Ok, so it seems like bracing is being kicked to death all over the internet.

If you pay attention to:

  • Instagram
    Guru Sites (not this one)

You’ll leave thinking that you need to brace your midsection when you:


  • Lift weights
  • Pick up your kids
  • Carry in the groceries
  • Poop
  • Sleep
  • Every other daily activity

Too much of a good thing is real. We do not need to walk around all day bracing our midsection, or CORE as the manbuns call it.
We do need to brace during certain activities. Lifting weights is one of them.

Bracing is essential on your primary lifts such as:

  • Squat
    Bench Press
    Overhead Press
    Olympic Lifts and Variations

It is not of primary importance when you are getting after it on accessory work.

If you don’t know how to brace



Don’t chase the brace

Getting your midsection braced as hard as possible is very important in your set up on the primary lifts.
When we set up, we need to put ourselves into a position where we can generate tension.
If you don’t you’ll be chasing tension later on and you’ll never get it back.
I think setting your body into a solid, braced position before lifting is of the most importance on the squat, deadlift and Olympic Lifts.
After that comes the Press.
Finally, the bench press.

Why is the bench press last?

Well, it’s the easiest one to brace on and it is the most difficult to set up for. I’ll review in a later post.

On the Squat if you don’t set up under the bar properly you’ll never get the tension you need.
Wasting energy on the un-rack, and walkout if you do that is an exercise in futility.

Setting up for the Squat so that you don’t chase the brace:

Set your feet under the bar and your hips under the bar.

Establish your grip and then extend your arms to full lockout. Push your hips back and down, then do a pullup to get under the bar.

TPS Don’t Chase the Brace Part 1-The Squat

TPS Don’t Chase the Brace Part 1-The Squat2

TPS Don’t Chase the Brace Part 1-The Squat 6

Doing this first will lock in your upper back, and this will make everything easier and better.
It’s kind of like bacon.
Bacon makes everything better.

Now, you have your grip established, your upper back is locked in, it’s time to brace.

Follow the guidelines in my previous articles on this.

This is the point where you will set yourself up for success or failure.
Make sure that you brace your midsection and drive the bottom rib down just a little.

To un-rack the bar, simply straighten your legs. Let the weight settle, and then proceed to walk the bar out or Squat if you are in a lift.
If you are walking it out, top off your air and make sure the ribs are driven down before you descend into the squat.
We see, all too often that people will set up under the bar well, and just before they un-rack, they ARCH their backs really hard and do a
good morning to get it out of the rack.

TPS Don’t Chase the Brace Part 1-The Squat 4

We also see that a lot of people will set up with their feet/hips too far behind the bar and do a ½ good morning, ½ almost fall over to un-rack the weight.

TPS Don’t Chase the Brace Part 1-The Squat 5

When either of these things happen, you’ve lost all of the tension you created at the set up. If the weight is anywhere over 80% you’ll never be able to get into a good position at any point during the lift.

You’ll spend the set either squatting poorly because you are chasing the brace, or missing the lift.
Take this to heart and work at your initial set up form the empty bar to max weight.

So many people treat the empty bar with no respect and it hampers their progress.

A gem I got from Vincent DiZenzo years ago was to treat the heavy weights like they are light and treat the light weights like they are heavy.
Use your sets from the empty bar all the up as practice for the big sets. Do all of the little things right.

That’s it for now.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Don’t Chase the Brace where we will talk about the other lifts.

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Vincere vel mori