There’s a saying in the Navy Seals that you can do 20 times what you think you think your body can do. From the BUDs training they go through it upholds its truth.
Now, lifting heavy weights and becoming a Navy Seal are two totally completely different things (becoming a Navy Seal is by FAR much more intense and difficult to do, I understand!), BUT…the one transfer to lifting is the mindset of pushing through of what you think your body can do, as you start to progress and seek to lift heavier weight.
For example, lifting heavier weights, from my experience, has had more mental plateaus and turmoil than my body. Yes, I have had some significant injuries, which probably play a factor in that mindset to lift heavier weights, but for the most part, during my lifting career, many of the plateaus I experienced were more mental than physical.
For example, I remember when I first wanted to squat 315, and I put those three 45 pound plates on the barbell my attitude changed. First, I was confident, then when I saw the barbell loaded up I got nervous. I was anxious and had self-doubt if I could even do it, even when 275 and 295 before went up like nothing.
This has been a common experience for me in my lifting career, especially when I set a new PR goal in any lift. What happens is that there is some emotional barrier in my subconscious regarding that PR goal that makes it hard when I start to train, and especially when it is time to lift it.
I know if I do an okay job at programming, do my best to train with intensity, and do all things to be consistent when training at and away from the gym I know I can get there. The issue, for me, is believing I can, and pushing through that mental plateau of what I think I can do.
There is no doubt that you have to have your body prepared, in good shape, and technique down to lift heavy weight. But, if that mental baggage of whether you think you can do it or not is with you, you are going to have a lot of trouble getting there, if at all. This is especially true if you’ve been a the same weights for what seems like the longest time. You have to turn that switch, and get comfortable at being uncomfortable.
For example, one of my goals is to deadlift 500 pounds, and I just recently sumo deadlifted 465 beltless. That success is great, but I really have to get after it every time now because I am going to start to train at weights I thought were really heavy, but are now not heavy like they once were.
Essentially, I, and you, have to get more comfortable at lifting heavier weights as the “NEW NORMAL”.
It is important to understand that in our progression weights will not feel so monumental anymore, and that is normal. That is a good thing. That means you and I are getting stronger, and progressing like we hope and should, given the effort and investment put in.
What I believe we have to do is attack the weight. Attack the weight and give it your all, and leave the excuses behind. If you are truly injured then wait another day. BUT, if you are good attack those damn weights, and when it’s your time to do a maximal lift, lift that shit or die trying (Elliott Hulse reference)!
Own the weight, and go for it. Whether you succeed or you fail is not the point. You have just got to attack.
In this process, you will be in a better position to break down your own mental barriers if you are on the attack. As you start to do so, you’ll gain confidence in future lifts, and be in a better position to succeed. It will take time, but if you attack the weight and visualize yourself performing it with success you will make lifting heavier a reality and break plateaus.
Let’s break ’em!
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Until next time, be strong and be you.