Building confidence in squats

It is quite normal to have some fear when it comes to squats regardless of lifting level.
Sometimes it’s the fear of failing on a squat PB or crumbling into a mess at the bottom injuring yourself.
I would dare say this is a main reason why a lot of people have a particular disdain for squatting and would only use a smith machine OR do quarter squats.
Here are some tips on building confidence into your squats

1. Squat Walk outs
Load up a bar with a +20kg on your PB and unrack it from the bar just above the safety pins and walk backwards to your starting position. If you feel it’s too heavy when you unrack, then the battle is already lost most of the time.  Unracking and holding the weight for approx. 10 seconds for example will get you used to the weight and not provide so much of a shock when you attempt it later on. This also can be applied to Squat static holds standing in one spot.
These are generally done after you have completed your working sets on squats.

2. Quarter squats
Yes you read it right. We all have a chuckle at the guy doing quarter squats for reps. But if you're a seasoned lifter loading the bar with 10kg+ above your max and attempting to squat a few inches down for a few reps will also increase your confidence. This applies to those who are already squatting below parallel not beginners trying it out for the first time.

3. Fail on squats on purpose
Some beginners I have coached will tell me they are afraid of failing on squats. They start progressively squatting higher and higher as they learn and the numbers get bigger in a set which I have found to be their psychological block. If you have a spotter or have set the power rack safeties to catch you in case you fail, consider purposely failing.
Once you experience failure numerous times in a controlled lifting environment the mental blocks are taken away and you can let go of those mental anchors weighing you down.

4.  Visualize your PR lift
I visualize my next PR squat in my head. This could be in the toilet taking a dump or waiting in line at the post office.  Walking up to a PR for the first time is nerve racking. If you had imagined having done it hundreds of times in your head that’s the psychological side taken care of. Now it’s purely physical.

5. Look back at your old training logs
Have a look at your old logs and see how far you have come. I'm sure there was a time you were stuck at a particular weight and managed to overcome it. I find this to be a major confidence booster when it comes to coaching my members whom are stuck in a rut.

Cheers

Trent
PTC Sydney