T Nation

Berserker/Beast/Hulk Mode Addiction

I am in between jobs…again, and have a lot of time for self-reflection, contemplation, et al. I am officially two years into lifting, gotten stronger, fatter, then thinner, had some set back and overcome some obstacles. Quite frankly, I lift and push to lift heavy for the rush/high I get.

The physical benefits are nice, but the opportunity to let myself hit berserker mode and apply it to the weights is the best high I’ve found in a while. the catharsis is epic. I love it when I finish a set and have to steady myself on a rack because my head is spinning like I just hit the big jackpot on the mental slot machine. I love it that I can tap rage for 20 seconds and when its done, its like nirvana (not the band) for a little while.

I know I have an addictive personality and I manage my daily life carefully, but I’m finding that I keep chasing this high more and more and wear my post squatters walk like track marks.

Question 1: Is this common? Are all or a lot of PL’ers just addicts?

Question 2: is there any downside to hitting berserker/beast/hulk mode week after week?

1: You shall have no other gods before you. :wink: - Honestly, there is great benefit psychologically and physically. However, be wise in how many eggs you put into that basket. Where is your outlet if you get injured?

2: Depends on how your body responds week to week. If fatigue, depression, lethargy, insomnia, etc start creeping in - it’s time to dial it back.

I only ever psyche myself up for meets, and even then, only 3rd attempts. I find there to be little benefit to doing it in training, and great detriment, as you can find yourself missing lifts not because you weren’t strong enough, but because you were not psyched up enough. I prefer to raise my base level of strength without psyche up, so that, when I do psyche myself up, it’s just that much stronger.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I only ever psyche myself up for meets, and even then, only 3rd attempts. I find there to be little benefit to doing it in training, and great detriment, as you can find yourself missing lifts not you weren’t strong enough, but because you were not psyched up enough. I prefer to raise my base level of strength without psyche up, so that, when I do psyche myself up, it’s just that much stronger.[/quote]

I know there is that school of thought. I guess I should say, for the record, I dont compete (yet) also, I don’t yell, scream, growl, or grunt when I lift. I also tend to listen to reagga for 75% of my training. I don’t think I’ve gone outside of base level strength. When I fought (karate, judo) and wrestled I was naturally a calm almost Zen fighter. I just happen to enjoy the internal fire lifting.

…But, just a rum inspired thought, if you trained psyched often, wouldn’t you, at least theroetically, get added growth due to the added weight? If your base max is 400, but psyched you could pull 415, and you did it repeatedly,
wouldn’t your base strengh improve

[quote]TheKraken wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I only ever psyche myself up for meets, and even then, only 3rd attempts. I find there to be little benefit to doing it in training, and great detriment, as you can find yourself missing lifts not because you weren’t strong enough, but because you were not psyched up enough. I prefer to raise my base level of strength without psyche up, so that, when I do psyche myself up, it’s just that much stronger.[/quote]

I know there is that school of thought. I guess I should say, for the record, I dont compete (yet) also, I don’t yell, scream, growl, or grunt when I lift. I also tend to listen to reagga for 75% of my training. [/quote]

Yeah, I don’t yell or scream either. I find introverts and extroverts tend to have different methods of psyching up. I tend to just make myself angry and focused. Nose Tork helps a lot. But after a full day of that, I need some time to recover. It’s definitely not something I would do in my training.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I only ever psyche myself up for meets, and even then, only 3rd attempts. I find there to be little benefit to doing it in training, and great detriment, as you can find yourself missing lifts not because you weren’t strong enough, but because you were not psyched up enough. I prefer to raise my base level of strength without psyche up, so that, when I do psyche myself up, it’s just that much stronger.[/quote]

I had to learn this lesson the hard way. After so much stalling and hurting myself in small and big ways I finally got it.

[quote]TheKraken wrote:
…But, just a rum inspired thought, if you trained psyched often, wouldn’t you, at least theroetically, get added growth due to the added weight? If your base max is 400, but psyched you could pull 415, and you did it repeatedly,
wouldn’t your base strengh improve[/quote]

I just saw this edit. I am unsure of how this would mean you would get stronger compared to not getting pysched up.

Lets say you can add 15lbs to your lift by getting pysched up, as per your example. This would mean that, when you raise your base strength up to 415lbs, when you get pysched up, it would mean 430lbs. This would be the same growth if you went from 415lbs psyched up to 430lbs psyched up, but the difference is that there is one more variable you can fail at in the case of the latter, all while handling loads that require much more emotional arousal which can be more taxing.

Think about a day where you have been really angry about something, and remember how physically taxing it was to be that angry. Being in that emotional state is draining, and constantly conjuring it up many times a week while training is also exhausting.

This is gonna be a great thread…I DO NOT want to derail this topic but is this kind of along the same lines as the OP’s thoughts…more often than not on my 3’s or 1’s final set of the day I get nervous and get kind of a fight or flight feeling sort of like an adrenaline rush. Compare this to my 5’s week where I only do 5 and know that starting the set, these have been some of my hardest sets of the entire cycle.

I know Matt Kroc has said he’s learned how to turn it “on” and “off” and I feel like I’m getting there also. Is everyone saying I should only use these on special occasions or PR’s?

[quote]chobbs wrote:
This is gonna be a great thread…I DO NOT want to derail this topic but is this kind of along the same lines as the OP’s thoughts…more often than not on my 3’s or 1’s final set of the day I get nervous and get kind of a fight or flight feeling sort of like an adrenaline rush. Compare this to my 5’s week where I only do 5 and know that starting the set, these have been some of my hardest sets of the entire cycle.

I know Matt Kroc has said he’s learned how to turn it “on” and “off” and I feel like I’m getting there also. Is everyone saying I should only use these on special occasions or PR’s? [/quote]

You should do whatever gets you bigger and stronger. If psyching up does that, you would be foolish to stop.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]TheKraken wrote:
…But, just a rum inspired thought, if you trained psyched often, wouldn’t you, at least theroetically, get added growth due to the added weight? If your base max is 400, but psyched you could pull 415, and you did it repeatedly,
wouldn’t your base strengh improve[/quote]

I just saw this edit. I am unsure of how this would mean you would get stronger compared to not getting pysched up.

Lets say you can add 15lbs to your lift by getting pysched up, as per your example. This would mean that, when you raise your base strength up to 415lbs, when you get pysched up, it would mean 430lbs. This would be the same growth if you went from 415lbs psyched up to 430lbs psyched up, but the difference is that there is one more variable you can fail at in the case of the latter, all while handling loads that require much more emotional arousal which can be more taxing.

Think about a day where you have been really angry about something, and remember how physically taxing it was to be that angry. Being in that emotional state is draining, and constantly conjuring it up many times a week while training is also exhausting.[/quote]

sorry for the mid-stream edit. What I mean is, if someone consistently trained psyched, they would consistently lift heavier and therefore their base strength level would rise.

I know there is a clear risk of overtraining and/or injury this way, but applied to good programming, I think there might be some gain.

Example: I use a 531 template. I’m in week 3 right now, so my reps will be 5, 3, 1+. on the first set of 5, I’ll probably be about only 65% psyched, the 3 around 80%. On that last set I’ll be 100% or close to it psyched and go (hopefully) beyond my base strength at least for reps.

[quote]TheKraken wrote:

sorry for the mid-stream edit. What I mean is, if someone consistently trained psyched, they would consistently lift heavier and therefore their base strength level would rise.

I know there is a clear risk of overtraining and/or injury this way, but applied to good programming, I think there might be some gain.

Example: I use a 531 template. I’m in week 3 right now, so my reps will be 5, 3, 1+. on the first set of 5, I’ll probably be about only 65% psyched, the 3 around 80%. On that last set I’ll be 100% or close to it psyched and go (hopefully) beyond my base strength at least for reps. [/quote]

They would lift heavier while pyshced, and their base strength when not that way would rise, yes, but it would also rise if they lifted without the psyche up.

Wouldn’t it be the case that, if you raise how much weight you can lift when psyched up by 50lbs versus how much you can lift while not psyched by 50lbs, the end result of both is that you increased how much you can lift when not psyched by 50lbs?

Your CNS has finite resources. Psychological arousal will help you lift more, but at the expense of those resources; to what extent will be highly individualistic, but it will happen nonetheless.

If constantly engaging in “berserker/beast/hulk mode” results in any type of overtraining, overextension, etc., then those extra 15 lbs were for nothing. If, on the other hand, you can lift like this with no ill effects, there should be no harm. Be warned, though, that the drain can creep up on you without notice. I would recommend saving this level of excitement for meets and for the occasional test of a true 1RM.

Also, I pray to Valhalla that you do not use the term(s) “berserker/beast/hulk mode” in real life.

[quote]Mad Martigan wrote:

Also, I pray to Valhalla that you do not use the term(s) “berserker/beast/hulk mode” in real life.[/quote]

good point. what happens in T-Nation stays in T-Nation. that kinda stuff is sorta normal here…

Maybe I am the opposite but I tend to lift best when I don’t really feel it that day, or have low expectations. When I get psyched, I tend to not do as good.

I wear a ball cap in the gym, and I may be joking around between sets, but I’ve trained myself over many years, so when I spin the ball cap around backwards on my head, I become a different person, it’s a mental cue to me. It’s enough that guys at my gym know not to talk or bother me when the caps facing backwards. As soon as I’m done my set, I’ll spin it around, and my smile comes back, it’s an internal rage, and after lifting for decades now I’ve found a way to harness it.

In my youth I fought alot, in and out of jail for my temper ( abusive chidhood) But it’s been years since I’ve lost my cool publicly, and I think for me, the weights are a huge release of rage, it’s just a way of channeling it. You don’t want to come up and ask me a stupid question just as I’m stepping under the squat bar, with cap backwards, because you’d get a blast.

I also work with alot of youth now and try to get them to channel negative energy this way. It is an addiction, but for the most part a healthy one, and I use it with my kids to help them get clean and sober, become addicted to the weights, tracking progress, tracking calories, becoming emersed in a new addiction. It may not be clinical, but I’ve used this method to help probably 100 kids over the last 10yrs since I’ve been sober, and running an addiction group, as well as a gym.

There’s truely a fine line between dedicated, and addicted, between pushing hard, and over doing it, but atleast it’s a healthy activity, some of us with obsessive personality’s, could be pushing that fine line in alot worse activity’s, thats my take anyway. Latter

[quote]AnytimeJake wrote:
I wear a ball cap in the gym, and I may be joking around between sets, but I’ve trained myself over many years, so when I spin the ball cap around backwards on my head, I become a different person, it’s a mental cue to me. It’s enough that guys at my gym know not to talk or bother me when the caps facing backwards. As soon as I’m done my set, I’ll spin it around, and my smile comes back, it’s an internal rage, and after lifting for decades now I’ve found a way to harness it.[/quote]

I didn’t know you were Ash Ketchum

[quote]cleosavage wrote:

[quote]Mad Martigan wrote:

Also, I pray to Valhalla that you do not use the term(s) “berserker/beast/hulk mode” in real life.[/quote]

good point. what happens in T-Nation stays in T-Nation. that kinda stuff is sorta normal here…[/quote]

Ha! I wouldn’t use all of them in same sentence, and I swear more INR. I’m sort of like Vince Vega without the heroin, but with a mainly grey beard.

I love to hulk out on the damn weights, but i agree with T3hPwnisher to an extent. But I feel that it’s great to save it till a “max” set. What i mean is not to use hulkmode on warmups leading up to the main working sets, but maybe the last working set for example.

I like this video about training to use that rage on command.

[quote]Heracles_rocks wrote:
I love to hulk out on the damn weights, but i agree with T3hPwnisher to an extent. But I feel that it’s great to save it till a “max” set.
[/quote]

I’m definitely on board with that, I just don’t hit max sets out of competition personally. I use those sets to demonstrate strength, whereas I use others to build it.

Benni Magnusson doesn’t ever really use psyche unless he is in a meet, at which point I believe in his own words he said something like “I become the embodiment of wrath, and nothing can stop me.”

In training though something I believe he almost always does before a set is rub his ears. Says it promotes blood flow to your head and helps your CNS activate. Who knows, that might be the broest science ever, but I wouldn’t argue with him about it.