suggest alternate squat workouts for a sprinter

As the title says, suggest alternate squat workout.

I posted the question on another forum as well and I’d be interested in knowing if people here have good suggestions too…or if your view is different since you may have different backgrounds or experiences.

here’s the situation:
-the gym where I train is in the process of moving to a bigger facility and ‘‘the brains’‘behind this decided to strip all the mirrors from the walls a month in advance.
-normaly I’d have to squat 2 sets of 4 reps with 365(which is my 4RM)parallel, for the next 4 weeks along with other exercices of course.

I tried to squat without a mirror,it feels really uncomfortable and borderline dangerous as it’s hard to gauge your movements correctly and know where to stop at the bottom and etc…due to a tensor fascia lata / ilio-tibial band injury and I’m actually unable to go deeper than parallel and even at parallel I have to be extra careful since it’s painful at times at the bottom of the squat

I’m looking for a safer and effective alternative for the next 4 weeks so I don’t lose too much and even hopefully improve strength in the weight room or speed on the track in the process.

Next training phases scheduled will include alot of olympic lifting and lighter squats for power for about 6 weeks(2 phases of 3 weeks with different %)

What would you do for the next 4 weeks if squating heavy to parallel was not an option,lighter bench/box squats?heavier 1/4 squats?heavy jump squats?light jump squats?some form of complex training?box jumps?squat at 70% of 1RM for sets of 3 reps and explode up?

Would you start the power phase early with squats?

If you have any great ideas I’m all ears, thanks!

Learn to squat without a mirror.

I can but due to injury, I can’t let pain be the sole guide since it’s an injury that is fairly easy to aggaravate and it’s been hard enough to get rid of it as it is or to control it and acheiving intense training at the same time…recovery is already taking long enough.

I’m looking for other alternatives…

Total BS. Back the weight off and learn to squat without a mirror.


bring a mirror…

Total what???

If I can parallel squat 400+ lbs with good technique at my weight, mirror or not chances are good that I know at least how to squat decently enough.I’ve always done it in front of a mirror and when you have a tool available why not use it?I’m not doing any powerlifting or whatever, I’m a sprinter and apart from the current situation which will probably happen once in a lifetime for me I could care less about bragging that I can squat the same weight with or without a mirror in front of me.

I don’t have a month or even a workout to waste just getting into the habit to squat with the same weights without a mirror and even if their is probably a good reasoning behind your point, to me backing the weights off sounds counter-productive in my situation and the fact that I could learn to squat the same weights without a mirror won’t make me stronger in the end or even squat in a better fashion, it will only make me more skillful at squating without the usual visual markers I’m used to unless there is something I don’t know.

My first concern is safety and to not aggravate my injury so I don’t compromise my indoor season…if you think it’S BS it’s your own right but thats not the kind of anwser that I am looking for so thank you anyways.

What will define me in the end is not my internet rep or what people think of what I can or cannot do in the weight room,it’s what I accomplish on the track and it’s the only thing I care about.

The only reason why I wrote down the numbers(if it’s what you refered to as BS) is simply because to be able to receive good advice,people have to know at least a minimum about your background if they don’t know you personaly…up to them to judge if it’s strong enough numbers or not for a sprinter according to their views as this is debatable from one person to another, so I’m interested in knowing the different opinions as to where to go from here in this particular situation.

I’ve been watching this forum for a long long time and I think that there are some pretty knowledgeable coaches and athletes here and I’m interested in hearing their opinions and experience if they ever faced a similar situation.

I already have great people around me but I like to keep an open mind when a problem arises and consider different solutions that we may not have thought about ourselves. I have only a few days left before my next squat workout and I’m after immediate solutions and I can’t afford to back off unless you are able to explain me and demonstrate without a doubt that what you are suggesting will benefit me in the long run…if that’s the case please expand on your comment if you are willing to share, I’m interested to know.

Lyle is a knowledgeable coach and a no BS guy so it might be worth listening to him.

I’m pretty sure most serious olympic weightlifters, which is nearly all technique based, do all their training without the use of mirrors. Stick with it, you’ll get use to it. If anything maybe you’ll develop better proprioception.

Training without a mirror will give you better feedback from your body as far as what you have to do during each part of the squat.

Mirrors should be banned from gyms. If gymnasts and other athletes can perform without them doing far more technical work than squats, you can squat without one. Don’t make excuses for not having a mirror.

A mirror is not a tool, it’s a crutch.

I agree with the ‘no mirror’ policy. You shouldn’t use it even if its there. Lighten the load for a few workouts and you will be the better for it.

A mirror? Seriously? Are you a body builder?

yeah look for a bodybuilder on the track in London when you’ll watch the OG on tv and you’ll find me waving!!! lol

Seriously though, while I still don’t quite understand all the hate for a mirror when performing squats and it is not the kind of answer I was expecting at all at first but I see that the results are pretty unanimous so far…

I find your opinions on the subject very interesting and thanks to all for your input so far.

Some of you talked about proprioception,olympic weight lifter,gymnasts and etc, those are all good points which I hadn’t thought about at first though.

Besides better proprioception and making fun of bodybilders, what is so wrong about using a mirror if it enables you to lift more when the goal in mind is to increase strength? I mean when performing squats the transfer (to sprinting) that I’m looking for with this exercice is more related to leg and hip strength than anything else(even if better core stabilisation is also a factor,but still it’s not the main goal)
Am I missing something?

Yes, you’re missing the fact that now that you’re without a mirror, you’re screwed. Your success in the weight room should not depend on one piece of equipment that’s not always guaranteed to be there. The less things you come to depend upon, the better.

If your gym has a squat rack set the pins to just below where you want and go down to just above them. That said, scrap the mirror.

Do you sprint while looking at a mirror? You are relying on visual clues while squatting instead of listening/feeling to what your body should be doing. Thus, the mirror becomes a crutch.

When I went to a commercial gym I had to face a mirror because that is how the gym/squat rack was set up. I haven’t gone to one in almost 10 years and don’t miss it one bit. My body tells me what is going on during the lift instead of looking to see what position it is in. This proprioceptive feedback is important.

I have also been advised in the past(by Nikoluski), to actually turn my back to the mirror. As other have said, It’s a tool that won’t always be there. And I’m comparing this to sprinting too, and the fact that when i can see my shadow right beside me, for some reason it is easier (to hold good form).
But shadows are not always there.
Maybe the shadow analogy is BS :o, but I suppose the point is to learn your body intuitively, so things become automatic?

you’ve all provided some interesting points on the subject,thanks everyone for your input!

I must admit that even though that’s not the kind of answers I was looking for when I first started the thread,you’ve made me somewhat change my mind and realise some important things along the way…

when reading RyanH and Stefanie’s comments, it made me remember that when I first started lifting back in 96’, I didn’t have any mirror available and when I switched to a commercial gym in 98’ I used to turn my back to the mirror to perform squats…that was soooooo long ago that I had even forgotten!wow it’s interesting how we go into the habit of doing one thing and it becomes second nature to a point we even forget what we did before that! and as to what made me turn the other way around to face the mirror later on when doing squats?I have no clue,I honestly don’t remember.

So today, I went to the gym to perform some squats,after a warm up set, I did a first working set with lighter weights than usual and it felt good so I decided to do the next one with my actual 4RM and it went suprisingly well…
I felt like I could have gone for one more rep, so next time around I probably will be able to add a little more…it was quite unexpected I must say.

Last week didn’t feel safe and I felt that it was a struggle.Today was mentaly challenging but the outcome was positive.