Quick Tip #9: Squat Unrack Issues? Read THIS!

By: Brian Carroll

Squat Unrack Issues?

Everyone has their way of approaching a squat bar with their ritual of getting their mind and body right. Some wiggle into position and take forever; some just get under and go without much thought.

The unrack is obviously very important and sets the tone for the squat in many ways. For instance, if you’re all over the place to start – this is not going to help your chances of nailing the squat. It’s not only a huge waste of energy, but also a huge liability in general.

Here is something to try if you have unrack or set-up issues, especially if you have a hard time knowing if you’re in proper position or never quite feel comfortable when you unrack, whether you walk the squat out or not but especially if you use a monolift:

Set your back under the bar BEFORE you set your feet. There are many ways to approach the bar, but especially lately I’ve noticed a trend of lifters that set their feet first, then their back and most if not all have a much higher likelihood of unracking either on their toes or on their heels.

I’ve always suggested setting the back/traps before setting the feet. Mainly because every squat rack apparatus is different and sometimes you have to adjust to the rack. By guessing where your feet should be (more forward or back) you are taking a big risk. If the hooks on the rack or mono swing or move a lot, then it’s VERY hard to predict how far forward or back your feet should end up. By setting your back first, you take the guesswork out of the equation and then you just set your feet accordingly.

In Review:

Slide under the bar, lock your back in first, whether low or high bar, then drag your feet under you and adjust and set them to finalize your set-up.

Many times this simple adjustment, fixed a problematic unrack in only 5 minutes.

Give it a try.


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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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