T Nation

Getting Psyched Out on Sets?

It seems like the heavier the weight gets, the more nervous I get when I get under the bar or over the bar, particularly on Squats and Deadlifts. I am throwing on 10 lbs every week while keeping good form, so I am definitely getting stronger. It just seems like my heart pounds harder and harder before every set, so hard that I have to sit down for a minute or two and calm myself down. Is this normal?

My legs and back begin to feel weak and flimsy before the set, even though they’re actually stronger than last week. I shake with every rep, but I haven’t failed on a set in months. It’s really bothering me. It makes me not want to lift because my body freaks out when I am about to do a set. (It, however, does not stop me from lifting) This kind of thing only happens during deadlifts and squats.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help me not get so nervous like some sort of breathing or Yoga? Anything?

metal

Personally, I’ve come to the realization that anxiety is a fairly common thing that happens to people, sometimes me, in the weight room. I get a lot of anxiety before heavy squats, so what I’ve been working on is eliminating doubt whatsoever from my head about the lift, which is what I would guess causes this anxiety. Some people like to get crazy and amped up before a set, but in my experience it usually just ends up making my lifts sloppy.

I usually try to take a few deep, slow breaths, close my eyes, visualize the lift with perfect form, and other than that image, clearing my head. It’s been working fairly well for me, but that’s me.

as much as i hate to say it, it’s the same for me with anything…i get very anxious, however, the more prepared i am, the less anxious i am… for example-if i know i’ve been eating and sleeping the way i should be, i am usually relatively confident (atm), however, when i know i didnt eat enough or drink enough water the night before or earlier that day, i’m much more scared of failure… are you living to grow and be prepared for the next workout when your anxious like that?

Just lift the weight, the anxiety is probably helping you more then hurting you.

yeah when I start getting shaky, I know that all hell is gonna break loose. I take a couple deep breaths, think angry thoughts and move that sum bitch. listening to Dio’s “Holy Diver”.

[quote]brian.m wrote:
as much as i hate to say it, it’s the same for me with anything…i get very anxious, however, the more prepared i am, the less anxious i am… for example-if i know i’ve been eating and sleeping the way i should be, i am usually relatively confident (atm), however, when i know i didnt eat enough or drink enough water the night before or earlier that day, i’m much more scared of failure… are you living to grow and be prepared for the next workout when your anxious like that?[/quote]

I’ve gained 70 lbs of mass over the last 8 months, 50 of it lean mass, so I would say yes, I am eating enough. The sleep thing may be it, though. I do get about 8 hours a day, but that includes naps.

As a college student, rarely do I sleep 8 straight hours, even on weekends. My cafeteria stops breakfast foods (like sausage, bacon, and eggs) at 1:30, so I get up at noon regardless of my amount of sleep I had the night before, and then maybe take a nap during the day. I usually stay up extremely late, like early-morning late (5 - 7 am). My schedule is more like 5 hours and then 1 - 2 naps during the afternoon and early evening to make up sleep.

Now that I think about it, I NEVER used to shake last semester and I did usually get 8 hours of straight sleep. That was a good suggestion you gave me. Thanks.

As for “metal”, that is what I listen to (or at least try) when I lift. I have yet to bring my iPod to a lifting session, so when I’m about to squat or deadlift, I go over and ask the desk to switch it to chop suey or something and crank the volume. Should probably start brining my iPod now that I think about it. I’m sorry, but Mr. Big’s “To Be With You” or Extreme’s “More than Words” doesn’t cut it for me while I’m trying to set a new PR weekly.

When I’m deadlifting for my max single I blast Paula DeAnda’s “Easy” into my head. Helps me move those 8 plates of the ground. 70lbs in 8 months. Really?

[quote]Growing_Boy wrote:
When I’m deadlifting for my max single I blast Paula DeAnda’s “Easy” into my head. Helps me move those 8 plates of the ground. 70lbs in 8 months. Really? [/quote]

Yeah, I can hardly believe it myself. Do you mean that you can deadlift 765 or 405? If it’s the former, that’s ridiculous. That 765 is my goal by the time I’m a senior in college.

[quote]Growing_Boy wrote:
yeah when I start getting shaky, I know that all hell is gonna break loose. I take a couple deep breaths, think angry thoughts and move that sum bitch. listening to Dio’s “Holy Diver”. [/quote]

off topic a bit but look up killswitch engage holy diver cover. You will not be dissapointed.

Gerdy

yahhh killswitch engage -

Don’t think, just feel if your muscles are good to go. Then do it ~

He means 405… which is plenty good enough for a bodybuilder…

whats with all this “metal” shit… fucking yanks!
As “close” to metal as i know… Disciples Of Annhilation, NYC speedcore. I used to like that and hard techno as a kid in the raves i used to frequent… that gets ya angry… if that is what you’re into.

Joe

Listen to the Ion Dissonance album Solace

I actually threaten the bar under my breath. Tell it that it’s mine and there’s no way it’s staying down. I don’t shake, but I sometimes do get nervous/anxious before big lifts and this seems to help me.

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
Listen to the Ion Dissonance album Solace[/quote]

Wow, SOMEONE’s on the same wavelength around here. I did enjoy Minus the Herd better, though.

Talk yourself up. Works for Ronnie.

[quote]Trenchant wrote:
I actually threaten the bar under my breath. Tell it that it’s mine and there’s no way it’s staying down. I don’t shake, but I sometimes do get nervous/anxious before big lifts and this seems to help me.[/quote]

I do too! I say “i gonna fucking wreck you…” under my breath… and often on squats or leg presses, where i usually do breathing sets, i say out loud “5!” when i have 5 left then, “2, TWO MORE!” when i have 2 left etc… it just confirms the ease of it. Or i say “LIFT!” when in the hole of a squat, or “UP!”

Also before a lift that i know will be challenging, not necessarily big, i give a loud “HUT!” cough kinda sound… it just focuses me well, gives me hard, tough focus… i learnt that in Taekwondo during a punch, to expell air, and for motivation i believe which all gives more force. It is like the resonance type noise the shaolin monks or whoever use that can make a drum sound from a distance…
It works for me to clear my mind and focus me at least.

What else? Ya… Breathing… especially on DB presses… i lift them, sit down on the bench and stay sat, with the DB’s on each knee… then i relax, but i do this personal breathing thing, it psyches me up and it oxygenates my blood for the lift… its what i need to do to lift near max… it works for me, and each to his own!

Joe

Everyone has this problem - regardless of what they might say.

It’s all mental. I have the some block when it comes to benching 315. I can bench 295 for reps, so I know that physically I can push 315, but I can never seem to muster the balls to put it on the bar.

Why? I train alone, and I have a mortal fear of getting trapped underneath the bar. Three plates is a barrier I can’t cross. Haven’t been able to for over a year.

Anyhow - I think Shugs wrote about some tips on breaking barriers.

Here’s the tip I remember: Play your favorite song - the one that gets you the most fired up - and then put a towel over your head so that your vision is blocked. Visualize yourself moving the weight, then pull the towel off, and go for it. Don’t wait - do your set immediately after removing the towel.

But then again - I am stuck at 315, so my advice is pretty worthless.

[quote]tw0scoops2 wrote:
Talk yourself up. Works for Ronnie.[/quote]

Aint nuttin but a lil peanut…yeaaa babbbyyyy…woooooooooo…then he would deadlift like 4 tons and win 8 sandows. lol jk

Gerdy

Ya rainjack, i am absolutely the same with just the 2 plates, i think i am past that nearly though after about 18 months of lingering around it…!

Joe