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Hey guys,

 

Just a warning for up ahead, the things I say may seem contradictory and/or flawed in their logic, and overall, my words will probably make me out to be a wimp (Of which I can’t say I’m not).

 

I’ve had a huge love/hate relationship for the squat. I am 17 years old, 145lbs, and 5’7”. I have been on-and-off squatting for about 3 years now. The background on me is that I’ve always been a scrawny but athletic kid. I recorded the record vertical jump for my weight class at my high school, and have been on track for a while. Out of all of this, I’ve always wanted to jump higher and run faster — I always want to beat my old records and set new PRs. So I took up weightlifting. 

 

Fast forward a few years and I’ve become scared sh*tless of squatting. I knew what my goals were. Plyometrics: done. Sprint training with resistance: done. Heavy weight training with low reps and more sets and more weight in order to train more strength based: not done. I started off well, being able to squat a normal amount, about 3x a week. I followed programs, followed coaches. All of it. But no matter what, every single time I went under the bar, the weight intimidated me into submission. All I had to do was feel the weight on my back and I would think to myself “How the **** am I supposed to do this!?!?”. Funny thing is, it was the same weight as last time. So much for progressive overload. Even if I decrease the weight by 10-15lbs, the weight would feel so heavy, so crushing, that I immediately give up. If I went down too much in the weight, I would start to berate myself, calling myself a piece of s***, a weak loser, a product of humanity’s lazy lifestyle. Only miraculously am I sometimes able to go through a workout with that same weight, forget about improving. Each time though, I despise the thought of going to my basement to my squat rack. I lose sleep because of how scared I am of squatting, that I won’t be able to squat as much as I did before (which, compared to others is so laughably weak it’s pathetic and pitiful). I know that self comparison is only self-defeating but it is a natural social response to compare yourself to others. And my whole life, I’ve been doing it nonstop. I can’t squat anymore without losing my nerve and feeling defeated. I wanted to improve so badly, that I kept thinking about the training I would do the next day. And from that thought, I would think about the squats I would do. Even if I go in with a positive, “I can do it” mindset, as soon as I lift the bar from the rack, I step forward and freeze. The weight seems way too heavy. It feels like I would be crushed under if I even attempt to go down. After about 2 minutes of just standing there with the weight on my back, I put the bar down and go back upstairs. Without speaking, I despised my performance so greatly that I am at a loss of words. Repeat this process 3 times a week. It even happens if I lower the weight by 20 lbs or so. every time there is regret and defeat, it’s actually quite debilitating.

 

After all of this, the only outlet I have found is to post this on the forum. Not necessarily to get immediate help, but to vent a little.

 

Thank you guys so much I for reading this far, it means a lot to me to know that other people are giving me a chance to express myself.

 

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Hello there young man, and thank you for expressing yourself so well, I enjoyed reading what you wrote. Now I can sit here and discuss sport's psychology with you and show you how clever I am. That won't do it I'm afraid, for that is not your medicine right now, your medicine lies in the lie you've lied to yourself due to your inexperience.

I've decided to come here and see if I could undo this unnecessary and unwarranted damage you've done to yourself.

Where did you go wrong?

You've simply mistook power for strength, that's it in a nutshell mate. Your focus ought to be on power (which has an element of strength within by default), and not on some brute strength a la some powerlifting strength specialist OK. I know what you need as far as training is concerned, because I've seen world class athletes train in front of me back in the day. Down at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport), where many athletes from around the world visited in order to train at (what was at the time) the best training facility in the world (probably still is). They came from Great Britain; long jumpers, high jumpers, and many others. You seem very passionate about what you do and I command you on that Champion. Success has its roots in passion, never lose sight of this fact.

Squats; squats and more squats!

Did I see these international athletes squat next to my lifting platform?

You bet I did.

Where did they squat? In the safety rack, that's where.

Were they training fro brute strength in the squat or were they aiming for explosive power like there was no tomorrow?

Brother, they were repping it out rep after rep, with breathing resembling that of a steam train thundering down the railway tracks.

Were they using full range of motion?

No way, as their main focus was only from parallel and up, starting with the bar resting half way down on the pins. They positioned themselves underneath it, got in a solid position for 100% correct execution, then went for it , maximising on speed of movement (like I've already told you above).

Have I got an immediate solution to your "created" problem? Of course I have. Here's what I'd like you to do first off.

Go home, and introduce yourself to that incredibly solid masterpiece we call the barbell. Talk to it for a bit. I know, you're probably thinking WTF, I came here for some help, and I've got myself a nutter telling me to talk to the bar! Yehp, that's exactly what I'm asking you to do mate.

After having done that, I want you to pay some much needed attention to that bar, like lift it without adding any load onto it, its wonderfully constructed 20kg are plenty enough for you two to get to know each other better. Right now all you're feeling is some ungodly monstrous weight sitting upon your shoulders with the aim of crushing you right down into the floor of your basement. Am I correct?  Well, take the friggin weigh off and feel the bar man, it's you and the bar without any weight that matters right now.

You need a safety rack with pins (obviously).  Place your new friend on it, get underneath it, position yourself well, then drive it as if you were aiming to make it kiss the ceiling above you.

Do the above exercise about 200 times, in however many sets it takes you to finish 200 reps. I could've very easily said 1000 reps, but I thought we've just met, so I'm being extra nice :)

Once you've mastered that FEEL, you and the bar and this whole movement pattern, coupled with appropriate speed, you're welcome to come back here and speak to me, telling me all about your new experience, and how this new relationship with the bar went OK.

Nothing in the above was a joke, I don't do jokes!

Once you're done, we can think about adding some load onto that bar, but never before you and It got to know each other better.

Expect to hear from you soon.

Take care Champ.

Cheers.

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