mirror. I’ve not once noticed a difference. What is the ‘disadvantage’ of the mirror?[/quote]

For one, the mirror compromises your depth perception, which ultimately makes it more difficult for you to judge your balance.

doesnt matter. really. its one of those things the internetheroes discuss to death when in reality you just need to find one fucking angle for your head that you like and squat with that.

its that simple.

I have used both a mirror at my old gym and a monolift at my new gym. The mirror helped me to see my depth but was distracting. I knew that if i saw my butt between my legs I was at parallel. But now without the mirror squatting goes more by a “feel” of where parallel is, and I believe I am a better lifter for it.

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
Why does everyone say that about the mirror? When I squat at the gym, I use the mirror. When I squat at home, I have no mirror. I’ve not once noticed a difference. What is the ‘disadvantage’ of the mirror?[/quote]

I go with the old adage of “Train like you compete, compete like you trained”. There are no mirrors at a comp for you to judge your own depth, you have to face a crowd and have that “1000 yard stare” so why not train that way.

The only acceptable use of a mirror is to get your “creep on” between sets by staring at hot chicks lol.

During meet-prep I bring a cheap shower curtain and hang it in front of the mirror.

[quote]StrengthDawg wrote:

[quote]Spidey22 wrote:
Why does everyone say that about the mirror? When I squat at the gym, I use the mirror. When I squat at home, I have no mirror. I’ve not once noticed a difference. What is the ‘disadvantage’ of the mirror?[/quote]

I go with the old adage of “Train like you compete, compete like you trained”. There are no mirrors at a comp for you to judge your own depth, you have to face a crowd and have that “1000 yard stare” so why not train that way.

The only acceptable use of a mirror is to get your “creep on” between sets by staring at hot chicks lol. [/quote]

I agree with this 100% except the part about the chicks :slight_smile:

When I train at a commercial gym I typically move the pegs so I’m facing out onto the gym floor rather than facing the wall/mirror. That’s also an awesome way to watch everyone watch you.

Proprioception is a pretty big deal for overall performance and athleticism. Why would you not want to improve your kinesthetic awareness?

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:
Anywhere other than a mirror. As long as you are packing the neck, you can look pretty much anywhere.[/quote]

How do you pack your neck?

Also with mirror you eyes will wonder. You’ll watch you knees, feet, head or even be drafts Ted by someone watching you.

[quote]Consul wrote:
How do you pack your neck?
[/quote]

This article does a good job of explaining it:

http://articles.elitefts.com/training-articles/packing-the-neck-an-article-inspired-by-clint-darden-and-facebook/