Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why are you turning the squat rack around?

Little questions like this tend to pop up in health clubs when I train as I travel. The rack was of course set up so that the person squatting would be able to look in the mirror as they curled - I mean squat. So I understood the nature of the question and after explaining that it was difficult enough the stare at my face long enough to shave mush less when straining during squatting I gave her the real reasons.

#1 - Always relying upon a mirror can ruin your own kinestetic (sp?) sense of where you are in space when you don't have the mirrors feedback. Most people cannot "feel" where there arm is positioned or much less where a foot is turned or hand is turned unless they have the visual input from the mirror. A bad habit when they have yet to mirror the world so you can check your form every step of every day.
A mirror can be helpful for a spot check - but once you see what you want to check - get away from the mirror and re-create it by feel.

#2 - Since my goal is to compete in powerlifting it is important to train the way I will compete. There are no mirrors at the meets - only judges. I want to know my depth and feel of my squat perfectly without visual feedback.

I thnk she actually believed the initial reason of not being able to stand more "face" time in the mirror (this is a joke BTW). But seemed to accept the other reasons as well.

So - are you relying on the mirror? Or can you feel where you are in space?


Anonymous said...

Yes the mirror virus in commercial gyms is rampant; my own club is gravely infected. I tell my clients not to use the mirrors (entire WALLS, I tell you) for the reasons you listed and all I get back is "I can't do it right if I don't see myself" and people wonder why I bang my head...maybe I should bang theirs.
Thanks for starting up a great blog and website. All your help at the Sept. RKC was much appreciated.

Anonymous said...


I'm inspired and encouraged by the key concepts that continue to surface in your blog: strength, simplicity, action.

There's a lifetime supply of truth compressed into those few words. At the same time, your blog helps to remind us that "simple" does not mean "easy."

Brett Jones said...

Thanks Court wing - great working with you at the RKC can't place you by this screen name - the "i can't do it right if I can't watch" comment is a great one!

Thanks JB - those three areas - strength, action and simplicity hold a great deal of value!

Rif - Coan is just a mutant - it is that simple!

Anonymous said...

Brett,lo, tis true,eddie is a freak. I do however,think he would have benefited from NOT looking in the mirror.He had better gym lifts than meet squats. perhaps that hurt him.

Brett Jones said...

Very interesting Rif - when you are leaving pounds in the gym instead of on the platform - something is going on.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brett-
we walked together to and from dinner Friday night and sat at the "late" table.
I completely agree with Rif, I think mirrors destroy competition lifts...hmmn, maybe I should write an article.


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