T Nation

Why Don't PL Comps Use Cages?


This one baffles me.

I have seen several videos and pictures of mishaps on the squat during competitions and it seems like injuries could be avoided by using a cage.

How on earth are two dudes spotting supposed to help a lifter who snaps under 1,000+ lb weights? Even four or five dudes, that's just too much weight and it happens very quickly.

It just seems like a no-brainer to use a cage during comps.



I'm not completely sure, but my first guess would be for vision. The judges have to be able to see the lifter and not have their vision obstructed by anything.


I was wondering the same thing the other day...


Good point, but there's people standing around throughout the lift anyway, so vision is still obstructed. Even worse because spotters move around.



Hec, we might even see bigger attempts at the squat if they used some sort of cage. Lifter confidence has to be boosted in an environment where he knows whatever weight is across his shoulders atleast he wont be hurt by it even if he does fail.

Maybe some sort of apparatus like they used in thos Diablo pics where the bar was suspended by chains so the judges would have that unobstructed view.

Definitely some sort of suspension apparatus which could be adjusted to accomodate different heights of different lifters. I know Id have a lot more confidence in such a scenario; I felt this way when I switched from squatting in the squat rack to the power rack a few years ago.

Im sure if someone pitched the idea to Dave Tate he's probably have something designed and ready to be used in 6 months...now hurry before the largest load lifted by a man is on the bench press!!!



It might just be because of the time it would take to keep adjusting the pins for different height lifters, but I agree with you that they should use them.

Maybe something on hydrolics like what's in the picture in halfpintdd's "My Motivation Pics" thread, only have the hydrolics on pins too...

Maybe even loops of chains hanging down that could be adjusted quickly to catch the weight.


(A lot of New Yokers on this thread).


Not sure why the rules don't allow it at meets. I know here in Texas the High School federation requires the use of a cage -- it does slow down the meet alot during squats.



One of the biggest reasons devices like this aren't used is because spotters typically work remarkably well. After having been in and been present at many meets, I really don't know how many accidents this would actually avoid.

Things working in theory also may not work as well in practice. If lifters know they have pins below them, they may not worry about staying with the weight. The more often squats are dumped, the more often the spotters can get hurt, even using cages.

Another problem is the lifter's grip on the bar. If I take a wide grip on the bar (hands out to collars), I would pin my arms under the barbell if I just took it down to pins after a miss. And that would be messy.


I've never seen a monolift with a cage built onto it.


A further reason is this:

Even if you have safety pins set just below parallel, there is potential for disaster if/when the lifter thinks he's got both ends of the bar back on the hooks, but doesn't. And it's easy for that to happen given the loads, supersuit, ammonia, and God knows what else...re-racking the bar onto the hooks can be difficult at best.


First I want to say I've seen a custom built cage with a home built mono-lift on it. but I think there are many reasons you don't see this in comps

-like has been mentioned it would take alot of time reseting for everyone

-spotters work the majority of the time

-The chances of getting hurt would still be there

-people could be more inclined to dump the bar, indangering spotters and probably destroying the bar.

-would be difficuly to setup for super wide stance squaters


TT check it out. I would like to try one of these out.



ive always wondered that myself so i asked a powerlifter that and when he told me it made alot of sense.

alot of powerlifters squat with extremly wide stances and when they have the cages most of thems feet would be braced against the bottom to allow for extra power.

but even still i would have always thought they would have built a larger cage to avoid people being able to brace their feet agaisnt them even for safey reasons, ive seen those clips also where people get fucked up under some lifts even when they do have spotters.

also may just be a macho thing but screw that im always squatting in a cage with pins incase I fail.


As a powerlifter I say we need to learn how to squat without a spotter and if we can't get it, dump it. No spotter and no one to blame but yourself. Ha!



macho thing i guess then


along with the cage being too narrow for the wide stance squats it also doesn't allow for the wide grip on the bar that most lifters use when squatting.


I hate squatting in cages! It gives lifters a false sense of security and therefore they often take the weight for granted. We rarely squat in ours at Diablo. If a lifter is capable of squatting a grand he better be smart enough to stay with the weight if something goes wrong. So long as the lifter stays with the weight the spotters are usually able to do their job.

When I first started I wondered why they didn't use saftey chains like we do. Now I realize that they would be a HUGE pain in the ass.


What if they injure themselves (tear hamstring for example) and cannot physically stay with the weight? Wouldn't a cage (or chains) avert a catastrophy?

(For the record, I am speaking from a position of ignorance. I have never competed in a PL meet nor have I attended one. I have dropped a few squats and felt very confident in the cage, but I can't squat anywhere near a grand.)


Truth...Huge pain in the ass. I stopped squatting in the cage recently because I noticed my mindset changed w/o the cage. It wasn't "Ok IF I get this"...it was "I better get this or I'm going to DIE"

So that definitely helped.