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HOW TO SMASH THROUGH MENTAL BLOCKS WHEN PERFORMING MAXIMAL LIFTS

Have you ever had a maximal weightlifting number you just couldn’t seem to surpass? If you’ve ever lifted weights, you’ve been there before, whether it’s a back squat, snatch or bench press, there is a maximal weight our minds can’t seem to wrap around and smash through. I like to call this number the ‘concrete ceiling’.

In my athletic and fitness journey, the snatch is the first lift that comes to mind. Over the years my ‘concrete ceiling’ for the snatch has improved, but not without challenges, breakthroughs, more set-backs and lots of hard work. 

In my example, when I started my career as a CrossFit athlete, a 225 pound snatch was a mystical number I could never accomplish, however, over the course of six or seven years, I’ve been able to break through a few ‘concrete ceilings’ (225, 250 and 275 pounds) and finally accomplish a lifetime goal of 300 pounds!

Today, I’ll share how you can also smash through your concrete ceiling and continue to set new personal records and keep moving forward to accomplish your goals!

First, take advantage of coaching. Coaches are important for helping you identify movement faults and correcting technique, which builds confidence when approaching maximal lifts. 

Confidence in lifting technique increases your ability to succeed in your lifts and decreases your risk and fear of injury. 

A coach is there to support and guide you through difficult times and lead you to accomplish your goals. 

Second, establish your ‘WHY?’. Understanding why you want to accomplish your goal helps to mentally set you up for success when you’re performing the lift. You can go back to it to persevere through struggles or doubt begins to creep into your head. 

My ‘why?’ is to continue to care for my family deep into old age. I know that if I’m continuing to set new personal records my fitness is continuing to improve and my health is staying intact. This helps me stay on track when I don’t feel like training or when I don’t feel like performing a maximal lift for the day. 

Everyone will have a different ‘why?’. Sit down with your coach for a goal session to discover your ‘why?’.

Third, build confidence in your lifts with consistency and practice. Most mental blocks are due to a lack of confidence in the lift. I’ve found practicing your weaknesses at least once or more per week is most beneficial for breaking through your mental blocks. 

Fourth, after your lifting technique is solid, lift heavy weights frequently. Many jump the gun and try to lift heavy before their technique is fully dialed in. This can lead to improper technique, mental blocks, missed lifts and increases your chance of injury. 

After you have dialed in perfect technique, begin lifting heavy weights more consistently in ranges of 85 to 90 percent of your one rep max. This will build confidence in lifting near maximal weights and allow you to break through any mental blocks you may have. 

Fifth, approach the bar in the same manner each time you lift. It’s like shooting free throws. Consistency creates automation, automation leads to decreased anxiety as you approach maximal weights.

Sixth, practice lifting in different time domains. Many times a new personal record is broken when least expected. 

Lifting every minute on the minute often takes the mental process out of the lift. For example, when I made my lifetime goal on the snatch, I was on a time constraint, lifting quickly without time to let the numbers get in my head.

Seventh, stay positive, tell yourself you can do it. “Those who say they can and those who say they can’t, are both usually right.” 

When you approach a maximal lift and tell yourself you ‘can’t’ do it, you’re more likely to miss the lift. Instead, visualize yourself making the lift, this generally results in a positive outcome.

Heavy weight training is beneficial for more than just athletic performance, it’s a necessity for a healthier, stronger, leaner body and longevity. From strengthening your whole body, to injury prevention and improved conditioning, the health benefits are beyond comprehension, so get out there and set some new personal records!

At Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness, we offer you both nutrition & fitness coaching, from personal training to group CrossFit classes we have the keys to help you reach your goals! 

Our personal trainers and group coaches value lifting weights, and using multi-jointed, functional exercises performed at high intensity. You don’t have to guess what to do! 

Schedule a free consultation with a coach to see how we can help you with your goals! →  I’M READY TO MEET WITH A COACH!

COACH PHIL KNIEP – Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness

Precision Nutrition L1 Coach

CrossFit Level 3 Trainer

Endurance Certified

Mobility Certified

Scaling Certified

3x CrossFit Games Qualifier

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