11/5/18 - The Mental Edge to Your Next PR
I think we all understand the maximal lift concept quite simply. If you’ve ever found yourself in the middle of completing an effort at the edge of possibility life gets simple very quickly. You’re not trying to stand up a new back squat PR, your legs shaking, and wonder, “Is there street cleaning today?” No, all systems are at attention to accomplish the task.
High performance situations, like setting a new personal record for yourself, are great environments to learn the best approaches to maximize performances not just physically, but mentally as well. I’d argue, however, that the situation I just described, mid-lift isn’t the one that challenges our mental game most. We struggle much less in the middle of the action to focus our thoughts, especially mid-back squat. Most athletes, however, aren’t so airtight in their mental game in the moments before the lift (or presentation, game, meeting, or other high pressure situation). This is where most novices can choke or pysch themselves out.
Interestingly enough, the lessons we learn about not concerning ourselves with street cleaning during our performances informs us to how we can maximize our success mentally before our efforts, too. Let me explain.
Any peak performance, like finding a new personal record, will benefit from as much focus, effort, and attention possible on the task at hand. Wouldn’t you agree that the best strategy to deadlift a new record would require help from all of your muscles? Wouldn’t there be “more in the tank” if only 60% of your key muscles fired on your next heavy deadlift? Silly as it may be, no one will attempt a new deadlift record with one leg today, will they? Well, our minds work the same way. We need all the help we can get.
Any ounce of mental effort away from the task at hand, then, is “wasted”. The best mental strategy for your next big lift or stressful performance is one that maximizes the positivity of and attention to the moment. The most successful mindset then would see and expect only success. After all, wouldn’t it be wasted effort to decide what it would look and feel like to think and preemptively feel what failure would be like, especially considering the circumstances? How much time worrying about the outcome of the lift is a helpful amount?
If you guessed “zero minutes” you’d be right.
I promise you that if and when failure comes you’ll have plenty of time to deal with it then. Until then, this performance is hard enough, so why not use all of your mind to help make it happen?
See victory. Expect victory. Then, go do it.
Take 36 minutes to find a powerlifting total:
1RM Back Squat
1RM Bench Press