Thursday, November 3, 2011

Squat Machine

by Tracy Zimmer

Why do so many people have an aversion to squatting? A lot of people say they can't squat. That is a weak excuse. They'd be better off saying they don't want to do a deep knee bend with heavy weight. It may be overzealous, but I can’t seem to get enough of it.

Admittedly, when I squat I am selfish. Nothing else matters. When I squat I am quiet. Noise will not move the weight. When I squat I feel liberated. Under the bar, I can let go of everything. It’s a chance to get away, a chance to escape when time seems to stand still.

I only train legs once a week, and the anticipation of the day is pretty crazy. It's the exercise I look forward to most. When Steel tells me my workout it’s either the day before or the day of the session. Sometimes it’s just minutes before I’m about to begin warming up. Either way, I’m ready. The mental preparedness is almost unnecessary on legs day—the toughest part is the warm up, because all I can think about is the top set. Before I know what weight I will be lifting, I am prepared for the workout to be hard as hell; and it should be hard. Some days are tougher then others, but in general I feel like a squat machine!

Squatting in socks, the tightness of the belt, and the single mindedness of it all, is so much fun for me. I look forward to feeling like crap after a heavy set or a lot of volume on leg day. When I put the bar back in the rack, I may have to refocus my eyes because I'm likely seeing spots; I may just stand by the weights or sit to catch my breath; and it may take a little while for the ringing in my ears to go away. I look forward to all of it.

How long does it take to squat? Seconds. In a matter of seconds, from the time I un-rack the weight, squat down and and stand up again, I am in an untouchable place. At home under the bar. 

Tracy Zimmer is an Assistant Strength Coach at the University of Pennsylvania. She can be reached for training consultations at

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.