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Gus's Barbell Club


By Gus

Simple thought today: lock out your knees at the top of your squat. Lock out your elbows at the top of your press and bench press. Every rep.


One argument I’ve been told for not locking out every rep is how it affects the rhythm of multiple reps. By stopping short of lockout the transition to the next rep begins quickly and staying in that rhythm “keeps things moving smoother.” I coach my athletes about keeping rhythm all the time! I’m a fan. But the beat includes a lockout and breathing.

Once locked out, the athlete can release exhale the breath they were holding with the Valsalva maneuver. They take a new breath and brace with the next Valsalva maneuver. Then the next rep begins.

During this ever-so-brief rest our body is in the most advantageous setup to relax some tension while we breathe but not lose control of the load. Improve your breathing and bracing. The rhythm will not be a problem.

Range of Motion

We aim to use “the greatest amount of muscle mass involved over the longest effective range of motion, for the purpose of lifting the heaviest weight and thereby increasing strength.”

Not locking out each rep is robbing yourself of some amount of effective range of motion. It runs counter to the aims of the training.

From the blue book.

Examine figures 2-23 (page 28 in the paperback edition,) 3-26 (page 95,) and figure 5-9 (page 152.) Note the locked out joints to complete the movements.

A foggy gym.