Alright my Billy Ocean song references leave much to be desired in the title! We LOVE hearing from our readership and this week Kristy sent us a really important and intuitive question about where she is with her training and some challenges she is facing that we thought would be something others could relate to as well.
First Kristy, congratulations on getting started in August with a trainer and jumping into strength training! That’s a tough first step a lot of people don’t ever take so give yourself credit for that! Thanks for your question to us regarding breaking through to heavier weights and meeting new goals……you’re right it can all be very scary so give yourself permission to be anxious so you are ready to face it head on. I’m one of the newer MissFits but have been strength training with the team for almost a year now, and I know some of the challenges you are describing very well. We all go through this and some of the other MissFits have some great advice too that we want to share with you but I want to start with overcoming the fear of lifting heavier. I know you referenced your squat, but getting stuck in your head applies to any of the lifts. That part of your question spoke so clearly to me as I remember going through something similar with my deadlift pretty soon before my first competition back in May. I vividly remember standing at the bar and being afraid I wasn’t going to be able to get the heavier weight off the ground…….and you know what?…….I couldn’t the first time, or the second time…..well you get where I am going.
But, you know what else? Eventually that day I did get it off the ground because I listened to and trusted my coach, his technical direction but more importantly his belief that I COULD do it. That’s the key as I see it to getting out of your head. Don’t calculate the weight, don’t compare yourself, don’t focus on the next jump, just look at the bar, remember the technical parts of your training, set yourself, and you WILL do it. Once you find that rhythm that works and helps you conquer your next weight, stick to it and ritualize it. I know it seems like there should be a magic trick to eliminating the fear, but the best way I have found to transforming fear into belief is to step up and prove it to yourself no matter how many tries it takes.
Some of the other MissFits have some really great things to say about this topic too so please take a look below:
- Most important, trust your coach. He won’t put weight on the bar that he thinks you can’t do
- Set up squat rack pins just below your bottom position as an added “spot”. I have requested this before and just knowing they are there helped me approach the weight with less fear
- When it’s a heavy lift session, I am intentional in NOT adding up the weight on the bar. My coach tells me the plates to add and I lift it. While it’s true I have a general idea of what’s there, for some reason, it helps to not know the exact number. Add it up when you are done.
- And, finally, my favorite trick in the mental game is to do a couple walk outs at the end of a heavy squat session. We never max out on any lift in training but you can practice un-racking and setting up. I get huge mental benefits from knowing what my goal weight feels like on my back.
Heavy squats can be intimidating and I think the only way to get past that for me is to do more of them. Trust in your coach and that relationship to ask for what you need from your training/programming is key. The other really important part of making big gains in any of your lifts is that once you reach a certain point, the rapid gains plateau and can be frustrating. In the beginning your PRs are much bigger than after you are getting into really big weight. That is where patience and consistency will be your best friends.
For me being patient and being consistent is so very true to getting out of my head and getting the job done. Heavier weights are heavy, but you know you can do it, your coach has prepared you and is there to spot you so be patient and commit to the effort. That’s what training is all about…..it’s that place where you can safely test new boundaries.