How to Squat Safely Without Training Partner

Karl asked…

    My Squat Rack is not a Power Rack: the safety bars are fixed. Can’t
move anything there. I checked ways how to drop the weight with an empty
 bar, finding out that the Squat Rack was not actually meant for tall
people.

    There was a guy who was close of being a midget and his depth during
 the Squat was limited by the safety bars. You should do an article on
how to drop the weight safely from any position of the Squat.

The safest way to Squat when you’re alone is using the safety pins
inside a Power Rack. When you can’t Squat the weight up, lower yourself
until the bar hits the safety pins. Put the safety pins low enough so
you can break parallel without hitting the pins. But not too low to
avoid bouncing on your knees in case you miss the lift.

    Take an empty barbell
    Squat as deep as you normally do (hips lower than knees)
    Remember the bar height in the bottom position (count the pin holes)
    Squat back up, rack the weight in the uprights
    Put the safety pins at the height you just remembered
    Start your Squat workout

The problem with Squat Racks as Karl points out, is that the pins will
be too low for tall people, impairing Squat safety. While for small
people they will be too high, limiting Squat depth. Solutions:

    Start Light, Add Weight Gradually. Get used to lifting heavier
weights. This builds a feeling for the weight: you’ll know what you can
& can’t handle. Example: if you just Squatted 100kg for 5 reps, you
can do at least 1 rep with 102,5kg. But how many reps could you do with
150kg if you can do 5 reps with 100kg? None. I know because I’m
experienced. You’ll build the same experience by starting light &
adding weight gradually. This is knowing yourself.
    Take Calculated Risks. If you can do 5 reps with 100kg, you can do
at least 1 rep with 102.5kg. Maybe 2, maybe 5. If your legs tremble
& your arms go numb, chances are you’ll fail on the next rep. Better
 is to stop. Else try 5 reps by waiting longer between reps & taking
 a big breath.
    Ask Someone to Spot. Have someone put his arms ready around your
chest. If you miss the lift, he’ll help you on the way up by Squatting
with you. This is what I did in the 5 years I trained in a commercial
gym which had only a Squat Rack. Make sure your spotter knows what he’s
doing. My spotter was the guy I trained with for 3 years.

Whatever you do: stay away from the smith machine. Always Squat with
free weights. Safest solution is the Power Rack. Other solutions: try
them, but use your head. It’s your responsibility if something goes
wrong.

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