Don’t Drop Your Squats

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by Taryn Haggerstone

Front-Squat

Squats: Using a Spotter vs Dropping the Bar

When I first started lifting (and squatting) I didn’t really care whether I had a spot or not when I went for a heavy lift because I knew I could safely drop the bar if I got stuck at the bottom.

Actually to be honest, I’m pretty sure I preferred NOT having a spot because it was a lot easier to simply ‘drop the bar’ than to have my coach/training partner make me fight for it/help me just enough so that I could stand it back up.

Some people argue that either way it is a failed lift and there is little (if any) difference between the two…

“dropped it, had assistance, whatever. Either way I didn’t get it”

but in terms of what we can learn/take away from them there is a huge difference . When we consistently drop our lifts we create a habit of to ‘giving up’ when it feels heavy (BAD!), but if we’re forced to grind up out of the bottom we learn to not give up if it feels impossible (GOOD!)

What I mean by “Spotter”

When I say “spotter” I’m not referring to someone  standing behind you to help you bail the barb off your back (that’s still giving up) nor am I referring to a buddy on either side who will automatically relieve you of as much weight as possible the moment you start to fail.

What I’m talking about is someone who will be there for in case you start to fail to give enough assistance/take off just enough weight that you can stand it back up but makes you fight for it.

230 Backsquat

Why does this matter?

Because when we compete, everything we’ve learned/taught ourselves in training comes back to help and/or haunt us and if we’re used to dropping heavy weights in training chances are we’re going to do the exact same thing in competition.

I know that having a spot isn’t always an option and in those cases if you need to drop the bar do it (way better that than pinned at the bottom). But whenever possible get a spot (or two) for those difficult sets/1 rep maxes so that fighting for your lifts – no matter how heavy they feel – becomes a habit.

Visit Taryn Haggerstone’s blog Go Hard Get Strong for more of her thoughts on training. Follow her on Twitter at @TarynHaggerston and Instagram at @tarynemilyh.

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