Never, never, never use clips when going even moderately heavy with free weights. Some people put them on to keep the weights from sliding, but they can be disastrous, potentially even fatal.
Until three weeks ago, it had been nearly six months since I last went heavy, courtesy of a nagging shoulder injury. Yesterday, I started out with 10×225, and pyramided up to 275, which I did with a spotter. At failure, we forced four of them, then I took 50 pounds off to rep out. (Note to self: rep out at 195 next time.) My spotter didn’t realize my intentions and left the weight room without me realizing he had gone. I didn’t think of asking for a spot, because it was only 225, after all, forgetting that I’d already hit complete muscle failure.
I did as many as I could, then stupidly decided that I had enough left in me for one more, which turned out not to be true. When the bar didn’t make it up, and then didn’t make it up on the second try – as if it ever would – I glanced around and realized I was alone in the weight room. So, there I was, sitting with 225 pounds suspended over my chest, which left me with three options.
- Shout for help. Yeah, right.
- Roll the bar down my chest until I could sit up. It turns out this works fine with 95, at least as long as you’re not wearing a weight belt. Not so well with 225.
- Dump them.
So, I went for option three. Tilt the bar left until the first plate drops off, then pull down on that side to prevent the two plates on the right from slamming onto the floor too violently. This worked and didn’t even attract any attention from anyone, which was nice. However, this would not have been an option had I put clips on.
Clips are fine for curls and skullbangers and so forth. But don’t ever use them when you’re benching or squatting, even if you’re not alone.