T Nation

Mental Preparation For Big Lifts


In my opinion an often overlooked aspect of lifting is the mental part. I can defeat myself by simply thinking I´m going to fail, so the opposite must be possible as well.

What do you guys do to prepare for a big lift/PR??


good music! picture yourself completing the lift! being pissed about something tends to help me too as i channel that anger into whatever im doing! ...Obama being president has helped recently! HAHAHA jk..


You just gotta get pumped dude! just stare at it, let its weight consume you and just become a primal ape of agression. Most importantly keep it all in you and release it completing the lift. Dont be like those tools who freak out, toss weights and punch shit. All that looks like it does is just tire you out


To be honest, this thread may not help you. This is something you have to figure out for yourself. Some people like music, others silence, some listen to metal, others to Enya. Some people get pumped for different lifts different ways. Some get all jacked and crazy, while others are calm as can be until the exact moment they need the surge. Just try things out and you and your body will figure out your own ritual.

I have seen people who psyche themselves out before by trying others routines and them not working. Guys will slap them selves and other shit and waste their energy on getting pumped for the lift.

Good luck on this bro.


"Don't be a pussy, just lift the fuckin' weight!" Is what I tell myself before I go for something heavy.


I do the whole slapping myself in the face and screaming like an idiot routine, I could care less about how it makes me look.


The way you get jacked up is a very personal thing, I personally listen to some pretty aggresive music, pace back and forth eyeballing the weight and getting aggressive and angry at the weight not loudly but I get my breathing agitated and right before I lift I do a quick visualization of a couple successful reps. Visualization techniques have been proven to be very helpful in many areas of sports performance.

Ronnie Coleman likes to yell, "light weight, baby whoooo". It doesn't matter, but you have to find what works for you- a couple keys to start though. be positive, never go into it thinking its going to defeat you, visualize a couple perfect reps, and figure out how you get positive aggression funneled into the lift.


I agree. Personally, I feel less motivated to lift the more agitatated I try and make myself. I remember Pudzianowski in earlier campaigns talking about 'moving very very fast'. That's what I think of when I lift heavy.


I like to quote Pumping Iron, sing 80s rock in a falsetto voice, and play the air guitar. Seriously.

Before I had a tendency to get overly psyched and I would end up hyperventilating. Staying loose and relaxed before my sets has helped me tremendously.


What's the environment like at your federation's meet? Mimic that, you'll train your mind to replicate the same thought patterns when you are on the platform.

For example, I lift in IWF meets. I can't pace around the platform yelling at the weight with my ipod blaring Megadeth at 11. So I've just learned to psyche myself up by visualizing successful lifts, going over key technical details, and telling myself something positive, all in my head.

If you're not a competitive strength athlete, anything that gets you going will do.


I remind myself how bad I want to achieve my goals (qualifying for national meets) and how my competitors are already easily doing the same weight.


Yesterday I went into the gym and still had remnants of my head cold.

I didn't really psyche myself up or anything, I was just totally relaxed and laid back. At the gym to lift weights.

Turns out I shocked myself how well I did, doubling what I predicted myself to do.

Staying relaxed between sets seemed to help more instead of being psyched out of my mind.


I randomly pick someone out in my gym and convince myself that they want to kill my family.....


Thank could really suck to be the other guy,...depending how far you took your scenario! :slightly_smiling:


I like to be calm and focus on breathing as I'm getting ready. In through the nose pushing the diaphragm down then out slowly through the mouth.

Then it's all about visualizing the lift step by step.

The absolute last thing I want is anything negative to seep into my head. It's a "oh fuck this is fucking heavy" type of mindset once I pick it up or hoist it or whatever.

I have to keep that out of my head or I'll lose. So I peel it back to just "pick it up and move it till you can't no more" and it seems to work well.

That "Oh fuck this is heavy" vein that runs through my head is like a cinder block sitting in my lap. I can still do stuff and move around it but it still sits there and bugs the shit out of me, drags me down, affects my output.


i just try to picture myself lifting the weight in my mind. i may do this for a few days prior to the actual lift. then when it comes to crunch time i just think of things that piss me off, like dirty drinking water or impolite people. what ever gets your fired up. amonia snaps take my breath away. smacking myself in the face helps me too....


i do the whole pacing back and forth with music in my ears taking deeper and deeper breaths until i'm about to explode.

then i have about a second or two of calmness before i lift where i take a deep breath and then GO!

ammonia caps are good too. at least for me and my f*cked up sinuses.


See that weight go thru the roof. Don't look at it,just push it. If you study long you study wrong.


I forgot to add...always take a pregame dump.


no no no! all wrong. hold it and clench as tight as possible. you will know you were tight enough if you squeezed out very little, or better yet none after the lift. this is why you train like this all the time!

as i am setting up I get my breathing right and sort of talk to myself. i insult myself "stop being a fucking pussy! lift this fucking weight you stupid bitch." it works for some reason. reminds me of home too...