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  1. #1
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Adjusting to squatting without a mirror

    My gym that I visit on the road 4 times a month has 3 squat racks connected to each other, but they are not facing a mirror like my home gym. This causes for problems for me as I take 10-15 seconds each set to set the bar up properly for low-bar squats.

    I need a mirror to make sure:

    1. the bar is even, both vertically and horizontally, on my traps, in the high bar position. Then I carefully raise my body so that the bar goes evenly into low bar. Then I brace my body/tighten the bar, and then squeeze my glutes to get it out of the j-hooks to begin my set. This is especially important at this gym, as the bar is 32 mm in diameter, vs. the standard 28.5 mm at my home gym. This thicker bar puts more pressure on a nerve which causes pain in the front of my medial deltoids if not set up perfectly.

    2. my hands are spaced evenly apart, and not too close to the j-hooks.

    3. to check my form by sneaking a peak sometimes as I descent, since the left bumpers are hitting the safety rails sometimes on heavier weights, which distracts me.

    4. to make sure I properly re-rack the bar without pinching my hands in the j-hooks.

    Are there any solutions?
    Last edited by mileena202; 09-04-2021 at 12:08 AM.
    Age 51, Female, USA
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  2. #2
    Registered User smokinHawk's Avatar
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    Should be able to do all that without a mirror going by feel. Just set in it the same every time with your check list.
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  3. #3
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by smokinHawk View Post
    Should be able to do all that without a mirror going by feel. Just set in it the same every time with your check list.
    Thanks smokinHawk! Yeah, I had no choice when I was at that gym. Still, it would be nice to verify the bar is resting perfectly side to side. For me, it's hard to tell if it could be a centimeter or so off.
    Age 51, Female, USA
    Ht. 5'11.5" (182 cm)
    Wt. 172 lb. (78 kg, 12.29 st.)

    1-rep maxes:

    Deadlift: 320 lb. (145 kg)
    Squat: 245 lb. (111 kg)
    Bench: 125 lb. (57 kg)
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  4. #4
    heavily caffeinated grapegorilla's Avatar
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    Same setup here. Practice setting up using just markings on barbell without the mirror. When squatting, keep your gaze fixed on a spot in the floor ~10’ in front of you.

    Once I started using bb markings I no longer rely on mirror.
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  5. #5
    Registered User mileena202's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by grapegorilla View Post
    Same setup here. Practice setting up using just markings on barbell without the mirror. When squatting, keep your gaze fixed on a spot in the floor ~10’ in front of you.

    Once I started using bb markings I no longer rely on mirror.
    Thanks grapegorilla! I am at the place with a mirror tomorrow, but I will try what you suggested. And I will try to look more forward. I am looking too far down now.
    Age 51, Female, USA
    Ht. 5'11.5" (182 cm)
    Wt. 172 lb. (78 kg, 12.29 st.)

    1-rep maxes:

    Deadlift: 320 lb. (145 kg)
    Squat: 245 lb. (111 kg)
    Bench: 125 lb. (57 kg)
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  6. #6
    In it for the gainz RestoringTally's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mileena202 View Post
    Thanks smokinHawk! Yeah, I had no choice when I was at that gym. Still, it would be nice to verify the bar is resting perfectly side to side. For me, it's hard to tell if it could be a centimeter or so off.
    The mirror is nice, but it is a crutch. As part of your setup you should feel if the bar is in balance. If the bar feels solid on the back and your hands feel like they are even, you are good to go. Being off a centimeter will not matter too much as long as the bar is solid on your back.

    Ideally, you want to lift the weight off the pins, walk back, tighten up, and then begin the squat. You want to be quick, taking only enough time to feel solid. The longer you take, the more energy you are wasting on the setup than on the squat. 10 to 15 seconds sounds like a long time to me.
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  7. #7
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    Originally Posted by RestoringTally View Post
    The mirror is nice, but it is a crutch. As part of your setup you should feel if the bar is in balance. If the bar feels solid on the back and your hands feel like they are even, you are good to go. Being off a centimeter will not matter too much as long as the bar is solid on your back.

    Ideally, you want to lift the weight off the pins, walk back, tighten up, and then begin the squat. You want to be quick, taking only enough time to feel solid. The longer you take, the more energy you are wasting on the setup than on the squat. 10 to 15 seconds sounds like a long time to me.
    Agreed on 10 to 15 seconds being a long time
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  8. #8
    Registered User C123C's Avatar
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    I put my hands on the bar first according to the markings then get under it. Before I unrack I look at my left and right shoulders relative to the markings to ensure equidistance. When I unrack I feel the weight of the bar balance.

    For depth maybe have someone video or set up a camera and get the feel of hitting proper depth and what that feels like. Then replicate. Check it every now and then as "feel" in this is subjective and you can overdo it at times going lower and lower and lower just trying to get the basic "lower" feel you had when you started too high. I'd recommend establishing a feel for hip crease depth as that's a queue I use, I tend to focus there and on my hip engagement. Tells me a lot as depth is required to feel that for me.
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  9. #9
    In it for the gainz RestoringTally's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by C123C View Post
    I put my hands on the bar first according to the markings then get under it. Before I unrack I look at my left and right shoulders relative to the markings to ensure equidistance. When I unrack I feel the weight of the bar balance.

    For depth maybe have someone video or set up a camera and get the feel of hitting proper depth and what that feels like. Then replicate. Check it every now and then as "feel" in this is subjective and you can overdo it at times going lower and lower and lower just trying to get the basic "lower" feel you had when you started too high. I'd recommend establishing a feel for hip crease depth as that's a queue I use, I tend to focus there and on my hip engagement. Tells me a lot as depth is required to feel that for me.
    ^^^^ This.

    I have the height of the safeties in my rack set so that the bar is about 1-1/2 inches above the safeties when I hit proper depth. A quick side-glance tells me if I am as deep as I want. I rarely need to look, and only do it to verify that I am hitting depth.

    If I squat deeper, which I often do on my warmup sets, I slow down at the bottom so the bar only taps the safeties.
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