Written by Chad Wesley Smith
Lifting maximal or near maximal weights is one of the most exciting parts of strength training but it can also be one of the most intimidating. Check out this quick video from 6x National Champion Marisa Inda for some tips on how to better approach heavy weights.
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Have A Plan-know what your top set will be and have a plan b or c if it’s feeling less than ideal, this will eliminate any unnecessary anxiety.
Visualize Success-Visualize successful lifts and clean technique. Vividly imagine each lift in the first person and be in the moment by bringing in all your senses-the butterflies you feel, the bar in your hands, the weight on your back etc. Over time the brain learns our routine movements, allowing these actions to become more automatic and fine-tuned.
Have a Pre-Performance Routine-Having a routine will help you block out distractions, focus on the task at hand, and stay in the moment. Doing things like hitting your chest on the bar before you squat, or breathing deeply and shouting go time before every lift- whatever your routine is commit to it regardless of the circumstances.
Strong Body Language-Powerful body language can send signals to the brain that you’re more confident. Sitting up straight and keeping your chin high versus slumping and looking defeated will help you fend off any negative self talk and unproductive thinking patterns that can impact you psychologically.
Trust Your Technique-As you approach the higher percentage ranges in your lifts you need to let your body do what’s its been trained to do and stop overthinking. Write down one cue for each lift, make it one word, and that’ll will be the only cue you think about for those top sets.