Do you have a list of Oh Shit tools in your Powerlifting/Strength Training toolbox?


You should.

What the eff is an Oh Shit tool?

Well, let’s say that you have a nasty old rusty bolt and it just will not break with a wrench, what do you do?

Try some penetrating oil first obviously, but what if that doesn’t work and you’ve tried a nut cracker, a chisel and everything else you can think of you’ve only got two options.

A grinder or a torch.

If it won’t come off with these, it won’t come off.

This concept applies to training but our Oh Shit tools are used BEFORE we get to the point of needing a grinder or a torch. We use them to prepare us for that OH Shit moment.

I really want to take credit for this name but I didn’t come up with it. It came up as I was training with Sabra the other day and I was explaining why we were doing a certain exercise.

C.J. Murphy, elitefts, powerlifting, safety squat bar, good morning, powerlifting, toolbox, oh shit

She is prepping for a full power multi ply meet and after Paused Box Squats, she did Suspended Safety Bar Good mornings.

I explained that the Suspended Good Morning is one of my go-to exercises to build the Squat and Deadlift because it forces you to be strong in a shitty position, and it can SAVE a squat (or deadlift) that gets a little out of position.

(These are in my Book)

She said it is like an Oh Shit exercise.

Let’s go over the Oh Shit concept.

If you’ve been training for any length of time you should have experienced an Oh Shit moment at some point, usually on a Max Effort movement or at a meet. You know, time slows down, you are straining against the weight and you get pushed out of position a little and it feels like the lift is going to crash.

If you haven’t chosen the right Assistance movements, it will.

If you worked hard at the right ones, there is a good chance you can grind through it. Grinding through a lift is not always what we want but having the ability to do it, and not panic is always a good trait to have.

This concept applies equally to RAW and EQUIPPED lifters!

You should have a few Oh Shit tools for each lift, and for the Squat and Deadlift, they might be the same ones.

Today, I am going to go over the Suspended Safety Bar Good Morning, which is an Awesome Oh Shit exercise for all lifters. The Safety Squat bar can be highly effectively for both RAW and EQUIPPED lifters as has been proven time and time again.

The Safety Squat bar does things a regular bar doesn’t do, besides give your shoulders a break.

The Yoke and the camber of the bar cause a forward dumping effect which makes your upper back stronger and actually improves your positions when you transfer back to the straight bar. The design of the bar also makes a lighter weight feel more difficult allowing you to get a training effect with less weight.

Weights just feel heavier with this bar!
This is what makes it a tool that you should use.

If you only used the straight bar 100% of the time, you would be missing out on a lot of the benefits of specialty bars including making you stronger in bad positions.

If you only do squats to improve your squat, you will  build strength and skill in areas SPECIFIC to the movement pattern.   

You will not build strength in all areas RELATED to the pattern. 

Getting strong(er) in all areas RELATED to a movement pattern will make you strong(er) at the movement pattern itself.

Getting stronger in all of the actual MOVERS in the lift is important, but so is getting strong(er) in the supportive musculature and stabilizers.

You are only as strong as your weakest link.

Common sense.

Back to our Oh Shit exercise of the day. I am not going to give you the blow by blow on how to do Safety Bar Suspended Good Mornings, they are not complicated.

Here is the Masshole version:

  • Get a Safety Bar
  • Suspend it
  • Do Good Mornings

Here is a little more info:

These are easiest out of a Monolift, but doing them in a rack is fine.
Get a pair of Spud Inc Suspension straps (or chains) and hang them over the top of the lift or rack.
If you are in a rack, I strongly suggest getting a pair of Rack Savers.



C.J. Murphy, elitefts, powerlifting, safety squat bar, good morning, powerlifting, toolbox, oh shit

I’ve seen the snap spring clips fail at really bad times.

Put the bar in the rack at the position you want to work at. This will be different for everyone, but about 40-50% of the way up out of the hole is a good point as this is where we see a lot of Oh Shit moments happen.
Load the bar, get under it and do the exercise. I like these for sets of 2-3, but you can use them as you see fit. 5’s are good too.

Staying with sets of 2-3 keeps it somewhat heavy and makes you strain to get it moving, and to lock out.
This is the exact reason we are doing it.

It needs to be really hard to move off the straps in order to have an OH Shit moment.

Straining at the point where you would normally fail teaches you to work through the sticking point, but it also strengthens the areas needed to do it. And it does it in a way that Squats and Deadlifts just don’t do.

C.J. Murphy, elitefts, powerlifting, safety squat bar, good morning, powerlifting, toolbox, oh shit

C.J. Murphy, elitefts, powerlifting, safety squat bar, good morning, powerlifting, toolbox, oh shit


Remember, it’s not the size of the rod, it’s the angle of the dangle.
And the dangle angle on this stresses your lower back, ABS, glutes and hamstrings differently than the classic lifts. This makes them strong(ER) and let’s the body learn how to “recruit” them in odd positions*.
*Super unscientific term

The Safety Bar Suspended Good Morning is one of my favorite exercise to build strength and teach us to think under the bar.
Add it in for a few weeks after you Squat. Keep it heavy.

Don’t worry too much if your back gets A LITTLE round. Try to keep it tight, but getting out of position is sort of the point.

That’s all for this week. Next week I am planning on going over the RPR Level 2 voodoo we learned from JL last week.

Stay tuned.

Did you miss my last Coaching Log?

It’s got some Canvas in it.

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Vincere vel mori

C.J. Murphy
July 26, 2018