Are You Afraid of Squats?

Yesterday I said that one common mistake I see guys doing on StrongLifts 5×5 is neglecting to add weight. Today I want to talk one of the reasons for this…


I honestly believe that every strength trainer, no matter how strong he is, will always have some kind of fear when facing unfamiliar weights. I’m now in my 12th year of lifting and I admit I still have it when attempting PRs.

The difference is that experience has taught me how to handle this fear – by lifting that frigging weight, NOT by avoiding or delaying or overthinking it.

There’s actually a book (it’s not that good) called “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway,” that makes this point – winners and achievers almost always keep feeling some fear when performing. The difference? They do it anyway.

Now this does NOT mean that you should load 200lbs extra on the bar, and risk injuring yourself in the process. You should always Squat inside the Power Rack, use the safety pins, and settle with smaller, yet consistent PRs.

What this does mean is that the fear of missing a lift will most likely never go away, and that there are only 2 ways you can deal with it:

  • face your fears; OR
  • chicken out

Winners are winners because they stop thinking, stop rationalizing and just go for it. This, facing your fears, is what develops true courage and unbeatable self-confidence – not just under the bar but in everything.

So the real secret is becoming comfortable in uncomfortable situations. And you do what by consistently facing your fears, not by avoiding them.


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