You can be your own worst enemy when it comes to training. Hitting new PR’s can be more of a mental game than it is physical strength. Try these three strategies the next time you gear up to set a personal record.
There is a saying that “on competition day, a champion athlete has already completed his/her task 1,000 times over in the mind.” I’m not entirely sure who said it but it speaks truth. Repeatedly visualizing every step that needs to take place in order for you to complete a lift will do wonders for your nerves when you actually attempt the lift. Mental practice is key to continuing to see success. Many of times, our worst habits will surface when the weight gets heavy enough. This is one strategy to gain more focus and eliminate the mental clutter when you attempt your next PR lift.
Change your Warm-up Sets
I can almost guarantee that you have done the same weights in your warm-up sets leading to the top weight for the past few months. Am I wrong?
Try changing up your loading pattern for your next workout. Instead of going up by the same plate increments each time, try making different jumps up in weight for each set. For example, instead of going from 135lbs to 185lbs, skip 185 and go to 195. This works well in your first few warm-up sets because taking a bigger jump has less of an impact on your overall performance. You might find that you can move some weights easier because you haven’t exhausted yourself too much on the lighter sets.
You might even try playing around with more or less sets with fewer reps working your way up in weight. The point of warm-up sets is to prepare the body for the heavier weight NOT to fatigue you before you get there.
If you have a training partner that you trust and that knows your strength well, have them choose your weights for you for your next work out. Try your best not to add-up what is on the bar and just lift it. In this way, you can cut out all of the mind games that you play on yourself when attacking a certain weight. There will be no expectations only assumptions as to how that weight may feel. You might find yourself lifting a weight you have never lifted before and assume that it is lighter than it truly is.
As seen on The Alpha Project