Many of you know that I’m big on meal prep, writing out workouts, and planning for all aspects of training. One of the more underrated aspects of preparation is preparing the mind for training and especially competition. Mental preparation isn’t usually an issue for the average gym goer, but it is a massive issue for some of the strongest people in the world. It requires a bulletproof mindset to be able to work through setbacks as well as to do things you’ve never done. From the beginner to top level strength athletes like Ben Pollack and Stefi Cohen, people need to get the mental game right there with the physical game. Here are a couple ways to get the mind ready.
Meditation is used a lot by Ben Pollack, winner of the 2017 US Open (powerlifting). He suggests using it before or immediately after your training session. This is to help avoid distractions, focus on what matters, and provide a sense of flow to your training session. It does not need to be that Buddha style meditation where you sit legs-crossed or anything but could be as simple as a few deep focused breaths. Taking a few minutes to look around, focus on your breathing, and then focus on what’s ahead can go a long way to a better mindset.
This is used a lot by Stefi Cohen, which she mentioned in a podcast with Mark Bell. Many athletes visualize what they are going to do whether it be basketball, lifting, or any other sports. Even non-athletes visualize success before it happens as a way to get motivated, or as a way to ensure they don’t freeze up when the opportunity presents itself. She takes it one step further by visualizing the good and bad possibilities. She knows that the worst thing she can do in powerlifting is missing a lift and to combat this she visualizes how she’ll feel if it does happen. This allows her to be ready for worst case scenario and ensure that she won’t break down mentally because of one bad lift
Neither of these is necessary and you might already have plenty of mental strength to get through lifting. Maybe you have a few habits that work for you, stick with them. These are just a couple tips from some of the top performers in their sport. At the end of the day if you know yourself and know what works, then stay with that.