T Nation

Mental/Physical in the Zone vs. Post Peak Downs


#1

I've always thought the mental aspect of training is vastly underrated. I've spent the last few months really focusing on getting my raw squat up to 500lbs. I did the smolovs base cycle, while my max was at a grinding 485lbs, focus and motivation was at an all time high as I could taste that 500lbs was right around the corner. So fast forward to Dec. 3rd where I'd finished the base cycle and had to retest my max. Took an extra scoop of pre workout, blasted the tunes and was completely in the zone. It was like an out of body experience, can't think of another time where I had that kind of adrenaline rush. I smoked 500lbs with relative ease.

Since then I did the switching phase, used speed box squats with nothing above 70% of 1rm. Got reckless and bounced some on the box so lower back is alittle sore but regardless, my motivation has been lackluster to say the least. Today was my first day back to heavier weights, everything felt off, bar placement, hip mobility, hit 455lbs for a few singles but they felt much heavier than when I did 500lbs. A few weeks back.

So I ask, could this just be mental burnout? An emotional dump from how much was put into reaching that goal and now i'm just mentally stagnant? Obviously I have the strength. How many others have noticed after peaking for a meet, or max that they feel wiped out, unmotivated, and generally weaker.

What are some things everyone does to get there mind right before intense training sessions?


#2

I am actually very against getting psyched up for training lifts, mainly for the observations you noted here. Psyching up is just one more variable to account for in your training, and it can really muddy up your ability to track and monitor progress.

You hit a 500lb squat when you were psyched up. You then don’t feel like you could do it again in another session. Is it possible you got weaker, or is it possible you simply did not psyched yourself up as much for the latter lift as you did with the former?

I instead try to train in a calm state so that I have the same baseline each time, knowing that, when a competition rolls around, I can exceed my training lifts with the now added element of being psyched up.


#3

My thoughts on this have been evolving towards T3hPwnisher’s line of thought, although I have yet to enter a meet.

Tonight I hit a squat of 415 for 4 with no belt and very loose wraps, which I was quite pleased with. I did the same thing I did for the prior set of 375x3. Spend some time breathing deep, swing back and forth on the bar for a few seconds, un-rack, two steps out, plant feet, get my air, get tight, squat, get my air, get tight, squat, repeat.

Generally speaking, I’ve had success with shortening the steps I take prior to the lift as much as I can, and I intend on continuing that trend. I used to jump around, slap my face, shake my head, make odd noises, all kinds of stuff. Now I just focus on getting my air and getting tight without much fanfare.

I run 5/3/1 and my top set is just another set, albeit one I try to find my limit on. I don’t know if “psyching up” will give me another gear or not, nor do I really care much at this point. I am just interested in normalizing my mental state to lift with confidence and consistency. The weight I lift is the weight I lift and I don’t want to let myself be intimidated by any of my sets.

This has been successful for me, insomuch as I’ve always been able to duplicate or exceed past efforts.


#4

Strength moves in waves. You just peaked, and now you’re in the valley that follows. This is normal.

Find a new goal to attack; that will help with the lack of desire aspect.


#5

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I am actually very against getting psyched up for training lifts, mainly for the observations you noted here. Psyching up is just one more variable to account for in your training, and it can really muddy up your ability to track and monitor progress.

You hit a 500lb squat when you were psyched up. You then don’t feel like you could do it again in another session. Is it possible you got weaker, or is it possible you simply did not psyched yourself up as much for the latter lift as you did with the former?

I instead try to train in a calm state so that I have the same baseline each time, knowing that, when a competition rolls around, I can exceed my training lifts with the now added element of being psyched up.[/quote]

This is a smart way to train. It would also remove all of the fun from training if I did it this way.


#6

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:
This is a smart way to train. It would also remove all of the fun from training if I did it this way.[/quote]

This is one of those things I find that I am different than a lot of folks on. I genuinely don’t get a lot of joy out of training. It’s just one of those things I have do to get stronger. If I could avoid it, I would, haha.


#7

T3hPwnisher - You raise some good points but I also agree with Steel Nation. A large part of the enjoyment of lifting is part of the mental high and adrenaline rush that you get. I love to train and hope Steel Nation is right that its just a dip in the valley after peaking.


#8

[quote]behexen wrote:
T3hPwnisher - You raise some good points but I also agree with Steel Nation. A large part of the enjoyment of lifting is part of the mental high and adrenaline rush that you get. I love to train and hope Steel Nation is right that its just a dip in the valley after peaking.
[/quote]

I would clarify that what you speak of is a large part of thr enjoyment of lifting for YOU, rather than a universalism of lifting, but I wish you luck in meeting your goals.


#9

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]behexen wrote:
T3hPwnisher - You raise some good points but I also agree with Steel Nation. A large part of the enjoyment of lifting is part of the mental high and adrenaline rush that you get. I love to train and hope Steel Nation is right that its just a dip in the valley after peaking.
[/quote]

I would clarify that what you speak of is a large part of thr enjoyment of lifting for YOU, rather than a universalism of lifting, but I wish you luck in meeting your goals.[/quote]

I can’t imagine doing something a few times a week that invariably leads to soreness or pain, which is purposely diffacult, that I didn’t enjoy. I happen to love lifting with strength and competition being great side effects.

I used to get psyched up for lift, but these days its more of intense focus. I noticed recently that that I am much more successful as a lifter when I am in a good mood. Working out my stress into a PR just doesnt seem to happen. My last PR was at a gym xmas party with lots of positive energy. I wish every session was like that.


#10

[quote]TheKraken wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]behexen wrote:
T3hPwnisher - You raise some good points but I also agree with Steel Nation. A large part of the enjoyment of lifting is part of the mental high and adrenaline rush that you get. I love to train and hope Steel Nation is right that its just a dip in the valley after peaking.
[/quote]

I would clarify that what you speak of is a large part of thr enjoyment of lifting for YOU, rather than a universalism of lifting, but I wish you luck in meeting your goals.[/quote]

I can’t imagine doing something a few times a week that invariably leads to soreness or pain, which is purposely diffacult, that I didn’t enjoy. I happen to love lifting with strength and competition being great side effects.

I used to get psyched up for lift, but these days its more of intense focus. I noticed recently that that I am much more successful as a lifter when I am in a good mood. Working out my stress into a PR just doesnt seem to happen. My last PR was at a gym xmas party with lots of positive energy. I wish every session was like that. [/quote]

When I played sports in school, I suffered through practice for the joy of competition. It is similar to when I lift. The fun is not in the practice, but in the results.

Same reason I floss really, haha.