The Mental Side of Lifting

Lifting is just as big of a mental game as it is physical. Day in and day out it challenges you (if you’re doing it right). The physical aspects of it are simply because you feel it breaking you down when you are sore for the next few days. However, the mental aspects take a tole as well. It isn’t easy to show up to the gym 4, 5, or 6 days a week, but if you want to get better, this is what it takes. There are a few ways that lifting can challenge you mentally:

The Grind

The day in, day out aspects of lifting when you might not want to be there. This is especially true when on a rigorous program that is taking a lot out of you. Sometimes it may be a horrible workout, but showing up is far more important than having a perfect workout every single day. Grinding away and giving what you have for each and every workout is what matters. Although it is difficult to do it many days, it will lead to massive results in the long run.

Prior to the program I am currently running, which has me in the gym for 2 hours every session, I worked out every single day for 2 years. It is much easier to do with bodybuilding style workouts where the muscle is torn down, but the nervous system isn’t affected nearly as much. With heavy powerlifting and weightlifting movements, the nervous system just can’t take it every single day. Just don’t miss the workouts.

Big Lifts are Scary

It is not easy to step under the squat bar loaded with 95-105% of your 1RM or walk up to hit a snatch with more weight than you have ever done before. Much more difficult than walking up to hit 85% for 3. This is mentally draining and takes a certain mindset to be able to get under the bar day after day. It is important to walk up to the bar with confidence, without that you have no shot at hitting the lift. Understand that misses happen, but expect to hit every lift as you approach it. If you think you’ll miss, you already lost the battle.

Overthinking Happens

Overthinking the lifts, the program, and the diet happen. Sometimes it is important to test new things to see how they work for you, but it is just as important to buy into what you are doing and do it. Very technical lifts like the snatch and jerk lead to overthinking because there are so many parts to it. From the footwork to the pull, they are not easy. Overthinking during the lift will surely lead to a miss.

Buying into the program and diet are important. A full belief in what you are doing will take you to greater heights than uncertainty in either. It helps to have a program from someone that has done what you are trying to do. Always buy into a coach that or program that has done what you are attempting to do. If you want to lift 500 lbs, then you should have a coach that has done it before.


Lifting is just as mental as it is physical. You may physically be able to lift 500 lbs, but if your mind says you can’t, then there is no way you will. No one hits goals by accident, and an average mindset will lead to average results.

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